Have you ever pondered all the different ways God pours grace upon grace into our lives. The grace of prayer, that very ability we have to share with God all of our joys, our woes, our needs and have those prayers answered is an indescribable grace. While considering prayer specifically, consider that the ability to listen, to be open to spiritually hear and take in the ways God answers our prayers is yet another grace. A grace to which we can add a ripple or two. When we ask someone “How are you?“ and then stop to hear their answer, that is God’s grace in action. The other person probably doesn’t even equate the conversation to prayer, yet that is indeed what it is. That conversation is lifted up as a prayer by the grace of God involved in helping us to listen. Our burdens and hopes for reconciliation are lifted to God as a prayer through the grace of listening. What makes listening such a grace? It is simply the intent to listen with an ear cocked both toward our friend and toward God.
Further, can we find it possible to pray for God to help us be the answers to our own prayers and to those prayers we share with others? Doing so opens us and our lives to be the arms, shoulders, hands, and ears of God, and opens us and our lives to God’s incredible, awesome grace — opens us to being radically available. That’s another grace — openness. If we each began to stress spiritual listening and openness in our lives, in our relationships, imagine the changes! Our relationships would strengthen, mature, come alive in their possibilities. Come alive to that radical availability. Openness and radical availability are cornerstones of ministry, and ministry is all about relationships. As Disciples of Christ, we all consider ourselves ministers. As Christians, we are the body of Christ and in that relationship with Christ and each other, we engage the world through the grace in our lives. When we act out of that grace to help others, we model for them what it means to be open, be available to Christ and the grace God so abundantly pours out. If we take the time to explore the ways in which we receive grace, we will see many opportunities for sharing that grace, being that Body.