Many of us want to hear God better. We deeply desire to shake the water out of our ears and listen in prayer more intently.
There are no tricks or magic methods to automatically open the passage to God, but I have learned a few ways that help me create a quiet space for him. Most of the time the ways hush and silent myself and my inner chatting in order to hear what he has been saying to me all along.
1. First, ask God to help you hear him better. Often we focus on our frustration of not hearing him or prefer to whine and complain about his absence instead of simply asking for his voice.
2. Practice Stillness – oh, so hard, isn’t it? A recent report told that some people preferred an electrical shock over sitting still for 15 minutes!!
“People consistently said that the short thinking period was not enjoyable and they found it difficult to concentrate. Most people said they’d rather be listening to music or using their smartphones.”
We need to retrain ourselves for quiet with all the noise infecting our souls. Practice is the key word here. Sitting still. Taking deep breaths. Allowing our mind’s eye to see Jesus sitting, being with us.
3. Pay Attention – Become aware of how you are feeling? Where you are right now? What is God inviting you to consider? What are you asking of God? Where are your muscles tense? What does that tell you? What word or phrase lingers in your heart? What is your deepest emotion in this moment?
4. Trust and believe – God will surprise us. At time he will be quiet and we may doubt we are “getting anywhere or accomplishing anything.” But God loves to come in unexpected and unusual ways. Being quiet before him is like dialing the radio onto a clearer channel. We adjust, we listen and we will hear.
5. Space and Ritual – God will speak to us anyplace and without any effort on our part. I have found though I hear him better often after time of dwelling in his word, the Bible, sitting in a regular prayer spot and often following a quieting ritual, like lighting a candle, humming a prayerful chant, enjoying the view of my garden. Centering prayer – simply repeating one word also helps.
6. Journaling – writing in my journal clarifies and records how I hear God. Often as the words drip from my pen, I am surprised at what I write. This thinking with ink leads me deeper than expected and many times with overwhelming feelings of affirmation of the experience of God.
We are poor listeners in today’s society. Are we really listening to God, for God? Do we only give God our spare moments and say, “hurry up Lord and speak quickly because work and my to-do list beckons?”
When we are honest and simply sit before him, being with him, we will hear his voice.
What helps you hear God?