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10 Things That May Prevent You from Hearing God’s Voice

“If you become good at hearing His voice when you’re alone, you can even do it in a crowd.” By Lieutenant Scott Swires

My first dark night of the soul began in high school. My struggle came from not seeing the God of the Bible show up like He did in the stories I heard every Sunday. However, I eventually lived out the Apostle Paul’s example of the person who finally encounters the God of the Bible. 

“If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.”

1 Corinthians 14:23-25, ESV)

In the fall of 2001, I was invited to a church that believed that God still speaks. I hid in the back and stayed anonymous with 130 other college students until I was called to the front so a prayer team could pray for me. Complete strangers spoke the desires of my heart. I was never the same and immediately began trying to learn how to hear God like those people. 

Below is a list of some of the things that blocked me (and potentially you) from hearing God’s voice

10. Sin.

Sin can be described as separation from God. I’ve placed it early on the list because it is often blamed first—even though if God didn’t speak to sinners, we’d all be in trouble. Confess, repent and move on.

9. Doubt.

Many hear God and rationalize the experience away. This happens in John 12:29 where some heard the voice, but others said it thundered. “I do believe, but help me overcome my belief (Mark 9:24)” is often one of my most honest prayers. 

8. Unbiblical View of Yourself.

Some believe that God speaks to others but won’t speak to them because they are not good enough. You are not allowed to have a thought about you that God doesn’t have. If Jesus was willing to die for you, why wouldn’t He want to talk to you?

7. Bad Theology.

God wants to speak to His people. God gives a command that we should talk things out with Him (Isaiah 1:18) and even that He is proactive in telling us the truth about situations (John 14:2). He is a God that wants to talk with us. 

6. Gave Up Too Soon.

Many give up too soon. Read through the visions of Daniel. He keeps mentioning how he needs to keep looking, “until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat …” (Daniel 7:9, NASB). 

5. No Space to Hear.

Jesus explains and demonstrates in a few different places in the Bible that going away to a quiet place is necessary to hear God’s voice. If you become good at hearing His voice when you’re alone, you can even do it in a crowd. Space does not always mean literal isolation. 

4. Passive Not Active.

Many people do not spend time attempting to learn how to actively listen for God’s voice. They expect God to make all the moves. It’s hard to accuse God of not speaking to us when we do not actually pursue a conversation. 

3. Limiting How God Speaks.

This is attached to the previous one. We often create a scenario in which we believe God will speak to us and will not accept any other scenario. Scripture is filled with ways that God has spoken with people such as dreams, visions, stones and other people. This only increases in the New Testament.  

2. Selfishness.

This is easily one of my biggest blocks to hearing God. Simply put, I want to hear Him for my own reasons rather than for His. In James 4:3, this is listed as a reason for unanswered prayer. I often struggle with only accepting the message I’ve already thought best. We need to seek God’s voice for His purposes.

1. Tomorrow.

One of the biggest reasons we don’t hear God’s voice is because we say I’ll work on the above tomorrow. Seek God today while He can be found (Isaiah 55:6). 

These are common blocks to hearing God’s voice. Jesus died and the Holy Spirit was sent for us to have deep relationship with Him. No matter what difficulty you might be having pursuing God’s voice, understand that it is worth the chase. If you’re going through your own dark night of the soul, remember that this is often the best time to hear His voice. He has a habit of drawing us into places where He can speak tenderly to us (Hosea 2:14).

How To Hear God Speak:

  1. Ask God to speak to you.
  2. Pay attention to what you see, hear, sense, or feel from him throughout your day.
  3. Take a risk by doing something with what you hear! 
  4. Write down what happened. 
  5. Repeat!

Scott holds a bachelor’s in psychology, a masters in theology and an masters in leadership. Before officership, he explored life working for MorningStar Ministries, piloting a monorail for Disney and working for Apple. He spends most days drinking coffee with his wife as they watch their four kids enjoy being kids.

This article was originally titled “God Speaks” in the September 2022 issue of Peer.

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