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Be Quiet and Listen

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“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me.” (John 10:27-28 NLT)

I don’t know about you, but I grew up thinking prayer was mostly about talking at God… with words. 

Considering the fact that God is all-knowing and all-powerful, you’d think we’d want to stop and hear what He has to say. I mean, I could spend hours talking to Him about my problems. Maybe that would make me feel better. Probably it would just get me more worked up. Besides, He’s already intimately acquainted with me. So wouldn’t it be better to listen and hear what He wants me to know? 

Why don’t we spend more time being quiet and still and listening to God? Maybe because it can be a little scary. Maybe because we’re afraid we’ll fail. Maybe because it requires a loss of control. But listening to God is life-changing prayer.

I believe God is always speaking, even though His voice is not audible. Our part is to be still and quiet enough to listen. We have to quiet our thoughts to listen with our spiritual ears—and hear His still, small voice deep in our heart. We might do this by meditating on a few words of Scripture, listening to quiet worship music, using focused breathing, or by spending time in nature. 

Try writing what He says to you in a prayer journal. Don’t try to judge it in the moment. Just get it down on paper. Then later you can go back and reflect on what you wrote. 

What does God’s voice sound like? 

My experience is this: God’s words will often take me by surprise and sound like nothing I could have come up with on my own. There is a sense of “flow” coming from deep in my being. They bring peace and comfort. I hear authority in God’s voice. Even if His words convict, they do so with love and compassion. They strengthen me and give me hope. They will always align with Scripture or take the form of Scripture.

Our own thoughts usually come from somewhere in the vicinity of our head. They tend to be logical and predictable. Most of us are pretty familiar with our own thoughts. They often run in circles and get us nowhere.

Satan’s voice can be tricky, but you can learn to tell the difference. This voice brings negative emotions: fear, anger, hopelessness, condemnation, bitterness, etc. It might sound good on the surface, but you can spot it by the rotten fruit it produces. It accuses and twists the truth. Satan loves to use words like “always” and “never” and work us into a frenzy—the opposite of the peace of God. His words twist in our gut and can feel like they come from that area of the body. 

Jesus is the Good Shepherd and His sheep know His voice. So spend some time with Him today. Learn to listen to Him and to recognize His glorious voice. 

What helps you listen to God? How do you identify His voice? Have you ever tried keeping a prayer journal?


Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

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About The Author

Dina Sleiman

In addition to being an award-winning Christian novelist, Dina Sleiman takes great pleasure in serving the least of these through her work at Operation Blessing. This wife, mother, and grandmother loves travel, nature, dance, bungee fitness, and—of course—writing.

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