Tag Archives: listening

Just Your Presence Can Be A Blessing!

Just Your Presence Can be a Blessing!

by Janet Stobie

“What can I do to help?” Is a familiar question to many of us. Whether it’s a death in the family, or a flood, whatever the need, we want to help. Often we don’t think we have the right words, but we still want to do something, to make it better.

When my wonderful biological mother died I was far, far away and feeling very lost. I had had only twelve years to love her, and I wanted longer. Since I’d found her, I had travelled to Tucson, Arizona every year to visit her. Those were very precious visits. I wished I had gone more often and stayed longer. We hadn’t shared enough of either of our stories. I believed that my friends and family wouldn’t understand because they all knew I loved my adoptive mother totally while she was alive. I wasn’t sure if I should even tell others that I was sad.

Carved forever in my heart is my daughter’s response to the news of the death of this other Grandma she barely knew. “Oh Mom,” my Connie said, “It must be so hard for you to be here and not there. I’m coming over for the day. I’ll just get the children off to school and then I’ll be there with you.”

Connie took a day off work, came and sat with me. She held me while I cried. She listened. Her presence brought such comfort and peace. I needed her and she was here.

Today I remind all of you that your presence is the most precious gift you can give. Of course, there are things you can do – send flowers, bring food, help with the arrangements and …   But most important of all is the blessing of your presence.

Jesus reassured his followers with: “And remember I am with you always till the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 20)

Does Anyone Still Pray?

Besides grandparents and ministers does anyone still pray? A teen submitted this question to the United Church Observer. It’s dogged my thoughts for the last week.

My first answer is yes, of course people of all ages still pray. My friends, some of whom are teens, some in their thirties and forties, pray regularly. They ask for God’s help concerning exams, crises and life in general. Probably, the main reason I know they pray is that I am a retired United Church minister. They feel safe in telling me. Also, my friends tend to be people who attend church, or sing in the Gospel Choir. Prayer is a part of their personal culture. What about the rest of the world?

When we listen to the news, we learn that all over the world people of every religion pray at least in a formal way. That’s why churches, mosques, synagogues and temples are popular targets for terrorists. I’m sure if we had the opportunity to interview them, even the terrorists would say that they pray.

There is no shortage of prayer in this world. Lots of us talk with God every day. We plead with God. We bargain with God. We give thanks to God. Sometimes, when frustration or pain overwhelms us, we yell at God. The problem is that we often fail to recognize that prayer is a conversation.

A real conversation requires listening. Maybe the question is, “Does anyone listen to God today?” In the Bible, we are often told to listen to God. In Moses’ words we hear, “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to God’s voice, and hold fast to God. For the LORD is your life, …  (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Begin incorporating listening in your prayers. Be assured, God does speak today.