People who listen, care, and pray

This week I casually wrote down in my weekly pastor's report that I am excited about people who listen, care, and pray. The more I think about it, the more excited I get about these people. How rare is it to find someone who does all three? How treasured is that person, especially when we need him or her?

Over lunch, I talked about these matters with pastors Joey and Dan. We remembered times in our lives when we have needed that kind of support or been able to offer it to others. We agreed that some of the best measuring sticks of real friendship is whether we listen, care, and pray for each other.

When someone is going through something hard, being a friend starts with listening. I think real listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give someone. But it is pretty rare in our hurried and insecure world.

Can real listening happen without caring? I don't think so. Real listening is an expression of caring. But caring also extends into what kind of response we give someone. Pat answers can indicate that we don't really care. Sometimes it is deeply caring to say, "Gosh, that sounds really hard. I'm not sure I even know what to say." Caring is an attitude that governs what kind of response we give to someone who is hurting.

And what about praying? I had a friend tell me the other day, "I have been praying for you." What a great thing to hear! That's when I know someone really cares. The best thing that can happen in my life is that I would know and do God's will. That's why I value prayer so much.

People who listen, care, and pray... may you be one or find one today!

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