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Today’s Reflection

LISTENING IS AN ART, a spiritual practice. … Listening speaks to one of our deepest needs, to be understood or feel understood. Yes, we might like people to agree with us, take our side, but it is a great gift when we feel that the person understands us, even if the person does not agree with us. … Listening acknowledges and honors the other’s uniqueness with his or her own stories and truths. We each need to tell our story, and we each need to hear the other’s story. Being listened to provides the opening we need to tell our stories, to express feelings and ideas we would otherwise be afraid to voice.

– Thomas Porter
The Spirit and Art of Conflict Transformation

From pages 40-41, The Spirit and Art of Conflict Transformation. Copyright © 2010 by Thomas Porter Jr. All rights reserved. Used with permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Are you a friend to someone you can listen to? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Our soul has had more than its fill of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.
Psalm 123:4, NRSV

This Week: pray for courage. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Gertrude the Great of Helfta (November 16).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA


{ 23 comments… add one }

  • robert moeller November 14, 2017, 5:12 am

    I believe I am a friend to someone I can listen to. There are also aspects of that here at the UR. Thank You, Lord. Most importantly I want to be a better listener to God. I think there is great room for improvement.

    Thankful for the blessings of yesterday. Heart rehab, snow tires, and trains running on the layout.

    Prayers for me. I’ve lost bone in my mouth and will lose two teeth. Two special cleanings will help determine what can be done. Thankful I have dental insurance that covers 70% of the cost.

    Yes, we all need courage, with the Lord, we have it. Today is a new day. We press on trusting in God. Prayers for all who come to the UR, we gather in Jesus’ name.

    • lou November 14, 2017, 6:55 am

      Prayers for you Robert- thankful that you have a fun outlet in your trains and the history behind them- praying for your health- and for all here who voice health concerns
      Prayers for my mother who is hospitalized and will have a heart procedure tomorrow – she is a living saint who gives so much to her church community- and to her family- prayers for her strength and peace and for the doctors and nurses who are caring for her. Continued prayers for my youngest who struggles with sadness- I pray for a “good day” for her today.
      Prayers for Marcy, Jill, Julie, Andrea, Louise, Betsy, Cherie, Mary, Connie, and all of those who come to this place.
      Help me Lord and be with me and all of these faithful believers – we need you Lord.

      • Marcy November 14, 2017, 5:22 pm

        Lou, I’ll be praying for your Mom’s procedure tomorrow and keeping you and your children in my prayers also, especially your youngest. God is a good, good Father.

    • Marcy November 14, 2017, 5:05 pm

      Robert, praying for a good solution for your dental bone issues. It’s a good thing your dental insurance covers that much. I’m keeping you and your family in my prayers. Blessings!
      P.S. I really enjoy hearing about your trains. That elevated set up around a replica of your ancestral (?) German town sounds delightful! Robert, the electrical cords on my train set are still cloth insulated cords. Is there an easy way of updating them, so they are safer? Also, there’s liquid that is dropped into the smokestack on one locomotive do make ‘steam’. Is this safe after so much time?
      Thank you!

  • Jill November 14, 2017, 7:06 am

    Boy, I sure hope that I am that friend…one who listens deeply, intently. I hope those closest to me know that I will drop everything and sit with them and listen. And, selfishly I confess, I have a high expectation that others will listen intently to me. I am disappointed at times. More and more, I turn to my Heavenly Father – the best listener.
    The past few months I have tried to express to others near me what I am experiencing physically. How fortunate I am to have another who is able to empathize, as opposed to (merely?) sympathize. With others, I don’t really want their sympathy – but I want them to listen, to recognize that they can’t really “get” what I am experiencing. But, nevertheless, that they will hear what I need to say. Truthfully – their pity and sympathy are un-wanted…what I would like to have is just one who will be with me in my space.
    I think we have created a safe listening space here. I thank each of you for your prayers. Robert – glad you have insurance that will help with this cost. I am grateful for the insurance coverage that I have. Still, the medical bills keep arriving. It is good to be more mindful of my money. So, this, too, is a blessing in an unsuspected way.
    Grateful for small group last night and good listeners around the table. Grateful for my students – pleasant, funny and generally eager to please.

  • Julie November 14, 2017, 8:10 am

    Jill, your words regarding your condition and what you need from others perfectly describe my feelings also. They capture why I left the church I attended for years. No one listened and everyone sympathized which is really a synonym for pitied. No one really wanted to hear me or see me in a way that was separate from my fingers. It is also why I am reluctant to try again. If people who knew me for years could not see past my fingers how can I expect a different response from strangers.
    Robert, my prayers for your new health challenge and thanksgiving for your health insuance.
    Lou, praayers for your mother and your youngest who continues to struggle. I pray that your oldest found a job and that your back pain is not as acute.
    I am so thankful to all of you for your prayers and for your words of faith, hope and sharing. As the weather changes, my fingers are in transition. I have three fingers that are covered in scar tissue and they are now red and itchy. So begins my winter…
    Blessings and prayers friends

  • Connie November 14, 2017, 8:52 am

    Prayers for Robert, Lou’s Mother and Lou’s children and of course, Lou, for Jill and Julie and for ones that are unspoken.
    I am a very good listener and am happy that it is one of my good traits. That being said I sometimes wonder how much I am listened to, but I overlook that.
    Thankful today for a restful night and dreams of loved ones, for the Upper Room, for good neighbors.

    • Marcy November 14, 2017, 5:41 pm

      Connie, yes you are! Such a good example to follow. God bless!

      • Connie November 15, 2017, 8:13 am

        Thank you, Marcy. You are also a good example….a Barnabus -encourager.

  • Marcy November 14, 2017, 11:57 am

    I am listening, Lord, and I pray I am listening well. If not, Lord, help me to listen and obey.

    Thank you everyone for your prayers, Robert, Lou, Julie, Jill, Louise, Connie and all of you here in the UR family. Thank you all for listening, as you are my friends and you will continue to be when I’m able to make more face to face friends. I’ve been overwhelmed lately, yes, but never stop praying for all of you. You remain in my thoughts throughout the day. We are so blessed we have each other, so blessed God gathered us here together, so blessed He loves and cares for all of us so much — not only here in the UR family but also those beyond.

    Praying for courage for those struggling, but also for those making life-changing decisions, like mission work or changing jobs or homes. Praying for courage from God for all and any needs!

    Leaving now for MRI. Will check back later or tomorrow.

    Blessings from God to us all. PTL!

  • Marcy November 14, 2017, 12:19 pm

    Thank you, Louise, for the name of the book, “Stepping on the Serpent”. I looked it up and I love it already! I’ll probably have to order it ahead of time from the bookstore. Now to get a ride to Barnes and Noble as I also have a Bible I want to purchase. I’m missing the Family Christian Bookstores that closed down in my area earlier this year….

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling November 14, 2017, 5:05 pm

    Yes, listening is indeed an art and spiritual discipline.

    May we be good listeners and cultuvate the habit of listening to God.

    Prayers for Lou and her mum, youngest daughter, Robert, Marcy, Julie, Jill, Louise, Andrea, Connie and all others in the UR family.

    Blessings to all!

    Please pray for me as our student care tender was unsuccessful so next year, all teachers will be posted to different locations where there are vacancies. May we bloom wherever we are posted and be able to fit in.

    Thank you God that you are with us through all seasons of our lives!

    • Marcy November 14, 2017, 5:18 pm

      Mary, I’m sorry the student care tender was unsuccessful, but I am sure you will ‘bloom where you are planted’! From what you have posted here, you are a very imaginative and inspiring teacher! I’ll keep you in my prayers for a good fit and meanwhile, enjoy teaching the ‘kiddos’ you have now!
      Question: Is the tender similar to a grant?

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling November 14, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Thank you so much Marcy for your prayers and encouragement.

    The tender is dufferent from the grant. If i am nit wrong a grant involves money given to run the servuces whereas a tender is more like how much fees we are charging the students’ parents and the programs we have for them. Apparently, the new vendor charges a lower fee.


    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling November 14, 2017, 9:49 pm

      Sorry, so many typo errors. Different, not, services

      A thousand apologies!

      • Marcy November 14, 2017, 10:03 pm

        Oh yes, now I remember a little more about the type of school where you teach. And I learned about student care tenders!

  • robert moeller November 16, 2017, 6:44 am

    Not sure why I misses sending a post here.
    Yes, prayers to be better, genuine, listeners. Empathetic not sympathetic.
    We need God’s wisdom to be able to do that. It’s tough when you are not in the person’s situation.
    Prayers for Lou’s Mom, Lou’s children, and Lou’s back. Lord, a great need for You there.
    Prayers for Julie, her hands, the changing weather, and understanding Julie beyond her hands. We most certainly know Julie without experiencing her hands and she has been a big blessing to all of us. Thank you, Julie.
    The need for my help is here, more later.

  • robert moeller November 16, 2017, 8:30 am

    Mary, prayers that you will be at a school that doesn’t have the problem you recently faced. As a teacher I am very familiar with the difficulty of finding and having a teaching position. Everyone wants great teachers, but funding is often an issue. Very thankfully, most of the people who become teachers have what it takes and put their students first.

    Marcy, when I started this latest layout I asked about a transformer I bought in 1969 that was still working in 2008. It was suggested I buy a new, SAFER, one. I bought one and it was damaged in shipping, had to get a replacement.
    Later I was told how to test the old transformer’s cord, mine is rubber, to see
    if it was still good. Bend it in a circle and check for cracks. Somehow I don’t think that works in your situation. I had my Dad’s 1926 transformer, but didn’t save it as it had been doctored too much. I’ll use my 1969 transformer to power uncouplers not power trains. Somehow I think trains is not the right topic for this site, so I’ll stop now.

    Hope the MRI is helpful and you find the book and Bible you are looking for.

    Prayers for all of the UR family. Your concerns, very thankfully, have been shared here and God most definitely has them. God never gives us more than we can handle as God is always right by us.

    • Marcy November 16, 2017, 10:29 am

      Thank you, Robert. I apologize for the train questions and I agree with you, I should have given that more thought. You are knowledgeable on the topic, and haven’t found anyone who is, but I will. I will be happy to just hear about them, when you mention them. Thank you for your patience.

      • robert moeller November 16, 2017, 4:54 pm

        I’d gladly talk trains on another site. Email works best for me. Everything is relative as far as knowledge goes. In the scheme of things I’m pretty low on the pole as far as trains go.

        Blessings and thanks for your posts.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling November 16, 2017, 1:10 pm

      Thank you so much Robert for your prayers. However, in our situation, it is not about funding but more about what we offer suits the school better or not.


      • robert moeller November 16, 2017, 4:58 pm

        Mary that’s a real difference between most of the problems I faced. 99% of the time the issue was money. Sure hope and pray you find a new teaching position where there is the best match between you, students, and the school.
        I have a very strong hunch that you are a great teacher.

        • Mary Ng Shwu Ling November 17, 2017, 8:24 am

          Thank you Robert for your encouragement!

          With God’s help, i will strive to be one.


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