Learning to hear God’s voice is sometimes like trying to understand what my wife means when she is talking to me. At times, it feels like we are speaking different languages. I hear her but completely misinterpret what she is saying. Of course, I love my wife and try hard to listen and understand, but I have to admit that I frequently miss the mark.
We know God wants a personal relationship with us and you can’t have a relationship without communication. God spoke to numerous people throughout the Bible in different ways, but I believe that He usually speaks to us much more subtly than through a burning bush or an audible voice from the sky. God often speaks to people through impressions in their mind and the Bible. You might get a strong feeling to help out a stranger, avoid a particular path or break a sinful habit.
Unfortunately, many people find it very difficult to hear God’s voice, including me. There are many reasons for this, but the most obvious is that we become close-minded. With society’s emphasis on the negative in this world, it can be hard to see clearly, think clearly and believe that God still speaks to His people. Mark, a local pastor, preached on the topic of joy and eluded to the fact that even with all the problems our world faces more good things are happening than bad, but we live in a time where fear-based media (if it bleeds, it leads) controls what we see and hear. Over the years I have become hard-hearted and narrow-minded when it comes to people and things around me, so God isn’t going to get through to me, unless it is one of those thumps on the head moments where God says, “Knock it off!”
- Pride also can stand in the way of hearing God’s voice. If we know what is best for us then why to listen to anything or anyone else, right?
- Fear of what He might say. Have you ever worried about God telling you ‘no’? Or sending you into an uncomfortable position? I know I have and to prevent hearing no or something I don’t want to face, I tune Him out or don’t go to Him with the question.
- Bitterness can zap any relationship and gripping onto memories of hurt and transgressions will eventually lead to a victim mentality and questioning why God allowed this to happen.
If you want to hear the voice of God, you need to open up your mind and believe that He can and will talk to you. Let go of your pride, fear, and bitterness and let God love you.
The next step in the process is to make time to listen. Just like in our personal relationships with our family and friends we need to be available to hear what they have to say. Set aside time to listen to what God has to say to you either first thing in the morning or at night before retiring. When you do hear God, what then? A study done by the US Air Force found that people tend to forget 90-95 percent of everything they hear within 72 hours. If you hear God speaking to you and don’t take action, then you might forget what was said. Therefore, make it a point to write down words of wisdom, action or love from God. An excellent way to keep track of prayers and answers is by keeping a prayer journal. But be patient and remember that your answers will arrive in God’s time and not your time.
The busyness of daily life and information overload makes it hard to concentrate at times. If you want to hear God speak, you need to get rid of distractions and learn to quiet your mind.
Lastly, and this can be the hardest of all the steps, are you ready, able and willing to do what God tells you to do when He tells you? As Christians, we say we trust God, but sometimes we find it very difficult to let go of our control. God is not going to waste time if your heart isn’t in the right place. You need an attitude of “Yes, Lord.”
Never forget that God wants a relationship with you or the power of His Word. As you are working on developing an open mind, making time for God, getting rid of distractions and letting go of control, start the process by reading the Bible and spending time in His Word. You may find that the answers have been in front of you all the time…just waiting for you to listen.