"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth, and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." John 10:1-5.
The simplest definition of praying is having a conversation with God. It is more than just something we do in church or before eating. Our prayer should be based on a relationship, not on a dialogue for some time or when I remember. It should not be routine or custom, it should be something you yearn for, and it should be in complete freedom, a casual dialogue with your creator that involves your complete honesty and total dedication. It is willing to listen and obey; it is not just asking and speaking like a parrot; it is talking with the same openness with which you speak with a good friend.
We usually have the misconception that praying must be formal and reverent to be accepted by God and is not like that. God adopted us as His children, and he desires that we speak to Him as such. He wants us to have a relationship and communicate with Him daily. Prayer is not a matter of technique; prayer is a relationship. If we see the construction of a conversation, we know it is composed of a sender and a receiver. The sender transmits, and the receiver receives, and for the conversation to be fruitful and enjoyable, both must have the opportunity to be a sender or receiver. Otherwise, it would be a monologue. On many occasions, our prayers become more of a monologue inclined towards what we want, and there is no balance where we spend time listening or seeking the voice of God.
Our lives are so busy and full of distractions that they don't let us hear God's voice. We live in a world of continuous noise and chaos. If we add the constant bombardment of our minds, it becomes a complete mess. It is so problematic that we lose our focus of attention and eventually even the interest in praying. Then, we create the erroneous belief that God does not listen to us because He doesn't speak to us. But is it like that? No, nothing could be further from the truth. The problem is that most of the times we pray, we do not decide to silence that chaos, nor do we focus our thoughts on Him, much less do we remain silent to listen to Him. Although it is not a requirement (because we can pray at any time, place, or moment), in the face of so much distraction, we need to create an environment free of all chaos to be alone with him and enjoy his gentle whisper.
If we look for the definition of whisper: to speak very softly using the breath without the vocal cords. The use of breath or breath is very significant. Remember how God created Adam? So, the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and it was the man in the living soul. Genesis 2:7. A whisper is usually a method to ensure secrecy. It is a form of intimate communication. What happens when someone whispers to you? You must get very close to be able to hear. You put your ear close to the other person's mouth to understand them. We lean towards the other person; that is what God wants. He wants us to get closer to Him. That it is not merely listening to his voice. He wants us to become intimate with Him. He wants us close to Him. He loves us so much that he wants us close. God could always speak to us with a loud and resonant voice, but He wants his whisper to be our breath of life.
"And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake 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. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? 1 Kings 19: 9-13
God didn't speak to him through the earthquake or the fire. Elijah recognized God's voice through the still whisper, for God wanted Elijah to silence the voices in his mind of fear and desolation so that he could hear Him. This constant noise in our lives impedes hearing the voice of God. When our lives are full of noise or ruled by negative thoughts, we lose our sense of identity. We feel overwhelmed and lost. This chaos puts us in a place where we are susceptible to our self-sufficiency and listen to other voices instead of getting closer to God.
Throughout the Bible, we see several whispering points or places: For Jacob, it was Bethel (Genesis 35:7.) It was there that God appeared to Jacob when he was fleeing from his brother Esau. For Moses was the burning bush (Exodus 3:2-6), for Samuel the Tabernacle of Shiloh (1 Samuel 3:21), and for Elijah Mount Carmel. (1 Kings 18:42) For Daniel, the upper window towards Jerusalem (Daniel 6:10), and for Jonah, the belly of a whale (Jonah 2: 1-3.) I ask you, what is your place, your whisper point? Think, and if you still do not have this place you are looking for, it is as simple as turning off the radio while you drive, taking time when the children are already asleep, while you bathe, etc.
We must also be receptive and attentive because sometimes God's response comes from other sources. If we are not vigilant, they can go unnoticed. God can speak to us through people or circumstances, through His Word, a song, a book, or teaching. We must keep our eyes fixated on Him and our ears attentive to what He wants to tell us daily. Above all, we need to learn how to discern whether what I am hearing is from God or not. How do we differentiate this? By confronting the word received with the Word of God.
We must begin to allow the voice of God to be the loudest and the one we hear the most in our lives. We should silence all the voices that tell us things contrary to God's Will for our lives. We should not let the voices of conformity, frustration, criticism, or condemnation drown the voice of God. If we allow these other voices to have control of our life, it will be one full of loneliness, shame, and anxiety. That is not what God wants for us. God wants us to learn to trust Him and His will. He wants us to obey Him in everything, no matter how crazy His request may seem. Let's ask God today to remove all distractions from our life and help us incline our ears more towards Him.