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This topic is adapted from the Mat & Est YouTube channel.

When it’s time to make a big decision in life, we need to turn to God for his guidance and direction. But it’s not always easy to figure out what he is saying to us. Here are two tips for having “ears to hear” what the Lord is speaking.

[Related: Using the Lord’s Prayer as a Pattern for Prayer]

The First Step to Hearing from God is Prioritizing Prayer

In life, we have competing things demanding our attention. Friends, family, work, school, and other things. This can make God’s voice hard to hear. He is always speaking to us, but with so many other things going on, his voice can be drowned out. This means we need to make “tuning in” to him a priority, otherwise we are going to have a hard time hearing his “still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-13). We must “be still and know that he is God” (Psalm 46:10).

The Second Step is to Be Persistent

God can speak to us in a flash, but it’s not always how he works. In fact, it’s usually not how he works! We are not supposed to give up, but instead to press into him and to keep trusting him. This is what Jesus teaches in Luke 11:5-11.

Luke 11:5-11 Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

[Related: The What How About Prayer]

The world is full of distractions and competing interests – and not all of these things are bad in and of themselves. But many of us fail to make prayer a priority in our lives, then wonder why the Lord is silent. The truth is he is not silent, it is that we are not listening. Sometimes prayer is hard work, and knowing God more deeply is an investment as it is in any relationship.

Make prayer a priority in your life, and don’t give up when the going gets tough. Press into God, and watch how he meets you in the midst of turmoil. He will provide you the guidance you need if you seek him with all of your heart.

Written content for this topic by Daniel Martin.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. If you have/had a significant other, would you only talk to them for the last five minutes of the day? Why or why not?
  4. How does the above question apply to your relationship with God?
  5. Read 1 Kings 19:11-13. All of these loud, competing sounds from a great wind, an earthquake, and a fire bombarded Elijah, but God’s voice wasn’t in those things. Instead it was a “still, small voice.” What are the winds, earthquakes, and fires in your life that are loud but don’t contain God’s “still, small voice?”
  6. Are you intentional in seeking to hear God’s still, small voice? Why or why not?
  7. Mat asks, “If someone was to look at your timetable, would they see that prayer is a priority for you?”
  8. Mat asks, “Are you actually open to an answer from God, or are you only seeking your own answer?”
  9. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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