A few years ago, my youngest son found me alone in the sanctuary of our church, kneeling at the altar praying aloud. He sat quietly on the front row until I had finished. As I sat down beside him, he asked, “Daddy, what were you doing?” ‘Well, son…,’ I said…’I was praying.’
He had seen me pray aloud in church before, but there were people present. Looking back, it was probably an interesting site from the perspective of a four year-old. I told him in essence that prayer was a conversation with God. He looked puzzled for a moment, and I wasn‘t sure that he understood. But just before I tried to explain further he asked, “If this was a conversation with God, why were you the only one talking?” “Laughing, I said, ―I wasn’t.” ‖ I went on to explain that when I had difficulty hearing God in my life, often praying aloud would help. After thinking for a moment he said, “Next time use your inside voice so we can both hear God.”
Elijah seemed to have a similar problem hearing God. He had just been part of one of the greatest displays of God‘s power and presence (I Kings 18-19:18) when he found himself despondent. At a mouth of a cave at Mount Sinai, Elijah finds himself waiting for the Lord to physically come by him. Elijah witnessed a windstorm, a earthquake and fire…but God was not in them. God appeared in a still soft voice.
The story reminds me of how easy it is to let life‘s noise crowd out God‘s voice. God is always speaking to us, always reaching out to us. We are just not always spiritually settled enough to hear. God speaks to us through scripture, through teachers, friends and spouses. God even speaks to us through children who remind us to ̳be quiet and listen.‖ If we are going to have an on going conversation with God, we‘ll need to learn to listen to all the ways God speaks. We need to intentionally look for what God is saying in each moment. When we do so, the voice of our lives will be soft enough for everyone around us to also hear God.