“He went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone.” And, again, we see Jesus going from that contemplative prayer into action, wondrous action, powerful action, a taming of fears, walking on water, and doing so with a strength that invites others in.
What’s going on in his prayer that enables Jesus to spring into such action? We’ll never know. But that shouldn’t discourage us from doing as he did: being alone with God in prayer.
When we do so, there is a power that can be tapped into. It’s the power of the “tiny whispering sound” that Elijah discovered, a power not to be found in the wind, earthquakes or fire, nor the noises and voices of our society.
Richard Rohr and others have talked about how, in the first halves of our lives, the voices we listen to are the voices of authority: parents, teachers, coaches. Understandably so, these are often law-and-order voices, do-and-don’t voices, black-and-white voices. We’re children listening to adults.
The job of the second half of life, however, the job of Christian adulthood, is to go beyond the people and the content of those voices, to cultivate that “tiny whispering sound” within us, that forms our own voice of authority, the Spirit of Christ within us, and it’s a voice that also goes beyond law-and-order, goes beyond the law and the prophets, as Jesus himself said. And the way we find that voice is by listening, as Jesus did, in silent prayer.