People often ask me what to do when they feel “stuck” in their ability to get deeper with Christ. In other words, they have a difficult time connecting with Jesus in their prayer and Bible reading. Now, this is something that I can talk about for hours on end. I have definitely had my share of Bible slamming, frustrated journaling, and the “Forget it, I’m just going to watch TV” moments. The following is a few of many tips for the Christian that is unable to hear from God.
1. Get rid of the pressure
If you are in an urgent situation and start to feel helpless when silence greets you every time you pray, take a moment to step back. Oftentimes, that pressure is a fast track towards frustration and offense towards God. Yet, it rarely allows us to hear Him clearly. Take a breath and change the scenario. Take your Bible and notebook to a café. Go on a nature walk. Grab your favorite cup of coffee. Get into that happy place and make this an adventure with the Lord. People often feel extremely pressured to meet God in a very specific way: in the darkness of their rooms or in the quiet space of an isolated spot. Sometimes, it’s that negative pressure that inhibits our ability to sense His Presence.
2. Breathe Him in
This is one of my favorite exercises. Oftentimes, when people begin a quiet time with the Lord, they feel the need to beg for His Presence. He is not meant to be “attained” or “earned.” That sort of striving is based on an inaccurate understanding of God. More than searching for Him, you need to acknowledge Him. It’s like air. We don’t search for air, hoping air would touch us and make itself available to us. We just breathe it in, knowing it’s there. As you open your time of worship and prayer, take a moment to acknowledge and breathe in deeply. Breathe in His Presence. Exhale your doubts. Breathe in His nourishing love. Exhale your burdens. Saturate yourself in the moment. You don’t need a manifestation or some magic show. You just need Him. He is enough.
3. Trust the power of the Word
Whenever I advise someone to just try reading the Bible, I regularly receive a reluctant response. Many people think that to “hear” from God would mean having a mystical experience that comes directly from the air around them. God gave us the Bible to speak to us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” You could read the same verse over and over every day, and the Spirit of God can still speak to you through it. He makes it fresh. He makes it relevant. Trust that the Scripture is alive. It carries His heartbeat. No one can say that God is not speaking. The Bible is proof that He’s been speaking to us before we ever wanted to hear Him.
“…listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…” (Deuteronomy 30:20)