Is it possible to really HEAR God?
Is the God of the whole universe really interested in communicating with us? Is God concerned about you? Does He have time for you? Can you really, legitimately, hear from Him? Does He want you to know why He created you? How do you begin to hear Him and develop a conversation about his design and purpose for your life? These questions are at the center of all human spiritual quests.
To be invited to know the all-powerful Creator of everything – if He hears us and we can hear Him – has to be life’s greatest privilege. Is it possible that God wants to be your friend?
Yes, as amazing as it seems, God very much wants people to find their way to Him and become friends with Him, or even closer than friends, to become family. Jesus is the Way that it happens. After His death and resurrection, He was excited to send this message to His followers: “I ascend to My Father and your Father!” He was saying that what He had just accomplished had made His Father their Father as well. When we receive Jesus’ death as the payment to take away our shame and guilt, we become God’s adopted children.
Truly, If God chose to be distant and hide from us, we could never find Him. The Bible says that God dwells in unapproachable light, in a high and holy place. He could be remote and unknowable if He wanted to. But the Bible declares that God wholeheartedly wants to reveal Himself to us and to communicate with every person. Maybe that’s why one of Jesus’ names is “the Word of God.”
The Word Of God
Why would Jesus be called “the Word”? (Pause to think and discuss, then read on.)
What is a word, after all?
A word is an intelligible sound that transfers a thought from one mind to another. Through the words you are reading right now, thoughts in my head become knowable to you. John 1:14 says, “The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw His glory, the glory [honor] which He received as the Father’s only Son.” Then verse 18 explains why: “No one has ever seen God [the Father]. The only Son, who is the same as God and is at the Father’s side, He has made Him known.” That last “made known” means that Jesus came to progressively reveal God’s character, ways, and thoughts to us layer by layer.
This, then, is how much God wants to communicate with you. Yes, He knows you, is concerned for you, and wants you to know Him. He went to great lengths to make it possible.
How Can We Hear From God?
God has given us three avenues through which He speaks to us: nature, a book, and a personal Guide. First, we can study God’s work in nature, where science reveals secrets about the Creator’s ways.
Second, we can read His written book, the Bible, which Jesus compared to the staple food you eat every day: for the Jews it was bread; for you it might be rice, pasta, potato, etc. “Man cannot live on bread alone, but needs every word that God speaks (Matthew 4:4). Hearing God’s voice as you read or hear the Bible is just as important to your spiritual life as eating is to your physical life!
As the third avenue to hear Him, Jesus said that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. We need this Guide! It’s not enough to know God’s Word, we need His Spirit as our Guide also.
An Appointment With God
“Very early the next morning, long before daylight, Jesus got up and left the house. He went out of town to a lonely place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Jesus had an appointment with His Father, away from the crowds who wanted His attention. If Jesus needed daily time apart with Father God, how much more do we!!
Here are some practical tips to learning to hear God speak to your heart:
1. Make an appointment. If you are a “morning person” make it in the morning. If a “night owl” make it at night. Set aside part of the day when you are at your best.
2. Find your alone place. It may be outside, or in a room. If many people are always around, you can always do what Suzanna Wesley did. With 17 children, she could not find a quiet place without distractions. So she sat at a table and put her apron over her head like a tent. That was her signal to the children that Mommy was praying, and not to interrupt.
3. Journal. If you can, bring a notebook, pen, and Bible. When you get quiet, some things you forgot about will likely rush in your thoughts. Write those down, but don’t stop to do them.
At Your Appointment
Once you are “at the appointment,” how do you begin? Psalm 95 has a pattern to recommend: thanking, worshiping, listening.
A. Be Thankful.
“Let us come before him with thanksgiving, and sing joyful songs of praise” (Psalm 95:2). Start by taking two minutes to review the last 24 hours, and thank God for things there. If it seemed nothing good happened, you can always thank God for who He is, and that He wants you to know Him.
This attitude of gratitude is so important! Even in our asking, we are to combine it with thanks.
“Come, let us bow down and worship him; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” (Psalm 95:6). Bow your knees if you can, and certainly bow in your heart to God for how great He is and His great humbling of Himself to care for us. Sing or recite, draw or dance to express your gratitude.
“Listen today to what He says” (Psalm 95:7). Read or listen to a couple chapters of the Bible. If you are just starting to learn the Bible, I’d suggest one chapter from Psalms and one from the gospel of John. Listen for God’s voice to you there. Underline, or repeat out loud, anything that stands out to you, and write your thoughts in your journal. What might God be speaking to you today? (In the future we will have more suggestions about this.)
Also, get very quiet inside and listen for God’s whisper. I say whisper, because although we might expect God to speak in booming tones, usually His voice is so quiet! I find that I have to get very still inside and quiet my own anxious thoughts before I can hear Him.
Next it’s time to let God know your requests. Be specific. One of Jesus’ favorite questions was, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Well, what do you? Write down at least some of your requests in your journal, and leave spaces for when the answers come.
May I Ask a Favor?
When you hear from God and it’s a great thought, would you share it with the rest of us? We’d love to hear what you heard! You can do this on any of the platforms. Thanks.
We will have more times together to go deeper into the subject of hearing God.
Finding our way to God – Acts 17:27
Friends of God – John 15:15
Jesus the Way – John 14:6
“My Father and your Father” – John 20:17
Where God dwells – Isaiah 57:15
The Word of God – John 1:1-14
God’s book of nature – Psalm 19
The Spirit of truth – John 14:15-17
God’s Gentle Voice – 1 Kings 19:11-13
Requests – Philippians 4:6