Listening to God

One of the most meaningful ways we connect with and come to know God is through prayer. The
quick—often memorized and short—prayers we have on our minds as we go about our days keep the strong connection between our lives and God activated. This style of prayer is important and fruitful, maintaining our open channel to Him. It is valuable to respect this type of prayer as part of our daily nourishment.

It can be a relief for us, though, to step out of the routines and activities of the day and cultivate a space dedicated solely to contemplation and interaction with God, even if only for a brief amount of time. Frequently the Gospels show Jesus separating himself for a while to pray—and beyond that, to be alone to listen to His Father. In this same way, when we separate ourselves to be with God alone, we can tap into the reservoirs of silence and stillness that help us recognize the mystery of God’s voice within us.

The Bible acknowledges that God is “hidden” (Isaiah 45:15). To our minds, God’s voice may often seem unknowable and hidden. But where the intellectual mind may fail us, we can rely on the capacity of our heart and soul to hear God at a level so deep that the communication doesn’t necessarily start with words. One of the beautiful graces of letting our hearts take the lead with God in solitary prayer is that words become less necessary. As we let them go, we can simply be in and listen to God’s presence . . . which enables us to feel the force of His love . . . and out of this, His wisdom.

It makes sense that prayer in solitude is good for us: the quiet is peaceful and gives us space to reflect and rejuvenate. Taking silence to the next level where it becomes a stillness in which we can cultivate prayer strengthens our faith and our confidence on our daily lives.

If we approach prayer in solitude with the reassurance that God’s voice is there within us already, we can cultivate listening to Him. Some people like to put into words what they’ve experienced during their time in solitude by keeping a prayer journal; others try to pray in a similar way each day to set a pattern of solitude, listening, and growth. And the sacraments are always there to amplify God’s voice and internalize the goodness of His merciful love.

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