John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Now, I'm sure everyone who considers themselves a follower of Jesus prays every day. You do pray every day don't you? Actually, Paul says we should pray continuously (1 Th. 5:12), and I've found that's a very good idea considering the conditions of the world we live in.
Now when you pray, I'm also sure you do all the normal things. Praise God, thank Him, confess your sins, lay out your burdens and ask for what you need. In Jesus name, and all that, then off you go to do your day-to-day business. All good. But not enough.
Some people think God never answers their prayers. (I have a suspicion that some others may say that people like me don't hear from the Lord, because they never do.) Let me give you a clue about something. If you want to hear from the Lord, it's not enough to just TALK to Him.. YOU ALSO HAVE TO LISTEN!
I think a lot of people don't listen because they don't really believe the Lord will talk back. He's off in heaven, ya know? Why would He be talking to me? NO. He is right here, right now, and wants to talk to you.
Jeremiah 22:21 I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear. This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice.
I think some others don't hear from the Lord because they don't want to hear what He has to say. They might have to CHANGE SOMETHING. OH NO! Well, isn't that what it's all about? None of us is perfect - not even close. So there is a lot of spiritual growing to do and that usually means letting go of some old things and taking on some new things. He knows what needs to change a lot better than we do. So, listen to the Master and do what He says! Simple, huh?
1 Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet…
There is one other thing that is probably the hardest of all to do, at least for me. If you are like me, you have this running commentary going on inside your head all the time. You are thinking about what you did last night, or what you have to do today, or worried about tomorrow. That kind of stuff. The head is just filled with this chatter all the time.
Ever notice how hard it is to listen to someone when you are talking also? We have to SHUT-UP in order to listen. This means we have to quiet the mind, let the world go on about its business without us for a while, so that we can just be quiet. Shhhhhh… Be very, very quiet. That's when you start to hear His voice. If you don't quiet your mind, your own thoughts, and possibly whisperings of the adversary, will get in the way. You don't know if it's the Lord speaking or just your own vain imagination and desires.
Deuteronomy 1:43-45 So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and went presumptuously up into the hill. And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah. And ye returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD would not hearken to your voice, nor give ear unto you.
Want to know what happens to God's children when they don't listen? They get smacked. Sometimes, they get smacked pretty hard. Think about that for awhile. What's worse, is that the Lord may ignore your words to Him. After all, if you won't listen to Him, why should He listen to you? If you don't listen, sometimes He will send a prophet to help remind you. Generally, when a prophet shows up and you don't listen, that's when you get smacked.
So remember: pray, then sit quietly and listen.
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.