Hearing God through Prayer
For those who do not have a good knowledge of the Bible it is important to consult with someone who has stronger biblical knowledge and can help you test your discernment against what the Bible says. I have a good knowledge of the Bible and I know the type of encouragement and conviction that comes from it. The following is something that develops over time after cultivating a faithful relationship with God.
Prayer should include thankfulness to God. Most people have at least a few things to be thankful to God for, our salvation, God's provision, or other blessings that God provides. Focusing on the blessing in our lives can relieve the pain from area in our life that don't reflect the ideal.
Allowing conviction through prayer. When we bring a complaint to God and stay silent in an attitude of prayer and willingness to hear God, then God can speak what we need to hear into our situation. Some examples of how I have seen God provide conviction through prayer.
Prayer: "God, my spouse doesn't do anything right. I don't know how to deal with this."
Possible Response: "Is that really true? Didn't your spouse do this good thing? Are you being too hard on them?"
Prayer: "God, why am I married to this person? They are so hard to live with."
Possible Response: Positive qualities of the spouse.
Prayer: "Why won't these people help me with this thing I want done?"
Possible Response: "What if I called you to do it? Why are you asking someone else?"
Prayer can also help with issues of pain like loneliness, whether someone is married or unmarried this can still be an issue. One of person shared with me how she responds positively in prayer to feelings of loneliness.
"I feel sorry for myself for being lonely. I acknowledge my legitimate pain, and move on. I actually do physical things to help me move on (weight and style goals), and if I think of a problem I can’t solve, I do not dwell on it. ... I choose to not dwell on them and feel sorry for myself. Anything I can do, I do. Anything I don’t know how to solve or is a huge mystery, I pray and try to move on. If I can’t, I ask God if it’s an idol in my life. It’s not a easy because it feels like you’re just telling people to not be sad. How is that even possible? It’s not. Live in that sadness for a small amount of time, and then do what it takes to move on. Attack jealousy, depression, comparison, isolation, etc. with prayers."
It's also good to pray honestly about our feelings to God. If this seems odd to you then writing it out can help.
Honest prayer: "God I'm so angry I just feel like I'm going to lose it." Share your feelings honestly and your anger about the situation and then ask God what he wants you to focus on.
Honest prayer: "God I'm angry that my spouse wants (doesn't want) kids. I feel..." Tell God why you feel this way and ask him what he wants you to focus on.
If you feel like God is asking you to trust him you can be honest with him about why you don't want to trust him.
We can never know why sometimes God is silent, but I think sometimes it is because he is asking us to wait and other times the decision may be up to us.
If you have resources or thoughts on what helps you hear from God please share them.
If you are experiencing a situation that involves abuse and are seeking help in discerning God's will I would encourage you to read about Submission and Abuse.