How to Hear God’s Voice (Even if You’re not a Mega Ministry Super Star)

Have you ever heard the audible voice of God speaking directly to you? If so, then I want to know your secret. Because every time someone tells a story about hearing God’s voice loud and clear I get a pang of envy.  I’m not proud of that reaction but I can’t help wondering what I’m doing wrong. Why doesn’t he talk to me like that?

I used to think that God only spoke to the chosen few – so they could relay his messages to the masses. That’s why Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore and Lisa TerKeurst tell stories of receiving direct instruction from God. But what about the rest of us? How are we supposed to feel when we listen for the booming voice from the heavens or the gentle whisper of God only to discover empty silence?

I think maybe we’re trying too hard. Seriously. I don’t think any of these “holy” women sat on a rock by a waterfall in the forest fasting for 40 days in order to hear the voice of God. And sometimes that’s how hard I think we’re making it on ourselves.

Rather, I think these women have something more obtainable that enables them to hear the voice of God – a daily habit of conversing with him. Yep, I think that’s all it is. After all, you can’t hear God’s voice if you don’t have a personal conversation with him, right?

If you are speaking with God daily, then you might know that he places thoughts in your mind all the time. Like a sudden urge to call a friend you haven’t spoken to in years. Or a desire to support a ministry at church even though you have absolutely no time to add something else to your plate. Maybe even the idea to write a book, start a business or step up as a leader in some way. A feeling that you need to tithe more. Or an awareness that an important relationship needs your attention. Even an overwhelming sense of peace. Those are all little whispers from God.

In fact, every positive thought filled with encouragement, creativity, compassion and generosity, comes from him. So essentially, if you’re having thoughts like this, you are hearing his voice. And you’re most likely answering him – either by acting on those thoughts or ignoring them.

So how do you create a daily habit of conversing with God so that you too can hear his voice? The same way you develop any habit – with practice.

Five Ways to Practice Hearing God’s Voice

1. Set aside time daily to immerse yourself in His word. If reading the Bible is too daunting, then try a daily devotional or join a Bible Study group. Anything that exposes you daily to God’s written word so that you open the door for that conversation.  

2. Be still. This is the most challenging step for me. In fact, I often feel close to God when I’m in motion – running or hiking or biking. Even driving in my car. So the idea that I need to be still in order to hear his voice is a bit frustrating. But let me explain. For me, stillness is not a physical state. The kind of stillness I need to open my heart to God is a stillness of the mind. So whatever it takes for you to quiet your mind, find a way to do it every day.

3. Stop demanding answers. Do you have an agenda every time you speak with God? Maybe you show up with praise and gratitude sometimes. Or you may go to him with a laundry list of things you need his guidance on. I’m guilty of this. I always have a plan when I pray – something specific I need from him. But my challenge to you is this: show up with an open mind and a blank slate. What if we came to him without telling or asking anything? Just letting him lead the conversation? Knowing he will nourish us with whatever we need.

4. Expect to hear from him. If you tell yourself that you’re not the kind of person who hears God’s voice, guess what? You’re probably not going to hear him. But if you open up to the possibility that he converses with you all day long, it’s more likely you will be paying attention when he speaks to you.

5.  Be on the lookout for his angels. Who says God has to speak directly to you in his voice? The Bible tells us he sends messengers all the time. I’m willing to bet he sends angels to speak with you and you may not even recognize them. Who are the people in your life who encourage you, inspire you, challenge you to live in Christ-like character? Hmmmm….could they be angels placed in your path for a specific purpose?

I’ve made a commitment to practice these five steps so I can better recognize the voice of God. Won’t you join me? Start a daily habit today and we can support one another!

 

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8 thoughts on “How to Hear God’s Voice (Even if You’re not a Mega Ministry Super Star)

  1. I think you’re misleading people here; God’s Word distinguishes between angels and “the people in your life who encourage you, inspire you, challenge you”  (those are people you know) – Scripture says “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

    • Thanks for the input, AM. I agree that angels are often people we don’t know. In fact, I’ve personally been encouraged, inspired and challenged by total strangers – sometimes without ever even meeting them – only watching them. I believe God sent them to cross my path and deliver a message in that way. So you’re right – angels are not necessarily people you know. 

  2. Hi Theresa awesome. I am also reminded of practicing the presence of God, by chatting to Him and sharing as much as we can everyday eg “Wow Lord, I really thank you for this beautiful weather!” etc etc . We need to walk daily as if He is alive (of course He is, but we certainly don’t act like it – have we ever taken Jesus for coffee?). When we drive by ourselves, now and then we can reach out our hand to the passenger seat next to us and squeeze His hand! Also, in our quiet times, praise and worship will alow us to become so intimate with Him, where we can hear from Him. I know it is not easy but perserverence will pay off.

  3. Interesting article, and most needed.  I have a couple of comments.

    First, I think this business of “hearing God’s voice” can be dangerous.  All throughout history, people have claimed to have heard God’s voice or God speaking to them, and from there, some of them had gone to teach wrong doctrine, or done questionable (not necessarily bad, but questionable) things.  Even on a smaller scale, we know of people who claim to have heard God tell them to do this or that, or to say this or that to this person or that person, even to the extent of “God told me to marry you”.  Many of these people truly believe they heard from God, many times during their prayer time or devotional or quiet times.
    May I offer my belief that it is imperative to know for sure we are in conversation with the LORD God and not some other god.  Many claim to know God, but is it really the LORD God of the universe that they know?  Many people have “accepted” the wrong God or the wrong Jesus into their lives.  They have wrong notions of who or what God is.  Many are guilty of the sin of idolatry, having in their minds an image of a God that is not the true God.  Only those who know God will know truth from error (Daniel 11:32).  It is also important to be known by God (Matt.7:21-23).

    Second, your 3rd way to practice hearing God’s voice: Stop Demanding Answers is good.  Good in that we need to just have quiet times with God without asking for anything, or as you say, with an open mind, a blank slate.  However, you also say, “knowing that He will nourish us with whatever we need.”  Isn’t that already having something on your slate?  Expecting that “He will nourish us with whatever we need” — this doesn’t sound like an open mind, a blank slate, a no-agenda meeting.
    We need to consult with Scripture.  Paul tells us to pray always with all kinds of petitions and praises, hymns, etc.  To come to “God” in “prayer” in “silent mode” and an “open mind” is not exactly what we are told to do.  It opens us to other voices, other “gods”.  Many of those people who have come up with erroneous teachings probably heard “God” speak to them this way.  To come to “God” with a blank slate is not advisable.  We should, rather, pray according to the model that the Lord gave us in Matthew 6 and Luke 11.

    We should consult the scriptures more instead of relying on our own wisdom or our own ideas and experiences.  If someone else were to come up with 5 other, but different, ways to hear God’s voice, then how would we know whom to listen to?  There are just too many voices in the Church today, including from well-meaning Christians, who sometimes contradict each other.  Best to see what Scripture says, rather than rely on human reasoning.

    • Hi Franc
      Many thanks for your article. I think we must get away from this issue of wanting to hear God’s voice speak loudly to us. I think the real issue is that He does speak to us, period. We almost dictate how He is going to or should speak to us, and if He speaks to us in any other way, then we will miss Him because after all, that is not how He is going to speak to us.
      I agree with you that we must base everything on Scripture. Eg John 10: 4 is very clear that, as His sheep (His born-again children, not a nominal Christian), we “know His voice”, no arguments. Mostly, the Holy Spirit speaks to us by leading us by the inward witness. It is either that “good feeling” and “peace” (Colossians 3: 15) you have about buying that house, or the “alarm bells” go off, and you just don’t know why, but you just don’t want to go to that event. There is something not right about it, it is “scratchy”. Paul, before he was shipwrecked, said that he “perceived” that God would .. etc.
      Please read a very good book by Kenneth Hagin Senior, calld somethingh like “Walking in the Spirit”, which explains beautifully how to understand how God wants to speak to us. It also helps enormously if you are baptised in the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues. [Remember, with your spirit you contact the spiritual world, with your mind the intellectual or mental world, and with your body the physical world. God, as a Spirit, only communicates with us through our spirits (see Prov 20:27).
      As you pray in the Spirit (see I Cor 14: 2-15), so the Holy Spirit speaks to your born-again brand new spirit, and then His message is transmitted to your mind. We then often think – “Well that’s just me – those were my thoughts” – but they were’nt; they came from the Holy Spirit. Also we test what we have heard always against scripture because otherwise we may be following First Imaginations!
      A final encouragement – if you are determined to obey God whatever, you SHALL KNOW when God speaks (see John 7: 17) – God has promised that, and we must stand on that. We as earthy fathers are like that – if my small son asked me “Daddy, please will you tell me when I must do this and that, because I really want to do a good job and make you happy”, what father would keep quiet and see his son flounder and make a total mess of it?  How much more surely our Heavenly Father…

      Bless you, Eduard Sandmann (Pretoria, South Africa)  

    • Thanks for your perspective, Franc. I appreciate your thoughts and examples. The idea of coming to God with no agenda knowing that He will nourish us, is my way of letting go and letting God…my way of asking Him for His will and not mine. It may not be advisable for everyone and I don’t profess to have the answers for everyone. It’s not the ONLY way I pray – but sometimes it’s what I need to do in order to shut off my own agenda.

      And absolutely – there are millions of other “well-meaning Christians” who have their own suggestions on this topic. I believe that we’re meant to share our own personal “wisdom, ideas and experiences” with others — not as a replacement for Scripture but as a means of discussing our faith. Thank you for the discussion:-) 

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