“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.” Psalm 34:15
“The facts are that God is not silent, has never been silent. It is the nature of God to speak.”A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
- Have you made your weekly prayer call? Habitually discussing God and praying with a friend is a great way not only to hear His voice, but also to confirm that it is His voice you’re hearing.
- Grab your Bible, a journal, and refreshing beverage. Find a quiet place to relax, remove all distractions, and focus on God’s Word.
- Write Psalm 34:15 in your journal. Remember that our righteousness comes through Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s mercy, not our own ability to avoid sin; therefore, this promise applies to you!
Hearing God Over the Background Noise
Friends, the past couple of years have been hard for my family and me. We have experienced more difficult situations in such a short time than I would have thought possible, and it has led me to a realization; we are lambs among wolves. We have no human defense against the powers of Hell that attack us, and so we must rely fully on God. But how does that look when hard times come, emotions cloud our judgment, and none of our options seem sufficient? How do we discern the voice of the Holy Spirit from the background noise of culture and selfishness? The answer is fervent, passionate, faithful prayer and fasting.
The Bible instructs us to pray about everything, not just the obviously important decisions (Philippians 4:6). You never know when God has big plans for something that appears insignificant. Your Father wants to do life with you every day; He wants to be your confidant, the first One you turn to with exciting news as well as complicated problems. Isn’t it comforting to picture your Heavenly Father – the embodiment of Love and Grace—with you constantly, guiding you in every decision? He is here, but you need to lean into Him to experience His presence and provision. Quiet your mind and listen to the still, small voice inside your heart (1 Kings 19:12). You have the Power of God in you; own it and live it out (Romans 8:11)! Don’t live like those who have a measure of godliness, but deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5).
Sometimes we are too close to a situation to set aside our emotions and desires long enough to hear God; and in this case, it’s helpful to have the opinions of trusted, godly advisors. Matthew 18:20 confirms this truth: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” What a wonderful picture—gathering in prayer around God! Seek out godly women who are further ahead of you in life, in spiritual maturity, or in parenting stages. Consulting with friends and mentors provides a valuable outside perspective and often confirms what God is speaking to you, but be careful not to gossip or vent. Keep the discussion positive, focusing on timeless scriptural truths instead of conventional, worldly wisdom.
Then there are times when the world is so convincing, and our desires so strong, that the right path is not very clear, even after fervent prayer. That is when fasting is most useful. Combining prayer with fasting helps to eliminate the background noise from our lives so we can shift our focus to God. It is not a special formula to see into God’s crystal ball, but rather a way to clear our minds and open our hearts to His voice.
I used to avoid fasting because blood sugar issues prevented it, but I’ve since learned that there are many ways to fast. The heart of fasting is about abstaining from distractions, not necessarily food. In Old Testament days, feeding your family was a much bigger deal than it is now. You would have had to harvest/slaughter your meal, cook it from scratch without a microwave or slow cooker, and hand wash all the dishes. One benefit to cutting out eating was that it added hours to the day! What can you remove from your routine to provide extra time with God? Try turning off your TV for the week or going a day without answering calls, texts, emails, and social media. Then give that extra time to God; don’t squander it.
God blessed Jacob for struggling with the angel (Genesis 32:22-32) because He knows that those who struggle—those who go to the extra effort to seek out God, His blessings, and His guidance—will find Him. Prayer is a means of inserting God into every aspect of our thoughts and lives; fasting is a practical method of deepening that prayer relationship with God. He is capable of so much more than you could ever ask or imagine, so don’t give up—keep searching and have faith (Ephesians 3:20)!
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Do you pray about everything? Be honest with yourself. Ask God how you can live your life more prayerfully in sync with Him.
- What can you fast that would provide extra time and turn your focus toward God?
Plan a day or two to fast in the next couple of weeks, and determine in advance the conditions of your fast. This will help you to be firm since you’ll be tempted to compromise when the time comes. Thoughts like “checking emails doesn’t really count as media” and “drinking a little juice isn’t actually eating” will come to mind during the fast. Make sure you plan ahead to set aside extra time for prayer during your fast to make the most of it.
Fasting provides an excellent opportunity to share your faith with your children since it is a physical expression of your prayer life. Explain to them what you’re doing and ask them to help you stick to it (they can help make their own lunches if you’re fasting food or keep the TV off if you’re fasting media). Maybe they’ll want to join you by giving up screen time or sweets for a day, but don’t pressure them into it. You can’t force anyone (not even your own children) to draw near to God. They can learn by observing you.