The grace to truly listen


Every week Unbound offers a prayerful reflection from a member of the our community. This reflection is from Unbound Senior Writer/Editor Larry Livingston.

Copyright 2019 Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Listening to another person is hard work. I’m not talking about simply being quiet and allowing the other to speak. I’m talking about the kind of attentive, purposeful listening where one sets aside preconceptions and becomes open to being changed by another’s point of view.

There’s a vulnerability in such listening because the outcome of the conversation isn’t known going in. To truly listen one must be open to surprise and to the reality that the best course of action can’t always be programmed or predicted.

That kind of listening is also important in prayer. Psalm 46 says, “Be still and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:11). It’s in that stillness that God’s voice can be heard in one’s innermost being, unencumbered by ego, appetite or the expectations of others. In that stillness truth dwells.

Truth also dwells in the homes and communities of the families Unbound serves. These families know, better than anyone else, their own reality and what it will take to improve their lives. They don’t lack wisdom or initiative, only resources.

Thanks to the generosity of our caring sponsors, Unbound is blessed to be able to offer those resources, and we strive to deliver them to those who’ll get the greatest good from them. We don’t assume we have the answers, nor do we impose solutions.

But we do listen.

Please pray with us:

God, whose goodness runs deeper than we can fathom, speak to us in sacred stillness. Deliver us from the noise and clutter of the world and bring us to the depths of our hearts, where we may listen to you in peace and confidence. Fed by your grace, may we be messengers of hope and agents of love in a world in need. We ask this in the name of your son and our brother, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Copyright 2019 Larry Livingston for


About Author

Unbound is an international nonprofit founded by lay Catholics grounded in the Gospel call to put the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable first. We build relationships of mutual respect and support that bridge cultural, religious and economic divides. We bring people together to challenge poverty in 18 countries. We invite you to join us. Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

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