There are so many different ways to hear from God, one of the most important things to note on the matter is that God has made us all so vastly different and unique that each of us even though we may use the same tools, will hear God in a different way. So keep in mind that God is a loving father, he knows you better than anyone else ever could, he has your number and knows how best to get in touch with you.
Who we believe God to be will profoundly shape how / if we will encounter and hear from. It’s important that we have a clear and correct picture of who God is when seeking to speak with him.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27-30 (NIV)
Hearing from God can be a daunting thing and something a lot of people think is only for “veteran” Christians or the “super holy” like pastors or priests. However in the Jesus says that his sheep listen in and hear his voice, he knows them and they follow him. He doesn’t say that the pastor sheep or the holy sheep, just his sheep. That means everyone is able to listen in and hear what he is saying!
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV)
Did you know that Father God is constantly wanting to meet with, and speak with you? There isn’t a time where he isn’t wanting to speak to you in some way shape or form, the part people can get hung up on though is how to hear. Here are a couple of techniques that will hopefully help you connect in and listen to his voice:
This is an old practice of reading the bible, it focuses more on a relational reading of the bible rather than informative.
Simply put is being still and meditating on God, who he is and what he may be saying to us.
Is exactly what it sounds like, except this style of journaling is two way, you write and then wait for God to respond.
Lectio Divina is a Latin phrase meaning ‘divine reading’. This is a form of meditation on the word of God that trains us to listen to His whisper speaking personally to our hearts, allowing His word to become one with us.
Lectio Divina is a reflective and repetitive way to read the Bible, that is not so much focused on becoming informed by the text but rather being transformed by it. It does not replace the other types of Bible reading – rather Lectio Divina adds depth and value to all other forms of Bible reading, facilitating a movement from our hearts to more active ways of wrestling with scripture.
Here we are reading purely in the devotional sense – reading for relationship with God more than a type of mental assent to learn more about God. We read the passage not so much as a student seeking to master the subject but as a son receiving a love-letter from a deeply committed and adoring Father.
Here are the 4 steps to Lectio Divina:
Read and listen, read through the passage multiple times.
Meditate. Explore it. No question is off limits. How does it make me feel? What does it mean to me? What verse or word stands out for you?
Pray and respond, write down what it is you feel God is speaking to you through the section of scripture that stood out to you.
Rest in the Father’s presence, allow yourself to be still and reflect on who God is and what he has revealed to you.
Below is the well known Psalm 46 let’s use it to give Lectio Divina a go. Grab a pen and paper and find some space to be still and quiet.
 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
How do I know it’s God speaking?
There are three options for who we might hear when we’re listening out for what God is saying: yourself, satan, or God. Here’s how you can start to differentiate the three:
Your own thoughts are probably going to sound logical or analytical. It’ll sound like the kind of things you often think.
The enemy always condemns. His purpose is to steal, to kill, and to destroy. So if the thoughts you’re hearing are negative, destructive, vicious or accusing, it’s the enemy.
When God speaks, it always lines up with the Bible – His character and His actions. He is kind, loving, inspirational, wise, healing, and convicting without being condemning*.
Remember, it’s a process of learning to discern (recognise) which voice is God’s. You may not get it right every time, but thats ok. It’s really important to have people you know and trust, who have a solid relationship with God, that you can talk to about what you think you have heard.
* Quick note on what’s meant by “convicting, not condemning”, essentially convicting says you have done, condemning says you are. God will (because he loves us) challenge the issues in our lives to lead us to repentance (turning away from these things) whereas the enemy will tell us that we have become what we have done, eg:
You told a lie.
You are a lier.
Soaking is about turning our eyes towards Jesus and focusing on him, spending time in his presence. Start with some praise for who he is or what he has done, this can really help get your heart and mind off of yourself and what is going on in your life, and focus back in on who God is and what he is like, and what he may be saying to you. Pay attention to the spontaneous thoughts and feelings that pop up as you sit with the him. Don’t try to over analyse what you are experiencing but simply ask Father to reveal what he is saying to you in that place.
- Start with praising God for who he is or what he has done.
- Acknowledge that he is there with you and still yourself.
- Allow him to speak to you through spontaneous thought or feeling.
Here is a link to a playlist of music you may want to have in the background to help you focus in on God. Sometimes thoughts can take over if you are just sitting in silence, the music is simply there to help you focus in on Father’s voice and hear what he is saying to you. It starts off with a couple of praise songs, and then goes into a bunch of instrumental tracks to play in the background as you sit with God.
Use it if it helps.Soaking Playlist
A simple but profound way of learning to understand the voice of God is through the discipline of journaling – the recording of the ways and works of God in our lives.
Journaling, is a legitimate way of praying, as essentially it facilitates an ongoing correspondence of our heart with our Heavenly Father. It allows for our inner, often subconscious, thoughts to become part of our conscious awareness, bringing new perspective and allowing us to assess our inward convictions and heart-condition.
For this reason, journaling is a great discipline to establish in your life, particularly when you are young, as it develops within you the beautiful but underrated quality of ‘life-long learning’. This is an approach to life marked out by a relentless and holy curiosity, a heart eager to discover the grace-filled movements of God throughout every season of your soul.
Some steps to help in journaling:
1. Be still: Quiet yourself down
Find a quiet spot, get comfortable and get rid of any distractions. Keep a notepad nearby for the items on your to-do list that may pop into your mind.
Welcome the Holy Spirit, simply by saying, “Holy Spirit, I welcome you. Come and be here with me at this moment.”
2. Look: Fix your eyes on Jesus
Use the eyes of your imagination to picture Jesus. You might see in black and white, in colour, a still image, or a movie on the screen of your mind.
If you notice your mind wandering, thats ok. Write down what was on your mind if need be and then simply look back to Jesus.
3. Listen: Tune to spontaneous flow
What is Jesus saying? His response might not be an audible voice, but God often speaks in our thoughts. It could be a picture, a song, a memory. Whatever it is, focus on the first thing that comes to mind.
Ask God what he is wanting to say to you through this and then move into step 4.
4. Record: Write it down
Keep a journal of what God says to you. Write it down, unfiltered, just as you hear it. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar, and don’t course correct. Just let what you feel him speaking to you flow and write it down.
While we are seeking to hear from God and we may feel we have the best intentions with this, we aren’t always going to hear correctly. Thats ok though and here are some ways we can test what we have heard to discern if it is God or not:
- Does it line up with scripture?
- Take what you’ve heard to trusted mentors, get them to pray and seek God about it.
- Do you feel at peace about it?