Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak

Johnny Ogletree, III M. Div.
5 min readJan 3, 2021


41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said,
“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that
you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people
standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

John 11:41

Jesus filled with emotions, absorbing the grief, sadness, frustration, confusion, anger and disbelief, stand before the tomb of His dear friend and follower Lazarus and opens His mouth. His mouth speaks to the heavens, validating who He is and who God is for the people. I love the Words of our Lord. He being more than a Prophet, models for those who would serve in the office that would follow Him. He, not just a priest, He is the High Priest giving us an example of how we are to conduct ourselves.

I believe in this New Year, we should take note of this encounter at the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus first notes, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me…” Before speaking before the people in public, He spoke to God in private. I know, He is God! They are one not just in substance, but they are one in agreement. Jesus spoke to God about His desires. They discussed what His will was for the Lazarus. The came to agreement as to how to proceed, and then Jesus spoke.

Private Conversation before Public Proclamation

This is the year for private conversation before public proclamation. This year, my hope is that more of us will spend time in private dialogue with the Lord. We must spend more time in conversation with God, not just expressing our will and our desire, but ensuring that our will and desires are one with His. I believe in this conversation, Jesus was not the only one talking. He was listening and well as talking to God. And not just listening for confirmation, but listening for validation.

Validation that His will for Lazarus was God’s will for Lazarus. Validation that His will for Lazarus would bring glory and attention to who God was, and who He was. Some of us only pray for confirmation. These are very similar, but the confirmation for many of us looking for God to rubber stamp what we will to be done, where as the validation is checking for accuracy the details of what is willed or desired.

After the alignment of will in the private conversation, they there is the carrying out of God’s Will with Public Proclamation. The Public Proclamation is the result of the time the Prophet/Priest has spent privately seeking God’s Will for God’s people. It’s these private conversations that produce public manifestations. We are able to see things manifest when God has determined that it is what’s best. We are able to see things manifest when we spend time with God in prayer, allowing our will to be shaped and molded into His will. And though God is no respecter of person, it does not guarantee what He did for one He is will do for another. It simply means He is able to to for one, what He did for the other. We are favored children, not spoiled children when can demand our Father do for us because He did for another.

Speak in Faith and Hope for Agreement

This is the year for Priest and Prophets to make sure they have heard from God before they speak, and not speak for God and hope that He is in agreement. Jesus stood before the tomb and made audible what he heard. He knew that Lazarus would come forth because it has already been decided that it was so. It therefore “is so”, because it “was so.” The faith of the people of God can be shifted with the order of this process. When we speak Publicly before we speak Privately, we run the risk of tying God to thing that are our will and not His. In this, we will loose credibility was Prophet or Priest or leave God’s people feeling as thought God failed them or rejected them.

When God has spoken, we are able to declare with boldness. When God has spoken, we are able to see what is decreed align with what is done. When God speaks, we are able to roll back stones, and take off gravel clothes. When God speaks, we don’t waste the efforts of others, and frustrate the faith of those seeking and or growing. When God speaks, things come back to life, and weeping turns from mourning to rejoicing.

Sadly, we have seen many False Prophets and some Frustrated Prophets use the name of God to achieve their personal will and not God’s divine will. This is Spiritual Identity Theft and or Spiritual Credit Fraud at best. It’s using the power and credit of our God to accomplish our earthly agenda. In some cases we attribute the glory to where it is so, and other times we take full credit for the accomplishment made possible through manipulation. The name of our Lord is the most common name dropped in the history of language.

Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak

Any who’s, this is the year to be Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak. This is the year to restore faith and regain credibility. This is the year to establish a new way of speaking. This is a new opportunity to adopt the language of or friend Paul, “I Paul say….” In other words, there are something that God has commanded, and some things that I Paul prefer. The words and advice I give as Paul are wise counsel, but are words inspired by God’s Word and not direct order of command from the Lord that has any eternal ramifications.

We must be responsible in our proclamation, only promising what God declared. We can speak in faith! Vocalize our hope. Share our will and desire! But we must resist the temptation to present inspiration and revelation as a command.

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