Will God speak to me? Is this question echoing in your heart? Are you longing to hear God speak to you personally? You aren’t alone.
Deepening our relationship with God is a desire that taps into our purpose. God created us for relationship. We know relationships flourish when there is good communication, but conversing with God isn’t always clear. What do you do with your longing to hear from God?
How do we hear God?
We may think of hearing God as words we literally hear from outside of ourselves—like we listen to other people. Christ dwells within and speaks from within, so this is often a different kind of listening that comes by way of spirit.
Hearing God is the work of the Holy Spirit. Conversation with God involves spiritual hearing more than a physical listening.
Scripture records God speaking in a variety of ways. In Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby explains “God speaks through a variety of means. In the present God primarily speaks by the Holy Spirit, through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church.”
A holy longing for more of God.
I believe that God sparks this desire in our soul so that we will seek Him more intentionally. The Holy Spirit stirs a craving for deeper engagement with God.
Even greater than our yearning to hear God is the beautiful truth that God wants for us to know His voice. Our holy longing begins with His desire, and it is a desire He loves to fulfill!
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3
The best way to sharpen your spiritual listening is to ask God help. Does this sound too simple? In today’s digital age of information, many balk at the thought that we cannot rely on a three-step formula for improving ourselves and achieving the life we want.
But what if listening to God really is simple? What if it really isn’t about our capability, but about a willingness to trust God to do what we cannot accomplish own our own? Isn’t this what faith is all about?
Participate with God to hear His voice.
As we trust God to teach us to recognize His voice, we play a role in the process. God often works alongside our participation. How can we not participate when the Holy Spirit dwells within us?
Trust God and pay attention as you reflect on His word and in the activity of your day. Hold fast to the belief that God will fulfill your desire to hear from Him. Then take the active step to watch and wait in faith.
Listening with purpose.
Attention and intention snap to high alert in these words from Habakkuk that provide spiritual inspiration for listening to God. Consider the relationship between Habakkuk’s desire expressed as intentionality and God speaking:
I will stand on my guard post
And station myself on the rampart;
And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me,
And how I may reply when I am reproved.
Then the LORD answered me and said. . . Habakkuk 2:1-2a NASB
When it comes to hearing God, cultivating a regular practice of meditating on His word is the most effective way to stand at your guard post.
I love the way seeing and hearing come together in this passage:
I will keep watch
What He will speak to me.
Isn’t this what we long for in the busyness of life, overwhelmed by the choices before us? Making decisions, solving problems, overcoming fears and frustrations—these are just a few of the moments we long to hear God speak.
Sweet friend, pay attention, for this is a sacred longing drawing you to deeper intimacy with God.
What better way to “see” what God will say than to read Scripture as a conversation with God, depending on the Holy Spirit to reveal and guide? The written words reveal the Living Word in a way that is living and active (Hebrews 4:12).
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
The connection between seeing and hearing continues in these words that teach us about listening to God.
Then the Lord answered me. . .
Have you considered the cause and effect sequence in this passage? Because Habakuk was faithful to stand guard, station himself, and keep watch for God’s words, he heard God when He answered.
How often do I miss God speaking because I’m not listening? Not ready? Not paying attention?
I often get hung up in preparing to listen or in paying attention. Is this a challenge for you as well?
Isn’t it tempting to rush into the day, behind before we begin?
Dragging the weight of our to-do list like a weight fettered to our ankles, our practical, get-it-done-self shouts, “You don’t have time to read your Bible right now. Maybe later when you’ve been productive…” Do you hear this bossy voice in your head?
These are the days I neglect to stand on my post, to be mentally and spiritually in position to focus and listen to God despite chatter of all the tasks crying out for completion.
Other days, I show up but don’t station myself. Words flitter into my mind. . . and right back out. They are travelers merely passing through. I turn the pages, going through the act of reading. It’s as if I have spiritual ADD.
I struggle to corral my thoughts, settle my emotions, and silence my fears. I read the words, but they do not penetrate or take root.
Attention is a gift that we can either use wisely or squander on lesser things.
What distracts you from listening to God? Have you considered what you might be missing out on when you are consumed with problems, work, relationships, entertainment, social media, news, or surfing the web?
What sidetracks you most often these days? Is it internal or external? Busyness or a struggle of some kind?
The sacred gift of attention.
In my book, Holy in the Moment, I wrote a chapter on listening to God. The graphics in this post share quotes from the book. Here’s a truth to open your ears to the whispers of God to your heart:
Ask God to empower you to push past distraction, busyness, and confusion.
- Be willing to stop, stand, and station yourself to listen.
- Be willing to be in process, as messy as it might be.
- Be willing to try, to falter, and eventually to fly.
Entrust yourself to the Holy Spirit to help and to guide (John 16:13, John 14:26).
Give God your attention and believe He will speak to you. Let your quiet time become a training ground for hearing God more clearly.
When God speaks. . .
Write it down.
The rhythm of seeing and hearing continues in Habakuk’s experience with God:
“Record the vision
And inscribe it on tablets,
That the one who reads it may run.”–Habakkuk 2:2
When we hear from God, it’s important to respond and remember. Because our memory is limited, write His words to you and keep them close. Take them to heart so they can strengthen you in the days to come.
How can your desire to listen to God draw you into a deeper relationship? What helps you to listen to God?
More Posts on Listening to God
Do You Struggle with Listening to God?
Moments to Pray, Listen, and Think Bring Us Closer to God
Discover Six Important Truths about Listening to God
Eight Powerful Ways to Connect with God When He Is Silent
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Thank you for this timely reminder. I love the description of spiritual ADD (and can totally relate to it). This is a beautiful post and a great way to start my day.
Kim, welcome to my daily challenge! I often think I have squirrels scurrying around in my brain. I’m so glad this post empowered you to focus and listen to God today.
Your post dovetails nicely with mine about giving our attention to our mates instead of our phones. Boy, does technology rule our lives these days! Worst of all, it steals moments from God, the most important Person we need to listen to and not just talk to. Love your emphasis, Ginger! Thanks for this nudge to allow God to speak to me and not just to listen to me! 😉
Hi Beth, your post on not letting the distraction of phones impact our marriage relationship was so good! Distraction hits us from so many angles, impacting many areas of life including our relationship with God! Thanks for visiting today!
So l just came across thc and lemmi just say it’s beautiful. I’m learning to hear the Lord’s voice but l have a question. Like ,for just how long should we listen. Especially when u’ve never experienced thc b4 and ur trying to find the Lord’s voice. I mean, u don’t really expect me to just sit there and listen the whole day. Just curious please help me 🥺
These are great questions, Irene. Learning to listen for God speaking in our hearts is a process. For me, it comes most clearly when I reflect on a short Bible passage or verse. I ask God to open my ears to hear what He wants to say about the verse. As I listen, I begin to write down thoughts a nd prayers that come to mind about the verse. When there is clarity and insight about the verse, I know I am “hearing from God.” I hope this helps.
We had our Bible study Wednesday from the book of Habakkuk and here it goes again. After reading this I think God is speaking to me this week from the book of Habakkuk. So I’m going to go read it now. Thank you.
Praying God impresses His love for you as read this book. We are always blessed when we recognize when God speaks to us through His word. I’m so glad this was helpful for you!
Thanks for sharing this very edifying post. I loved the quote, ” In the present God primarily speaks by the Holy Spirit, through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church.””
Just last night during my time in the Word, I felt the Lord speaking to me regarding “listening” to the Holy Spirit, especially in the area of overcoming sin. And then I come to this post today and am reminded of ALL the reasons and ways to be in tuned and listening to God to speak.
Thanks so much for sharing.
Hi Karen! Are you listening in on my conversations with God? He’s been impressing on me an area where I’ve let my flesh run the game. I’m deeply encouraged that His voice is always for me, even when I’m struggling to act like the godly person I am in Christ. When we hear from God, He speaks life into our flagging motivation and desire. He encourages where the enemy condemns. Learning the difference between condemnation (enemy) and conviction (Holy Spirit) has helped me tremendously. Thanks for joining the conversation today!
Hey Ginger! Thank you for this insight about how to hear God speaking to us. I know when I create space for the pondering and meditation I feel closer to Him and recognize direction for me and my life. I especially appreciate the reminder and invitation to turn away from distraction.
Marielle, welcome! I’m so glad to connect with you through this post. Distractions–oh, mercy–they plague us to no end! I love that you are experiencing God speak into your life when you create space through pondering, meditation, and attention. Praying God is speaking mightily in and through you as you encourage many with your own words.
Our church just finished up a powerful sermon series on the Holy Spirit and I love how your post captured many of the highlights! Love how the Lord can work like that! 🙂
Yes, I love it when God reinforces the same message through different means! How we confuse and underestimate the power and presence of the Holy Spirit speaking to us in many ways. So good to have you visit today, Nicki!
I feel a little weird about commenting here as all the comments are from women, not men. But here goes. I have been trying to hear God speak for 43+ years to no avail. I read my Bible and hear only my own voice. Outloud or internally. The Bible (Scripture) is not God’s voice. God spoke to people before anything was ever written down. Scripture may be God inspired, but isn’t God’s actual voice. The Bible teaches that God speaks outside of Scripture. The burning bush is such an example. I so need to actually hear God’s voice. To actually talk “with” God, not just talking “to” Him. If God actually speaks, then I might be able to have this relationship I hear that God wants. No imput (God’s silence) from God negates any possibility of a relationship. There must be interaction to have a relationship. God has not been involved in my life. 43+ years of nothing but silence, absence, heartbreak, broken promises, and unanswered prayers from God. Why is God torturing me this way? Yes, it is torture.
God bless you through the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ holy name, Amen.
I appreciate you sharing your struggle, frustration, and questions about talking with God in your blog comment. I can understand your struggle and it is challenging. God speaks in a variety of ways, primarily through reading or hearing God’s Word or the preaching/teaching of Scripture. The Holy Spirit is the One who enables us to hear and understand. The Bible is God’s word to us, and though most don’t audibly “hear” his voice, we can learn to recognize when God is communicating with us through the Holy Spirit.
Just in case, I will add this truth since I don’t know your faith journey. It is important to believe and confess that Jesus is the Son of God who lived, died to pay the penalty for our sins, and rose again to enable us to receive the Holy Spirit who dwells in the hearts of believers. Learning to recognize God speaking to us comes through the work of the Holy Spirit. John 16:13-14 tells us, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take from Mine and will disclose it to you.”
John 14:16-17 says, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; 17 the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you…”
You may find much encouragment in the entire chapter of John 14.
I find it helpful to pray and invite the Spirit to teach, reveal, speak, or help me understand one thing he wants me to understand, notice, or reflect on. Then I read a short passage, usually 1/2 chapter or a Psalm, paying attention to any phrases or words that catch my attention. Then I read what stood out to me again, talking with God about the observations, thoughts, or questions that come to mind. It is helpful to write down your thoughts. When the Holy Spirit helps us notice and engage with that concept in a meaningful way, we are usually hearing from God. It is a different way of communicating.
Sometimes God speaks through a teaching or sermon that hits home. There will be a sense that the pastor/teacher is speaking directly to something in your life or to you. Often, the bit thought/point/truth that stood out may come to mind again later. God sometimes communicates with us through music that draws our thoughts and prayers to him. Sometimes He speaks through other people words of wisdom, encouragment, counsel, or guidance that helps us. In fact, God is likely speaking through me as I share the words the Holy Spirit puts on my heart to respond to your heartfelt comment/questions. However God chooses to communicate with us, He is always consistent with His word and His character.
I recently read a book that I thought was really helpful. Can You Hear Me? by Brad Jersak. If you check out the book on Amazon, you can read the sample and look at the table of contents to decide if you want to read the book. The author makes the point that we are very likely already hearing God more than we realize, we just haven’t learned to recognize it. He shares a lot of ways God speaks to us and has some helpful ideas to put into practice.
I hope this is helpful for you.