Hearing from God is not just for special, select individuals. God desires that each and every one of His children have a personal and intimate relationship that allows them to communicate with Him freely. But hearing from God does require that we take “self” out of the equation.
Shut your mouth and open your ears. “Don’t talk so much. You keep putting your foot in your mouth. Be sensible and turn off the flow.” – Proverbs 10:19. Pray that the Holy Spirit will open your ears and then make an effort to listen for the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. Spend time in the Word so that you recognize it when you hear it.
Expect an answer. Listen for a response from God in the scripture that you read, in the bible study that you are doing, or in the weekly sermon. Listen to your words with your children or FROM your children. God’s revelation often comes from unexpected places. At least you won’t have to deal with talking shrubbery.
Learn how to make the connection. When you pray and hear a response then ask for wisdom to connect the dots. I was working in my garden one day (a great time for me to talk with God) pulling weeds and working through some other issues. “Lord, I just need you to let me know that I’m going the right way.” Later that day, on three different occasions, I had someone tell me that I had grown spiritual, or that they looked up to my spiritual walk, or just gave me a pat on the back to tell me I was doing a good job. God answered my prayer.
Respond with obedience. Hearing from God is only the first step. Once you know that part, your part is to respond. God doesn’t show you something or tell you something just for fun. He has a purpose in mind. Noah wasn’t just supposed to build a boat; he was supposed to save the human race. Joseph wasn’t just supposed to interpret a couple of dreams; he was supposed to save two nations from destruction by famine. Responding with obedience to what God has shown you allows Him to accomplish through you what He desires to do.
And it is GOD that will accomplish what He wants to do. Recently, I set out to save a local, historical chapel. Everyone else had given up, but I was moved to do it. I prayed about what I could do. There was no money in our own budget to save the building. I committed to God that I would write fundraising letters and send out news releases, and I would trust Him to do the rest. No one stepped up and offered to pay. Only one newspaper even gave the story print time. I pushed on, speaking to groups and government officials, trying to find a way to save the building.
After a particularly long weekend, I got an email that said the church had been saved. Because of the article that was printed in just one paper, a new church (that had asked for the building four years before and had been turned down) had asked to move the building. We worked with them, they secured the funding, and the building is almost ready for its official re-opening in its new home.
Walk in trust and faith. It wasn’t how I would have done it, but it was exactly how God did it. He doesn’t ask us to understand it all. He just asks us to respond with obedience and to trust Him to do the rest.
Being able to hear from God is a gift that we have all received. If I can get beyond all my predetermined ideals and habits and focus on His word, then I open up the conduit for communication.
Pray. Watch. Listen. Respond. Trust.
God wants to use you. What’s your next step?