Encountering voices in contemplative prayer . . .
“We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
—The Apostle John, 1 John 4:6, NASB
Through practicing the discipline of solitude and silence, contemplative spiritualists hope to hear God personally speak to them. As one nationally known personality stated on the Be Still DVD, “intimacy automatically breeds revelation.”  But if a voice speaks, there is some question regarding its identity. Therefore in the video’s same segment, “Fear of Silence,” Richard Foster offers advice about how to discern who might communicate in the stillness. He said:
Learning to distinguish the voice of God . . . from just human voices within us . . . comes in much the same way that we learn any other voice. Satan pushes and condemns. God draws and encourages. And we can know the difference. 
Though there could be others, Richard Foster admits to a cacophony of possible voices that might speak: first, human voices within and without (a source that could involve hearing oneself speak, in which case, contemplators would be listening to themselves); second, the voice of Satan or demons; and third, God’s voice.
In order to determine whose voice might be speaking, Foster provides criteria. If the voice is positive and reaffirming, then the voice is God’s. If however the voice is negative and that like a bully who “pushes and condemns,” then the voice must be that of Satan. To discern whether or not the voice is human, Foster offers no advice.
So if the voice is human, one is left wondering, why go into a meditative trance to hear yourself or another human speak? After all, in the normal concourse of life people talk to themselves and listen to others all the time, unless contemplators feel so isolated and alone, or unless in accord with the eastern monistic worldview, meditators believe they are gods so that when they listen to their voice, they are listening to god’s!
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