How to hear from God
Hearing God speak to you personally is a wonderful faith-boosting, relationship-building experience
I will give you three simple steps to take if you want to hear from God. It’s not a formula. It’s three principles that are on view in the Bible.
If you confess that Jesus is the Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you belong to God. You are adopted into His family. He is your Father in heaven. You have every right to hear from Him [Romans 10:9 and Ephesians 1:4-5].
… if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.×
For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.×
Jesus also said that those who follow Him hear His voice [John 10:4,27]. So, you should expect to hear from Him. You should hear from Him, but many Christians do not. They believe in Jesus. Their salvation is not in doubt. And yet they live without the blessing of hearing God’s voice.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your steps.”
When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.
My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.×
That is a promise from God. If you meet the conditions – trusting in Him and not in yourself, and acknowledging His hand on your life – then you can be sure that He is guiding your steps.
We also know that God works all circumstances for good for those who love Him [Romans 8:28].
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.×
Yet, some live their entire Christian lives without ever hearing God speak. They know Him, and they know that He is directing their paths. They can survive trying times and come through with their faith intact, and yet they never hear God’s audible voice, or the inner voice of the Spirit. But you don’t have to settle for that.
Hearing God speak to you personally is a wonderful faith-boosting, relationship-building experience.
- Humbly ask God if there is anything that is hindering you from hearing Him
Certain behaviour can stand in the way of your prayers [1 Peter 3:7].
God knows that you are not sinlessly perfect. He knows that you have struggles. What delights God is when you acknowledge your weakness [1 John 1:8-9].
Humility implies dependence on Him. Confidence in self is the opposite of humility. God loves a humble heart [Psalm 34:18, Psalm 138:6 and James 4:6].
This is very encouraging because, although you almost certainly have bad attitudes that might hinder your prayers, the act of acknowledging your failings, and asking God for help, displays the humility of heart that delights Him.
God is not impressed with dispassionate people [Revelation 3:15-16] but God is impressed with humble people.
Step one is not out of your reach.
1 Peter 3:7
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.×
1 John 1:8-9
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.×
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Though the LORD is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar.
But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”×
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.×
- To hear, you must first be heard
God knows everything. He knows every thought you have ever had, and every thought you ever will have.
God hears silent prayer [1 Samuel 1:12-13].
But God tests the strength of your desire.
The person who cries out to God gets His attention. In several places in the Psalms we read of King David crying out to God. The same is true of the Prophets and, astonishingly, the same is true of the Lord Jesus.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears … and He was heard because of His reverent submission.”
There is a time for communal prayer, but this is not it. Pray now in secret. And let your words be few [Matthew 6:5-8 and Ecclesiastes 5:1-2]
Raise your voice, and call out to God. This is also not beyond you, and it does prove your sincerity and desire.
1 Samuel 1:12-13
As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard.×
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.×
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.
God hears as soon as you pray and as soon as you cry out, but you will almost certainly have to wait to hear from Him.
The prophet Jeremiah, for example, waited ten days on one occasion before he received an answer to prayer from God [Jeremiah 42:1-4,7].
It is harder to wait on God than it is to work for God
It is harder to wait on God than it is to work for God. When you are waiting and waiting to hear from God it is easy to let yourself believe that He does not hear you, or does not care. It is a further test of your faith and trust in Him.
God will speak. Usually it is “the still small voice” – an impression in your spirit, but clear and concise nevertheless.
Read this well-known passage about Elijah hearing from God [1 Kings 19:11-13]. Note that God whispers. However, also note that when Elijah recognised the whisper, and then presented himself, he heard clearly from God.
Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, “Please hear our petition and pray to the LORD your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left. Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.”
“I have heard you,” replied Jeremiah the prophet. “I will certainly pray to the LORD your God as you have requested; I will tell you everything the LORD says and will keep nothing back from you.”
Ten days later the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah.×
1 Kings 19:11-13
The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”×
Expect to hear from God. It is a blessing. And as you wait on Him, and respond to Him, you will grow to know His voice consistently.