Carrell Jamilano, a spiritual director and former director of youth and young adult ministry, has published her first book entitled, “The Alluring Voice of God: Forming Daily Encounters.”
The book explains how to pray and listen for the voice of God in your everyday life. Below is an interview with Jamilano, where she discusses her book and its relevance in more detail.
BYTE: What inspired you to write “The Alluring Voice of God”?
Jamilano: Throughout my time as a spiritual director and former director of youth and young adult ministry, the questions I would often get from youth, young adults, parents and directees of every age were, “How do I know if God is speaking to me? Is God even listening when I pray? What is God calling me to do? How can I have a more intimate relationship with Him?”
“The Alluring Voice of God” was written as a response to these questions which revealed their deep yearning to draw closer to God. I wanted to give these individuals a practical resource that would help them better hear God’s voice in their everyday lives and address the various struggles they experience when they pray, like dryness, distractions and boredom. I believe helping others encounter God in profound and life-changing ways is the best gift we could ever give someone, and it is for this very reason that I felt called to write this book.
BYTE: What sets “The Alluring Voice of God” apart from other books on prayer?
Jamilano: Many other books on a similar topic offer a refresher on the basics of prayer: where to begin and how to develop a habit of prayer. They often explore the forms of prayer and then provide pre-written prayers or meditations on scripture to help readers as they pray. What is so unique about “The Alluring Voice of God” is that it not only covers these fundamental elements of prayer but also provides an array of prayer experiences helping readers talk and listen to God through journaling, sacred silence, traditional Catholic prayers, the Saints, music, nature and more.
It is specifically written for the Catholic audience, providing content and prayers that are in keeping with Catholic faith and tradition. It includes how to develop a more intimate relationship with God providing step by step guidance at the end of every chapter. As such, “The Alluring Voice of God” gives readers an opportunity to experience hearing God firsthand.
Lastly, it can be used for personal growth or for groups. Faith formation leaders, catechists, ministry leaders, theology teachers and youth and young adult ministers can download the leader’s guide that accompanies the book to incorporate the material as a core part of their curriculum or as a supplemental resource to help those they serve learn how to discern God’s voice in their lives. This guide can be found at catholicspiritualdirector.com/books.
BYTE: Why is it important to listen for the voice of God? What would you say to encourage people to do so, and how will your book help?
Jamilano: When we listen and follow the voice of God, our lives are transformed in the most beautiful ways. We experience the peace and joy of answering God’s call, and through His grace, we “set the world on fire,” as St. Catherine of Siena puts it. Think of all the countless Saints: who they were before they encountered God and their inspiring lives that continue to bear fruit some hundreds of years after.
St. Francis of Assisi, who had all the fame and wealth in the world, did not experience true fulfillment and happiness until he listened to God’s voice telling him to rebuild His Church, leaving his riches behind. St. Augustine, who sought self-glory and was enslaved to his lustful passions, heard God encouraging him to read scripture, and when he did, he became one of the most famous Catholic writers and Saints of all time, inspiring all those struggling with addictions.
Why is it important to listen for the voice of God? Because this is the only way we can truly become the Saint God calls each and every one of us to be.
One of my young adults, Shania* (pseudonym for anonymity), shared with me that when she finally began discerning God’s voice in her life, it was like a weight was lifted off her shoulders. She no longer felt overwhelmed by her struggles, because she knew that God would guide her every step of the way. She had found her purpose and knew of God’s great love for her.
I would encourage people to listen to God’s voice, because His voice is the One that can fully heal, empower, transform, comfort and lead us. Shania as well as all our Saints are amazing examples of this.
“The Alluring Voice of God” helps readers better hear God’s voice by providing step-by-step guidance on how to speak and listen to God, discern His will, resolve prayer obstacles and enjoy the fruits of transformative prayer. It features over 12 varied prayer exercises, sample lesson plans, questions for personal reflection or group discussion and referrals to game-changing prayer resources, making it a novel tool for spiritual discernment and growth.
BYTE: Why do you think it is difficult for many to hear God in their daily lives?
Jamilano: I believe it is difficult for many to hear God in their daily lives, because they simply do not have the tools. You would be surprised by how often people come to me with great misunderstandings of what it means to pray. Like myself when I was still learning about our beloved faith, they have this preconceived notion that prayer is the Rosary, going to Mass, kneeling in silence or reading scripture.
While, yes, all of these are opportunities to pray, they are not prayer in and of themselves. Prayer is the way in which we communicate with God and the way in which God communicates with us. It is an ongoing encounter with our Creator, Redeemer and Friend. As such, prayer requires of us two essential actions: talking and listening to God.
For many of us, talking to God comes easier than listening. Even still, we may keep parts of our lives hidden from God or fall into a routine of sharing the same things over and over again. Listening to God presents even more challenges. We think, “How can one hear God when he is not physically present?”
What is so incredible about God is that he can speak to us not only through human tongues but in everything he created. His voice compels us. His words change us. His presence enlivens us. We cannot help but be moved and inspired when we uncover his voice in our lives.
Often times, the reason we cannot hear God is because we do not understand how he speaks. Since God is limitless, so are the ways in which he chooses to communicate with us. God can speak to us in the stillness of our hearts. God can speak to us through his living Word. God can speak to us through the traditions handed down to us by the Apostles, the closest friends of Christ. God can speak to us in unexpected ways that are unique to us alone. God’s loving presence and compassionate voice is closer to us than we could possibly imagine.
The key is uncovering the tools that will help us become more aware of his voice in our lives, and that is exactly what “The Alluring Voice of God” aims to do
BYTE: What message do you hope readers will get from “The Alluring Voice of God”?
Jamilano: When I became a mother for the first time, I held my baby daughter in my arms and was captivated by everything she did from blinking, burping and eating to something as simple as breathing. In that moment, I realized that this is a small taste of what God sees when He looks upon us, His children. We captivate Him, because we are His and His alone. Nothing we do could ever make Him love us any less.
The message I hope readers will get from “The Alluring Voice of God” is that God not only hears our prayers, but also responds to each and every one of them out of undying love for us. God cries with us when we have just suffered a miscarriage. He carries us when we are too ill to stand. He laughs with us when our child manages to climb out of the crib and onto our bed. He shares in our joy when we finally meet the love of our life. He cradles us when we have reached the breaking point. God is with us, and He desires to be part of every area of our life. He hears us, he thirsts for us, and he loves us!
“The Alluring Voice of God” is now available for purchase on Liguori Publications (liguori.org/the-alluring-voice-of-god.html). For more information on Carrell Jamilano, visit her website catholicspiritualdirector.com.