James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak . . . (KJV).
There are times when believers have a difficult time hearing God's voice, especially when they are first learning how to listen. Sometimes they will ask, "Why is it taking me so long to hear His voice?" One thing to remember is that God does practice what He preaches, so to speak. Anything He asks of us to do, He already does Himself. That means when He says, "Be swift to hear," He's already listening before we begin to speak. He is the Best Listener there is; in fact, He listens so well that He knows what we are going to say before we say it . Sometimes people are so concerned with what they are going to say that they fail to listen. Some believe that by talking a lot they are going to get His attention, as if they can earn it. We already have His attention if we have a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus Himself said, "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking" (Matthew 6:7, KJV). Coming unto Him does not necessarily mean we have to say very much, but we would be well served if we are prepared to listen. If we want to shorten the time it takes to hear God's voice, perhaps a first step is being quick to listen, which means, we want to prepare our hearts to listen before we even begin.
Agendas are a very funny thing. When people have their own agenda, they are usually less apt to listen to what someone else has to say. This also pertains to our relationship with the Father. When we have our own agenda, we may not be as sensitive to hear what is on His heart, especially if what He has to say does not coincide with our agenda. Jesus also said that when we pray we are to include, "Thy will be done in earth as it is heaven." This means that we want to see if our agenda coincides with His will as we seek Him out. Another step in hearing His voice is to put away our agendas until the proper time.
This next one is a big one: not being willing to listen to what He has to say. The Bible tells us that the things recorded in Scripture are also written for our examples. One of those examples that can be found in Ezekiel 12:2: "Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house" (KJV). Even though God had spoke to the children of Israel numerous times by His prophets, they could not hear what He had to say because they were stubborn -they simply would not listen, so they could not hear. If one is refusing to listen to what He has to say, he will not hear His voice unless he repents. If you happen to be one who refuses to listen to what God has to say to you, the question is: "Why?" Could it be that you are afraid of what He has to say? For some, this is a trust issue. In some cases, they simply don't want to be asked to do something they don't want to do. Agendas are a funny thing!
Still another reason believers have a hard time hearing is that they are looking for instruction instead of a relationship. They simply want the Lord to tell them what do next. Interestingly, some already have been given instructions, but have failed to follow through with what was given. Maybe if they complete the first set of instructions, another set will be forth coming. But this is a digression. People confuse activity with relationship when it comes to God. The reality is that instructions should flow out of the relationship. Seek Him first; not instruction, then His voice will be heard.
Some think that waiting long periods of time to hear the voice of God makes one spiritual. Granted, there are times when people have had to press in for a season, but sometimes that is the result of getting rid of the distractions of the mind, or perhaps heart issues. What we do does not make us spiritual; what we do is the result of being spiritual. If a person enters in with the mind-set that they have to wait a long period of time to hear His voice, chances are it will be. Similar to what Jesus said, "As your faith is, so be it unto you." Another key to hearing His voice is not putting a time element to it. Let His voice come in His timing. You might be surprised how quickly you are able to hear.
One final reason to be offered up is unbelief. Some don't believe they can hear His voice, even though Scripture makes it clear that the Father has made the provision by His grace. Grace is the ability to do the things of God, without it would we could not be saved. Please understand that there's a vast difference between refusing to believe and not being sure. Some have been taught not to believe they can hear His voice by well-meaning Christians. Others have had influences that are not conducive to belief, which include close family members and friends. For those who have a hard time with this concept, ask the Lord to reveal the truth, and search the Scriptures to see if it be so. Let the Holy Spirit guide you.