Hearing God’s Voice
Have you ever been talking to someone on the phone who is difficult to hear? Maybe the sound is turned low on your cell phone. Perhaps you are walking outside with all that interference competing for your ears. It could be the person on the other end is not talking directly into the mic. Maybe you are too far away from the phone to hear. Or the other person may be soft-spoken making it impossible to distinguish their words. Regardless of the cause, the whole thing can be frustrating. Sometimes hearing from God feels the same way. How can we learn to hear God’s voice better?
How does God speak to His people?
If you are a believer in Christ, the Bible teaches that God does, indeed, speak in a way we can hear and obey.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27
Primarily, He speaks through the Bible.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Much of what we find across the pages of the Bible can be applied to all Believers in Christ. Who doesn’t need know of God’s forgiveness, or that we should love our neighbor? Which one of us is exempt from praising God, being thankful or honest. But the writer of Hebrews is showing us that the word of God is so much more.
There is discerning power contained within, that the Holy Spirit uses through the contents to help us hearing God’s “voice” in our lives. Often, the reader will encounter answers to prayers, solutions to problems, and comfort in their difficulty.
He Speaks Through Prayer
Prayer goes hand-in-hand with reading the Bible in terms of hearing from God, and is made possible by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. It is through our prayers that we communicate we are present and ready to listen to whatever He might want to illuminate to us.
For through him (Jesus) we both (those who were near and those who were far) have access in one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:18
What if I am struggling to Hear God’s Voice?
Still, there are times when we struggle. We feel as if God is silent and our prayers, only empty words. What can we do? Find consolation in the Word of God. You are not the only one who can experience a distance or silence from the Lord.
Come quickly, LORD, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die. Psalm 143:7 NLT
David, too, experienced the struggle. But he did not remain in it. What do we do to hear better?
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
The source of our frustration may rest in our choices. You and I need to make sure there is nothing standing between us and the Lord in terms of sin. The promise remains. When we confess, we will be forgiven.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
Look to the Lord.
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, Psalm 105:4-5
If we want to grow to hear God better, we should look for ways to place ourselves before Him and His Word. Maybe that is setting aside some extra time in the day, or changing up what we normally listen to for what feeds our soul. Maybe we could read good spiritual books and be sure to attend church and our small group. Increasing our exposure increases our opportunities for God to speak into our lives.
Read the Bible.
For sure, we should read and study the Bible regularly. Read it expectantly, as it truly is: the primary mechanism God uses to speak to His children (Romans 10:17).
As we read the Bible, we should also pray. You and I are invited to the throne of grace without inhibition, but filled with confident expectation.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 KJV
And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 1 John 5:14
When we feel distant or like God is not listening, our tendency is to pull back. We often do everything BUT pray.
Don’t shrink back, my friend.
Experience, godly counsel, and the Word have taught me, this is exactly the wrong move. These are the times when it is most essential to press in. E.M. Bounds, a hero in terms of prevailing prayer, reminds us of this very thing.
“’Be careful for nothing, but in everything, by supplication and prayer, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.’ That is the Divine cure for all fear, anxiety, and undue concern of soul, all of which are closely akin to doubt and unbelief.” E.M. Bounds
In other words, don’t quit.
Pray when you doubt.
Pray when you are afraid, anxious, or feel like it’s a waste of time.
Just keep praying about everything.
Ask expecting a response, with a thankful spirit. And in time, God can move us out of fear and doubt to trusting and believing prayer.
Do you ever find that when you read the Bible or pray, your mind wanders? Maybe your eyes glaze over and you discover you’ve been reading the same sentence or saying the say words for the last few minutes?
Girl, I need HELP to focus!
Journaling has been a tremendous resource of help to me in this area. Using a prayer journal is an excellent way to remain focused and for keeping a record of how we are praying. I am a raving fan of journaling. The benefits exceed the extra time we feel it will require. (Think of all that time you will save NOT daydreaming and getting off track.)
If you haven’t tried journaling your prayers, now is a good time. I’m so passionate about journaling, I began designing and producing journals for The Stirring Faith Company to offer as resources from which anyone can benefit. Some are guided, others are totally blank. Each one gives you and me the opportunity to keep a record of how we are praying, to stay on target, and to record the answers we are awaiting from God. It also gives me the sense that He WILL answer me. And when He does, I write it down!
Listen for God’s voice.
Bible reading, praying, and journal all work together to help us listen better. Reading Scripture points us to Truth, giving us the Words of God rather than simply our own thoughts. Praying opens our communication with God and allows the Holy Spirit the opportunity to minister to us and on our behalf. Journaling our prayers and particular verses that stand out helps us articulate our hearts and minds, and anticipate a recognizable response from God.
All these elements help provide a structure. It gives us time to hear. Our minds don’t wander as much. Our seeking is not quite so helter-skelter. It reduces doubt and fear. You and I won’t wonder if God will respond because we have evidences of His working in black and white. All our energy and efforts will be attuned to what God wants to say to us. In short, we will hear God’s voice better.
Allow me to pray over you, asking God to enable you to hear Him better.
A Prayer for Hearing God’s Voice
Thank you for making a way to be in relationship with You possible. Draw my friend to yourself. Forgive and cleanse her from any sinfulness she may be carrying. Then woo her to read Your word. Open her eyes to who You are through the pages. Speak to her through Your Word. I pray that she will trust You enough to pray. Embolden her to come with all of her needs. Uninhibited. Believing You are able. Confident in Your willingness to do what only You can do. Use whatever means to help her focus the time and space to keep an account of Your work in her life. Show her the path that leads to better hearing while increasing her desire and ability to take it. In Your heavenly name, Amen.
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