Can't Hear God? 5 Ways To Hear God's Voice Better

I will never forget the tone of voice of my parents when they called out to me.  It was easy to tell the difference between concern, love, and frustration.  The latter usually included the use of my entire name with extra syllables added!  My own children know those differences too.  Even though they are young adults and going their own ways, our text messages even have a sense about them.

Lately, I find myself wrestling with how I am doing when it comes to listening to God.  As a pastor and spiritual director, I have had the question of listening to God posed to me many times.  It may well be one of the most common hang-ups people have with their spiritual life.  Are you having this difficulty?  If so, you are in good company.  Even those of us in the practice of knowing God struggle too.

So what is the answer for it?  My observation in reading from different faith traditions is teachers and religious leaders also have a conviction or expertise but acknowledge their tradition has acceptable differences.   It seems in Christianity, there tends to be a one-size approach taken by pastors and teachers, usually, this is unique to a denomination.  The “wrongness” or “rightness” of a practice is often judged.  I am going to try not to do that if I can help it. It isn't about a "tradition," it is about God.


Here are five thoughts I have to offer you on the subject of listening for God…

1.  Are you connected with other followers?  (Hebrews 10:25)
One of the most valuable ways we learn is to be with others in the process.  Being in school and in a classroom is a primary example of how we learn and can learn very effectively.  Working with others in our class can reinforce this.  The Bible says specifically don’t give up meeting together!  We don’t just need to meet together for rituals, we meet together because we can meet God and hear from God in the midst of being with others.


2.  Have you made time for God in your day?  (Luke 5:16)
I heard this one a long time ago and never forgot it.  It is the reminder that if Jesus needed to take time to be with God alone in prayer, then we surely do too.  Are you making time to meet with God daily?  Are you reading the Bible or sacred text?  Are you praying?  Do you have a devotional to read?  You are NOT going to get to know someone by osmosis...you MUST make time for them.  This includes giving time to be with God.  (The Upper Room is a great help).


3.  Do you experience an assurance of salvation?  (Romans 8:16)   
This is a tricky one and as I describe it, it comes to be a connection between heart and head: do you have a consistent sense of peace when you reflect on your relationship with God?  Is there contradiction or conflict in your life regarding you and God? A sense of stress or worry?  Romans seems to indicate there is a deep contentment that is more than a feeling or simple knowledge of a fact.  


4.  Do you have other “senses” in tune with God? (Psalm 34:8)
The Psalm writer points here to the idea of “tasting” to “see” that God is good.  Well, that is two different senses at play that are not connected.  John Wesley writes that we may have “had ear, but heard not,” and now we are “made capable of hearing,” but in a spiritual sense.  God’s voice we hear in commands AND invitations as well as promises and corrective words.  We hear them ALL gladly and apparently they come in different ways!


5.  Is there someone to help you? (John 3:1-21 and 4:7-19)
Jesus took time to speak one-on-one with both a religious teacher and a woman he met who was getting water.  The model of the Pastoral letters (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus) give us instructions about those who are to guide people on their faith journey.  Often we need someone farther on the spiritual journey to help us.  Even those of us who are trained as spiritual directors are to be in spiritual direction!  Having someone to help you listen for God can be one of the best things you can do for your soul.

I am far from done with this topic, listening to God.  I have heard God’s voice in varying ways throughout my life.  Contrary to some teachers, God’s voice does not lead us always to great financial blessings or fewer difficulties.  Certainly, for some, this is the case but nearly every one of Jesus’ disciples was martyred as were thousands in the early church (and in the 20th century the Church experienced its greatest period of martyrdom).  Listening to God may lead people into full-time ministry but may also lead some to other places to serve God too.  

Ultimately though, listening to God ought to lead us to self-examination and transformation of our soul so we might be more like Jesus and help lead us to transform the world into the Kingdom of God.  
May I Ask? How is listening to God changing you?  How are you changing the world?  Even the smallest signs offer us hope we are on the Way.





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