Some time ago a good friend of mine asked me when I started to hear God. It got me thinking about my relationship with Him and the various ways He’s been faithful, even when I was not. When I was first coming back to Him, I needed almost constant reminders that He was real. He started to show me how He had been with me all along through various circumstances and events. I remember another time when I was standing in church and started to feel His Presence with me. I thought I was glowing, though no one else seemed to notice. Later, He spoke His favorite word for me, “Wait.” Since then I’ve felt impressions, had dreams, and even a vision or two.
But recently I’ve been wrestling with a promise, a plan that has occupied my heart for some time but hasn’t been realized. And I started to wonder about my ability to hear from God. I’ve considered three possibilities for my current hope:
- I heard from God but need to wait.
- I heard from God and the plan has changed.
- I imposed my own desires on a situation and need to let go.
We’ve already explored waiting (See: God of the “Not Yet”: Part One). As for plans changing, I’ve known people who have heard from God and are headed in a certain direction only to have doors close and plans change. Then there’s the third possibility, where I want something and start to confuse my will with that of my Father.
So how do I know if I’ve heard from God? How can we position ourselves to hear His Voice so we can follow His plan?
I’ve thought of five ways. I know there are more, but these have been the most helpful to me.
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3
I’m very good at presenting my laundry list of concerns to God during my prayer time. I even whisper prayers of gratitude when I see His Presence around me during the day. But if I want to discern His will for my life, I need to listen. I have to make room in my prayer time to be quiet, to stand in the throne room and wait for a reply. Often I find it easiest to hear when I’m out in nature, appreciating all God has created. But God can speak to us anywhere, if we’re ready to listen.
“Oh God, you are my God, Earnestly I seek you;Psalm 63:1
My soul thirsts for you;
As in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.”
We worship God because He is worthy. We worship because He delights in our praise. We are refilled with fresh anointing when we sing with adoration. He speaks to the surrendered soul like water in the desert.
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” Philippians 2:1-2
Fellowship and friendship with other believers is an essential way to hear the will of God in our lives. Sometimes they can see, they can hear when we can’t. Recently I was exchanging messages with a friend and she sent me a verse, giving me the prayer and support I needed…while I was waiting at the dentist. Of course face to face time is important, but it’s not the only way we can reach out to our friends.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25
It’s important for us to gather as the Body of Christ in our local churches both so we can hear His will for our own lives as well as His will for His Bride, the church. I take a notebook to church with me, not just to take notes on the sermon but on the impressions I receive while listening.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Bible is God’s love letter to His people. What better way to hear His voice than in the Words He’s already spoken?
Learning to hear God is a process, a never-ending journey, just like everything else in our relationship with Him. And hearing His voice, feeling His presence, and submitting to His will takes time and knocking down the walls around our hearts. I’m finding ways to listen and waiting for His loving answers. And tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that, I’ll keep listening. Because the only way to know His will is to know Him.
What are some of the ways you hear from God? Are there promises/plans for your life you’re waiting for?
I’m a wife, mom of two, and lover of Jesus. I believe through Him we are transformed and receive new life, giving us unique purpose.