The following is an excerpt from my book, Lord, It’s Boring in My Prayer Closet (How to Revitalize Your Prayer Life) which is on sale at Amazon.com this month (click on title for link). Proceeds from the sale for the month of June will go to Manna Ministries, a local food pantry ministry in Leland, NC.
Do You Have Trouble Hearing God’s Voice?
Prayer should be more than a one-way conversation, but if we’re honest, our prayer life is usually just that. We run through a list of our needs or the needs of others and rush off to our day. We find it difficult to wait on God in prayer and listen for Him to speak to us.
A recent article in Parade Magazine, “What Your Nose Knows” revealed some interesting facts about our five senses, in particular, our sense of hearing. According to the article, at birth our ears are pristine organs, capable of discerning among more than 300,000 sounds, but after years of exposure to loud noises, the hair cells on the cochlea, in the inner ear flatten, becoming less sensitive. This constant bath of noise affects everything from our concentration to our health.[i]
If this is true in the physical realm, think how it applies to our spiritual hearing. God created mankind with pristine spiritual ears to hear every word He speaks, but when sin entered the world, our ears became less sensitive to God’s voice. However, the capacity for acute spiritual hearing is restored when we are born again through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But in order to hear God’s voice, we must somehow find a spiritual retreat from all the noise of our culture.
Growing up, I had a secret hiding place. A huge pine tree stood on the lot next to my childhood home. Hidden from view beneath its branches was a retreat the size of a small room. I used to escape to my secret hiding place on hot summer days. I’d bring a blanket to spread over the pine needle floor, lie on my back and stare up at the trickles of blue sky that filtered through the dense branches. My hiding place was cool, even on the hottest days. It was also quiet—a place where I could escape from my little sister, sort through problems, or dream about great adventures.
Psalm 91:1 speaks of another secret hiding place: Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Like my childhood hiding place, Psalm 91 speaks of a place hidden from the cares of the world—a place where God invites us into His presence, where peace reigns, absorbing all our trials, pain, doubts, cares and concerns.
We should never forget that God longs to lead us to a place of quiet in the midst of our hectic, noisy world. Psalm 23:2-3 says, He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. Yes, it’s a battle to get there, and no, we can’t do it on our own. That is why Jesus told us He would send His Holy Spirit to help us.
[i] Kahn, Jennifer, “What Your Nose Knows,” Parade Magazine http://parade.condenast.com/109012/jenniferkahn/29-what-your-nose knows/ (July 29, 2012).