THE SKILL OF LISTENING FOR NEEDS
READ John 4: 4-29
With insight from the Holy Spirit, Jesus knew that the Samaritan woman had five husbands. The Holy Spirit may not give you such dramatic insight about strangers, but he does desire to help you discern the felt needs and real needs of people around you. You can learn to notice the broken places in people's lives. Sensitive questions and practical acts, such as giving and receiving water, can speak powerfully to people about your respect and concern for them. Most people are as thirsty for respect and kindness as the Samaritan woman was.
Jesus modeled how to discern a person's real needs. As you listen to the needs someone expresses, you can simply ask a few caring questions that invite her to share more of her heart with you. By listening well, you can draw her out further.
The Five R's of Listening help to keep a conversation going and create an atmosphere that draws someone out:
1. Repeat what the person has shared with you.
2. Repeat his last sentence to encourage him to share more.
3. Return his comment with another question.
4. Respond with affirmation and gratitude for his willingness to share.
5. Renew your commitment to listen and pray for him.
In the next few days, practice using these Five R's in conversation with the people around you. Then record your responses to the following questions.
- Did the use of the Five R's enhance your conversation(s) in any way? If so, how?
- What did you learn from these conversation(s)
- What will you do differently the next time?