Have you ever heard the audible voice of God speaking directly to you? If so, then I want to know your secret. Because every time someone tells a story about hearing God’s voice loud and clear I get a pang of envy. I’m not proud of that reaction but I can’t help wondering what I’m doing wrong. Why doesn’t he talk to me like that?
I used to think that God only spoke to the chosen few – so they could relay his messages to the masses. That’s why Joan of Arc and Mother Teresa told stories of receiving direct instruction from God. But what about the rest of us? How are we supposed to feel when we listen for the booming voice from the heavens or the gentle whisper of God only to discover empty silence?
I think maybe we’re trying too hard. Seriously. I don’t think it’s necessary for us to sit on a rock by a waterfall in the forest fasting and meditating for 40 days in order to hear the voice of God. And sometimes that’s how hard I think we’re making it on ourselves.
Rather, I think the women who hear the voice of God have something more obtainable that enables them to hear the voice of God – a daily habit of conversing with him. Yep, I think that’s all it is. After all, you can’t hear God’s voice if you don’t have a personal conversation with him, right?
If you are speaking with God daily, then you might know that he places thoughts in your mind all the time. Like a sudden urge to call a friend you haven’t spoken to in years. Or a desire to support a ministry at church even though you have absolutely no time to add something else to your plate. Maybe even the idea to write a book, start a business or step up as a leader in some way. A feeling that you need to tithe more. Or an awareness that an important relationship needs your attention. Even an overwhelming sense of peace. Those are all little whispers from God.
In fact, every positive thought filled with encouragement, creativity, compassion and generosity, comes from him. So essentially, if you’re having thoughts like this, you are hearing his voice. And you’re most likely answering him – either by acting on those thoughts or ignoring them.
So how do you create a daily habit of conversing with God so that you too can hear his voice? The same way you develop any habit – with practice.
Five Ways to Practice Hearing God’s Voice
1. Set aside time daily to immerse yourself in His word. If reading the Bible is too daunting, then try a daily devotional or join a Bible Study group. Anything that exposes you daily to God’s written word so that you open the door for that conversation.
2. Be still. This is the most challenging step for me. In fact, I often feel close to God when I’m in motion – running or hiking or biking. Even driving in my car. So the idea that I need to be still in order to hear his voice is a bit frustrating. But let me explain. For me, stillness is not a physical state. The kind of stillness I need to open my heart to God is a stillness of the mind. So whatever it takes for you to quiet your mind, find a way to do it every day.
3. Stop demanding answers. Do you have an agenda every time you speak with God? Maybe you show up with praise and gratitude sometimes. Or you may go to him with a laundry list of things you need his guidance on. I’m guilty of this. I always have a plan when I pray – something specific I need from him. But my challenge to you is this: show up with an open mind and a blank slate. What if we came to him without telling or asking anything? Just letting him lead the conversation? Knowing he will nourish us with whatever we need.
4. Expect to hear from him. If you tell yourself that you’re not the kind of person who hears God’s voice, guess what? You’re probably not going to hear him. But if you open up to the possibility that he converses with you all day long, it’s more likely you will be paying attention when he speaks to you.
5. Be on the lookout for his angels. Who says God has to speak directly to you in his voice? The Bible tells us he sends messengers all the time. I’m willing to bet he sends angels to speak with you and you may not even recognize them. Who are the people in your life who encourage you, inspire you, challenge you to live in Christ-like character? Hmmmm….could they be angels placed in your path for a specific purpose?
I’ve made a commitment to practice these five steps so I can better recognize the voice of God. Won’t you join me? Start a daily habit today and we can support one another!
Copyright 2012 Theresa Ceniccola