What Do You Do When God Seems Silent?

Contributing Writer
What Do You Do When God Seems Silent?

Have you ever prayed with intensity for something and at the end of the prayer all you got was silence? Maybe you have even prayed, and it felt like all your prayer did was hit the ceiling and bounce right back.

If you have felt this way, all I can say is – welcome to the club. You are not alone because many believers have been in this position where God seems silent. So what do you do and how do you handle this? I am going to give you some answers to this question, however they come with a caveat. It may be a lot easier to know what to do then it is to do it.

If you are in the place right now where God seems silent, then what you need is encouragement. For that reason, I am glad you are here because that is my only objective in writing this article.

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Why Does the Silence of God Matter?

woman wondering looking up doubting

I had to stop and think for a moment – why does God’s silence matters so much to us? The only reason the silence of God matters is because there is a pressing need or concern you have. There is something happening in your life that requires God to intervene. It could be a situation that has reached a point where you don’t know what to do and you are desperate for God’s help. Maybe you are praying for someone and the more you pray the worse they get. 

Sometimes there is a longing in your heart for something you desire, and the answer seems like it is never going to come. Whatever your pressing issue is, the bottom line is you need God to say something or do something.

When you look at the Scripture, David understood your plight. Listen to his words from the Psalms.

“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’
and my foes will rejoice when I fall”

(Psalm 13:1-6).

If David is speaking your feelings, then you can give me an amen, but what do you do with this? From here forward, the challenge and the encouragement begin. Like I said before, this is what to do – which is the encouragement – but doing it is the challenge.

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5 Things to Do When God Seems Silent

business woman praying for better days ahead

1. Be Honest

What I love about David’s prayer is he was honest about his feelings and emotions and was not afraid to share them with the Lord. I don’t know what you have learned about prayer, but the first thing that should always be taught about prayer is be honest about how you feel. You can feel comfortable because not only can God handle your feelings, he encourages you to share them. Remember this verse:

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

You should always approach God in complete honesty sharing your exact feelings, worries, and anxieties with him. The truth is he knows how you feel anyway, so this is not a revelation to him. Your honesty in prayer is another form of trusting God with everything – yes even your frustrations. Rather than carrying your frustration, release them and tell God how you are feeling. Remember he is your Heavenly Father, you can go to him with how you feel and regardless of what anyone else has told you, he won’t rebuke you for your feelings. 

2. Make Sure You Are in Alignment 

Sometimes our prayers go unanswered because what we want is not aligning with what God wants. How many times have you gone before God asking, but then in your mind you have figured out exactly the way the answer should come and how God should move? What if that doesn’t work? If God is not moving, then maybe you need to go back and ask one simple question. Does my request align with his will? 

So often in prayer we focus on asking, believing, and receiving. While these are important, by far the greatest ingredient necessary to get prayers answered and to experience an open heaven is to align your will with God’s will. Doing this one thing alone may force you to change your perspective and could be the key to you hearing from God.

To align yourself means you align not just your prayer with God’s will, but everything else as well. This could mean praying for and helping your enemy instead of trying to bring them down. It could mean loving and caring for your wife. It could also mean the thing you desire is not part of God’s plan for your life, and you just haven’t accepted it yet. It can be easy to come into prayer with the posture of “God give me what I want.” However, what we should be praying is “God give me what you want.”

To be clear, I am not saying your request is not in alignment, what I am saying is make sure it is.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

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3. Be Faithful in What You Know to Do

Man kneeling in submission

Sometimes God is silent on what the next step is for you to take. When this happens there is only one thing you can do – be faithful in the steps he has already shown you. You should trust the last promise, the last instruction, or the last word you have received until you get further clarity. If God seems silent, that does not mean you stop doing what you know to do. It means you remain faithful to what you know to do.

Consider the story of Joseph in Genesis. When he was young, God gave him a dream that didn’t win over the hearts of his family. His brothers flat out didn’t like him. Eventually this dream led to him being sold as a slave, lied about, and thrown in prison. However, when you read Joseph’s story, he remained faithful to God through all these challenges. I am sure he had his moments like David, thinking God have you forgotten about me, yet he remained faithful to what he knew to do to honor God. If God seems silent and is not revealing anything new to you now, remain faithful to what he has already revealed to you.

4. Trust in God’s Faithfulness to You

After pouring out his frustration to God David makes a switch in the Psalm in verse 5.

“But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation”

(Psalm 13:5).

The one thing David had with God was history. He could look back and see God’s faithfulness to him throughout his life. This caused him to be certain of God’s love for him despite what he was going through.

Sometimes the immediate situation can cause you to forget how much God loves you. But just like David, you have history with God. God has proven himself in your life over the years. If you stop and think, I am sure you can remember the moments where God has shown his faithfulness to you. This is what you must trust in. When God seems silent, the temptation is to believe his love for you has changed or he doesn’t care. If this should happen to you, then you must return to the place where God demonstrated his love for you. The place where he proved once and for all how much he cares for you and about you.

That place is the cross. The cross will stand throughout all eternity as the evidence God loves you and he cares about you. When God seems silent and your situation seems unchanging, cling to the cross, trust his faithfulness and remember how much God really loves you.

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5. Sing of His Goodness

a person playing a guitar and a person holding a Bible

When you go back to this Psalm there is one last thing David mentions.

“I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me”

(Psalm 13:6).

When God seems silent, open your mouth and begin singing his praises. When you do this, you are reminding yourself of his goodness to you and you are encouraging yourself in the Lord. I know you may not feel like doing this, but there is something that happens when you sing God’s praises in the middle of the trial. If you don’t do this, then you can end up forgetting God’s goodness in the past because of what you are dealing with in the present.

When you sing of his goodness, it causes you to remember his love and faithfulness in your life. I can say with confidence if you do this, it will lead you to rejoice and will carry you through those moments when God seems silent. 

Final Thought

As I said at the beginning, when God seems silent it is not easy to endure. In fact, none of the things I shared with you will necessarily speed up the clock or quicken God’s timing. They are not designed to do that. However, what they will do is build your endurance, align you with God’s will for your life and help you to remain faithful until God intervenes.

As you move forward, when you face the moments where God seems silent – and they will come – you don’t be. Keep obeying, trusting, rejoicing, and singing until God comes through on your behalf. Know for sure he is working even when you can’t see it and he will come through for you.

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Clarence Haynes 1200x1200Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. His most recent book is The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. Clarence is also committed to helping 10,000 people learn how to study the Bible and has just released his first Bible study course called Bible Study Basics. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com