1 Samuel 3:10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”
If there’s one thing I want to learn more than perhaps anything else about prayer, it’s “learning to listen”.
Samuel said:“Speak Lord for Your servant hears”. Often, you can only listen when your mouth is closed. The same way you cannot listen intently to another person you are talking to, you cannot listen or even hear God if you are doing all the talking.
Being quiet and still is underrated. Our times, cities and lives are noisy.
The only way I can find a very quiet place in Hong Kong is early in the morning. But finding a quiet place or space although challenging, is a must.
Like the boy Samuel, we need to learn to hear the quiet voice of God in our heart. We need to learn to discern the sound of His voice. When the sounds of earth die down, the sounds of heaven become clearer.
But we also need to find space where we can be still. It’s not just being quiet, it’s also being still. When you are quiet and still, that’s often when you will do your best thinking and hearing.
I read a story of a conversation between the English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and a Quaker woman. Coleridge told the woman how he had arranged the use of time so he would have no wasted hours. He said he memorized Greek while dressing and during breakfast. He went on with his list of other mental activities – making notes, reading, writing, ensuring no minute was wasted – until bedtime.
The Quaker woman listened, unimpressed. When Coleridge was finished with his explanation, she asked him a simple, searching question: “my friend, when do you think?”.
God might be having a difficult time getting through to us because we are a fast-paced generation. We seem to have no time to wait and be still, to listen and to answer God when He calls. Often the only reason a person doesn’t hear the call of God is because they are too busy to hear it.
As you pray take time to be silent, listening to the Lord. I have found praying for a while in my heavenly language activates the spirit and stills the mind. Try this. After 15 minutes or longer of praying in the Holy Spirit, then be silent, setting your mind on God and listening for His quiet, still voice. (1 Kings 19:12)
The key to hearing God’s quiet, still voice is to be quiet and still.