The Lord can hear the human voice in any form, whether the word is spoken or just formed in the mind. You do not need to shout to be heard by him, or continually repeat his name so that he will lend an ear to your prayer. Unlike us, His hearing is not impaired in any way.
It is possible that he hears everything and always, but answers in ways that we can understand only when he wishes. That is a freedom which is not up to us to grant him. When believers think of prayer conditioned by existing religious forms, they tend to identify it with liturgical or pastoral prayer, but they know very well that silent prayer which is unstructured and unorganised is still valid, precious and acceptable to God. Above all it is absolutely certain that God hears and answers in his way to prayers and spontaneous urges that are in fact prayers whether or not expressed in words.
The Lord of Silence is also the Lord of silent prayer: the movement of the soul, the sigh of faith or anxiety, the scream of desperation, the breath of pure thought, intimate promise and religious intuition.
The meeting of his silence with our silence is religion.
Verbania, 30 VIII 1991
Thou hast made me known to friends whom I knew not.
Thou hast given me seats in homes not my own.
Thou hast brought the distant near and made a brother of the stranger.
Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali.
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