God is a God of love and therefore of revelation. If you love someone you want to communicate with them as much as possible. So God wants to communicate with us regularly. We are sometimes good at speaking to him – asking him for help. But we can forget to listen. How do we “hear” God? Here is a simple method, for which we are indebted to the Lydia Fellowship:
Steps of Preparation
Begin by focusing on the Lord in song and praise
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any area in you that is displeasing to God. Confess and accept God’s forgiveness and cleansing
Sin is a spiritual wax in the ear: it prevents us hearing God properly.
Submit your own ideas, thoughts and feelings to God
Our own thoughts, predispositions, prejudices and desires can speak so loudly we can’t hear the gentle whisper of the Spirit.
Resist the enemy
The devil will seek to deafen us to God’s voice. See the promise in James 4:7.
Ask the Holy Spirit to anoint you in his fulness and to direct your prayers
Paul writes: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Rom 8:26).
Ask for the fear of God which overrides the fear of each other
This is only relevant if you are in a corporate context, e.g. a prayer group which is seeking to discern God’s will. We need to overcome our fear that what we say might be irrelevant or even ludicrous.
Relax and listen, expecting God to speak Hearing God
We can “hear” God in various ways:
Through the general teaching of the Bible
The Psalmist writes: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Ps 119:105). We have to be careful to understand Scripture correctly and to compare Scripture with Scripture. You may need some help from a Christian leader here.
God can show us his will through our circumstances but we need to reflect carefully and prayerfully on this.
Through advice of other Christians
It is important to seek advice from mature Christians.
Through inner peace
God can give us an inner assurance that we are hearing God correctly. Alternatively, we could experience an inner hesitation that something may be wrong e.g. with a particular course of action.
Through a “now-word” of Scripture
Many Christians experience at times a verse or a passage “leaping off the page” of the Bible, as if it had been written that day specially for them and their current circumstances.
Through a recurring thought (not thought up but suddenly “there”)
Obviously, it is important to check this out, but many Christians have experienced such a thought which has proved to be accurate and helpful.
Through a mental picture (not thought up but suddenly “there”)
The same can be said here as in the previous point.
Through a spoken gift of the Spirit
God can speak to us through these gifts: prophecy, a word of knowledge, a word of wisdom, a message in tongues with an interpretation. However they need to be checked by Scripture and alongside the other means of hearing God mentioned above.
© Tony Higton: see conditions for reproduction