Bestselling Author Sarah Young Teaches Us How Jesus Listens

A Q&A with Costco Connection Reporter Hope Katz Gibbs

With sales of more than 35 million books worldwide, author Sarah Young’s bestseller Jesus Calling is one of 10 titles she has written to help people connect with Jesus and the Bible. Born from her devotional writings, they are personal reflections from her daily quiet time of Bible reading, praying, and writing in prayer journals.

Coming in November is her latest tome, Jesus Listens. Scroll down for our Q&A with the woman who earned a master’s degree in biblical studies and counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. She and her husband Stephen, an ordained minister, spent years as missionaries in Japan and Australia.

Costco Connection: Tell us about your new book.

Sarah: I wrote Jesus Calling (and my other books) from the perspective of Jesus speaking to the reader. But Jesus Listens is written from the vantage point of readers praying to God. Jesus Listens contains prayers for every day of the year. They are devotional prayers designed to lead readers into deeper, richer, more continual communion with God.

Costco Connection: What inspired you to write Jesus Listens?

Sarah: It was a natural next step for me because prayer is such an important part of my daily life. I realize that many people find it difficult to pray. These daily prayers are meant to be a starting point for other prayers—helping readers enjoy their time with Jesus and feel comfortable bringing all their concerns to Him.

Costco Connection: What was your path to becoming a published author?

Sarah: Jesus Calling grew out of my many years of writing in very personal prayer journals, and I didn’t share them with anyone. My perspective changed during a spiritual retreat when I was asked, “What is Jesus calling you to right now?” Immediately, the answer came to me—write for publication.

I started arranging my writings into daily readings. It took more than three years to complete the manuscript, and I sent it to many publishers. A few were interested, but no one offered me a contract.

When my husband and I moved to Perth, Western Australia, I stopped looking for a publisher but continued to pray every day for God’s will to be done with my manuscript. Two and a half years later, a publisher in Nashville found me and asked if I would consider letting him publish my work. Imagine my surprise and delight!

Costco Connection: What is your greatest hope for this new title?

Sarah: I hope that Jesus Listens will encourage readers to approach God confidently and joyfully, finding peace and rest in His Presence. It’s such a blessing to know that Jesus listens to every one of our prayers. He loves us perfectly and is constantly caring for us, whether we’re aware of His Presence with us or not.

Costco Connection: What is your favorite prayer?

Sarah: At the Covenant Theological Seminary, I enjoyed a class on the Bible’s wisdom literature. The teacher shared his personal practice of praying, “Help me, Holy Spirit,” throughout the day—before answering the phone or doorbell, when engaged in an important conversation, or when attempting to do something difficult. I followed his advice until this brief prayer became a part of me. Now I find myself praying it effortlessly; it reminds me that I am not alone.

Costco Connection: How has the popularity of Jesus Calling affected your family?

Sarah: My family members read my books and give them out to others. Our two children and their spouses have all received graduate degrees, and it has been a joy to help them pay off school loans. Now I’m working on contributing to the college funds of our six grandchildren. Our 11-year-old granddaughter, Elie, is a budding author—working on creating a fascinating fairytale.

Sidebar 1: What Sarah Wishes People Knew About Prayer

“Many of us try to impose our will on God when we pray, but Jesus taught us to pray, ‘Your will be done.’ We often forget that God uses our prayers not only to change circumstances but also to change us. As we devote time to communicating with Jesus and enjoying His Presence, we gradually become more like Him. It’s important to spend time praising God for who He is and all He has done.”

Sidebar 2: What Sarah Says to People Who Believe They Don’t Have Time to Pray?

“Prayer certainly does require time and effort, but we need to remember that communicating with the Creator of this vast universe is an amazing privilege! When people say they don’t have time to pray, I like to remind them that spending time in prayer is a wise investment. It strengthens us, draws us closer to Jesus, and helps us find our way through the day. Sometimes God removes obstacles when we pray, enabling us to accomplish more in less time.”