Prayer is a discipline that requires a measure of both isolation and silence. We calm our lives in the secrecy of our closet. There, we spill our souls to God and allow thanks, concerns and praise to flow. But, prayer is not a monologue. This is also a time to listen for His Voice. Like some of you, I find that hard for a couple of reasons. First, I talk better than I listen and second, God's Voice can be difficult to hear. God speaks with various intensities and at selective times. He can resonate with clarity, but often God's whisper is easy to miss or mistake. I try to eliminate distractions but a certain noise won't be silenced - the sound of my own life. The demands of my days and schedule roar like a train. I hear the heart drum beat of my fears and worries. My longings and struggles are exhales that won't be stifled. I try to listen for God but the noise of my life is loud. I use to try to ignore those sounds and strain for God’s voice. I treated them like static to filter out. It took me some time (and a wise mentor) to understand, that these very things may be carrying God's voice.
In prayer I was straining to hear God talk about new ideas for my church or solve some exegetical knots. But what God wanted to talk about were the things bubbling up from my chest. The sounds of my heart were not barriers to God's voice, they were His agenda. Some of my internal buzz is just the white noise of my "to do" list. Those are like the demands of spoiled children - best to ignore and they will learn their place. But other sounds come from a deeper place. God has something to say about the fears, failures, hopes and demands of my living. I am not suggesting that all God wants to talk about is me (a tad egocentric). But, I have found that if I ignore the matters surfacing within me, I may be deaf to the very things God wants to talk about.