“You have such a sweet phone voice. Will you call me and leave me a message, just so that I can appreciate it.”
It’s the most awkward compliment I’ve ever received. Considering the guy who said it to me was known at our college for making other people feel uncomfortable, I just found it amusing. But ever since, I have paid attention to and tried to somewhat normalize my sickeningly sweet telephone voice and to the noticeable changes in the voices of the people around me.
Moms can easily turn on this voice in between yelling at their children for disobeying to a pleasant sweet (and occasionally only slightly frazzled) “hello?” Students yelling at their computers may answer their cell phones as if they haven’t a care in the world.
In my observations, though, I’ve noticed that people don’t just have a “phone voice”, many people often have a “prayer voice” as well. Even though we might have just been laughing our tails off at some ridiculous joke or yelling across the room to a friend, the moment we go to pray, our voices change.
For the past several months, I’ve made it a point to note how people start out their prayers. Even small children seem to have picked up this habit. The moment you bow your heads to pray aloud, a somber tone comes over the group, and the person doing the honors often clears his or her throat before starting in a lowered, much more serious tone. Children often turn their voices to a whisper.
Now, I completely understand having a reverent voice when you speak to God. It makes sense. We’re supposed to honor and revere Him. But does that mean that we can talk about God in such a light way any other time? He hears everything we say anyway.
Maybe it’s not the fact that we tend to have special ways of speaking for prayer, but rather the fact that there is such an extreme change in the way that we talk. Is it our culture that we must be brash and demanding in everyday conversation but then act solemn and sedated in prayer? Or is it just me?
What do you think? Are you one of those people who tends to have different “voices” for different situations you are in? Do you have a “prayer voice”? Should we have a “prayer voice”?