A few weeks ago, I posted about the question – Does God want to talk to me? – YES is the answer. This week is a continuation of this thought – How do you hear God’s voice?
If you check out my website regularly, you will see that last week my Book of the month is Loren Cunningham’s “Is that Really you God?” It has two key messages. The first being the story of how Youth With A Mission – YWAM came into being. But the other more useful one for every reader is the stories Loren shares about the different ways he heard from God and acted on what he heard.
Hearing God’s voice is different for everyone because we are all different. But God is, thankfully, the same; he’s a master communicator. God speaks every language, verbal and primarily non-verbal. He will use a limitless variety of ways to communicate with us, so don’t try to put yourself or Him in a box as to the form/ method to speak to you.
Sometimes I would really love it if He would just write clearly on a wall what He wants me to do. It would make life so much easier. Check out Daniel 5 if you want to know the details of why God did precisely that – wrote on a wall.
But that’s not how God usually works. Our heavenly Father is all about relationship. He wants to share in every area of your life. He loves to hear you share about all things, as well as get to know all of who He is. From a beautiful sunset – showing the wonder of nature which you can enjoy together. To seeing a stranger through His eyes and how you can bless them with a simple word or gift is just what they needed.
The bible has many, many examples of God communicating with an individual to a whole community. Here is a link to download a pdf of a list of biblical examples of ways God has spoken to people.
But first, let’s look at the simplest way of hearing God.
We need to give God our time and attention.
In our busy, noisy lives, where there are so many things grabbing our visual and auditory attention, it’s not a surprise that God’s voice is hard to find above it all. Therefore we need to position ourselves to give God our full attention.
“I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” [NIV]
But the Message version gives a nice twist to help our human side
“What’s God going to say to my questions? I’m braced for the worst. I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I’ll wait to see what God says, how he’ll answer my complaint.”
When starting out in being intentional to want to hear God’s voice. I suggest we need to be like Habbakuk – to take ourselves to a place where we are ready to hear God. My place is a quieter space. It can be in my room, office, a park bench, where I’m away from other people. Because I want to give my full attention to God. So where do you like to relax, be alone with your thoughts or read your bible?
Get yourself ready to hear. Do you need to put your phone on silent and away from your hands? But perhaps have a bible, notebook and pen with you. Or however you prefer to read God’s work and record your thoughts.
Then pray, asking/ inviting God to come to be with you and that you want to hear what He wants to say to you. This isn’t for God’s benefit – as He’s already there (since He is omnipresent). But it’s for you. To intentionally invite God to join you and open yourself up mentally, emotionally and spiritually to be ready to hear.
Start the conversation
If you were sitting with a friend, you both wouldn’t sit there in silence. That’s more like being with someone rather than communicating with them.
So ask God a question. Habakkuk was looking for a response to a particular situation. So share what it is that you’d like to hear God’s thoughts on. Or ask your Father what he thinks about you. Or an even more open question – what would He like for you to discuss today.
Just as you would when talking with a friend, you can either share a lot at the start and then wait for their response or ask them a question for them to share more first—your choice.
Then wait for God’s response. But be active in your listening skills.
Habakkuk looked to see what God will say – so he paid attention to the things he could see – to see if God was highlighting something, in particular, to then use that to speak more.
In 1 Kings 19: 7-18 – Elisa walked then waited in a cave on the mountain for God to pass by (not saying this is what you have to do). But several things happened before Elisa recognised it was God. (e.g. wind, earthquake, fire). But it was a still small voice that was God.
A lot of the time, God’s response comes to me very quickly. As in a couple of seconds. I am a visual learner – so it’s often in the form of a picture. But other times it’s a feeling or a phrase from the bible, or I’m reminded of a situation or person.
God’s quiet voice to me is often in my head. It sound’s like my voice – but is so, so much kinder, loving and with confidence and wisdom. I have learned through practice to know the difference between my thoughts and His thoughts. You will too.
I then take that initial picture/ word… and I ask God more about it. What does the picture mean? I search for that phrase in the bible to see what else it says around it. I pay attention to the feeling and ask God to expand it or put words to it for the what and why. Or what is it about that person/ situation that God wants to specifically share more on?
I also write these things down. So I can process it while writing or as I write more comes, or so I can look back over it with God to see what else He’d like to add. I ask God more questions about it.
Then I ask God what I should do with what I’ve heard. Sometimes it’s to pray for that person or situation for God to move/ do. Or I need to go to someone and share what God’s put on my heart for them, e.g. a word of encouragement or start a discussion to help them process something.
Do I need to repent for something I’ve done wrong?
Is it to speak out praise and thankfulness for what God has done or just who He is?
Do I need to think about how to apply this new revelation into my everyday life? Is there something I need to stop doing or start doing something?
Do I need to talk to someone else for help in processing a situation or thing that’s happened?
Or do I just need to enjoy with God what He’s shared with me? To appreciate the time together and what I’ve found out about Him and/ or myself?
Hearing from God becomes easier with lots of practice. You will learn to quickly recognise when God is speaking to you or trying to show you something. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you become more sensitive to his guiding help. The more you say yes to God, the easier it is to hear Him. But if you’re struggling to hear Him after a while, I would highly suggest reading the Feature Article I wrote last year – 10 Hindrances to hearing God’s voice. Go through each one to see if something you’re doing or not doing needs to be sorted.
My prayer for you
Father, I pray for each person who wants to hear your voice. Help them to recognise your voice. Help them continue to talk with you in different ways and situations to develop their relationship with God. I love how you want to speak with me more than I do with you. Thank you for your patience and perseverance with me. And how you are always there to listen and chat any time of day or night. May they too, know how amazing you are. Fill them with your presence, love and peace.
In Jesus name – AMEN
My next blog will be on – How do you know if you’ve heard God’s voice – and what to do with it.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject and any questions you might have. So contact me either through the Forum section – Ask Patience. Or message me on Instagram, Facebook or email me.