I recently discovered a paper I wrote in seminary (13 years ago) about hearing God. In it I summarized my experience by stating that I was too distracted for my mind to be quiet enough to listen. It was true.
So, how do we hear Him?
In this post I am going to share my experience and training. I have done a ton of research and will share my "go to" resource that I would give my clients.
Let's start with answering a different question.
Does God speak to us today?
He speaks to us in many ways. Have you ever read a bible verse that you have read a million times only to have it speak to you in a different way? Almost like you had never read it before? Or you are going through a tough time and a song comes on the radio that empathizes, or gives you what you need in that moment?
What about the friend that shares a story with you that you needed to hear to help in your current situation? Or the sermon that so strongly resonates, you know the pastor wrote it just for you.
God uses the body of Christ to speak to us. Sometimes He even uses non-believers to speak to us! Many times it's when we are least expecting it.
But did you know that God also speaks to us with a soft stillness? Conduct a google search and many verses will show you that God speaks to us. Such as here and here.
I shared above that I am way to distracted at all times to be still enough to listen for God, but I learned a tool to help me focus. I want to share this with you.
I learned this tool in a class called "Hearing God's Voice." I highly recommend this to all my clients that struggle to hear Him. What Dr. Virkler taught me, opened a new way of life.
You can take a detailed and hands on class from Communion with God Ministries. They not only offer the Hearing God's Voice class, they offer several others. They have an on-line university where you can earn many ministry degrees, but everyone must take the Hearing God's Voice class first. It is the foundation to learning.
I think it is the foundation to living...but I digress...
Here are the steps:
1. Picture a bible story. If you having a hard time picturing something, get out a kids bible that has pictures in it (the realistic pictures, not the young cartoon looking pictures) and choose one. For example, let's choose the Samaritan woman at the well (I chose a picture for you. You're welcome).
2. Put yourself in that story. Imagine you are walking toward the well. Is it hot outside? What do you hear? Listen as the crunch of your sandals walk on the rocks and dirt. Feel yourself in that picture. Bring in your senses. As you are gathering your water see Jesus there with you.
Go ahead, close your eyes and do this.
3. Ask Jesus how He sees you. Get some paper and pen to take notes....
When Jesus/God speaks to us, it feels like a thought that pops up in your mind. He communicates to us through our imagination.
That is where we see pictures and movies and our own thoughts as well as God's. How creative is this?! God created this special place in our bodies to house a spiritual center to hear Him!
When we ask how Jesus sees us, He will tell you. If you do not hear anything, there may be a blockage to hearing Him. Think of your body as a radio and God is the radio tower sending the signal.
As with a radio signal, sometimes there is a gunk in the atmosphere that is preventing the signal to come through. To understand more about blockages and how to clear them out, I will have a new post soon about this.
4. Test what you hear. This part is essential. Not only do you hear Jesus in your imagination. You hear your own thoughts and the enemy, too. Jesus will only tell you things that line up with what the Bible says. Testing takes practice and discernment.
Does what you hear line up with what the Bible says? If it is just a smidge off, it is NOT from God.
For example, if you heard something like, "You are a beautiful daughter to me, but you really need to lose some weight" OR "I would love you more, if only you would stop watching scary movies."
In the above examples, part of what was said is truth, the other part is not. God would never say to you, "I love you BUT." Or "You are great IF ONLY... ." Nope, not from Him.
That is either your own thoughts or the enemy speaking to you. Remember Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (see 2 Corinthians 11:14).
For my clients that are new to hearing (or listening) to God...this is a common issue. They hear that God can only love them if only...or but... I actually like when this happens.
Why? Because then they learn very quickly how to start discerning.
5. Share what you heard with a trusted friend that also hears God. Just to make sure that this is from Him.
If you are not sure what you heard is from the Big Guy, ask a friend or two that practices listening prayer.
When I read a client's notes from God, there is an anointing or peace that comes with it. If it is not, it feels empty. To discern this feeling, it takes time. So, please do not get discouraged.
If you are like me, you like to jump in and try something without investing a ton or time or money. This list serves that purpose. However, if you find that you want to learn more or the "why and how" behind this, then you gotta take this class.
If you get on the Communion With God email updates, sometimes they offer FREE or discounted classes. Totally worth checking it out.
Cheering you on,
P.S. This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure here.