God Has Competition

Here’s a common question I’ve been asked over the years: “I don’t seem to hear from God like many people say they do. Why?”

There could be several answers to that question, but allow me to answer it with a question: “What other voices in your life is God competing against?”

I believe God desires to speak to us, to communicate with us constantly. When we stop to consider who else desires to speak to us, it’s rather eye-opening, explains how important it is to lend our ear to the voices that matter.

To answer the “what other voices” question, here’s a suggestion. Get out a piece of paper or open a digital notetaking app. Make these three headings at the top: Spiritual, Physical, Digital. Then start listing the voices attempting to speak into your life under each heading.

Be brutally honest. For example, don’t avoid listing all spiritual voices that desire to speak into your life. To deny the existence and working of demonic forces actually shows they are ahead of you. Acknowledging their existence provides a means for God to speak to you as your protector and defender.

As for the physical heading, focus on human relationships. Again, be brutally honest. Include the good and the bad voices that have some level of authority in your life. List them all. This list should be pretty lengthy if you consider them all. By the way, go ahead and list yourself. You probably listen to you more than anyone else.

That third category, digital, may seem weird to consider. Basically, all things visual and audio are speaking into our lives simply by their presence. From TV to movies to apps to music to texts to emails to blogs to videos, list them all.

Finished yet? What’s that list look like? How does that help frame God’s competition?

What I have found in my listening for God is the need to silence his competition.

The fewer voices speaking the better odds He will be heard.

The fewer voices speaking the louder His voice seems.

The fewer voices speaking the easier to attune to the one that matters most.

Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

Praying Your Desires

James points out a couple of issues in prayer in chapter four.

You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war. You do not have because you do not ask. (James 4:2, CSB)

Issues: Lack of right motive and lack of asking

What if we addressed both issues simultaneously? Here’s a suggestion how:

  1. Write down your top five desires
  2. Ask God to check your motives behind each desire
  3. Edit the list as needed
  4. Then pray over the list

I did this exercise today. Here’s what I realized:

  • What I listed as my desires were not things I have regularly been praying for
  • The act of writing down my desires while asking the Holy Spirit what he thought about them made checking my motives easier and, as a result of having already invited him into the exercise, made prayer a normal, flowing, and immediate outcome

Give yourself fifteen minutes to try this exercise this weekend and see how yours goes. Let’s go after praying our desires.