There’s no need to deny the universality of engaging the quiet to hear God’s voice. If a mega-prophet needed to do so, then we need to do so as well. If we need to get quiet to hear ourselves think, then we need it even more so to hear God think too. It is not always necessary, but it is of the utmost importance—especially for the person just starting to learn what God’s voice sounds like.
But outside of engaging silence, there’s a lot of variables to hearing God’s voice that are simply based on the way we work. This is important to note because a lot of times people want to hear God’s voice the way someone else does, but we’re not all wired the same. Some are very imaginative and visual while others aren’t. Some enjoy nature while others don’t. Some enjoy music while others are tone-deaf and could care less.
Now there is space in our lives to grow into hearing God’s voice the way others do and we should be open to that, but it’s okay to be different. For me, nature is a very easy way to plug into God. Seeing the complexity of His creation all around me makes it impossible to not think about God and begin to worship Him. And since worship naturally happens to me when I’m in nature, I begin to enter His presence quite easily because God is “enthroned on the praises” (Ps 22:3).
When I was up north on vacation at my family’s cabin, I willingly woke up early to take a prayer walk through the several acres of land that made up this sacred space. I longed to do this. Nature inspired me to get up and be with God. That’s just who I am.
But if your mind is racing with thoughts about mosquitoes and poison ivy and wet shoes and sunscreen, then nature is not going to be a natural place for you to commune with God and that’s okay. The point isn’t that you hear God the way I do—the point is that you hear Him in the way you were made to hear Him best. If my method won’t get you mentally quiet before God and won’t spur you on to praise, then find your own method.
The question becomes, “What do you do to hear your own voice?” Now use that to hear God’s. If you zone out while driving around quietly in your car, then that might be a great way to plug into God. If you have a common devotional time, then start adding in the practice of sitting in silence for a bit each time you do it. If there’s a break you often take just to be alone, make that sacred space. If your kids are on you so much that the only time you get to breathe is when you’re in the shower or while they’re napping, make that breath more relaxing by allowing God to speak into it.
Any moment that serves your own thoughts is a great time to ask for God’s thoughts. Simple as that. Don’t try to copy someone else’s spiritual life. Live in your own. But be intentional about waiting in silence.