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Why Can’t I Hear God Speak?

Why Can't I Hear God Speak
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One of the scariest times for a Christian is when they cannot hear the voice of God. Jesus lived His life doing whatever He saw the Father doing (John 5:19). As Jesus’ followers we are to have the same closeness of relationship. And yet, we doubt our ability to hear God. We cling to the Bible for our security, but the Bible doesn’t tell us what career to go into, which house to buy, who to marry, etc. Life is full of decisions and full of trials that we need the constant companionship of the Spirit to get us through.

I have been thinking a lot on this lately as I have tried to come to grips with this current stage in my life. I’m desperate for God’s voice, but I keep floundering about what my next step should be. Jesus said that His sheep would hear His voice, and whoever belongs to God would hear His voice (John 10:27 and 8:47). Hearing God’s voice should be as natural to a believer as taking a breath. It’s necessary. A quick read of the first half of Joshua also reveals plenty of examples of our need to hear God’s voice. Why can’t I hear God speak?

Why is it hard for most Christians to hear God’s voice then?

To attempt to answer this I am going to look at a section from Chronicles of Narnia, The Magician’s Nephew. After I quote the passage I will explain.

“When the great moment came and the Beasts spoke, [Uncle Andrew] missed the whole point; for a rather interesting reason. When the Lion first began singing, long ago when it was still dark, he had realized that the noise was a song. And he disliked the song very much. It made him think and feel things he did not want to think and feel. Then when the sun rose and he saw that the singer was a lion (“only a lion,” as he said to himself) he tried his hardest to make believe that it wasn’t singing and never had been singing – only roaring as any lion might in a zoo in our world. “Of course it can’t really be singing,” he thought, “I must have imagined it. I’ve been letting my nerves get out of order. Who ever heard of a lion singing?” And the longer and more beautifully the Lion sang, the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring. Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.

I believe we try to make hearing God so difficult that we create an environment where we can no longer hear God. God tries to speak to us and we attribute it to our own thoughts because they were not profound enough to have come from God. Also, the things God says often don’t make sense to us, so we look for other explanations.

I believe we try to make hearing God so difficult that we create an environment where we can no longer hear God.

We look for definite signs that we can’t deny and God is looking for intimacy. We come to God to get the next direction, and God wants to tell us how much He loves us. We can’t understand why God wants to waste His time on “small talk” so we minimize those thoughts as coming from us. In the end we have discounted so many of His words to us, that now nothing can get through.

Hearing the voice of God is as easy (and as hard) as coming to Jesus… it takes faith. God so loves faith in us that we cannot follow Him without it. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Anything done without faith is sin (Romans 14:23). When we don’t hear God, it is less of an issue about God voice as it is about our faith. We have to choose to believe that God is speaking to us.

Sometimes the best act of faith following hearing God’s voice is just writing it down so that you will not forget it. What does God want you to write down? Ask Him right now, and write down whatever you feel He tells you. Feel free to use the comment box below to record what you here. I’d love it if you shared. I would like the encouragement.

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39 Responses to “Why Can’t I Hear God Speak?”

  1. Jill Hayes says:

    Hi Kevin,
    We’ve been doing this with Will (6 1/2 yrs old). We gave him a sheet of paper that says, “Jesus, I am listening to you. What do you want to say to me.” It has a big box on the worksheet and then he writes inside the box what he hears. Since he’s learning to write and can write phonetically, it’s working! Every time he does this exercise, Jesus says to him, I love you! as well as other words of affirmation. He’s recognizing his voice and Will tells me it’s easy to hear from Him. God is so good! – Jill

  2. Jill, that is so good. I am trying to remember to go back to writing since I’m feeling some anxiety to hear. For me, writing takes some of the pressure off. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Susan Frigge says:

    In those times of appearent silence from Him, I just tell Him I miss Him. Then I rely on what I know – He will never leave me or forsake me; He will always love me and accept me – then I go and give Him a hug and rest in the silence(be still and know that I am God).

    Then I think of all the things He’s working on that I have brought to Him in prayer, and then I realize that sometimes I need to just step back and let Him work. He’ll talk when He has something to say to me.

    The silence can be deafening, that’s when I pull out some praise music and sing to Him. He turns to me and gives me a big smile, that deafening silence dispels immediately. Then I realize I just needed Him to acknowledge me and that smile does just that. Sigh of relief, and joy fills my heart. I smile back. All is well again.

    • Dear Susan, thank you very much for your comments. These are great suggestions. so much of feeling distant from God or hearing His silence deals with our perspective. You have some great pointers. Thanks, Kevin

  4. Lisa says:

    In the moments when I feel God is not as near and it’s difficult to hear Him speak I journal, reflect,talk to God
    in prayer, worship, and embrace the silence as I know He loves me.
    Through journaling since last year when I developed some tough spots with health, I realized that God had been speaking with me the whole time. Feeling so alone in this journey I was taking I felt like no one understood how I felt but God. I just did not seem to hear God. Then, brothers and sisters I did not know came out of what seemed no where or the past and shared great words of wisdom, support, and prayer. He used His vessels as the messenger to speak His words. By the way that has never happened in my life prior to this. It was a clear sign of His power as He directed the paths of many people my way which humbled my soul, gave me peace, and healing.
    Others times have presented itself to me where I was not clear if my own actions whether it be in stewardship, fellowship, or daily actions was pleasing to the Lord. I was not looking for an answer but just a sense of is this the direction He has for me. Then a few times in the past several months calls came my way stating “I was given a message to give to you” by the caller. It was when separate people called and stated that “I was given a message to give to you” that it seemed strange that the same words were used on each call. It was then that I just knew God was revealing His presence in this situation. These were all different people with different circumstances leaving messages about the experiences we had together which affirmed that this was His direction in my life.
    Living in faith has made it evident that the Lord will speak to us in so many ways and at the right time; some clear and some not as clear. When He can’t be heard it’s still like being with your best friend in silence.

  5. Erica says:

    God is whispering my name, and saying talk to me. I stopped praying because I felt like I was annoying him and stopped journaling because I thought he didn’t care what I have to say. I thank God in my search for answers that I stumbled across this message hearing God voice urging me to come back.

    • Dear Erica,
      I am glad to hear that you heard God calling you back. Thank you for sharing. I pray that His whisperings will remain as a stronghold in your heart so you will never forget God wants you to talk to Him.
      Blessings,
      Kevin

  6. thevoicehari says:

    There is an interesting documentary just out on this exact subject.

    It’s called: The Voice
    https://vimeo.com/38387694

    What do you guys think of this guy?
    Is he for real?

    • I’m not sure if your question is for real or just trying to get people to watch the video. It is very difficult to judge whether someone is hearing the voice of God or not when it doesn’t telling them to do anything specifically wrong. You have to wait to see the fruit.

      I tend to believe this man. My college roommate had this type of relationship with Jesus. It was hard to walk across campus with him without him stopping to talk to someone about God that he felt Jesus was leading him to talk with. I knew my roommate well. I got to see his heart for others and their reaction to him. I have no reason to think God was not speaking to him.

      May we all press in and listen for our Father’s voice in such a way. God loves us.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  7. Vera McClelland Ray says:

    I was sitting hear just saying to myself why can’t I hear GOD speak to me I need answers I can’t make this decision. It came suddenly I wonder if I can google this question, has others!, My GOD , Here I am writing this. Step forward ,I hear in faith, Ill be there yesterday, today and tomorrow. Thank you

    • Dear Vera,

      Thank you for your encouragement. The voice of God is a comfort and a guide. He knows exactly what we need. I’m glad that you found us through Google.

      Since you came in through this page you may not know that we had a contest going on. Your comment has entered you into a chance to win new worship music. The entries end today.

      Blessings,
      Kevin

  8. Joseph Campbell says:

    You know when you think somes calling your name but you find out it wasn’t anyone who called you? Well that happened to me but this time it was like,
    “Joey” in a whisper I looked to see who called me but no one was there; so I thought to myself and said,”yes Lord?” It’s like what happen to Samual.

  9. Kathryn says:

    Um people can hear what they what to hear and so they hear it . It’s misleading to say people hear from God . What constitutes hearing from God ? i have never heard Gods voice . Salvation is not hinging upon whether I do or don’t .

    Does God play favorites and only speak to some people ? No I highly doubt it – God speaks thru his word not directly to people . Why have a bible – the bible is a moot point if God literally spoke directly to people

    • Obviously from the post, I disagree with your assessment that God no longer speaks to His people. Some additional Scripture can be found in Hebrews 3 and 4 which is about the voice of God and not hardening our hearts to it. My guess is you have heard God’s voice but just didn’t recognize it as such. You may have thought it as discernment, wisdom, intuition, etc. Scripture says that no one comes to Jesus unless the Father draws him. You say you are a believer, which I have no reason to doubt, then you have at least heard the leading of the Father to respond to Jesus.The Bible is not a moot point for those that eagerly listen to the voice of God; it gives clarity to what we hear.

      I do like your question about God playing favorites. It sure seems that God liked Moses more than Pharaoh. I will try to address this question with my next post. You can see it here: https://prayer-coach.com/2013/08/14/does-god-play-favorites/.

      Thank you for your comment. God definitely speaks through the Bible, and I hope you continue to find life and encouragement through your times reading it.

      Blessings,
      Kevin

  10. Dorian says:

    That’s the problem I’ve been having since I got saved in 2001. The only time I really know I heard from God was in 2006 when he woke me up and said he’ll supply all my needs. Other than that I feel like it’s maybe something I’m doing wrong why I can’t hear from him. I’ve been struggling for answers on what to do with my life. I’m divorced which made me feel guilty and have been living with my mother with my kids for 7 years now trying to find a job and attending school after school to keep hitting road blocks. I keep praying asking God why I am here because I feel like a failure, especially to my kids. I cry and cry looking for answers but feel like God ignores me.

    • Dorian,
      Thanks for your comment. I understand that God’s silence in our desperation can be overwhelming. Hold on to God’s goodness, His love for you, and the assurance that He rewards faith in Him. He will draw near to who come to Him. It is the essences of God’s heart.
      As I read your comment, I feel the importance for you to have good relationships. Find people who are in love with God, who hear from Him. You need their encouragement. You were never meant to follow God alone.
      I pray that you would find those people who would not only remind you of God’s faithfulness to you but would continually speak of God’s immeasurable love for you personally. He has not forsaken you because He cannot tear Himself away from one He cares so much about.
      I wish you the best in your journey.
      Blessings,
      Kevin

  11. Simon says:

    “One of the problems is people imagining that thoughts are not profound enough”

    No.

    Rather, that is a perfect conclusion in response to the empirical evidence that out of all those who claim to speak to God, ONLY A FEW could ever hear anything that they have not known. Rather than hearing something like “stop procrastinating”, a true test would be trying to hear last week’s lotto numbers in your city and getting a shock at how good your sense of hearing really is.

    • Dear Simon,
      This would be kind of nice to know how to get a whole lot of money quickly, but is this what God thinks is important? To me, God seems to talk about other things that I feel He really cares about: me, other people, how to live out the purpose for which I was created, etc. Money is just a tool. There is no need to pour in resources into my life if I don’t know how to use them. If you try to direct the conversation into something God isn’t interested in talking about, it will be quite frustrating experience.

      While I understand that many people don’t think God can talk, this blog is not trying to prove that He does. For those that do believe or those how are willing to test it, I do want to give tools to help them experience how eager God is at communicating.

      Hope you find whatever proof you are looking for.
      Blessings,
      Kevin

  12. Faithful says:

    Well,i’ve been trying to step my relationship with God up to another level,it has come to the point where i doubt my christian experiences with God,whether i’m really saved,sanctified or baptised with the holy ghost,i’ve spoken in tongues numerous times but i have this inclination to masturbation and pornography that makes me think God cannot take it away and when i yearn for God’s presence in prayer,itz like i feel empty,i ask God many times i want to hear from him but itz SILENCE,I’ve never heard from God directly pls can someone put me through???

    • Dear Faithful,
      The best advice I can give you is to find a group of Christian men that you can spend time with. It sounds like you need fellowship with other people who you can open up to. The enemy can easily feed you lies when you are out of fellowship or not telling others the battles going on inside you.

      Along the same lines, you don’t want Christians who will judge you or condemn you for your mistakes. This unfortunately may be harder to find. God loves you very much and is not upset with you when you stumble. He is quick to forgive. Freedom is attainable. Overcoming is part of the abundant life God has promised you. Don’t let those sins become a mark of your life in God. Allow them to push you farther in to His presence. I think this post will help your perspective: https://prayer-coach.com/2010/01/09/what-is-the-importance-of-confession/

      As for hearing from God… I have no doubt that you have heard from Him and can still hear from Him. The struggle seems to be on confusion. This will wash away with fellowship of other believers who come alongside you and encouraging you towards Jesus.

      Feel free to use the contact page to let me know where you are located. I will see what I can do to find a few fellowships in that area that may help you.

      Blessings,
      Kevin

  13. Jackie says:

    It’s so interesting to see how people have experienced the voice of God.
    As an 18 year old college student, I’m trying my best to get closer to God. I have been in a very dark situation these last few months that has led me to lean on the Lord for support–much more than I ever had in my entire life. One night when I was calling to him in prayer, I said, “God, give me the strength to be a better person.” And right after I said that, I heard a voice in my head that said ‘be a better person by the power of forgiveness.’ When I heard that, I immediately knew it was him and began crying. I have been trying to hard to hear his voice, and it came to me when I least expected it.

    But I’m stuck again. I’m in that dark place where I just feel alone because of what had happened to me a few months back. I keep trying to learn to listen to his Voice, but sometimes He is so hard to find. Maybe He will come to me again when I least expect it, but I need to hear his voice now more than ever. I just wish it was easier!

    • Dear Jackie,
      I’m sorry for what has happened to you. God does want to heal that place. Find someone that you trust that can also hear from God. Tell that person what had happened to you. Then together with that person, invite Jesus into that memory.

      God wants to speak to you because He loves you. Sometimes that is hard to believe when bad things happen. I pray that you find freedom quickly. Again, I’m sorry for what happened to you.

      Blessings,
      Kevin

  14. susan says:

    I long to hear God’s voice. I tried the exercise you suggested and only heard God say, “I love you and forgive you”. I have recently made the biggest mistake of my life and don’t know what to do next or how to carry on with my life knowing the awful thing I’ve done. I pray God will give me guidance and strength but for now I’m just grateful to know he still loves me.

    • Dear Susan,
      Thank you for your comment. Congratulations on hearing the love and forgiveness! This is amazing! Sometimes we tune God out because we don’t believe what we are hearing is really from Him. After a big mistake you really want to hear God say these things, but you may want to hear them so bad that you believe you are making it up. I find that in these desperate times it is best to pray with someone else. Their encouragement that what you are hearing is actually from the Lord helps you persists past your doubts.

      I am sorry for your mistake. That is no fun. God still has an amazing plan for your life. He can still redeem your situation. There may be a mess to clean up, but there is hope for a better future. Blessed is the woman whose sins the Lord does not held against her (Psalm 32:2, Romans 4:8, and Romans 8:1)!!!

      Susan, God loves you very much. He still delights in you. He wants to talk to you.

      Blessings,
      Kevin

  15. Angela says:

    Shouldn’t Gods voice sound like his own and not me thinking?

  16. Frances Tan says:

    Hi, can I ask a question? See, I’m 14. And I’m thinking of joining the worship team in my church. In fact I’ve been thinking about this since last year when my church had this thing called ministry day where they’d share about the different ministries in church and talk about how important it is to serve God. Ever since I could remember, I’ve loved music. So I had this thought saying “I think I wanna join the worship team” but then I had another thought saying, “but you should only join it if it’s God’s will. Are you sure it’s God calling you to join or are you just wanting to join because you love music like you always have?” So I decided to ask God in prayer if it was what he wanted me to do, but I couldn’t hear anything. Or so I think I didn’t hear anything. But what I do know is every now and then I’d have the thought of joining the worship team. Especially when I’d come across verses and things to do with obeying or serving God etc, I’d feel bad and think that maybe it was God speaking to me and I’ve been ignoring him and hardening my heart when I should’ve been obeying him. So I’ll almost decide to ask the worship leader for an audition, but then the other thought would come again saying, “Are you SURE it’s Him calling you?? Is it His will? Are you even good enough? Plus you know it’s gonna be scary standing on stage and it’s gonna take up a lot of your time right? Will you be able to handle your school work if you join? And you know it’s bad if you’re serving Him for the wrong reasons right?i mean like if it’s you who wants to do it, not God, then your service won’t be pleasing to Him and if he’s not pleased then it’s meaningless because the whole point of doing this is to please him and to serve him out of gratitude for all he’s done for you and because you love him right? So if he’s not pleased then it’s just nothing. So you better be sure IT IS HIM.” And so since I can’t REALLY confirm it is God, I’ll push the thought at the back of my head again and I won’t ask the worship leader for an audition. So what I want to ask is, how do I know if it is or is not God talking to me? How do I know if he wants me to serve him in this ministry, in this season of my life? And if I don’t know if it is or not, should I just go for it or keep waiting until I get a super clear sign that it is Him? Also, I want to add that I grow up in a Christian family but I never really got this Christian thing when I was younger & I’d just follow along with my parents because I was so little. But these few years as I got older, I started to understand and actually take this seriously, so I guess you could say I’m quite a beginner and not that experienced and so I’m still struggling to hear his voice and I would like to know how can I hear his voice? How do I know it’s Him and not my own thoughts? Please answer with details, instead of just saying it takes practice because everyone I ask tells me this. I mean okay I know it takes practice but like what about the first time? Like the more I hear Him the more I’ll know it is Him right? But what about the first time when I have no idea what his voice is like and I have nothing to compare it to? How do I know? 🙁 Thank you 🙂

    • Dear Frances,

      The enemy loves making hearing God’s voice difficult. If He can keep us questioning, then we will never move forward with faith. One thing that has helped me is that when I get to heaven, God is not going to ask me, “You thought I said what?”, but He may ask me, “Why didn’t you follow what I said?”. You said you are in a Christian family, ask your parents what they think. It is important to consider other responsibilities like school work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t move forward… you just need to plan for it. As for the audition, that is not your responsibility. If you feel God wants you to volunteer (after talking with your parents), then do your best going through the appropriate steps. If you are not chosen, you still followed what you felt God told you.

      I don’t buy the wrong reasons (although I know they do exists at times). You love music. You have an idea to use it for God. Wrong reasons can be adjusted as you do your best to follow God. If you wait to be perfect, you will never start anything.

      Thank you for your questions. I know you are not alone in these thoughts. Do your best to move forward with how you feel God is leading you and give yourself grace to get it wrong. The more you try, the more you will get it right and the easier it will become.

      Blessings,
      Kevin

  17. Lucy says:

    Good morning Kevin,

    My name is Lucy form Eritrea. Eritrea is located in Africa. In my country to be born again Christian is looks like crime. It is forbidden to worship as born again and no church at all in my county. Born again like me worship the truth God by heading there self and house to house likes early Christians. I have been a long time with God like this but I don’t feel that my God hearing my prayer. My life so diffluent and complicated. I want truly to know God. To hear his voice. I want to see him as my friend and my lord. If I have to tell of him to others I have to know him for sure. To be honesty I have luck of knowledge of God word. Because I am working far way for Christian which place doesn’t have much born gain Christian. I was live like anybody elase. This time I feel to be not the same as before years. I have to be ready for Jesus will come soon. Please advise me my men of God

    Thank you and bless you

    Lucy

    • Dear Lucy,

      Your desire to follow God in difficult circumstances is to be greatly admired. That is a very difficult thing. God rejoices over you. He sees your desire to know Him and to follow Him. He is pleased with you.

      As I prayed for you, these are some things I felt to share with you. I feel to encourage you to start your times with God by telling Him how much you like Him and why you want to know Him better. Then transition into asking Him what He would like to tell you about Himself. Write down what comes to mind. (It doesn’t have to be deep truths, just write whatever comes to mind.) Thank Him for showing you something.

      Then open your Bible and read. I suggest starting first with one of the Gospels. Read slowly and try to see what was happening in the story. Try to see what Jesus was doing and how people are responding to Him. If there is something you don’t understand, pray about it and listen. If you are really drawn to something but don’t understand it, don’t read any further that day, but think about it. Replay the story in your head.

      If you still have a hard time hearing from God, start each time by praying, “God I know you want to speak to me, and I am made to hear your voice. Therefore I will get better hearing from you each day I try. Thank you for helping me.”

      Lucy, I bless you in your growth with God. He is excited about revealing more of Himself to you.

      Blessings,
      Kevin

  18. Chontell says:

    Kevin, I am researching to help a congregant who is feeling tortured in prison by no longer hearing God’s voice. I just want to tell you that not only do I think what you have offered is a fantastic option for people on their faith journeys, but I admire the pastoral way that you have responded to the various replies here. I can hear God in your writing.

  19. P.G.W says:

    Kevin,

    I felt as if I were standing at the crossroads, after making the decision to leave the man I believed to be my soul mate. Everything said we shouldn’t be a couple, how we met, the 16 year age gap, his temper, my temper, and his finances. We both agree about these things. I knew he had a temper when I met him. Over and over we split up briefly and I thought, this isn’t going to work. After 11 months, we had a really big fight, I pushed this giant of a man (almost 7 feet tall and over 300 pounds) trying to get the keys to my house. He pushed back and down I went. I ended it but doubted my decision.

    He told me it was in God’s hands, that’s where he put it. I told him, God doesn’t answer my prayers. Today, we talked again after which time I typed “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?” into the internet while at work. I briefly read several articles, then ran across your page. The last portion of your article said “Sometimes the best act of faith following hearing God’s voice is just writing it down so that you will not forget it. What does God want you to write down? Ask Him right now, and write down whatever you feel He tells you.”

    These words popped into my mind, “Greg is not the greatest love of your life, he is not your everything, I am.” “You have to let Greg go, and shower God with the love he placed in you. That same love that you adored and showered upon Greg, because Greg needed that in his life when the two of you met.” “Place nothing and no one above Me.” Greg is right about that one thing, God placed that in me. That was God’s love pouring through me upon Greg.

    All of my focus has been on Greg, none of my focus has been on God. Greg didn’t have enough faith in us until the end. His actions showed that. And I only had faith in me that I could make it work. And my actions showed that. A battle raged inside of this preacher’s son. I could clearly see that. But I was only looking at him, not looking at me. God wants me and if he can’t have all of me, Greg can’t have me. God wants Greg and if he can’t have all of Greg, I can’t have Greg. There lies the true battle.

    I don’t get to peep into the future, to help me decide what to do.” I don’t get to know if God will heal his temper. I don’t get to know if God will bring us back together again. Greg is my soul mate. He has done something to my soul and I have done something to his soul. There may be another soul mate out there for me, or maybe this one will one day return to me. That is not for me to know. But neither one of us will ever be the same.

    So I leave this relationship knowing that I made this man my everything. God is my provider, my pillar to lean up, my counsel, he is my everything. I have neglected Him and because of that I must go back to the most important relationship and make that right. God, thank you for Greg.

    I am at peace now. This website is a blessing.

    Sincerely,
    Greg’s Soul mate

  20. Noel Odell says:

    I continue to gear nothing. OR I hear discouraging words. I also have had four failed ministries which I took up in faith to serve the body or seek to lead the list to Christ.

    • Dear Noel,

      I understand it can be frustrating some times. Please know God does not have anything discouraging for you. His words always bring life and hope to your situation. He only sees your potential for good and will call that out of you. Not everything God calls you into will make your money or bring success in the world’s eyes. Things that look like failure done in faith are celebrated in heaven. Keep pressing in to hearing the Lord. You are learning. Grab a friend to walk this process with. Practice hearing together. Celebrate the journey. God wants to speak to you.

      Blessings,
      Kevin

  21. Thomas says:

    Great post! Have nice day ! 🙂 insoo

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