Still Small Voice
Since my conversion, I’ve been asking the Lord to teach me to pray. Most of it, so far, has been external and dependent upon on my own creativity. This quickly became exhausting and left me wanting more. I started desiring to put away all the externals and just sit before the Lord’s presence. Once I began to do this regularly, I realized I was finally beginning to learn how to pray. My biggest discovery was that the God I thought was without was already present within, and prayer was about learning how to dispose myself to encounter Him in the silence.
Silence and solitude are indispensable elements of every person’s prayer. This is precisely because God reveals himself in silence. St. John of the Cross famously said that God speaks the language of silence. And, remember the story of God’s revelation to Elijah in 1 Kings 19?
And a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice…(1 Kings 19:11-13)
And how did Jesus connect with God throughout his earthly ministry? He would often “withdraw to the wilderness and pray” (Luke 5:16). In fact, before every major decision in his ministry, Scripture tells us he went retreated to pray in solitude.
It’s no surprise then, that silence and solitude is precisely what is so difficult for the modern person to experience. Electronic devices, noise, business, work, distraction and our many other forms of entertainment fill our days. These leave us drained, empty, scattered and still searching for God.
Jesus famously said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Speaking from my own experience, praying this way has produced much fruit in my life. I find I am more attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, I am more at peace regardless the circumstance, and I find myself more intentional throughout my day.
If you’re still waiting to taste this abundance Jesus promises, start with sitting in silence for 15 minutes a day. Whether in your favorite chair at home or in our chapel, put away all the words and just sit before the Lord’s presence. You might be surprised at what God reveals.