How long have you been waiting for God to answer – for God to move – in your hard season? Sometimes I wonder why God is silent when I need Him most? I’ve heard many sermons offer reasons why God is silent – this post is not about that. Whether God is silent or not is not the point. What do we do and how are we supposed to be still when God is silent?
When God is Silent He is Not Still
First, let me say that When God is silent he is not sill (read more about that here at Desiring God), but again, that is not the point. Sometimes it feels like God is silent like God doesn’t see the big problem or maybe God doesn’t care about the hard season we are in. Can you relate?
Today’s verse shows that we are not alone in thinking God is silent and will help us in finding hope when life seems dark.
“Do not keep silent, O God; Do not hold Your peace or be still, O God.” (Psalm 83:1 AMP)
“Why Has God Forsaken Me?” is okay to ask!
When God is silent during difficult times we need to ask some questions that go deeper than Why God is silent.
The context of Psalm 83:1 is fascinating. Many theologians believe Psalm 83 is written at the time of 2 Chronicle 20 (which as a side note is my favorite passage in the Bible).
The Israelites are on the brink of an invasion where they have zero chance of survival. Where is God? Why hasn’t God stepped in? It feels to them like God is silent, holding his peace, being still. Oh, how hopeless things feel when it seems God is being still or when God seems silent while we are anxious.
When God Was Silent in The Bible
There are times God seems silent in the Bible. So you are not wrong in feeling that way!
God tells us to “be still” but that feels impossible if God is not on the move! When faced with a trial, it seems impossible until it’s done and we see how God was with us?!
This Psalm begins as a prayer… no, not just a prayer actually, but a prayer of desperation. If it is indeed paired with 2 Chronicles 20 we know that they were praying and fasting. Not only were they saying “God I need you”, but “Holy Spirit, if you don’t show up we are done for.”
Impossible Situations Happen
What impossible situation are you waiting for God to move in?
Over the years there have been many impossible in my life. If you are new to HopeJoyInChrist you can read more about:
- How I pleaded with God to save my marriage here
- Why I need God’s help raising a child with special needs here
- How I am in a battle with chronic illness and desperately need God to move in a powerful way in my life.
Through them, when God is completely silent I do more than just pray.
Have you ever taken prayer to the next level and added a time of Fasting?
Fasting is the fastest way to get to the heart of the issue when God is silent during difficult times.
This is part of a 40-day fast together – a fast from time. Giving God our first and our best time to learn how to be still!
Common Reasons God is Silent
I have talked to enough people to notice similar experiences when God’s absence is felt when God is silent during a hard time in your life. We want the light of God, to feel the powerful wind of His voice wash over us, and yet we feel no sense of God anywhere near our hard time. Why?
- Control Issues
- Willful Sin
- Telling God No
In the midst of what I would call the dark night of the soul last year I was praying a lot, but I was so busy I couldn’t hear what He answered. I was doing important things, good things, but there was no space in my mind to listen to the Lord.
Busyness is a common tool the enemy uses in the Christian life to keep us from hearing the voice of our faithful God.
In my own life, distraction was how the enemy kept my heavy heart from hearing the voice of God’s Spirit. When there is just too much hard to face in seasons of life I tend to zone out. I read and escape this harsh reality. There have been years of silence because of entertainment. Why? Because if I don’t think about the hard things I am not taking the hard things to the Lord.
The thing I go back to over and over again when I find myself in a time of silence from The Lord is control. When I am trying to be in control there is a deafening silence on this side of heaven.
I want to hear from Him, I beg and offer desperate pleas for Jesus Christ Himself to intervene, but He will now while I am holding onto control. Anybody else?
Sin creates a separation between us and God. While we do have eternal salvation, when we choose repeated, deliberate, willful unrepentant sin we can feel the cold shoulder of God. It’s crazy how long it often takes me though to realize my own sin is what is driving this desperate need for God to move!
At the heart of the issue of sin is often unforgiveness. When we withhold forgiveness it creates distance between us and God. It is a big topic that we have talked about before so I will leave the link to that study below:
Over and over again in Scripture, we see examples of people being tested by the Lord. He is proving their faith or refining their faith.
During times of testing God’s faithfulness shines out like a beacon of light. His everlasting love carries us through and we grow in faith. But it can feel like Jesus is silent or distant. Someone once told me it is like the teacher who can not answer questions during a test but is right there with you.
Telling God No
Then there are obvious times of God’s silence that come when He has clearly spoken but we have not obeyed. There are times we flat-out tell God, “No.” It is in those seasons when He is simply waiting for us to go back and do the thing He told us to do before. We cry out in desperation for Him to answer, but He is lovingly, patiently waiting on our obedience.
How Do You Hear God’s Voice In Hard Times?
I don’t know about you, but I need to hear the voice of God in my prayer life most in a difficult season! It matters in a believer’s life that we keep the hope of God’s promises alive when life is most challening. Seeking His presence and listening for God’s voice is the first thing I seek.
But, how can we actually learn to “be still” when it seems like God is silent? We need to know what do do when God is silent!
We observe in Psalm 83:1 that prayer matters!
Are you already praying?
Pray harder. Pray as if your life depended on it!
Become a Prayer Warrior! Telling your Big God about your problem causes lots of things to change.
But first, some questions I get when my answer is to pray when what we really want to know is why God is silent.
Questions About Prayer
When God is silent we must keep praying, but that feels pointless sometimes. We all have questions about prayer. Below I will answer some of the questions I get often and share 7 suggestions when God is silent!
Does God hear when you cry out in prayer?
Yes, and He always answers, though His ways and timing are so far beyond what we understand or would choose. Can I get an Amen?!?!?!
If you are asking, “does God hear my cry” know that He really does!
How do I talk to God?
God is relationship-driven.
The practical things you can do to invest in that relationship are to talk to Him and listen to Him through reading the Word of God, meditating on it and being where He often speaks. There is a promise God made that hold Him to again and again.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)
Talk to Him like you talk to a friend like you talk to your dad (if that was a good relationship) like you talk to your husband. But add some awe and fear… because He is also still God.
How to ask God for something?
I advise you to ask it of the Word of God first. Does it go against God’s word? Then ask God to change the desire of your heart to match His.
If it is biblical, ask and keep asking until He answers. Do not make a decision or move until He answers. He will answer.
How to talk to God and hear Him?
I get it. We pray often and it rarely feels like God answers. How do we hear from God when He answers?
Often God answers through scripture, through other people (a song, a preacher, a friend, a radio sermon) and sometimes we hear His still small voice. But if the prayer is about something big I will ask God for a sign that the answer was Him and not just me wishing it to be.
How to ask God for a sign?
LOL, My husband says I’m spoiled by God. I just stubbornly dig my heels in, and refuse to move until God makes it absolutely clear it is Him. Especially if the answer I think I heard sounded too much like me.
Why is God Silent When I Need Him Most?
It does feel like God is silent… Why is God silent in my suffering? I know it feels like that, but is He really?
Often after the fact – WELL after the fact, you can trace His hand. When God is silent He is working! When it feels like HE is silent, keep leaning in and doing the last thing He said to do. And get into a community that allows encouragement to keep you going!
Is Silent Prayer Biblical?
Praying silently. Yes, praying in silence is Biblical.
Unspoken requests, however, I do not see that in Scripture. Remember God is relationally driven. He wants to hear from you specifically and He wants us in real relationships with people who know our real stuff… so I am not sure unspoken requests bear much weight in the prayer realm.
Related: God in the Silence Bible Verses
Hearing God in the Silence
Psalm 83:1 is a great Scripture about silence to apply!
We wonder what to do when God is silent, but the reality is that God is with you, always with you. Prayer is a way to talk to Him about the problem you are facing. The beauty of prayers in the Psalms is that they begin with the fear of the big problem and end in awe of how powerful God is.
The Psalmist calls upon God to defend His Name and show Himself big enough to defend His People from their real enemies.
We see that theme in many Bible characters, especially King David who endured many difficult seasons. He walked through the seeming silence of God and prayed and praised in many different ways. Through his example, just living out his real feelings in everyday life we learn how to endure times of silence and still seek God’s presence through prayer, fasting, and praise!
Related Post: How To Study Bible Characters
What Is Happening When God Is Silent?
Oftentimes I think God’s silence is a prompt to lean in and pray harder… to remember who He is.
Prayer helps me remember who God is, and what God has done in the past and brings me peace to be still in the storm. That is how I endure a season of silence in my own life, by holding tight to the promise of God that I can always seek the presence of God!
God is not absent! Lean into Him in the silence!!!!!!!
Prayer is trusting that God will answer and fight for you at the right time. Trust in God’s love and God’s ability to answer your specific request even if you have been praying for a long time.
When you pray you are not complaining or worrying – you are being still.
When it feels like God is silent we need to remember to pray and be still. Hearing God in the silence is a skill you hone – a Spiritual discipline. Don’t believe me? Just search out more Bible verses on silence.
A Prayer to Be Still When God is Silent
Jehovah, My Heavenly Father,
Jesus Christ, Most High over all the earth. I trust You. You have been faithful every time I’ve brought my needs to You. Forgive my doubting. I believe, help my unbelief.
It feels like you are silent, my soul feels dry, Lord I need You. Speak into this desert season. I confess my doubt and my fear and my anxiety over the change and the hard things that just won’t go away. Forgive me. Change my heart to Be Still, to trust in You even when it’s hard, even when I don’t understand, even when you feel far away and silent.
Please speak. Show me the way to walk. Give me direction and wisdom about how to move forward. I feel stuck, alone, afraid, and under attack. Fight over me. Hide me under the Shadow of Your Wing through the eye of this storm. O Lord, to You, be all the Glory.
Pray Bold Prayers When God is Silent
Some final thoughts on Psalm 83:1. Your problems and my problems are rarely as big as a multitude of armies storming our city to wipe our nation from the face of the Earth. Poor Israel! Why is it they can never have peace?
My problems are rarely big enough to threaten God’s Name but God cares about me. God cares about you and what you care about (1 Peter 5:7).
We can come boldly before the throne room of grace and ask for help in our time of need. Let me be sure you read that right…
Right up to God’s Throne
Ask for Help
He told you that you could! We need help remembering though… I do. Do you? How can I pray for you today?
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