Hearing from Heaven
I have heard many people say in frustration, “God never speaks to me!” And yet they long to hear God’s voice. It seems there has never been a time that the people of God needed to be able to hear the voice of God clearly for wisdom, guidance and direction more than this generation in which our faith in God is under such severe attack. So, I felt prompted to share some keys to hearing the voice of God that have been helpful to me over the years. It is my prayer that they will help you as well.
1. Begin with a heart of expectation – confident that God wants to speak to you and that He has equipped you to hear Him.
Don’t allow doubt or unbelief to hinder you by believing the lie that only "specially gifted" people hear from God. You must make a conscious choice to believe God's word which clearly teaches that God speaks to His people. In John 10:27, Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice…" If you are one of His sheep, then you can hear from God. Similarly, we find this theme affirmed in Isaiah 30:21 – Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it…” These verses reveal the truth that God has created human beings with the capacity to hear His voice and those who are “His sheep” have been given the amazing privilege of receiving guidance directly from Him. You may need training in how to “tune in” to God’s frequency - but your spirit has been designed by God to function as a receiver of His divine communications. If you have struggled with doubt that you can hear God’s voice, simply ask God to forgive you for doubting His Word and tell Him that from this moment onward you are choosing instead to believe His Word. Then tell the Lord that by faith you fully expect to hear His voice from this day forward.
2. Set time aside to listen for God’s voice.
It is true that you can pray anytime and anywhere, and that God can in turn speak to you anytime, anywhere. But if your heart’s desire is to develop a sensitivity for the voice of God, it will require a dedication on your part to set time aside to pursue God’s voice. Hebrews 11:6b tells us that God is a rewarder of the diligent seeker. Now that I am a grandparent, I have come to realize how meaningful it is when a child (or grandchild) desires to spend time just to talk with a parent or grandparent. Not to come asking for something, but just to enjoy the parent’s company. (This is something I had no revelation about as a young person.) How much more would our Heavenly Father enjoy one of His children coming to Him – not to ask for something – but just to hear His voice! Setting time aside is essential – rather than always trying to talk to God “on the run” as we do so often in our busy culture. A man of God that I deeply respect, Bobby Conner, has often said that when it comes to spending time with God – He (God) does not appreciate people “multi-tasking.” In other words, God wants your undivided attention. So, if you want to hear from heaven, make sure you set aside some undivided time to hear God’s voice.
3. To the best of your ability - remove all distractions - especially electronic ones!
Psalm 46:10 gives some priceless instruction to a generation that is in continuous motion and surrounded by non-stop noise. Be still, and know that I am God. The electronic gadgets that fill most homes, pockets and purses are constantly buzzing, beeping or ringing with electronic notifications that beg attention. If you want to hear from God, you will need to cultivate the discipline of being “still” enough to listen with your spirit. A first step is to remove all external distractions to the best of your ability including shutting off those electronic distractors! If you do not, someone is sure to call or message you. If you live in a busy household, you may need to rise before anyone else awakens in order to be undisturbed. Finding a quiet time and place to wait upon the Lord will help you as you seek to quiet your own mind and heart to listen for the Lord’s voice.
4. Surrender your heart to have no will of its own when you seek to hear God’s voice.
More than 30 years ago, when my husband and I were first starting out in the ministry, I helped the church we were working with establish a Christian day care center. In searching for songs to teach to the children, I came across a simple song with a profound message. The lyrics have remained fixed in my mind all these years: “I want what God wants, ‘cause God wants the best for me.” This idea of seeking to “want what God wants” implies a surrender of your own will in favor of His will. Jesus modeled this for us in Luke 22:42 when He prayed to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will but Yours be done.” George Mueller, famed for his faith-based work with orphans back in the 1800’s in England, used this as a guiding principle in his prayer life. He wrote, “I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter.” I have personally found this to be a critical principle for hearing God’s voice accurately and not confusing my own thoughts and desires with God’s.
5. Take authority in the name of Jesus to silence the enemy from speaking to your mind.
Loren Cunningham, founder of the international mission organization YOUTH WITH A MISSION, (YWAM) wrote one of the classic books on learning to hear the voice of God. His book, “Is That Really You, God?” details his personal journey in learning to hear from God and how God led him in founding that work. One of the basic principles he mentions in his book is this important step of using the authority we have been given in the name of Jesus, to command the enemy of your soul to remain silent as you wait before the Lord in prayer. We know that satan uses suggestions to your mind as a way of attack, (as demonstrated in Luke 4 when Jesus was in the wilderness in prayer and fasting) but we have authority over him in the mighty name of Jesus.
6. Invite the Lord to speak to you and tell Him... “Your servant is listening.”
When Samuel the prophet was just a child and learning to hear the Lord’s voice, the priest Eli, instructed him to say to the Lord, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:9) This is a simple prayer and yet it positions you to be both humble before the Lord and receptive to hear His voice.
7. Be willing to wait patiently on the Lord with pen and paper nearby.
Waiting on the Lord is a spiritual discipline. God does not move or even speak to us on our timetable. Yet the Bible is full of promises of blessing to the person who is willing to “wait upon God.”
- The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lam. 3:25
- For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18
Twenty years ago, I was at a point of spiritual desperation and set aside a time of fasting and prayer for the singular purpose of just hearing from God. I didn’t have a list of wants – just a desire to hear from God because I felt like He was trying to tell me something, but I couldn’t hear it in the middle of my busy schedule. I waited on the Lord for days in a quiet place before I heard anything from God, but when He finally spoke, it was like a flood and I could hardly write it down fast enough. And out of that period of waiting on God – Hidden With Christ Ministries was born. If you are willing to wait patiently, God will speak to you – and it will be worth the wait!