*Disclaimer: This article comes from my personal relationship with Christ, books I have read, experiences I have had and learned from others.*
Tuning Into His Will
For while now, God has put this article on my heart to share. I’ve been a Christian for over ten years. During that time I have come to learn a lot of topics concerning faith, spirituality and connecting with God on a personal basis. Many people believe that hearing God’s voice, or having a relationship with Him, is out of their reach for various reasons. Some cite sin being a factor. Others say they don’t know how, they were never taught, or they tried and it “didn’t work”. I want to explain to you, my reader, whether you’re a Christian or not, how you can connect one-on-one with God and hear His voice daily.
Let me start out by saying that you will probably not hear His voice audibly, though it has happened! I don’t cross off any way that God chooses to move in someone’s life, as my “theology” or knowledge doesn’t control God’s actions. I have listed several different ways that God speaks to us, using the Bible as my source. Some of these ways you may not have encountered before, while others you may have already seen active in your life and just never knew it was God.
I am a very practical person, so even in my spiritual life I want to understand how things work and what method works over others. In turn, this has led me to the obvious two ways that God speaks to us, through the Bible and prayer.
No brainer right? You might have seen that coming.
His Voice In His Word
The second primary Greek word that describes Scripture is rhema, which refers to a word that is spoken and means “an utterance.” A rhema is a verse or portion of Scripture that the Holy Spirit brings to our attention with application to a current situation or need for direction.
Okay, so let’s start with the most basic and common way that God speaks to His children. We see here in John 10 that Jesus explains that only His children hear His voice and follow Him. Those that do not heed His voice are not His children or sons/daughters of God.
24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in My Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe me because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.
As you read the Bible, it comes alive. At seventeen I was introduced to Christ at a high school bible club and I began to read the Bible not because someone told me to, but because I truly wanted to. The words in that book came alive to me, and since I had nobody to tell me otherwise, I believed every word written in it! I never understood the whole argument “Do you take the Bible literally?”. Of course I do! Do I use my mind to seek out answers that I don’t understand? Yes. Yet, if you are constantly questioning God in His own Word, it’s difficult to understand His voice. There may be things that you don’t understand, but that doesn’t mean that His word is a lie.
Let God speak to you through His holy book. Every word in the Bible will speak to your situation, troubles, issues and mistakes. You will become a wiser, better person the more you read it and practice it’s principles. That’s the main way God will speak to you, so read your bible and don’t expect others to read it for you.
His Voice Through Prayer
Most people say that they heard the voice of God through a time of intimate prayer. Whether it’s a word of encouragement, guidance, or a revelation of His mysteries, it happened because they spent time with Him. I wrote in more detail on the power of prayer in another article.
Prayer is not about speaking aloud a certain script from a book, or repeating the same words over and over. God is looking for those who pray in spirit and truth (John 4:24). We must go to Him with an open and honest heart. He isn’t looking at how well our words sound, the vocabulary we use or how long we can repeat a prayer from a book. When you pray, you need to be completely open and honest with Him to hear His voice.
The most powerful times of prayer for me, when I have felt His presence the strongest, are when I am just thanking Him for all He has done in my life and being silent and listening. Did I hear an audible voice? No. Did I hear His still small voice guiding me, telling me what decision to make or giving me comfort through His peace in my heart? Yes. (1 Kings 19:12)
Everyone is different, but I will give you an example from a personal experience. Your own may vary.
Years ago, I used to only pray to God as Lord or Savior, but I didn’t feel comfortable calling Him Father. The lack of a father in my own life definitely contributed to that feeling, so when I would pray I didn’t want to call Him Father, because I didn’t see Him as Father, only as Lord. At night, as I was in prayer for some time, I heard Him tell me clearly “Why are you only calling Me Lord or Savior or God? I am your Father, call Me Father.” Now, I am not saying you cannot call Him God or Lord or Savior, but God was teaching me an important lesson I needed to be delivered from the fact that I didn’t see Him as Father, but as a far away God who I thought I couldn’t have a relationship with.
1 Corinthians 8:6
6 But for us, there is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live.
Prayer needs to be intentional, not a routine or something you are forcing yourself to do. Forget about how long or how short it should be. It’s about spending intimate time with Him. Prayer is just like any relationship. If you’re dating someone or you’re married, you cannot listen to them if you don’t spend time with them. Prayer is a dialogue! It’s not about you blabbering to God, but you need to listen to His response!
“But, Mike, I don’t hear anything! I don’t know what you’re talking about. God is silent to me.” That may be true, but maybe you’re not looking in the right places. Surround yourself with His word, be open to what your pastor is preaching on, or while you are about your day be receptive. Reflect on how your day went, and look for hints or patterns you are suddenly seeing, that show that God is speaking to you.
Experiencing His Presence
If you’re asking God for more patience, then suddenly you’re being pressured to have patience at your job, perhaps God is giving you an opportunity to be patient. Maybe you’re praying about having more obedience to His word and will, then you are put in a situation where you have to be obedient to your parents, boss or spouse.
Look for God and listen to His voice in the twenty-four hours you have throughout the day. Even in dreams He will speak to some, or maybe through a video game! There could be a situation that relates to what you are going through in that game, and God will remind you as you play.
Here is a quick, practical list of common ways that God may speak to you. I am not going to elaborate on every one of these, as it would become a book, and I am at over 1,400 plus words in this article already!
- Dreams. Acts 2:17
- Visions (seeing images in your mind or with your eyes open that relate to something in your life or someone else’s).
- A pastor or spiritual leader.
- A prophetic word from an ordained prophet or someone praying through the gift of prophecy. 1 Tim. 4:14
- A spiritual book that talks about a different spiritual topic.
*I have learned MUCH from the ministry of Joyce Meyer. Please check out her book, it will go into so much more detail than I ever can. If you want to learn more on this topic from a true biblical teacher of the word of God, you need to read this book!*
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Do not put limits on how God can and will speak to you. The only one that can put a cap on His glory, presence and power in your life is you.