God does speak to us. No, I don’t mean in an apparition or with an audible voice. God has His own voice and we have to attune our hearts to Him to be able to hear it.
Robert Cardinal Sarah speaks of the importance of silence in hearing God’s voice:
At the heart of man there is an innate silence, for God abides in the innermost part of every person. God is silence, and this divine silence dwells in man. In God we are inseparably bound up with silence. . . God carries us, and we live with him at every moment by keeping silence. Nothing will make us discover God better than his silence inscribed in the center of our being. If we do not cultivate this silence how can we find God?” (The Power of Silence, 22).
There are number of reasons why we may not hear God speaking to us in prayer.
- We don’t try to listen to God at all. We may think that God just doesn’t speak to us and prayer is simply a monologue. Maybe that’s why we think it’s so boring or difficult. We’re just trying to kill the time until we put into a sufficient number of minutes to be done. Think how horrible a conversation is when only person speaks. We can’t let our prayer become like that.
- We don’t enter into silence. We may not realize the importance of silence. Or we may not be able to stand it! We’re used to so much external and even internal noise. There is no way we can find peace in the midst of all of this noise! Even in prayer, we don’t stop our devotions and reading in order to listen. Books and our meditations are prompts to help us enter into the silence of God.
- We’re not patient enough. We may try to listen, but we don’t keep our attention sustained for a long enough time for God to speak. We have to listen attentively and wait with God. He speaks in the gentle breeze of silence, only after the noise of the earthquakes within and without have died down. We have to commit to being with God for a substantial amount of time in order to be able to listen.
Prayer can’t be reduced to a method, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways of learning to relate to God. In part, methods fall short because God is a person and we have to learn to relate to Him in a personal relationship. It’s true that sometimes we need some coaching to learn how to listen to our wives! Likewise, there are some things we can do to relate better to God and to listen for His voice more attentively.
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