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.
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.
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?
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