The more I speak with believers, the more I realize that hearing from God is something they are very eager to learn about, but they also experience the pain, confusion or frustration of not knowing how to do so in a way that it is really God’s voice. They want to be safe and make sure that what they hear is not their own heart speaking, their own thoughts or the devil deceiving them.
If the children of God are those who are led by the Spirit of God (Rom 8:14) and if His sheep are supposed to hear His voice (John 10:27), then why does it seem so hard to hear well? My opinion is that it is not hard to hear well, if you know how to prepare your heart and your inner state to be in a place of hearing God’s voice. It is also not hard to hear when you learn a few simple skills that enable you to hear clearly. I am addressing the heart preparation in this article. My other articles deal with the ‘how tos’ of hearing and discerning the voice of God as well as what to do after you heard from God. Many asked me what can they do in order to hear from God, as they tend to struggle in this area.
The solution to all struggles in the Christian walk starts with prayer first. I encourage you to start praying about hearing God’s voice, just like I did. After all, if our default state as Christians is that we are being led by the Spirit of God, nothing could be more important to get right in our lives.
In 1993, as I began to grow in the Lord, my spiritual mentor showed me full of excitement a great promise from God:
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3
I looked at this promise and I realized that this is promising an endless pool of revelation from God. The thought of knowing great things that I do not know was very intriguing, so I took God at His word and started to believe and pray for this very often.
Many years later I prayed another promise I stumbled across in the Bible:
“He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as a disciple. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned backward.”Isaiah 50:4-5
I started to pray that God will awaken me spiritually morning by morning (what great comfort in this prayer!) and that He awakens and opens my year to hear as a true disciple would.
Hearing is important and your reaction to what you hear is even more important. I realized that if I want continuous revelation, I need to make sure I qualify for the second part of the verse which says: “and I was not rebellious, neither turned backward (‘turned backward’ is actually the word for backslide in Hebrew). It would translate to ‘I was not rebellious, neither did I backslide.” This means that after we hear God, we have only three options:
- We can obey
- We can rebel
- We can ignoring it or draw away from it and do nothing about it – this is equal to backsliding
Where is your heart at regarding this?
Do you want want to just hear God just out of curiosity to see what He might say and then vote on it if you will obey or not?
Or do you want to hear God because you trust Him with what He tells you and you already made your mind up that you will be obedient. God will many times not speak to you to do something if He detects in your heart that you are not really that interested in obeying.
When God speaks, He watches how we hear.
Take says: ‘Take heed HOW you hear. For with the same measure that you hear, it will be measured back to you’ Mark 4:24 – in other words, if you take His words that He has already spoken lightly and for granted or don’t obey them and use them right, why should He give you anymore.
And the warning follows in the next verse:
“To him who has (who has hearing, who has heard from me), more will be given. But to who who doesn’t have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.” – Mark 4:25
What does it mean to ‘have’ in this context?
It means to take possession of the word and make it your own by believing it, acting upon it and using it faithfully and right.
If God sees you are unfaithful with His words He gave you directly or through others, He says you will lose that hearing ability or you will see that He will speak to you less. A very severe warning that we all have to take to heart.
HOW CAN WE ENSURE THAT WE ‘HAVE’?
Do you take a notebook with you when you have your prayer time so you can record anything God says to you?
Do you take it seriously enough to pray the promises He gives you?
Do you make space in your calendar to do what He told you to do?
Do you review the list from time to time to make sure you did not miss something?
Do you carve time out of your prayer time to just wait and listen for His voice, to talk to you? Do you ask Him to talk to you about specific things and needs you have?
Do you ask Him to tell you anything He wants to tell you, even if it is not related to what you asked?
Do you ask Him if He has any task for you to do today that you have not thought of?
These are some of the things that helped me to stay faithful and to show hunger and commitment to God about hearing His voice.
HEARING THROUGH THE WORD
If you feel you are not hearing from God when you read the Bible, why don’t you pray one of these Scriptures. The first one I have prayed right from the beginning of my walk with God 25 years ago and I am still praying it most of the times before I even open my Bible.
“Open my eyes that I might see marvelous things in your Word” Psalm 119:18
“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Make sure your heart is ready to obey and take your notebook and your pen.
I would also take an inventory or ask God to remind you of words you received in the past and if there is anything there God is still waiting for you to obey. Then go ahead and obey and come back when you feel up to date with your obedience to His words. You will find your ability to hear and His willingness to speak to you will increase.
Another very important condition is to make sure that there is no unconfessed sin between you and God. God says that if we regard iniquity in our heart, the Lord will not hear us. Make sure you are up to date in repentance.
And let’s make a choice to believe His promise that ‘My sheep HEAR My voice’, despite any past experiences. We believe the Word not because our experiences prove it, but because we trust the Word of God and because it is true and as we trust it, the experiences will start to line up with our trust. God’s voice is not unknowable, neither it is available to spiritual elites, but it is the portion of every member of His flock. HE SAID SO.