Listen Before You Leap

By | Categories: Featured, Magazine

By Shaun Groves


As the president of Compassion International, Wess Stafford’s day is packed with responsibilities and decisions that affect over 800,000 children around the world and thousands of employees. I asked him a simple question once that forever changed how I live: How do you prepare for such an enormously important and difficult job every day?

He said he wakes up early, before anyone in his house, and goes to his living room. He lights a candle or throws a log on the fireplace, and then he sits there in its glow. Then he prays something like, “God, I’m listening. If there’s anything You want to tell me I’m listening.” Then he sits in the silence, still, chasing every distracting thought from his mind, not allowing himself to wander ahead of the moment to the meetings and dilemmas waiting for him at the office.

He waits. And listens.

If God carries his thoughts to a passage of Scripture, he reads it. If God moves his thoughts to a country or a specific person, for reasons unknown, he writes it down and prays for it immediately. Most days God is seemingly silent, he told me. So after half an hour of listening, he pulls out his calendar and prays for each person he’s planned to see that day. He tells God, “I can’t do my job today. I need You to do it for me.” He prays for every person he’ll meet with, for their family and their work and what not. And then, again, he asks God if there’s something He wants said to that person or done for that person. He writes down the answers as they come to him.

Before you leap into your day is there something God wants to warn you about? Listen.
“Hear, O My people, and I will warn you-if you would but listen to Me, O Israel!” (Psalm 81:8).

Is there something He’d like to teach you? Listen.
“O My people, hear My teaching; listen to the words of My mouth” (Psalm 78:1).

Are you facing an enemy? Listen.
“If My people would but listen to Me, if Israel would follow My ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their foes!” (Psalm 81:13,14).

Needing wisdom? Listen.
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance” (Proverbs 1:5).

Wrestling a moral dilemma? Listen.
“Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right” (Proverbs 8:6).

Just listen.

Father God, Your voice birthed everything from nothing. I confess that I am nothing without You. Speak life into me and speak through me. Teach me. Correct me. Encourage me. Warn me. Guide me. How I can serve you today? I’m listening

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