I’d sometimes hear people talk about “hearing God’s voice,” and wonder if they were a little off. Or fanciful. Sure you heard God’s voice, I’d think, and then mentally pat them on the head like a small child describing the unicorn in her bedroom.
What I’ve discovered, however, is that God does speak to his children if we take time to listen. If we position ourselves to hear from him. If we slow down long enough to recognize his voice.
As the result of attending a Bible study by Becky Tirabassi called Let Prayer Change Your Life and many years of maturity, I've learned to recognize God's voice. But it didn't happen overnight.
When I first heard Becky Tirabassi say she prayed for an hour a day, I thought, Are you crazy? I fall asleep after ten minutes.
At the time, my prayer life consisted of half-coherent prayers mumbled as I was falling asleep each night. Dear God, thank you for this day. Please keep my children safe and bless those I love. Help us zzzzzzzzzz.
Or arrow prayers when I needed help. Lord, the car’s making a funny noise, and I don’t know how we’re going to pay for a repair. Please help it be something minor.
My prayer life was sporadic, haphazard, and ineffective. Occasionally something would happen that related to something I’d prayed about, but deep down inside, I’d wonder if it was just a coincidence—if it would have happened anyway.
As a result of applying the principles I learned in the study, however, my morning prayer time has gone from snoozy to spectacular.
Now the time I spend in prayer and Bible reading is the most precious part of my day. The principles I’ve learned to put into practice have unlocked a world of communication between me and the Lord I never dreamed possible.
Here’s an example of one of my recent conversations with God:
Early one morning I was praying for my daughter, who recently moved to Japan, far away from everyone and everything she loves (except that new husband of hers, who’s in the Navy). I thought about Amy, a young woman ministering to Navy wives in Japan. She has reached out to my daughter and befriended her.
I wonder if Amy needs any financial support? I thought. My husband and I often donate to ministries, individuals, and mission projects in addition to our local church.
As I considered talking with my him about donating to her ministry, I opened my Bible (I read The One-Year Daily Bible). The passage that day was the story of David making an offering to God on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. “I will not sacrifice to God that which costs me nothing,” David said (2 Sam. 24:24).
As I was closing my Bible, my phone pinged, indicating I had a Face Time message from my daughter. I’m so thankful for Amy, she wrote, . . . I wonder . . . I know she raises her own support. Are you and Dad still looking for missionaries to sponsor?
I couldn’t help but smile. I love it when God speaks so clearly. I appreciate that he confirms his messages to us by repeating them in different ways. Sometimes I’m slow to hear or slow to respond, so I need a few nudges. I’m delighted that I don’t have to depend on my thoughts only, which are sometimes spot on and sometimes way off base.
When God is speaking to me, he’ll often confirm his message through the counsel of wise friends, a Bible passage, or a spiritual song. It's important to remember that God will never speak contrary to Scripture, the final authority for every decision. Sometimes he’ll use circumstances to affirm what I think I hear.
Hearing God’s voice isn’t a big guessing game. Sometimes it’s the clearest conversation I have all day.
If you’d like to learn to hear God’s voice, I suggest you do these seven things:
1. Find a quiet place to pray. Preferably not when you’re sleepy, distracted, or likely to be interrupted.
2. Ask God to search your heart to see if there is any unconfessed sin in your life. When something comes to mind, confess it and ask God to forgive you.
3. Tell God your concerns and needs. Be honest and transparent. Be specific. I’ve found writing my prayers in a journal helps me stay focused.
4. Read a passage of Scripture. Rather than just opening your Bible at random and reading whatever is on the page, choose a book of the Bible to read through.
5. Sit quietly before the Lord and listen with your heart. Be open to what he might say to you. Write down the thoughts that occur to you during this time.
6. Praise and thank God. When we praise God, we remind ourselves to whom we're praying to. When we thank him, we express gratitude instead of grumbling.
7. As you move through your day or week, have your radar up. Be aware of circumstances around you. Pay special attention to the words of godly friends and mentors. Take notes during church.
The more you talk with God through prayer, the more he will talk back to you through his Word, his people, and the Holy Spirit who lives inside you.
With practice, you’ll learn to recognize his voice. And the more confident you are that you're hearing from God, the bolder you'll be to act on what he tells you.
And THAT’S when the fun really begins.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me,” (John 10:27).
What about you? Do you think God speaks to people? Have you ever heard God’s voice? I’d love to hear your story. Leave a comment in the section below and share your thoughts.
If you're in the Columbia, SC area, you're invited to join me as I teach a group of women how to pray with power during a 5-week Bible study beginning tonight, June 15, at 7 pm at New Testament Baptist Church, 300 Sims Avenue. For more information, contact me at LoriAHatcher (at) gmail.com or just show up this evening. We'd be glad to have you.
If you're out of the Columbia area, I'd love to share Praying with Power with your church or women's ministry group. Click HERE to find out more about my speaking ministry.
For other posts on how to hear God speak, click the links below:
How To Know It's God Speaking to You
Why Praying on the Run Isn't Enough
When You Feel Powerless to Influence Your Children
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