How to Hear God’s Voice
The Creator of the universe speaks to us! He chooses to communicate with His creation. What an amazing concept. And yet, how many of us frequently hear God’s voice? We hear about God being “personal” and “relational”. But how can that be true for us individually if we do not participate in communication with Him?
9 different ways to hear God’s voice
There is no limit to the ways the Lord might choose to speak. He is infinitely creative and will use whatever He needs to convey His heart to us. He knows what we will notice, understand, and be captivated by. He knows the “language” we can comprehend best. This means that the way He speaks to you might be completely different from the way He speaks to me.
I am going to share 9 ways that I personally hear God’s voice. Remember, there is no limit to the ways He communicates because there is no limit to Him!
Whether I am reading the Bible as part of a structured plan or devotional, during a lecture or sermon, or the Holy Spirit brings a unique verse to mind, Scripture is one of the top ways God speaks to me. Having a growing understanding and hunger for the Word of God will help you hear and discern God’s voice on a regular basis.
When I need to make a decision or do something difficult, I ask the Holy Spirit to give me peace as a guide. There is a distinct stillness and calm surrounding the action He is leading me to take. When there is a sense of confusion or unrest, I know that it is not the right choice, or time.
This may sound strange, but cleaning is spiritual to me. It’s true! As I clean the corners of my bathroom floor, the Lord reminds me of how thoroughly He washed me with His blood. As I care for my children, He tells me how He cares for me as a parent. As I prune my plants, He speaks about areas He is refining in my heart. The Bible is full of metaphors, figures of speech, and parables…figurative and creative images/verbiage that is communicating the heart of God.
When I wake up from a dream that was a little more potent, colorful, or distinct than usual, I ask the Lord if it is Him speaking to me. I invite Him to interpret the dream, to expound on it, to bring clarity. Sometimes the Lord will give me a prophetic warning, guidance, or perspective through some really bizarre dreams. Not every dream is from Jesus. Hear me on that. But the ones that are from Him are amazing.
Here at YWAM Asheville, we operate as a discipleship community. This means that we live in a position of openness to the voice of God coming through each other. We practice regular times of praying for each other, blessing one another, and interceding on each other’s behalf. Sometimes the voice of God comes to me in the most perfect way through another person. Your spouse, friend, mentor, or a complete stranger…doesn’t matter, God can use them!
How can you look at a roaring waterfall and not feel swept up into the uniqueness of the Creator? The majesty of the ocean, or a gentle breeze through autumn leaves. I remember, as a little girl, laying in the backyard looking at a piece of grass in my hands. I let my eyes focus on the tiny little vertical lines, and then looked up to the clouds…I could see the moon behind them. Such minute detail and simultaneously such expansive grandeur. This moment as a child convinced me of intelligent design. Nature reflects some aspect of who God is, and so meditating on it can lead me into a conversation with Him about who He is and what He’s like.
Times of worshipping God through music frequently become a time for God to pour truths over me. Almost every time I become stressed about something, or have allowed worry to enter my heart, the Lord will place me in a situation where I am listening to a song about His provision or sovereignty. He knows exactly what my heart needs to be reminded of.
Sometimes the emotions we experience are intentionally meant to lead us on a treasure hunt with the Holy Spirit. Jesus will use my sensitivity to emotion as an invitation to follow a trail in my heart or in a certain situation. If I’m feeling anxious or jumpy, I should stop and ask the Lord to show me where that is coming from. Perhaps He will uncover an area of idolatry in my heart. If I am feeling abundantly heavy and burdened, maybe He will show me an injustice that He wants me to pray over. If I feel overflowing joy, He may say to me, “this is how you make me feel, Beloved.”
Still Small Voice
This is different for everyone. In my life, the still small voice of God is rarely audible. Rather it is a divine highlighting. He will whisper a word or name into my heart. He will place an image in my mind’s eye. He will draw my attention to something I hadn’t seen before. It’s like being with a dear friend that you know so well you don’t need words to communicate. Where He looks, I look also.
Now, you may think that all of these ways to hear God’s voice are simply your own thoughts. I would challenge you to ask yourself this question: who made my mind? Who knows me better than I know myself?
Perhaps you simply can’t discern the difference between His voice and your own. As you press into the practice of hearing God’s voice, you will soon become familiar with the sounds of His communication to you in contrast to the sound of your own mind. He wants to speak. Let Him.
YWAM is committed to teaching every missionary that comes to a Discipleship Training School (DTS) to hear the voice of God. It is a foundational value to who we are as an organization. If you yearn to hear God’s voice but aren’t sure where to start, consider joining our next YWAM DTS. Or if you have already done a DTS, sign up for a YWAM secondary school to continue to grow in this area. The Foundational Leadership Course at YWAM Asheville will give you further training on following the leadership of God’s voice and give you the tools to teach others to do the same.