“God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.” Like most parents, you’ve likely heard—or at least thought—this before. The symbolism rings true: Listening more than we speak shows that we care about people’s needs and feelings. Listening also helps us understand others better and grow closer to them.
That applies to our faith lives, too. Because listening is an integral component of worship and prayer, it’s vital for maintaining a strong relationship with our Creator and Saviour. God speaks to us through his Word, through his answers to prayer, and through our fellow Christians traveling on this journey with us. 
Being a good listener—to people as well as to God—is an acquired skill. Even adults need reminders and practice to remain alert, open, and attentive to one another and to God. That’s especially true these days, when many distractions and other “voices” threaten to pull us away from faithfully following our true Leader.
Faith becomes “sticky,” according to researcher Kara Powell, through give-and-take conversations among parents and children. That means it’s important to listen as much—or more than!—you talk. Kids’ questions and observations provide a window into their faith development and into how we can encourage continued growth.
So, put on your “listening ears” to discover even more auditory insights through some of these family activities. 
  • Look & Listen Hide a small object and tell family members you’ll give them clues to find it. Play loud music and start saying clues without shouting. Afterward, discuss how the noise affected the ability to hear and how people overcame that. Read aloud (or summarize) 1 Samuel 3:1-21 and ask: “How did Samuel know when God was speaking to him? How can we learn to hear God’s voice?” Say: “Let’s remind each other to tune out earthly noises so we can hear God!” 
  •  Be Still For this exercise, allow adequate time between steps. Hand out paper and pencils. Read aloud Psalm 46:10 and say: “Think about what this verse means.” (Pause.) Say: “Close your eyes and listen for sounds nearby.” (Pause.) Say: “Now listen for God’s voice.” (Pause.) Say: “Write or draw what you feel and hear.” When everyone’s finished, discuss your experiences and how being still helps us hear God better.
  • Stop, Drop & Follow Read aloud (or summarize) Acts 9:1-20. Have family members act out being Saul. Shine a flashlight and say: “Drop to the ground! Saul couldn’t see, so close your eyes.” (Pause.) Say: “Now stand up and listen up!” Give a simple instruction, such as clapping hands, stomping feet, or repeating a phrase. Then have everyone open their eyes and stand up. Repeat, issuing a new command each time. Afterward, ask: “What was it like to listen to and follow directions when you couldn’t see? What did Jesus want Saul to do?” Say: “Jesus wants us to listen to him and follow him. Then we can tell others about Jesus so they can follow him, too!”
  • “I” Am Listening Give each person 10 marbles. Say: “Mingle and talk about your day—but without saying the word I. If you do, anyone who hears it gets a marble from you.” After five minutes, count marbles. Ask: “What was it like to avoid saying I?” Read aloud Philippians 2:3-4. Ask: “Why does God tell us to focus on others, not on ourselves? How does listening closely show that we care about other people?” 
  • Actions Speak Volumes On index cards, write the names of famous Bible people (one per card). Take turns silently acting out what each is known for. Read aloud Ecclesiastes 3:7. Ask: “How did you know who those people were? Why do we often remember actions more than words? How can we combine our actions and words to tell about Jesus?” 

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About the Author: stephanie holmberg

Stephanie is a wife, mother, pastor, and friend who is passionate about seeing people live authentic, purpose-filled lives. When not working alongside her amazing kidmin team, you will find her at home spending time with her family, snuggling her furry friend Milo, or out exploring all the amazing places Edmonton has to offer.