…He (the Lord) wakes me up morning by morning. He wakes up my ear to listen as a follower. The Lord has opened my ear, and I obeyed Him… — Isaiah 50:4c-5, New Life Version
It is important that we know how to hear from God. The success of our Christian walk depends upon our ability to hear God’s voice and our decision to follow His leading.
God wants to speak to us. We cannot become mature Christians on a diet of constant activity such as ministry, musical programs, retreats, weekend conferences, and church committee meetings. While these activities are valuable, they are not our main source of strength. Strength comes out of solitude – being alone with God.
There was never a man as busy as Jesus when He was on the earth. He daily taught, preached and healed. He was constantly surrounded by multitudes of people. Yet, early in the morning while it was still dark or late at night, Jesus would go off to a solitary place to pray. He needed His Father’s assurance, comfort, and direction. If Jesus needed these things, how much more do we need them?
It is an honor to be able to speak with God. We don’t have to follow any prescribed rituals, neither do we need a priest as our mediator. We can approach God anywhere, any place, and under any circumstance.
Most of us think of prayer as “talking to God.” Rarely do we stop and wonder whether God has anything to say to us. We cannot build relationships on one-way speeches. How many friends would we have if we constantly dominated the conversation without giving the other person a chance to speak? Yet, how often do we do the same with God? The primary reason for this is that we do not expect God to speak to us.
Some people feel that God only speaks to those who are called into full-time ministry. But in reality, God speaks to all of us. Throughout the Bible, we see that God spoke to His people who were from all walks of life. We are part of the New Testament Church and that means that God is still speaking to us today!
Four Basic Ways God Speaks His Will to Us
The Bible, the Word of God. The Bible records God’s words to His people. There are times when God draws your attention to a scripture that speaks to your particular need. This is called a Rhema or quickened Word. You can apply this scripture to your situation and thank God for speaking directly to you through His Word.
Through people. God may choose to counsel and guide us by a pastor, friend, family member or counselor. God can move upon people to show compassion to us when we are at our lowest point, and God can motivate others to provide for us when we are in need.
Through circumstances. We may set out to do a particular thing or have a particular plan for our life and God places a road block in our path to redirect us. For instance, we may have a good feeling about a job interview, only to be disappointed when we find out that we did not get the job. Though we may be devastated, we must also realize that God can work out His own plan for us through our circumstances.
By the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives within us and gives us direction when we ask for His help. In John 16:13, Jesus called the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” who will “lead you and guide you into all truth.” When you hear truth and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is the truth, then know for a fact that you are hearing from God.
We will experience times when we are confronted with serious situations or have to make major decisions. These are times when we need to know how to hear God’s voice clearly. We never know when our lives may depend on it.