How can I empty my mind of all the useless thoughts I have so I can hear God speaking to me? I want to be close to God and feel His presence, but I have a hard time getting rid of all the distractions in my mind. — J.W.H.
The most important thing I can tell you is that God loves you and wants you to know Him in a personal way and listen to His Word. The psalmist said, "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless" (Psalm 18:30). These words are just as true today as when the psalmist wrote them almost 3,000 years ago.
But how does God communicate with us? He doesn't do it in a vacuum—by waiting for us to empty our minds, and then implanting some new thought or feeling into our minds. After all, if you did somehow empty your mind of all its stray thoughts, how would you know that your next thought was from God? The truth is, you wouldn't. It might be just another stray thought bubbling up from your unconscious, or even something from the devil.
Instead, God has already spoken to us in words we can understand—and those words are in the Bible. Do you want to know what God is like, and if you can know Him personally? Turn to the Bible, and ask God to show you Himself through its pages.
I suggest you begin in one of the Gospels (such as John), because it tells you about Jesus, who (the Bible says) was God in human flesh—the Living Word. He came down from heaven to take away our sins, and by receiving Him into our hearts we become God's children forever. Turn to Jesus, for only He can satisfy the hunger you have in your heart for God.