My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.John 10:27
Sometimes we are so busy talking to God, we forget that God wants us to listen. It is easy to look at prayer as one-way communication, typically consisting of us offering up our needs and petitions, hoping God is ready and willing to act at a moment’s notice. Yet this is not true prayer. Prayer in the purest form is a conversation with God— it is time in stillness and quiet, learning to patiently wait upon God, and asking Him to speak His peace deep within our hearts. God wants us to listen to Him and we see throughout the Bible, God interacting with people in various ways. He spoke to Moses through a burning bush [see Exodus 3:1–4], Saul through a bright light [see Acts 9:1–5]; and even to Balaam through a donkey [see Numbers 22:1–35]. He is a God who says in Isaiah 28:23 “Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say”.
When we are talking to God in prayer, we must remember to give Him a turn—give Him a chance to speak [and when He speaks, listen to Him]. I think we often overcomplicated how to hear God’s voice; while it does require some discipline to find a quiet place and be still, it’s like any relationship in life. As we spend more time reading His Word, we draw closer to God [and build a personal relationship]. It is in knowing Him that we can distinguish and hear His voice.
Here are a few options that helped me hear from God:
- Read the Word of God [before doing this, prayer and seek the Holy Spirit]
It’s His instruction manual and love letter to us. Hebrew 4:12 says, “for the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
- Focus your mind on “God thoughts”
God generally speaks to our mind through thoughts. This is God’s method of communication. While He can speak through conversations, through nature, or even a show you’re watching. He usually speaks to your mind so think creative, healthy and divine thoughts.
- Set aside a secret place to meet with God
Whether this is your bedroom, your garden, your local coffee shop—be still, read the Bible and write down the thoughts that come to your mind. Psalm 91:1 says, “those who live in the shelter [secret place] of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”