Someone said to me recently that they didn’t know how to hear God. I have to admit that there have been times in my life that I feared I hadn’t been hearing God or I thought I may have heard wrong. There have been other times in my life when I found it easy to hear God. I have heard God when I wasn’t even trying to listen or when I wasn’t even in prayer. There has also been times when my intuition got in the way of hearing God, You may be thinking, “Wait. What?!” It’s true. Though most of the time intuition is a good thing, sometimes intuition tells us a truth that is not good for us to know. Your intuition may tell you that making an expensive purchase for your home may attract some positive outcomes but are the positive outcomes worth crippling your finances? Intuition may tell you to take a college course because you will love it. It’s really you. Intuition is right but is the joy of studying this course worth the strain it puts on your family? Intuition may tell you this man or woman is perfect for you. Intuition may be right about that too but is it right to pursue a relationship when you are already tied up in another one? Intuition is an inner knowing. It is a spiritual knowing and is often God connected but it is not God. If you were hearing God, He would be saying, “Don’t make that purchase or take that course or pursue that relationship. The timing is wrong.”
So how do we hear God’s voice? How do we know it’s His voice?
Firstly, when I say “voice” I don’t mean an audible one. Similar to intuition, God’s voice feels like an inner knowing. Sometimes, there are actual words that may come to your mind. Other times you get an idea or a prompt or a bit of knowledge about something.
Secondly, if God wants to speak to you, He will often do it whether you ask Him to or not. When J K Rowling first got the idea for Harry Potter, she was sitting in a train. Trains are noisy, often crowded places and you are being jostled around. Loads of distractions! Yet, there she was mentally making notes for a book. God can pierce through noise and distractions. He can also speak to us through other vessels such as people, books, TV or the internet.
Thirdly, we are all individuals. Our spiritual journeys are unique from one another. It may be that the way I hear God is different than yours. After all, I go to Him quietly and meditatively because that is the way of my personality. You may need to find your own way but for me it is the silence that speaks.
I have found that hearing God’s voice requires that I make no effort. By that I mean, if I strain or tense up it creates a barrier. I use to have fervent prayer and worship times, earnestly coming before God. It was sort of like being a stressed out beggar and it required a lot of time and non-interruption before I even caught a glimpse of what God wanted to convey. Now I usually begin in a place of meditation and then simply wait and love. It can take just a few minutes or even seconds.
Perhaps it is a lack of patience for as soon as I receive a word or an idea or direction, I stop meditating and am eager to act upon it.
Another way God speaks to me is through my own writing. I begin believing that I know what I am going to write about and then other words and thoughts come through. Like the idea that I shouldn’t get so excited and rush off when God speaks to me. I should wait a bit longer and see what more He has to say…..
Another thing that I have learned is that it is very important to act on what we hear. If we are unsure it’s God’s voice then give it a few days to see if the thought remains. If the impression remains or especially if it becomes more insistent then more than likely, that is God. Now we follow that lead. When we follow, we will know for sure whether that was God or not. We also begin to recognize His “voice” and discern it from our own. Afterwards, we will notice that we are hearing God more frequently. The other wonderful thing that happens along side that is that stillness, inner peace begins to travel with you. Though it is important to go to a quiet room to be alone with God, you will in time find more and more that the quietness can come upon you even in noisy, busy situations. In that inner sanctuary, that silence, He speaks.