Hearing from God always seemed like this mystical and unreachable highly spiritual thing. When people would say they “heard from God,” I would either scoff in cynicism thinking they were just trying to look holy or I would flinch in jealousy that I had no idea what they meant or how to hear from Him myself.
Maybe you feel the same way. Perhaps you’ve heard Him a time or two but nowhere near as much as other seem to or you would like to. Maybe you’ve never heard His voice. You would love to be able to hear from the Father and think of Him as a close friend, but you are just not sure how to get there.
Trust me. I get it.
Let’s pull back the veil and remove the misconceptions. Let really talk about how you go about hearing from God in your life. Here is what I’ve learned on the journey so far that will help you learn to hear His voice more clearly.
You CAN Hear From God
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3 ESV
My own sheep will hear my voice and I know each one, and they will follow me. John 10:27 TPT
The Father created you with relationship in mind. You are built for them. You were made to crave and thrive in healthy relationships and communities. We are relational beings.
You are also designed to crave relationship and closeness with our Father. It’s that deep longing for something eternal that is in all of us. The God-sized hole that nothing ever fills no matter how much we try to cram in there.
You CAN hear from God. It’s part of the relationship. Being able to hear Him is a part of your God-given right as His child.
So first things first: accept that you CAN hear from God.
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He’s Really Patient and Kind
But when the Father sends the Spirit of Holiness, the One like me who sets you free, q he will teach you all things in my name. And he will inspire you to remember every word that I’ve told you. John 14:26 TPT
But when the truth-giving Spirit comes, he will unveil the reality of every truth e within you. He won’t speak his own message, but only what he hears from the Father, and he will reveal prophetically to you what is to come. John 16:13 TPT
We often view God as this super severe, strict and impersonal entity in the sky. In truth, He is a Father. A really good Father. One who knows what our lives have in store for us and the choices and mistakes we will make along the way long before we even think the stuff up.
He knows what will trip us up and pull our focus. He knows the ugly things we think and do. He knows our worst, and it was at our worst that He chose to love and die on our behalf to establish connection and closeness.
Learning to hear from the Father takes time, trust and practice. We tend to view hearing from God as this high stakes situation where if we don’t hear right or discern correctly then everything will crumble around us.
The Father is kind and patient. He will repeat Himself. He will speak in ways that you can understand and catch. He will meet you where you are.
Some people believe that if they have sin in their lives, they are disqualified from hearing from the Father. I have a whole post titled Does God Hear My Prayers If I’ve Sinned that you can read here but spoiler alert: He does. He still hears them.
What Does He Sound Like?
Truth’s shining light guides me in my choices and decisions; the revelation of your word makes my pathway clear. Psalm 119:105 TPT
I believe the most common way you are going to hear from God is through His already written and established Word. The Bible is the best place to turn when you need to hear from Him.
It’s the best place to go even when you don’t, so that when you do you have it hidden away in your heart to draw out in times of need. It’s where you begin to learn what God sounds like.
You learn His heart and His tone throughout scripture. Then when a thought, feeling or word from another person comes, you can weigh it up against the Word and decided if that even sounds like your Father.
Every word you hear that you think may be from Him, should be filtered through scripture to make sure the Bible backs it up. It’s your compass and roadmap to discerning the voice of God.
Discover creative ways to encourage others m and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. Hebrews 10:24 TPT
Another way He speaks is through other people. He uses other people to speak into our lives. We’re meant to be encouragers. When we encourage others, we are showing people a glimpse of Him.
God speaks through people in all kinds of ways. His message can come through a word of encouragement from a friend. This is the value of surrounding yourself with godly people who will speak into your life and build you up.
It can come through a sermon or a podcast or message. The speaker may say something that reaches out and takes hold of your heart and attention. They will be words that you can’t shake. That could be the Father’s voice.
Once in a church service, we were all singing a song about running to the Father when in need and I heard (like one of my own thoughts, but it didn’t feel like something I would think up) “I love when you come running to me.”
Sometimes it comes from more unlikely sources. Sometimes it comes from people who may not be the nicest or godliest. There is a story in Numbers 22 where God speaks through a donkey.
I would call this a “you…but also not you,” situation. Sometimes His voice sounds like a thought or a gut feeling. It’s an impulse or leading that feels foreign but hard to shake.
To me, it’s like if my thoughts were all typed out, the ones that are from the Father feel like they would be in bold or highlighted in bright yellow. They are your thoughts, but you know you didn’t think of them.
Last week Judah was having a tummy issue (He wasn’t going #2…sorry. #momlife) and I had the thought, “Don’t worry about it. God’s helping him use all the nutrients he’s taking in.”
My reaction to the thought was, “What?! Why would I not worry about this?” Later I mentioned my concern to Mike who responded, “I don’t think we’re supposed to worry about it. God told me He’s using all the nutrients from what he’s taking in.”
See! Another person confirmed what I had heard. That didn’t completely stop me from worrying so when I read my Bible Study passage of the day it just so happened to be Psalm 42 where David is asking the Lord for His help and presence but also telling his soul to keep his hope and faith in the Father.
Okay. Again. Now Scripture has confirmed what I thought I was hearing. Now I kept fretting and even ended up calling my pediatrician who halfway through the call changed subjects and mentioned, “You know, he could just be using all the nutrients from what he’s taking in.”
Message received. (& don’t worry. Judah did eventually poop.) That’s how He speaks. You could have a dream that just won't leave your mind. I have had vivid daydreams where I know God’s painting pictures for me. You could have this gut feeling that you are supposed to go this way or do that thing.
It’s not always a big show, and it doesn’t always feel super glamorous or holy. Sometimes it’s just a gut feeling that I should go over and talk to that person. That’s the voice and leading of God.
But hey, you could actually hear Him. Usually, an internal thought but some people hear an audible voice. I did once. It was the night my little sister got saved. We were at church, and we were all worshiping, and I heard someone say her name. I looked up and saw her crying and had this deep knowing that she needed me.
He’s creative. You just have to practice and remember He loves doing new things, and he’s always popping up in different ways.
How To Hear Him More
Expect To Hear Him More
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 ESV
Step one is to expect it. Be watching and listening for it. If you don’t believe He’s even speaking or if you don’t think you’re qualified to hear Him you will inevitably be way more likely to miss the gentle invitations.
Start your day with the belief that your Father wants to communicate with you throughout the day ahead.
Read Your Bible More
It’s simple. Read more Scripture. Build that hunger for the Word.
If you are like me and you are currently in a busy season then find creative ways to get more of the Word of God into your day. I have a whole post here with six creative ways to get more Bible into a busy life.
This is one I am working hard on. Gratitude is a significant key to breakthrough. Gratitude is a perspective shifter. It’s like glasses. It enables you to see things better, and it also fosters hope.
Practicing gratitude keeps your expectations up, and you remain hopeful towards your relationship with the Father. A grateful person will have an easier time hearing His voice.
Intentionally Praise and Worship
We can worship in all we do. Everything is worship but what I am talking about here is deliberately finding moments to stir yourself up with praise and to offer worship to the Father.
For me, this looks like a worship song on repeat and me singing it over and over until I feel like I believe the words I am singing. This is one of my favorite ways to spend time with the Lord.
Find your favorite way or place. During one season I would take long hot showers. I lived in a busy house, and the shower was a quiet and relaxing place so that’s where I would intentionally praise and worship the Father.
Facilitate More Silence
The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.” Luke 10:41-42 TPT
Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. I am the God above all the nations, and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth. Psalm 46:10 TPT
Life is so noisy. We tend to avoid silence but when you’re wanting to hear from God more try leaning into the silence. Practice listening. Ask the Father to speak to you and then wait. Maybe you will have a daydream or hear a thought.
If you do think you heard or saw something, investigate it. Does it sound like the Father, meaning was it loving and kind? Was what you heard scriptural? Ask the Father if He will confirm it. We aren’t testing Him, just asking Him to clarify if we aren’t sure what we heard.
If you hear nothing, don’t worry. Don’t get discouraged. Remember, hearing from the Father is part of your inheritance. Jesus died to remove what had separated you from the Father. He gave His life so that you could live in connection to the Father.
Keep pressing in. You CAN hear Him.
Record Your Victories
Write down what He says. Mike and I keep note folders on our phones full of dreams, words other have spoken and things we’ve heard the Lord say to us.
When I enter a season where I can’t find His voice, I will read what He’s said in the past, and I find so much encouragement in it. It reminds me of Truth, and it points me back to hope because our Father is faithful.
You CAN hear from the Father. It is a promise and a part of your inheritance as a child of God. With time and trust, you will build a history with the Father that will help you to better recognize and hear His voice.