I have received a lot of questions from people about how I hear God’s voice and what He sounds like. It’s my heart that everybody learn how to hear God’s voice so I wanted to take an article teaching the same things I learned. So buckle your seat belt! We are going to go on an adventure to learn how to hear God’s voice for yourself. The Lord told me to teach this message today and said
“Show them how I spoke to those who did not know me. (Paul). Show them how I poured my spirit upon all flesh and they would prophecy. Show them how I revealed myself to the gentiles and did not distinguish between them and the jews but poured my spirit upon them all. Show them the mystery of my will. Give them a taste of what its like to hear my voice and let them discover for themselves that experience. I tell you I will work in the hearts of everyone you preach to and give them confidence that they too can hear my voice.”
So I want to start by looking at the scriptures and then I will show you the practical side, as far as I know, so that you may have a head start in hearing God’s voice. I am not the all in all expert on talking with God. I can lay a foundation, but ultimately it will be God himself and the Holy Spirit within you that teaches you more about hearing his voice. I will teach you how to hear from that spirit.
I grew up in a church that believed that God speaks to us today and we practiced hearing his voice in prophecy and words of knowledge. Even in third grade sunday school we would practice hearing from the Lord and those words were confirmed as being true and having come from him. I remember one of the members of our class was prophesying over a lady in our church and she said, “I see a picture of an angel crushing a coke can beneath his feet.” We all laughed because that seemed odd. However at the end of the prophecy, the lady began to give us feedback on the words she had received and she said that vision was the most accurate because she had been trying to stop drinking coke for the past few weeks. (I’m not saying coke is bad. Decide that for yourself.)
These kind of coincidences and confirmations happened on a regular basis. People would prophecy events that were yet to come and those events would occur just as had been prophesied. For instance I got a word for one young man in which the Lord showed me that he loved math and would be tutoring in math. The man immediately said he did love math and it was his favorite thing to do. Two weeks later he told me that he had been offered a math tutoring job that he was really enjoying. All these things showed us that God does indeed speak today and that we all can learn to hear his voice.
Now I struggled in hearing God’s voice. There were times where it seemed like others could hear Him so well and I wouldn’t get very much. But as I continued to learn from the Lord he taught me that hearing his voice is not just for the mature christians, its for everyone, and he will speak to us anytime. Today, anywhere, anytime, I can sit down and hear from God. We have conversations as long as we like with no interruptions. It is very easy. I don’t always hear perfect and sometimes I struggle with discernment, but usually the things I hear prove to be true. So I want to share with you the things I was taught so that you may not be in the dark when it comes to knowing your Father.
Don’t compare yourself to others or feel bad if you struggle to hear God
We hear God’s voice for our sakes, not for his. You can be a good christian and never hear God’s voice. He wants you to hear His voice, but that is not what makes you a qualified christian. Don’t think less of yourself if you don’t hear God’s voice as well as someone else or start comparing your relationship with God to others.
Both the religious community and the world have a lot of thoughts about hearing God’s voice. The world considers hearing God’s voice foolishness. You may have heard of the “clockmaker theory.” It is a vain philosophy that says that God created the universe but does not engage in its affairs. He created it like a clock that runs on its own and only needs to be looked at from time to time. These people would think that the idea of a christian interacting with God is unprovable and silly.
Sometimes the church in their ignorance gives into these thoughts as well. They may say things like, God does not not speak to us personally but only through the scriptures. However anyone who reads the scriptures will know that God also speaks to us through the spirit. In the times of Martin Luther, the church believed that only the priests could correctly discern the Bible and the rest had to hear God’s will through those men. They forbid people to discern the scriptures for themselves and only wrote bibles in a language that the priests could understand.
Sometimes we see the same mentality today. We think that only the “mature” christians or leaders in the church are given the privilege to know God’s will and hear God’s voice and that the average christian does not have that privilege and it is even dangerous for an average christian to hear the Lord’s voice for themselves. Granted, some have abused hearing the Lord’s voice saying that they heard things that they actually did not. But hasn’t the church done the same things from time to time with the Bible, falsely interpreting the scriptures and binding people with a religion that the Bible doesn’t teach? My point is that anything good can be abused yet that doesn’t make it illegitimate. The scriptures, God’s voice, the grace of God, etc… can all be misused, but that doesn’t mean we need to shy away from it and consider all acts of those things as dangerous and illegitimate. The reason I say all this is because whether we realize it or not, we often have bought into some of these silly beliefs and they will only serve to hinder you from experiencing the Lord.
- God doesn’t speak anymore
- God doesn’t want to speak to me today.
- God only speaks to the ideal christian.
- God doesn’t have much to say.
- God is withholding his voice so that I will obey him more and seek him.
- I have to be in a special place or sense to hear him.
- God only speaks under certain circumstances.
- God only speaks when he needs to, but he doesn’t want to talk with me just for fun.
- God will stop speaking to me until I’ve obeyed that last thing he told me.
- God only speaks to those who pursue him and practice hearing his voice. It will take me years of practice to learn how to hear him.
- God isn’t interested in me.
- I just can’t hear him
- You have to have a special gift from God in order to hear him. Only some people can hear God that way.
- God is speaking in a different way than I know so I can’t hear him.
If you have any of these beliefs or if one of these offended you, consider carefully what you believe. I know a few of these are offensive and they offended me. But, they will keep you from hearing his voice clearly. So long as you are telling God what he can and can’t do you are controlling him. You need to step back and let God be God and not follow manmade wisdom that perverts the gospel and keeps you from hearing him continually. God is a speaking God. All through the bible from genesis to revelation he was speaking.
1 Corinthians 2 “When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.
3:1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.
18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.”
When we ask the Lord to give us wisdom we need to have our hearts open to consider what he says. Sometimes we have grown so fond of our own understanding that we reject anything he says because it contradicts what we think we know. We need to learn to trust in what the Lord says without letting the wisdom of this world deter us.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
So learn to suspend your intellect as you talk to the Lord so that you don’t miss something he may be saying to you. The scriptures teach us that God speaks to man and worldly wisdom says God doesn’t speak. We must consider which wisdom we value more.
So no more foolish rules about when, how, and where God can and can’t speak. We must lay down that ignorance if we are to truly become wise.
God speaks to everybody
According to the scripture above we learn that no one knows a man’s thoughts except a man’s spirit in him. He goes on to say that we have received the spirit from God that we may know everything that he has given us. Therefore since we have the mind of Christ through the spirit, we may hear God’s thoughts. But you may ask, would God have anything to say to me? Is he even interested in talking to me?
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
Luke 12 “6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
You see, God IS interested in you. He has more thoughts than the sands on the sea. He numbers your every hair!!! Why would God not want to speak with you?
Now, if through the spirit you can know God’s thoughts and if he has more thoughts towards you than the sands on the sea, then why would you think that God would stop speaking to you?
John 14 “16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”
John 16 “7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.
17:20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.
1 John 2 “26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own
We can see from these passages that when Jesus was around, he taught the disciples personally. But he said that it was to their advantage that he went away. Why? Because he was sending them the spirit of truth, which is the Holy Spirit to teach them. He said that spirit would be in them and in everyone who believes and would never leave. The spirit doesn’t not speak on his own, he only speaks what the father is saying. You therefore can know what the father is saying if indeed you have the spirit in you.
All believers have the Holy Spirit
Acts 2 “14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17“ ‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
Peter was saying that these are the last days and that God has poured his spirit upon all flesh.
Acts 15 “8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.”
Here he refers to the gentiles vs the jews. That God poured out his spirit onto the gentiles through faith. Whenever someone would believe in Christ, God would give that person his spirit.
Acts 10 “44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.””
God was not speaking to the twelve disciples only when he promised them the spirit, he spoke to all who would believe in his name. Galatians 1:12 also shows us a practical example of learning from the spirit.
Galatians 1:12 “I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”
The spirit himself spoke to Paul and taught him the mysteries of the kingdom.
Now some will say that God only speaks to those who “seek” him. However Paul, who was once Saul is a primary example against this. Saul didn’t want anything to do with christianity, yet God intervened and spoke to him, even though Saul did not “pursue” him. God also pursued and revealed himself to the gentiles so that they might know him.
Romans 10 “‘Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.’
19Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,
“I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;
I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”j
20And Isaiah boldly says,
“I was found by those who did not seek me;
I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.””
Ephesians 3 “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”
The mystery is that God gave the spirit to the gentiles who believed in Christ even though they weren’t jewish. Therefore, you too, when you believe receive the spirit. And when you receive the spirit, you receive the ability to hear God’s voice. The Holy Spirit guides you into all truth. God does not distinguish between certain types of christians when he speaks to us. He speaks to all freely.
James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
God is not finding fault with you before he will speak to you, he gives to all freely.
How to hear God’s voice
I hope I’ve convinced you through the scriptures that God continues to speak today. But you may ask. What does God’s voice sound like? How do I know I’m hearing him?
First of all, these are questions that the spirit of truth will teach you. But the bible tells us the nature of God’s voice.
James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.”
1 Corinthians 14:3 “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
God’s voice will always bring peace and comfort, not confusion. It will be pure and loving and bear good fruit and not be unsettling or distressing. It will be encouraging, strengthening, and will come in gentleness. God words will always be full of mercy without giving special attention to some over others. This means all are qualified to hear his voice and He does not distinguish between who you are or what gifting you have.
The spirit does not contradict himself. Therefore anything God tells you will be confirmed in the scripture. You cannot say you have heard God if that word does not resonate with the scripture. However, there are times where our understanding of the scripture is incorrect. In those times God may say something that at first seems to contradict what we know but upon further study we find that he was actually correct. So God’s word will never contradict scripture, but sometimes it will contradict our faulty understanding of scripture.
Anytime you hear God’s voice, it will line up with the scripture, be in God’s nature, and bear good fruit. If its not in God’s nature or down the road you realize that it isn’t bearing good fruit in your life then no matter how much like God it sounded, it was not of Him. Thus you recognize God’s words by their nature and by the spirit within you. The Holy Spirit causes you to distinguish between knowing your thoughts and God’s thoughts. We need to be careful when we hear God’s voice, but we don’t need to be afraid, for he Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. Especially in those times when we go astray thinking we’ve heard God when we actually haven’t.
How does God speak?
Glad you asked. Now we are jumping into more of the practical side of hearing God’s voice. God can speak any way He wants to. But He usually chooses to speak to you in a way that you hear Him best and in a way that you are most comfortable with. For some that is the special revelations in the bible (which of course we all hear God through). Others have dreams and visions. And others it is a voice inside their heart or thoughts in their mind. A few hear an audible voice. For some it is an intuitive sense they get in their spirit. Some get feelings or sudden revelations and knowledge about things that didn’t come from them. All these things are the work of the spirit and there are many other ways God can speak.
Let me ask you a question. Where does the Holy Spirit dwell? In you? Then that’s where you will hear God from. He doesn’t make it difficult to hear his voice. Its easy to dismiss these thoughts and feelings as just belonging to yourself. But you need to learn how to suspend your intellect and take the risk of considering that what you are getting may in fact be coming from God.
So do this with me. First I want you to look at an object in your space. And I want you to say to yourself, “That object is red.” Or whatever color it is. Don’t say it out loud, but think it in your mind. Take a break now and do that.
Could you hear yourself say that? Could you hear your voice say “That object is red?” That is one way that God can speak to you and it may sound like that.
Now in a moment I want you to try something else with me. Close your eyes and ask God this question. “What do you think of me?” or “What’s your favorite thing to do?”
Then I want you to write or type down whatever you hear in response, even if you think its your own thoughts. If you get a sense, describe it. If you hear a thought, write it down. If you get a picture or memory describe it. Ok, go ahead and take that break.
What did you get? Feel free to comment below if you’d like. I will try to make sure my spam filter does not throw away your message!!!!
I felt like God told me that I was full of the Holy Spirit. This means he is pleased with this article and me. He is glad that he is getting to talk to all of you.
So what if I didn’t hear anything?
Don’t give up! Keep listening. I didn’t hear much my first time either. Just continue to talk to God and take time to listen for a reply. If the problem persists it may be one of those silly beliefs holding you back. If so, ask the Lord to remove anything that might hinder you from hearing him. If suddenly you remember something you believe wrongly about the matter, confess that to him and repent of it.
On the other hand, some of you may be trying to hard. Its not hard to hear God’s voice. Try not to use too much discernment as you are listening. It is possible to discern your way right out of hearing God’s voice. Your discernment can be weak and fleshly, so write down whatever you get and use discernment afterward. Discernment needs to be kept simple. If it was peaceful, full of life, freeing, merciful, full of good fruit, comforting, encouraging, strengthening, not contradicting the bible, then it was probably of God. If on the other hand, it was frightening, unnerving, unsettling, confusing, or unclear then dismiss it. God will not be upset with you for dismissing something you in good conscience don’t think is God’s voice. He knows the difficulty we have sometimes learning to hear from the spirit and He’s ok if we sometimes get it wrong, mishear him, or throw away something that was actually Him. Just let Him give you grace for that and continue practicing. And if something you hear is unclear, ask the Lord for a Bible verse, or ask him to speak through the people around you, or give the word time to play out and see if it really came from the Lord.
Don’t be discouraged if you didn’t hear him the first time. Just ask again and wait. And if you don’t hear him again, pray that he would speak to you all the time and continue asking him until he does. He will not turn you away.
And not hearing God’s voice does not mean anything of your faith or character. Sometimes we have small beliefs that get in the way. But do not fear, the Holy Spirit will dismantle those if you let him. Not hearing anything does not mean God doesn’t like you or doesn’t want to talk with you. It just means you are practicing and need some time to learn. Continue to take time to listen to God and ask him questions, He will speak to you.
I hope this helps you to begin your journey in hearing God’s voice! Feel free to ask questions below!
Word of Caution
Be careful when it comes to hearing God’s voice with dates, mates, babies, or deaths or other sensitive issues. These things in their nature have a lot of emotion behind them and can sometimes throw us for a loop when we are honestly trying to hear the Lord’s voice. When hearing the Lord in these matters, listen to the people close to you since they also have the Holy Spirit in them and see if they also feel like it is from the Lord. Don’t be discouraged to the point that you give up on hearing God’s voice if you hear Him wrong in one of these areas. Many people have heard the Lord correctly in these matters, including most of our favorite bible characters, but many people including myself have had our sub-conscious play games with us when it comes to honestly trying to hear the Lord’s voice in these matters.