If you’re struggling to hear God’s voice these 7 tips will help you learn how to be still and listen to God.
If you’re struggling to hear God’s voice, it can be really helpful to practice being still. The bible tells us to be still and know but what does that look like practically speaking? So many times I hear from women in our community, and I’ve had the struggle myself, who are struggling to hear God’s voice.
You really want to hear from God but you don’t hear His voice, or you’re not sure if you’re actually hearing from Him or if it’s your own thoughts. I have found that a lot of times the thing that really keeps you from hearing God’s voice and hearing it clearly, is that you aren’t listening well.
You’re too busy. There’s too much noise going on in your life, in your head, and in your heart. Learning how to practice stillness as a spiritual discipline is really key to being quiet enough to hear God speak because He doesn’t scream and yell. Nor does He have a megaphone trying to get your attention.
He has a very still, small voice and you have to stop striving and trying to do all the things. You have to learn how to really sit and listen for that voice, and this practice of stillness or silence is a great way to learn how to do that.
Today I want to give you seven simple ways that you can practice stillness so that you can really be in God’s presence and tune your ear, your spirit, your heart, and your mind to His voice.
How to Be Still and Listen to God Way #1: Practice Silence
The first tip that I have to practice being still with God, is to practice silence, sitting in absolute silence. You might think that’s going to be easy, but really it’s hard if you aren’t used to it. You may find yourself looking for noise and straining your ear for the teeny tiniest of sounds.
You may want to fill the silence with something or get up and move around. Silence is not always comfortable and it’s not something that you’re used to with the busy pace of your life. Learning how to sit in complete silence is a great habit to build, to grow in, and to help you learn how to hear God’s voice more clearly.
Quick tip before you get started: start off slowly. Don’t tell yourself that you’re going to sit in silence for half an hour on your very first try. You’re not going to be able to do it. It’s really difficult so I want to encourage you to start slow.
Maybe you practice one minute and the first time that you do it it’s going to feel like the longest minute of your life, but just try to do one minute. When that becomes easy move up to two minutes, then five, then ten, and then fifteen. Work your way up to longer stretches of silence.
How to Be Still and Listen to God Way #2: Breathe
The second way that you can practice being still with God so that you can hear his voice is to breathe. I have a whole episode that I did on breath prayers and how powerful those can be to kind of calm your mind but also to connect with God. Breathing is a great way to calm the nervous system.
Taking deep breaths, deep inhales and exhales, and belly breaths can really help you relax, it can help you calm down. When you’re paying attention to your breath take some time to be intentional about noticing your breath. How you are breathing? Are you breathing quickly if you’re in an anxiety-producing situation?
Learning how to breathe is going to keep you quiet and still. In those breaths, you can begin to hear from God. Often when I am practicing being still with God I will begin with breathing exercises to calm myself down and then add on a few minutes of silence. When I start my time off with a breath prayer I’m able to get myself into a place where I can then sit in silence and listen for God’s voice.
How to Be Still and Listen to God Way #3: Go for a Walk
The third way that you can practice stillness is to go for a walk. Go for a walk and pray. Talk to God, and listen for his voice, because nature and creation speak of God’s goodness and his nature as Elohim, the Creator. He is in all of those things. For this to work it needs to be a silent walk.
Don’t go out and plug in your favorite worship music, don’t go out and listen to a book, don’t go out and listen to an audio Bible. Let it be just you and God, where you’re not going to listen to anything else. Just be out in nature, in God’s creation to listen for his voice, for what he wants to speak to your head and to your heart.
If you go for a walk and don’t hear anything the first time, that’s okay. Keep at it. You can tie these first three things together. Go for a walk and that’s going to clear your mind, then you take a minute to do some breath work, and then you’re able to sit in silence and practice hearing the voice of God and being still and quiet.
How to Be Still and Listen to God Way #4: Art
The fourth way that you can practice stillness in God’s presence is art or some kind of creative activity. I love these creative ways to connect with God. I love to paint. I started off with watercolors and I branched out into pastels. I was so surprised at how close I felt to God during my time of painting.
Here’s why it works, your mind is focused on the task at hand the art that you’re creating, on the colors, the strokes, the blending, and the lines. You’re not worrying about all the things that are on your mind or heart or all the things that are going wrong in your life. You’re able to clear your mind. When that happens, you can hear God speak clearly.
There have been many times that I have finished a painting and I then look at it and immediately the Holy Spirit brings a passage of Scripture to mind. God speaks His word to me through the art. After that, I grab my Bible and dig into the word of God. Being creative can be a great way to practice being still, because you’re not doing things or thinking about things. You’re really quieting your mind and heart which gives room for the Holy Spirit to speak to you.
How to Be Still and Listen to God Way #5: Lectio Divina
The fifth way to practice stillness in God’s presence is Lectio Divina. This is one of my favorite ways to get into the Word and to be in prayer with God. A lot of times when you want to hear God’s voice, you need to give him your full attention. Finding a way to dig into scripture, to commune with God in prayer, is a great way to do that.
Lectio Divina is awesome for this because it really helps you to slow down, to think deeply about what you’re reading in scripture, to meditate on principles, to meditate on words, and to sit and listen for what God wants to say to you.
One of the steps in Lectio Divina is to just sit and be still and be quiet and listen for the voice of God, after you’ve spent time digging in the Word, to see what is it that he wants to say to you from your time in His word.
How to Be Still and Listen to God Way #6: Journaling
The sixth way to practice being still with God so you can hear his voice is journaling. Journaling can be a great way to practice hearing God’s voice because it gives you something to focus on. You can empty out what’s in your mind and heart.
You can pour that out on the pages of your journal so that you are making room to hear from God, to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, and then, as He speaks, you can use your journal to record what He is speaking to you. A great way to preserve that legacy and to be able to pass that on to somebody else. You can look back on when you were going through hard times and share encouragement with someone else.
How to Be Still and Listen to God Way #7: Sabbath or Retreat
The seventh way to practice stillness is to really embrace the Sabbath as part of your life, as part of your routine, and as part of your faith journey. God created the Sabbath for rest, so you could be recharged and rejuvenated. Even God rested at the end of the creation week when He was done working.
You can do the same thing. It goes along with this idea that you’re always doing, always going, and always striving for things. If you just learn to stop, take a seat, take a nap, lay down right, and embrace the Sabbath you’d be better off. To have one day a week where you embrace the rest created for you by God.
Along with this idea of embracing the Sabbath is the idea of going on a retreat – a super Sabbath. If you have the time, space, and resources to go on a retreat where you can get away from your routine, from your everyday life, and from your responsibilities, that will really give you the chance to be in an environment where you can hear from God.
Retreats can have times dedicated to silence. You can go for a walk or sit with a journal when you’re not interacting with any of the other people who might be there on the retreat. It’s a time to just be you and God. You can really really get in the zone, be still, be silent, and really hear clearly from God.
Final Thoughts on How to Be Still and Listen to God
If you are struggling to hear God’s voice remember that He’s always speaking. There’s not really a time when God’s not speaking to you, but often you’re just not listening. You’re too busy or distracted by things that are going on.
If you can learn to train yourself to slow down here and there, even if just a few minutes a day. Try some of these practices and the simple ways that I’ve shared. Incorporate those into your day, into your routine, and see if that helps you to hear God’s voice more clearly.
If you’re thinking all of this sounds great but you have no idea how you could incorporate this into your current routine or quiet time plans, this is exactly what I do inside the Introverted Faith course. You’ll learn how to incorporate things into your routine for prayer, bible study, stillness and silence as an introverted Christian Woman.
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