Last week, I lost my voice, so I spent a lot of time just trying to be quiet and let my voice rest. I apparently think I have a lot to say because this was hard to do. If I wanted to talk to someone, it needed to be important and that person had to be close by. Everything was at a whisper. When you whisper everything even when it doesn’t seem necessary, people either really pay attention or they look at you like you’re crazy. I had a healthy mix of both reactions, but then it would dawn on most people that maybe I couldn’t talk and I had to whisper. I remember at some point I thought “this would be a good time to sit back and listen.”
As I attempted to rest my voice, practice quietness, and prayerfully listen, I began to hear this whispered call to prayer. As many things were put on hold last week, the listening began. Then, as my voice began to return, I sprained my foot. This caused a return to resting and more intentional listening.
Richard Foster writes about the Prayer of Quiet, “where our spirit is on tiptoe — alert and listening.” Listening is an art and a discipline. It is easy to get distracted amid the necessary things and the noise, but the true goal of listening is to be able to hear the whisper through the noise. This act of learning to pray is also a discipline of learning to listen.
The goal, of course, is to bring this stance of listening prayer into the course of everyday experience. This does not come to us immediately. However, over time we experience more and more an inward attentiveness to the Divine Whisper throughout all life’s motions… Richard J. Foster, Prayer
Listening is hard to do. It is a learned step and an important step of prayer that often gets skipped as we present our list of wants. If we do all the talking, it is hard to hear. This week, as you filter through the noise and the necessary, may you recognize the Divine Whisper and be able to answer as Samuel did when he was first learning to listen.
“Speak LORD, for your servant is listening.”