Samuel and Eli were asleep in the Temple. From this we can assume it was quiet enough for them sleep. In the quiet Samuel heard God’s voice.
Ask a thousand people if they hope to go to heaven after they die and most will say yes. Ask the same thousand people if they spend quiet time with God each day and the number will drop. Many will say they pray or talk to God but quiet time? Not so much!
For most people prayer is them talking to God. But an important part of prayer is being still and listening for a reply.
I know people who constantly have the radio or television on. They will state emphatically they can’t tolerate silence. They don’t necessarily pay attention to whatever is on the radio or T.V. but they need the background noise to distract and calm their thoughts.
When they hopefully arrive in heaven they will absolutely hear God’s voice. The question is will it sound familiar? If we truly want to spend eternity with God, and that is what it means to be in heaven, we should spend some practice time down here on Earth. Hearing God’s voice and will for us is hard enough without our putting competing sounds in the way. Silence is not only golden but necessary.
It is ironic that bombarding people with constant noise is a technique of Brain Washing yet so many people voluntarily do it to themselves.
Some people I have talked to about this say silence makes them nervous. Others admit to actually becoming fearful if it is too quiet. These people sleep with the television on.
Our young people are connected to their MP3 players and constantly texting each other on their phones. These activities keep their thoughts occupied and distracted. During CCD class I take them up to the church for a few minutes of silent prayer. In the beginning of the year it is obvious they are totally uncomfortable with the lack of audio and visual input as they look around and squirm. I suggest they simply sit or kneel and talk to God about their concerns like they do with their friends. With practice they all usually start to get the hang of it.
God spoke not in the thunder or the earthquake to Elijah but in a still small voice. He spoke to Joseph in a dream when he was asleep and quiet, “Rise and take the child and Mary and flee to Egypt.” Some monasteries and convents enforce a rule of silence so God’s promptings can be heard or felt. This is a good practice for us all, even if it’s just a few minutes of silence at some time during our day, maybe after our night prayers. You talk first to God and then show him the courtesy of listening for his reply.
“Speak Lord your servant is listening.”