One of the primary ways we connect with God and experience the joy of his presence is when we hear him speaking to us. Learning to hear his voice and move from praying at God to having a conversation with God allows to experience a new level of intimacy with him. Think of it as the evolution of the relationship moving us from subjects offering prayers to a king to sons and daughters having a conversation with our father.
King David, who was known as a man after God’s own heart knew the joy of conversing with God. In Psalm 34:4 he writes, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears” and in verse 6, “This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” What a joy! Can you imagine? The Lord not only hears your cries for help but wants to answer you and give instruction, encouragement, peace and wisdom.
Hearing from God isn’t some special gift reserved for pastors and elders. You don’t have to work at a church, in paid-ministry or on the mission field. There’s not even a requirement for how long you have to have been a Jesus follower before you get to hear him. You just need to learn how. Jesus himself said that we would know his voice and follow him (John 10:1-16, 26-27). Peter says that everyone who follows him is now part of the priesthood (1 Peter 2:5,9). That means that anyone who follows Jesus can talk with and hear from him.
But how do we know we’re talking to God? How can we be sure it’s not just our conscious or our own thoughts we’re hearing? More importantly how do we know it’s God’s voice and not the voice of our enemy? A few years ago, I heard a simple technique that has proven to be effective for many, many people when they are first learning to hear and recognize the voice of God.
First, practice the things we’ve already talked about: posturing for prayer and starting with praise. Then, ask God to speak with you. Tell him that you want to hear his voice, that you want to be one of the sheep that John 10 talks about how know his voice. Then, ask him a question that you already know the answer to and listen for his response. Don’t rush it, wait till you hear something.
Now understand, you’re not going to hear a booming voice from heaven. You’re not likely to hear a voice at all. What you will likely experience is words that seem to come to you from within your chest. It feels familiar but also different from your own thought voice. At first, it may be difficult to tell the difference between your thoughts and his voice. Keep practicing, you’ll pick it up with time.
For the next few days do these things:
- Prayer Posture
- Prayers of Praise
- Ask him to speak
- Ask three questions, you can use these or your own but be sure to wait after each one to hear his answer
- Are you really there?
- Do you love me?
- Did you really die for me?
- Thank him for speaking
If you’re having a hard time hearing anything or deciphering what you’re hearing, you may be experiencing some spiritual interference from the enemy. We’ll get more into this when we look at spiritual warefare, but for now try going back to the prayer posture and prayers of praise. Focus on proclaiming out-loud the truth about God’s love for you, how he has redeemed you, how he has made you righteous and adopted you as a daughter or son. If you’re able, claim some of the promises he’s made us in scripture. For example, “Father, I know you’re here, because you’ve promised to never leave me or forsake me.” Or, “God I praise you because you have overcome the enemy and set me free from sin and death and by your blood, death, sacrifice and resurrection, you’ve won victory for me. I claim your victory now.”
Let us know how it’s going for you. We’re praying you’ll experience powerful encounters with the Lord. If you’re not, make sure to tell us so we can pray more specifically for you. Keep practicing these steps for the next few days. Then, on Sunday, we’ll publish Listening Pt. 2.