God is not passive, and neither are we. In fact, Jesus calls us to an active life. We tend to think of prayer as a passive affair, which in many ways it is. After all, prayer is listening before it is speaking. However, it is active listening. You know the difference between passive and active listening? Passive listening is the husband who has one ear to the television when his wife speaks. Passive listening is the wife who has her “to do” list between her and her spouse. Passive listening is the young person who hears everything through ears that are “bored” with anything and everything that isn’t more exciting than what is possible.
Active listening, on the other hand, is giving 100% attention, and facing toward the One who speaks, putting aside remote-controls, “to do” lists, and boredom. Active listening is anything but passive. It’s really hard work, when you think about it. It’s not “zoning out.” Far from it. Prayer is, in part, active listening. How do you receive daily bread from God, if you’re not faced in his direction, attentively reaching out? How does forgiveness become a reality if we don’t step into it – and how are we to step into it if we’re not walking in the direction of, toward the One from whom forgiveness flows? The Lord’s prayer, whether it be the version Matthew remembers, or the one Luke recalls, encourages active movement toward God on our part.
Peter L. Haynes, Asking…Seeking…Knocking