During a weekend retreat I was leading on prayer, I asked the question, “What is prayer?” After some discussion, we came to a consensus that prayer is conversation with God. However, after further discussion, we all admitted that most of the time our conversation is pretty one-sided with us doing most (if not all) of the talking.
This got me to thinking about an encounter that the prophet Elijah had with God (See 1 Kings 19:9-18). In this encounter, God comes to Elijah not in a windstorm, firestorm, or earthquake but in a “gentle whisper” (NIV). Far from being a spectacular event, Elijah could have easily missed it had he stayed focused on the chaos happening around him.
We all have plenty of chaos in our lives.
Our schedules are packed and overflowing. The rare moment of silence is a luxury and if we are honest, we are so unaccustomed to these moments of stillness that they tend to make us uneasy and we rather quickly find something to do.
The question becomes, “Do we make room in our lives to hear the gentle whisper of God?”
As we are praying and lifting up our litany of requests to God, do we leave any space for God to whisper back? Do we prayerfully linger over a passage of scripture to see if God has anything to say to us in it? What would it look like for you to give God this opportunity?
I am afraid that our world today is packed so full, chaotic, and constantly bombarding us with stimuli and information, that God could be whispering in our ear at this very moment and we would be in danger of missing the entire encounter. If we want to keep our feet on the ancient paths as Jeremiah called them, we must practice listening to the voice of Jesus. The louder the world gets around us, the more intently we need to listen for the still small voice of God.
Won’t you take some time this week to give God a chance to whisper to you? Listen. You never know what you might hear.