December 15, 2017
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Hearing From God Print E-mail

Books are written about how to hear the voice of God. Some people announce with great confidence what they have heard from the Lord. Others dream of hearing something, but they are never sure. If God wants to have relationship with us, then doesn't He want to talk with us!?

The Voice of Many WatersI saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory. - Ezekiel 43:2

Hearing from God happens when we listen, and there are some very practical things we can do to increase our ability to hear and understand.

God is talking - am I listening?

Jesus said: "Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about My Father. In that day you will ask in My name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father Himself loves you because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God." - John 16:25-27.

God speaks and brings light

The time has come. Jesus is speaking plainly. He describes a loving relationship, and this can only happen when there is clear communication. Dialog: two way transfer of information. We need not only to speak, but to listen.

But it takes practice, and we get better at it as we learn. Sometimes He speaks with a voice of "many waters", and other times He speaks with a voice that brings the light of truth in a special way. He doesn't do that to trick you or make Himself hard to understand. He does it for His purposes, and to build relationship with you.

Practical Practice

If you already hear from God with confidence, that is great. You will keep up the communication and strengthen your relationship with Him. If, however, you are unsure about hearing from God you can practice these simple steps to improve your ability.

  1. Write it down
    This is such a simple step, it is a wonder that anyone misses it. Using a prayer journal can be very effective, or journaling your thoughts on a regular basis. The written record gives you something to go back to when your memory fails you.
    I have used a simple method of putting a written prayer request on a post-it note that I can carry in my wallet or Bible. Amazing fact: I will review these prayer requests (sometimes a few months later) and realize just exactly how God answered that prayer. The point is, I would have forgotten the request if it had not been written down - but what an amazing testimony comes when it is right there in black and white!
  2. Expect an answer
    Shouldn't this be automatic? And yet, many people pray like they are yelling in a canyon. If they hear anything at all, it's just an echo. Believe that God really does desire to talk with you.
  3. Listen
    Many people spend their prayer time telling God the way things are (He already knows); the way they should be (He already knows); and what's wrong with everyone else (He already knows). Please, just ask God, don't tell Him.
    After asking Him, be quiet and listen. Sometimes He will speak audibly (like a rush of many waters). Sometimes He will speak in a "still small voice" like He did with Elijah. Sometimes He will show a picture in a vision or dream. Sometimes He will give a special insight, or a scripture will come to mind. Sometimes He will call to your memory something He told you before.
    The better you get at listening to God, the more readily you will recognize His voice. Remember the metaphor about Him being the Good Shepherd and we sheep recognize His voice. That comes with practice.
  4. Confirm
    It is appropriate to confirm what you hear to make sure it is from God. God is truth, and it is His idea that on the testimony of two or three witnesses a matter will be made known (Deuteronomy 19:15). Jesus applied this principle to Himself (John 8:17), and we can do likewise. When your request and answer are written it is easier to confirm, so make use of your prayer journal.
    There are four ways to confirm God's word to you:

Trusted Advisors

A trusted advisor might be someone you know that has a deeper relationship with God than you do. You can ask them to confirm what you have heard from God, and they will do so based on what they know of God's character. If the message you think you heard is not consistent with the character of God, then that mature believer will be able to tell you so. An example is Moses speaking for God to the Israelites (Exodus 20:18-20).

A trusted advisor might also be a peer - one that shares a relationship with God like you do. They can confirm a message from God through agreement, perhaps that they have heard the same thing. An example of this is when Jesus teaches that two or more of you ask then you will have it (Matthew 18:19-20).

If your trusted advisor asks: "Do you want to know what I think?" you should politely say "No." You want to know what God thinks!

Circumstances

There are great examples of circumstances confirming the message of God in the Bible. The signs and wonders of healing and miracles during Jesus' earthly ministry confirmed Him. Casting lots or putting out a fleece are other examples of God using circumstances to confirm. Be certain that you use the circumstances God chooses and not ones you make up on your own or you may be looking at superstitions instead of divine action.

The Apostle Paul made several references to the open and shut door metaphor for God ordained circumstances. This can also be a good way to confirm God's message. As your relationship grows, the Lord will be more subtle in how He opens and closes doors. At first you may need Him to slam a door shut with a loud sound, or jerk a door open and highlight it with blazing lights and neon signs. But when you become more sensitive, you will feel the slightest draft or change in air temperature and recognize that He has opened a door.

Not every open door is intended for you to go through. Be sure that it is in answer to your prayer.

The Word of God

If you think God is telling you something, read your Bible. He often confirms His word through His Word. A verse might come to your mind, or one might nearly leap off the page. One thing of which you can be certain is that God does not contradict Himself. He will not tell you something in your ear and say the opposite in the Bible. Start with this simple prayer: "God, I believe You have spoken to me. Please confirm it with Your Word through a promise, command or example." Watch Him bring a text to you!

Sometimes people ask God for an understanding of His special will for their life. This is a great thing to do. While you are waiting for the answer to that request, begin by obeying His revealed will. The commands in the Bible are true for you to obey and this prepares you to answer His special will as well.

Insight

The Holy Spirit testifies with your spirit to confirm His word. We received the Holy Spirit when we were saved as a deposit of the great things to come. That anointing remains in you, and teaches you about all things (1 John 2:27). Be certain that your anointing is real, not counterfeit.

The Spirit who is from God knows the thoughts of God, and expresses the thoughts of God in spiritual words and spiritual truths. When the spiritual man makes judgments about all things, he has the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:11-16). Our sensitivity must be high when we are listening to the Spirit of God within us, because the voice is most often very quiet. He will not shout over the din of our distractions, but desires to share truth with us in the innermost parts.

Conclusion

Prayer and meditation are for increased relationship with God. Practice them regularly and you will increasingly have the mind of Christ and will be transformed more and more into His likeness!

 
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