Elijah walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb. There he came to a cave, where he took shelter. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD , for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD , but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. (1 Kings 19:9-16)
Can God really speak to us as he spoke to Elijah? All the evidence may tell us yes, but each of us still faces some challenges in hearing his still, small voice. The first challenge is one of faith: “Do I believe that God really can speak to me?” If the answer is, “yes,” then go on to the next paragraph. If it is “no,” then read Ephesians 1:17-21 over and over again until you feel the Holy Spirit giving you confidence and hope.
The second challenge is one of worthiness. I may believe that God can speak to me, but I am not very holy, so why would he want to? To answer this challenge, read the centurion’s words in Matthew 8:8-the same words we pray at Mass. True, we are not worthy, but Jesus has said the word, and in baptism we were healed.
The third challenge is, “How do I hear revelation from the Lord?” And that’s where the reading from 1 Kings comes in. Sometimes, God speaks to us with signs of wonder and power, almost hitting us over the head with a new insight, a calling, or a rebuke to our conscience. But for Elijah, God was not in the powerful wind, the earthquake, or the fire. He spoke to him in a “sound of sheer silence” (1 Kings 19:12).
This is why prayer is so critical. Day after day, we are barraged with voices and noises that can drown out the voice of God. How vital, then, that we quiet our minds in God’s presence and try to sense what he is saying to us. How vital that we gaze upon him, whether on the cross in our homes or in the tabernacle in church, and pour out our hearts so that he can pour his heart into us! How vital that we read Scriptures slowly and prayerfully, asking his Spirit to speak to us through them and write them on our hearts!
Every day, God is waiting for us to come to him. Every day, he has something new to tell us. Everyday let’s spend some time in God’s presence in prayer and see where his still, small voice leads us!
“Father, open my ears, my eyes, and my heart to you as I spend time with you in prayer.
(Maurice Blumberg was the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/ ), and is currently a Trustee. He is also the Director of Partner Relations for Partners in Evangelism , (http://www2.wau.org/partners/ ), a Ministry to the Military and Prisoners for The Word Among Us . Maurice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .)
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/ ) for allowing me to adapt some material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. Do you believe that God desires to speak to you in prayer? Why or why not? Share a time when you believe God spoke to you as you prayed. What was the result.
2. What is your reaction to these words from the article? “Every day, God is waiting for us to come to him. Every day, he has something new to tell us.”
3. How important do you feel it is to pray every day?
4. What are the major obstacles that keep you from having a daily time of prayer? What steps can you take to overcome them?
5. If you are in a men’s group, consider making a commitment to one another to pray every day. Then pray together for the Lord’s grace to do it, and share the fruit of it at your next men’s meeting.