When I can’t hear God for myself?

My 13 year old son has recently joined Air Force Cadets and, on Anzac Day, as I watched him march with his unit, I began crying. Not sobbing but crying enough that my response shocked me. Why was I crying? When anything unexpected occurs, I try to ask God “What did that trigger in me?” or “Why did I respond like that?” or “What’s underneath that emotion?”

Nothing came. My mind was spinning with a thousand thoughts – was it because our son wanted to join the Defence Force and he may be fighting in a war one day? Was it because…. Numerous what if’s came to mind. But God seemed to be deathly silent in answering me.

I sat with it a bit longer and it suddenly struck me – I think I was asking the wrong question. A more appropriate question was “Was it appropriate the emotion I expressed?” Immediately I heard God’s voice – “Yes. You are extremely grateful for those who served and fought to save this country and your future.”

Wow – I suddenly realised that often when people say to me “I can hear God for others but I find it hard hearing God for myself”, then perhaps they need to change their question.

I encourage you, next time you find it hard hearing God for yourself, to change the question you are asking God.

I believe that there are also several other things we can do so that we open up the communication lines between God and ourselves for ourselves.

Listed below are a few ideas to implement when you feel a blockage in hearing God for yourself.

  1. What am I asking God? Can I reframe my question? Am I asking God the wrong question? Am I wanting to hear a specific answer ie treating God like Santa Claus, thus not hearing God because I’m not hearing what I’m wanting.
  2. Change things up a bit. Do something different. Perhaps put on different worship music. Try spending time with God in nature or a different place than normal. I love going to the beach on a stormy day and ‘feeling’ God in the storm.
  3. Have I been obedient in doing what God has asked of me? This is a question I ask of myself. If I haven’t been obedient in following through on what God has already asked me to do, how can I expect Him to then tell me the next step?
  4. Is there any sin in my life that I am aware of? Sin has an amazing way of blocking the relationship between God and myself.
  5. Facilitate an encounter with God. In your imagination, go to a place where you feel close to God, a place where you hear God’s voice easily. Imagine yourself there. What is it like? What does it feel like, look like, smell like, taste like, sound like? Imagine that Jesus walks to where you are in that place. Look for Jesus in your imagination and imagine that He has a present in His hands for you. Watch Him place it down next to you or place it in your hands. You have a choice what you do next. Do you want to open it? Go ahead and open it. What has Jesus just given you? (Usually something like this can open up those lines of communication between God and ourselves again.) Another encounter to try is to imagine yourself under a waterfall. Look around and feel, hear, smell, see what it is like under that waterfall. Imagine next that that waterfall is God pouring out good stuff over you. What is He pouring over you? Revel in what is being poured over you. Enjoy. Splash around in it. When you finish imaging this, try spending some time just enjoying God for who He is.
  6. Am I prepared to really lean in to God over a longer period of time – fast, meditate, pray over a period of time, enjoy being with God, spend time listening.

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

Every week I list 5 prophetic activations/exercises under children/family, group, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The purpose of these exercises is to practice to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and see and sense God and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy! Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3) and that it comes from a place of love.

1. Children / Families Activation: Have paper and crayons/pencils ready. Ask everyone to find a partner and ask God to show them what sort of present He wants to give their partner. Encourage them to draw what the outside of the present looks like. Then ask God what the actual present is and draw that. Ask them to give the paper to their partner and share what it was.

2. Group Activation: Play a harder version of Prophetic UNO. You will need some UNO cards (you don’t need the whole pack – just select a few of each colour) and the instructions below copied so that people can easily see them. Take it in turns going around the circle turning over the next card. Follow the instructions as to what to do with that colour card. This works best when the group is about 6-8 people in size. If your group is larger, perhaps form two groups, with enough UNO cards and instructions for each group.

UNO Prophecy Instructions – remember to be encouraging, strengthening and comforting

RED – you give a prophetic word to the person on your left about their financial situation

GREEN – you give a prophetic word to the person on your right about their relationship with someone close to them

BLUE  – you give a prophetic word to the person opposite about something that concerns them

YELLOWyou choose who to give a prophetic word to in the group about their career/employment/job

DRAW 2give any 2 people in the group a prophetic word about their identity

DRAW 4choose 4 people to give you a prophetic word

WILD CARD  – choose whether you give a prophetic word to someone about their destiny or choose someone to give you one about your destiny

3. Beginner Activation: Spend time with God asking Him about something you have felt He has been quiet on. Brainstorm with God several different questions about it. Perhaps facilitate an encounter with God eg present encounter or under a waterfall etc and see if you can hear God easier.

4. Intermediate Activation: Spend time with God asking Him for a prophetic word/picture for me (Jane – the author of this blog). Feel free to email it to me at [email protected]

5. Advanced Activation: In Australia, we are in the lead up to voting for the leadership of the country and for the Prime Minister for the next three years. Spend time with God hearing from Him about this and what He desires. (If you are in another country, please feel free to join with us in Australia and listen to God for what He desires for our nation.) Devise with God a prophetic act to do that ushers in spiritually and physically what’s on God’s heart.