Would anyone know how to hear aright? Then let him lay to heart three simple rules:
For one thing, we must hear with faith, believing implicitly that every word of God is true and shall stand. Without faith, the Word does not profit (Hebrews 4.2).
For another thing, we must hear with reverence, remembering that the Bible is the book of God (1 Thessalonians 2.13).
Above all, we must hear with prayer, praying for God’s blessing before the sermon is preached and praying for God’s blessing after the sermon is over. Here lies the great defect of the hearing of many. They ask no blessing, and so they have none. The sermon passes through their minds like water through a leaky vessel and leaves nothing behind. – J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), from a meditation on Mark 4.21-34.