“Has the art of intentional relationship gone the way of VHS and 8-track tapes?”
As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3
Has this ever happened to you… you’re talking with an old friend one day when suddenly you find yourself listening to an update about something your friend obviously thinks you remember. The blank expression on your face says it all… you don’t have a clue of what they’re speaking about! Then, your friend catches on and responds with “You have no idea of what I’m speaking about, do you?”
Your first reaction is likely “You never told me that!”, but deep down, I would suspect you’re asking yourself “How come I don’t remember any of what was just said?” Now, it is possible that your friend has told someone else and confused you with that person. However, with so many other things vying for our time, it is likely that they did tell us and our attention was elsewhere… going through the illusion of relationship without being engaged in relationship… being present… in that moment! It’s the important difference between hearing and listening! Time spent with others is important, but relationship happens when we integrate quality with quantity! We need to be present with those and for those we do life with or we risk reducing life to meaningless chatter.
People want to feel heard… deep down, they want to feel that what they’re doing and going through matters… they want to know that someone cares! Jesus was deliberate in His desire to embrace relationship with His disciples. As a result, they felt heard and connected with Him in a way that can only come when intention is the significant component in the relationship equation.
Among the qualities that made Paul such an effective influence was his attention to the details of other people’s lives. He engaged… he tuned in. He remembered what was going on with them from one visit to the next, and his careful attention increased his relationship integrity as they learned to trust his concern.
In addition to being a basic practice of good friendship, tuning in to people also helps us know how to pray for them more effectively. Paul prayed constantly for the Thessalonians, and because he made a point to remember their concerns, his conversations with God on their behalf were specific and intentional, just as ours should be when we speak to God on behalf of those we love.
What’s going on with the precious people God entrusts you to pray for?
Father… thank you for getting my attention about paying attention. Please help me tune in to others so I can bring their specific needs to You. And in so doing, I want to renew my relationship with You by developing a deeper, more intentional relationship with You!