My wife will tell you that I’m a “fidgety” listener at church. I don’t sit still very long, and I sometimes don’t listen as closely as I should. So, I write these words to me today—and I hope they’ll help you, too.
- Don’t miss the miracle and blessing of having opportunity to hear the Bible preached freely. Many of our brothers and sisters around the world risk their lives to worship, and many don’t have the whole Bible in their language. We’re seriously blessed—so we need to listen closely to the teaching of the Word.
- Deal with any sin issues in your life before you get to church. Confess your transgressions to God today. Turn from them so they don’t control you. Ask God to cleanse your heart daily before you head to church. Listening well requires a heart that has no sin obstacles in the way.
- Get to church early. All of us sometimes struggle with getting to church on time, and some of us are almost always late. When you enter the worship center with a hurried and unfocused mind, though, you’re not best prepared to hear the Word.
- If your phone is a tempting distraction, leave it in the car. I understand the use of electronic Bibles, but I’d rather you bring a hard copy of the Bible if you tend to use your phone to do something other than focus on the scriptural text.
- Worship well through song, even if the music style may not be your preference (see this post about singing when we don’t want to). Not participating in worshiping God is hardly the best preparation for hearing the Word of God.
- Take notes. This suggestion is a basic one, but doing it helps us pay attention. Listening to and writing down the points of a sermon keep us focused for at least a few minutes. And, taking notes allows you to reflect on biblical truths later in the week.
- Ask God to teach you at least one thing that should change your life—and write it down, too. Listen closely. Focus intentionally. Hear expectantly, trusting that God wants to teach you how to apply the gospel to your life.
- If/when your mind wanders, whisper a prayer to the Lord. A simple, perhaps recurrent, “Father, help me in the power of your Spirit to pay attention” can make a big difference.
- Send somebody a text or email about what you learn in each sermon. If you learn a truth, share it with somebody after church. If you need to make a life change based on the Word, hold yourself accountable to someone. Don’t let the Word bounce off your heart so you do nothing with it after the service is over.
What’s worked for you to help you listen to a sermon?