Hearing God's Voice: Are You Ready to Listen? Hearing God's voice is something we all long for, but did you know that it's not hard to do?
In fact, God wants you to hear His voice! Hearing the voice of God is as natural as hearing your best friend talk to you. We can hear Him every day, and not just on special occasions. He speaks to us in the natural moments of life. If you want to hear God's voice, then you must be ready to listen.
Hearing God's Voice: Why Do You Want to Hear Him? Why do you want to hear God's voice? Motives are important in anything we do. The Bible says this about God's Word:
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)
If you have the desire to hear from Him, it's possible you're hearing Him already, for He may be the one giving you the longing to hear Him.
Ways of Hearing God's voice:
1) Hearing God's Voice in the Bible In his book Knowing God, J. I. Packer says, "God has spoken to man, and the Bible is His Word, given to us to make us wise unto salvation."
The Bible declares, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). In another place, we read: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16).
You may hear some people incorrectly say that the Bible is just a book written by men; but the Bible itself claims to be God's Word. We can rely on it. The evidence of history, archaeology, fulfilled prophecy and personal testimony over thousands of years is overwhelming proof that the Bible is, God's Word. If you want to hear God's voice; read the Bible. Find a good daily bible reading plan, and stick to it.
2) Hearing God's Voice through Prayer When you want to have a conversation with someone, do you stand in front of the person and hope they will talk to you? We usually begin a conversation by saying something to them and getting the other person's attention. It's the same with God. He loves to hear us talk to Him, and it's in those moments that we prepare ourselves to hear the voice of God. Prayer is like saying, "Hello, God, it's me. I believe You created me, and that You know more than I do about how I should live my life. I'd like to get to know You better. Here's what's going on in my life, and I'd sure like Your thoughts on how to handle it. Would You please speak to me?"
In an ordinary conversation, we speak, then listen for the response of the other person. It's the same with God. Once we've prepared our hearts to listen through prayer, we're more likely to hear the voice of God. God does not usually speak to us in an audible voice, so we may not actually "hear" the voice of God. But, He speaks to us in many ways:
God speaks through His Word
God speaks through our thoughts
God speaks through conversations with others
God speaks through circumstances
3) Hearing God's Voice through Jesus The Bible also tells us that Jesus is God in the flesh. Therefore, if you want to hear the voice of God, you must study and know the teachings of Jesus.
Here's how John describes Him: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of life" (1 John 1:1).
We need a personal relationship with Jesus. It would be difficult to carry on a conversation with a person we didn't know.
Shortly before He was crucified, Jesus met with His disciples to reassure them of what would happen after He was gone. He promised them a helper: "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you" (John 14:16-17). The Holy Spirit, then, is the fulfillment of a major way we hear God's voice.
4) Hearing God's Voice with the Help of the Holy Spirit:
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26).
The second chapter of Acts describes the events that occurred on the day of Pentecost, after Jesus ascended into Heaven. Verse 3 says they were all filled with the Holy Spirit; the Counselor promised by Jesus. This unique aspect of God's personality did not come to them as someone they could see and touch, but rather He came to live inside them.
That same Spirit is available to us today. We are Christians; so we already have the Holy Spirit available to us. We need to ask God for a fresh filling every day of "Living Water"; and He will prepare our hearts to hear God's voice. His Spirit; that still, small voice inside us, is the One who will remind you of what God said, and help you recognize God's opportunities in your life.
5) Sometimes God Speaks in a Whisper: Did Someone Whisper?
The prophet Elijah had an awesome encounter with God, and it happened at the lowest moment in Elijah's life. The story, in 1 Kings 19, begins with the prophet hiding in a cave.
"Elijah, what are you doing here?"(1Kings 19:9) the Lord asked.
Whispering doesn't work very well if you're speaking to someone who's standing on the other side of the room. God doesn't want a long distance relationship; he wants a close, intimate one.
Exhausted and deeply sad, Elijah explained, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”(1 Kings 19:10)
Elijah was ready to call it quits. So what did the Lord ask him to do? Something a little odd, actually. The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” (1 Kings 19:11)
Elijah obeyed. (1 Kings 19:11) 11...Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.12After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.13When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
No doubt Elijah wondered what would come next: A lightning bolt? A flood? A volcanic eruption?
Then a voice whispered to him, “...What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:13) Elijah repeated his earlier answer. Then, the Lord gave Elijah specific instructions and told him that he wasn't the only one refusing to worship idols. Seven thousand others had not left God to follow Baal. Keep in mind that God whispered. To hear someone's whisper; you need to be near him or her. Whispering doesn't work very well if you're speaking to someone who's standing on the other side of the room. God doesn't want a long distance relationship; he wants a close, intimate one.
How to Hear a Whisper:
Five ways to begin to hear and recognize God's voice:
Have a seeking heart: In the Old Testament, David had this kind of heart. He once wrote, 1You, God, are my God, 2earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1, NIV). If you want to hear God's voice, you need to seek him like David. Be honest with him. Tell him any frustrations, fears or doubts you may have about hearing from him. Ask him to give you ears to hear, and eyes to see, the ways he is speaking to you. Ask him for the ability to recognize the difference between his voice, and your thoughts.
Read your Bible: When you study the Bible, you open yourself up to the very heart and personality of God. As you study the Scripture, keep your eyes open for teachings and stories that reveal who God is, and what he is like. Ask him to help you understand, and apply what you're reading.
Be a good listener: Hearing God's voice requires one major thing: listening. While it may sound easy, actually making time to sit still can be a challenge in a super busy world. It is hard to get quiet and even harder to stay that way. Prayer often gets interrupted by a the phone ringing, or someone at the door. Hearing from God is about more than just turning off the cell phone, and getting away from doors. It requires a quiet heart. It means becoming still enough on the inside despite the craziness on the outside.
Practice patience: All of this takes time, effort, and patience. Learning to hear, recognize, and understand, the ways God speaks doesn't happen overnight. It may take several years before you're completely comfortable with hearing and recognizing God's voice. No matter how long it takes, be confident that he has heard your prayers and will respond.
Obey God: Hearing from God doesn't mean much if we don't obey. But many people constantly wonder if what they hear is really from God. This keeps them from taking action. The fear of being wrong prevents them from ever having the opportunity to be right.
Remember, God looks at the heart. When He sees you stepping out in faith, even if you're heading in the wrong direction; He can lovingly correct you, pointing you in the right direction.
Through a pattern of obedience, you begin to develop a confidence and assurance, that you really have heard from God. You can't really explain it fully because it's internal. Someone may ask how you know that you're supposed to do something in particular. You respond, "I can just sense it inside. I just know."
You just know, and the reason you know: You have been building a deep and growing friendship with God. It's a relationship so close that you can't help but hear that gentle whisper.
Hearing God's Voice: Conclusion of the Matter So we have the Bible; prayer; Jesus; the Holy Spirit; our own hearts; and whispers, to help us in hearing God's voice. God responds to willing hearts. In the book of Revelation, we read: "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20). That is the word of God.