There was a time in my life, not that long ago, when I actually thought I was going deaf. It was quite strange though, because only my right ear would go deaf, and only when I said a certain phrase to a certain someone. The thing is, this trend of losing my hearing in one ear went on for months and I paid next to no mind to it. All the while, I was begging God to guide me and show me His will for my life. But was I really listening?
I spoke with my mouth and thought I was trying to listen, but I wasn’t paying attention to the silence. God was showing me that I was the one who wasn’t listening. In fact, my heart had become so hardened that it was literally causing one of my ears to go deaf. I didn’t pay attention to it until after the fact, but my heart had become deaf to His voice, so much so that my hearing was effected. I wasn’t really listening to Him at all.
Whether we have an odd experience like mine (which later cleared up and my hearing is just fine now) or not, we all grow deaf to His voice. We answer our own prayers. We get so busy listing our intentions in prayer that we forget to truly listen to what He is trying to teach us. All too often my prayer life looks like this:
Dear God, please guard my heart. Also, keep so-and-so from spiritual attack, heal so-and-so’s relative, restore peace in families and in the world, lead me towards Your will, grant me the grace to stand up for You, the courage to be firm in the faith, and a servant’s heart to follow You. Fill my heart, flood my soul. AMEN.
Then I sign out of the prayer chat room with God. Was it ever really a ‘chat’ room if I only ‘log on’ to unload my prayer intentions and then sign out while God is still ‘typing’? I might as well go in a locked room and yell and then walk away. Prayer isn’t just about unloading on God or getting things off our chest, though that is a part of prayer. However, prayer must also include listening and being attentive to the voice of God. If we don’t take the time to quiet our own hearts, then how will we ever clearly discern and hear the voice of God? Instead, we run the risk of growing deaf to His voice because all we ever hear is our own. As Saint Benedict tells his monks in his Rule,
Listen carefully, my child, to the master’s instruction, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.
should must go beyond listening with our ears, but must go do the depths of our hearts. Practice silence and quiet. Unplug the whir of your computer and the ear buds from your ears and listen to Him. He is not always in the earthquake or the violent wind. Often, He is the still small voice, longing to be heard in the depths of our hearts.