There are some keys to hearing God's voice that I have neglected lately, and I am grateful for being reminded of them.
1. Feed on God's Word to prepare your spirit to hear God's voice
"The entrance of your Word gives light, it brings understanding to the simple". (Ps 119:130)
If we only give time to prayer – even prayer in the Spirit, but little time to the reading of and meditating on God's Word, we have an imbalanced spiritual diet and we will miss out on the LIGHT that can only come by means of the Word of God – the Scriptures – entering our hearts.
This requires an expectant attitude on our part. We need to read the Bible expecting and believing that it will do us GOOD. Honoring God's Word like this will prepare our spirits to receive revelation.
2. Don't try to hard
When we set aside time to pray and hear God's voice but we do it in a tense, or uptight way we may easily miss out. Eventually the fear of NOT hearing God's voice can bring us into unbelief.
We need to be willing to relax with God. And trust Him. We need to trust that He will speak. Perhaps not at the time we set aside specifically for that purpose – but certainly some time during the day.
When we are trying too hard – perhaps through many hours of praying in the Spirit or by some other means, paradoxically, we can miss God. I think this is because a kind of "works mentality" can creep into our praying. As if "I've now earned the right to hear from God" because I prayed so long. Well, God will resist that kind of thinking. We need to realise that if the Creator of the Universe gives us any kind of spiritual understanding, it is PURE GRACE. It is the kind action of One who is Infinitely superior to us just reaching down and blessing us because He loves us and wants to.
3. Recognise the Character of God's Voice
When God speaks to His children, there is a normally gentle nudge, a certain inward knowing, and often a kind of joy! There will generally be an inner peace, confidence and sureness that will accompany God's voice.
Satan tries to imitate God's voice, but usually his thoughts and suggestions bring with them confusion, fear, uncertainty, a sense of personal condemnation, anxiety and the like. If what we are thinking about brings this kind of fruit, we can be pretty sure we are not hearing our Loving Father speak to us by His Spirit.