Seek God in solitude and silence. Spend enough time in silence and solitude regularly so you can concentrate well and quiet your spirit in order to better hear God’s Spirit speaking to you. Plan a spiritual retreat – for a few hours, a few days, or even longer – to seek God through prayer when you’re alone in a quiet place. Meditate on Scripture when you’re silent. Invite God to use your times of solitude and silence to give you His peace, so you’ll be changed for the better once you interact with people again.

Tune in during all types of situations. Don’t limit your perception of God at work to just certain types of situations in your life, such as when you’re in church. Make an effort to notice Him in every situation you encounter, tuning in so you can hear Him speak at work; through your relationships with family, friends and other people; in your leisure time; when you’re studying; as you’re doing chores; when you’re enjoying nature; etc. Open a Bible and invite God to speak to you through it. Think and pray about how He might be using current circumstances to speak to you. Be open to however and whenever God wants to say something to you. Ask Him to help you become more aware of His voice.

Look for the lessons in the silence. Realize that God may be doing some of His most significant spiritual work in you during the times He’s silent. Let the silence motivate you to seek Him more, and depend on Him more when you do find Him. If you become aware that you can’t hear God because you’ve been involved with sin that’s blocking your relationship with Him, repent and ask Him to forgive you. Be grateful that He has given you time to do so; realize that His silence while you’re in rebellion is an act of mercy. If God’s silence signals that you need to wait on His timing for something, pray for patience and the strength to hold onto faith. If you’ve become complacent in your relationship with God, use the time He’s silent to pursue Him with greater passion. If a time of pain has preoccupied you, remember that God is with you in the midst of the pain working toward your ultimate good, and seek Him in the silence. If God has already spoken to you about something, but you haven’t listened and responded in obedience, He may be silent until you respond – so do so. Realize that God’s silence on specific issues may mean that you’re free to decide for yourself from among many choices that all would fall within His will. Understand that God’s silence may be a natural pause as He works out His long-term plans for your life; decide to trust Him as He works behind the scenes. Remember that His timing and methods may be different from what you’d prefer, but He always knows best.

Hold on in faith. Trust that God will redeem the time He seems silent in your life.  Know that your greatest spiritual victories may come when you’re least aware of them; expect something amazing to eventually result if you hold onto your faith through a time of silence.

Adapted from Silent God: Finding Him When You Can’t Hear His Voice, copyright 2007 by Joseph Bentz. Published by Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, Kansas City, Mo., www.beaconhillbooks.com
Joseph Bentz is the award-winning author of five books and numerous articles in magazines and scholarly journals. He is professor of English at Azusa Pacific University, where he teaches courses in writing and American literature. He earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in American literature from Purdue University and a B.A. in English from Olivet Nazarene University. He lives with his wife and two children in Southern California.