(Final post in a 5-part series collaboration)
In the first four posts of this series, my guests have shared how they hear from God. Here’s a recap with a link to their post:
Dawn: worship, prayer, personal devotions, preaching, meditation, relationships
Bob: putting God first, asking Him to speak, aligning priorities, talking about him with others
Erin: peace from God after season of prayer, Spirit conviction, through others
Aaron: vision from within (words, peace), scripture
Before I answer the question, I believe it’s helpful to answer another question: What might be keeping me from hearing God’s voice? I believe that can be answered with this word-Noise. God is always present and available, but it’s quite possible he can’t be heard over all the other noise. And if I’m honest with myself, all that noise is entirely within my control.
“If I’m moving at an insane pace and there is no room in my life for quiet, I will miss God’s voice.” –Lance Witt, Replenish
So if I earnestly want to hear from God, I have to control the noise. And what that most likely means is tuning it out. Tuning out:
- Distractions like social media
- Voices contrary to godly dialogue (in my own head, lies from the enemy, subtleties in media/entertainment, misguided thinking or content from well-meaning people)
- By slowing down
- By scheduling quiet
Once I’ve handled the noise, then I’m ready to tune in to hear from God. Dawn, Bob, Erin, and Aaron have told us how they tune in. Here are five ways I tune in:
- Community. As an introvert, a community of one sounds fine to me. But I’ve learned that I rob myself and tune out the voice of God when I resist being in community. So my community consists of small groups from church, routine meet ups with like-minded men, being coached, and engaging in Sunday services by expecting to receive a personal message from God to me.
- Journaling. I’m not legalistic about it, but often journaling is a helpful exercise during or after reading scripture. When a thought or challenge surfaces that needs some exploring, that’s what guides how I approach my journal entry. Sometimes it looks like a paraphrase of what I read, putting into my own words or applying it to a current situation. Sometimes it ends up being a written prayer. Sometimes it’s bullet points. Sometimes it’s an outline for future teaching use. If you haven’t tried it and would like some direction, I suggest reading The Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro. Journaling has the potential of opening up an avenue of conversation that otherwise may not happen.
- Prayer. In order to hear from God, prayer should be viewed as an ongoing dialogue, a two-way conversation. You might say a paraphrase of “pray without ceasing” would be “never hang up the phone.”
- Asking and Expecting. Similar to dinner conversation or an email thread, the dialogue of prayer should include more than input from one party. For my part of the conversation, I try to include questions that require an answer only God could give, such as:
- “How did I do with that interaction with my coworker today?”
- “What are you trying to say to me through that verse that just came to mind?”
- “What encouraging words do you want me to share with the grocery cashier?” Ask the question and wait for the answer. He’ll answer the email when it’s time. Or it may wait until the next meal. That’s part of recognizing his sovereignty. But it’s up to my end of the conversation to ask the question.
- Responding. Since all believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, there is little doubt that he speaks to us. I have found that one of the best ways to tune in is to simply respond when he speaks. Much like a child who has been called to dinner or given any other direction from their parent, a respectful, “Heard,” helps both parties know they are connected. And a “Thank you” can’t hurt either.
So what’s your answer? How do you hear from God? A DJ on thejoyfm Tuesday said he got a message from God through feeding his fish. One thing is true-God’s ability to be heard is unlimited. We five writers would like to hear how God is heard by you.