How do we really know when we hear the voice of God? Many people (myself included) have felt very confident that we hear from God, but struggle with trusting the voice that we hear. God speaks to us in many different ways; this is as true today as it was during the lives of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Mary and Jesus. The difficulty is deciphering exactly how to listen and what to do with the things we hear. God has been explaining to me lately that He wants us all to strengthen our spirits in this area in order to prepare us for His next move.
How do I know when I am hearing from God?
Many of us take our walk with God seriously and we would never want to say, “God told me to tell you…” or “God said to me…” only to later find out that we heard incorrectly. In the beginning, hearing God is very much a faith-building process. Mistakes happen and we should embrace them as part of the learning process. Trial-and-error helps us fine-tune our listening ear.
As a baby Christian, I had the privilege of working with a prophet who equipped me with the tools needed to develop my relationship with God. She told me that I should practice speaking aloud to other people what God said to me and ensure that I proclaimed it boldly and confidently. Practicing this not only helped build my faith tremendously, but I also learned how God speaks specifically with me. As someone who did not grow up with many Christian examples, I didn’t have a lot of experiences that showed me God’s communication style. I am grateful for this because I have learned to listen to God and follow the Holy Spirit from a very organic place. Personally, God speaks to me through thoughts, dreams, a spiritual “knowing” and prophetic visions. (A “knowing” could be described as something that is undeniably felt deep in the spirit as “true”. There is honesty to it.) At other times He speaks to me through people and the world around me.
After we receive a Word, we might then receive confirmation through sermons, books, music, people, prophecy or past experiences. God works through confirmation (what some people may recognize as “coincidence”). I have come to know that there are no coincidences when our lives are already designed by God and over time confirmation helps us develop our ear to hear Him more accurately. Confirmation and clarity are things I needed to pray for constantly as I developed an ear to hear Him.
It can be difficult to hone in on God’s voice in the beginning. The most important thing I have come to understand is the reward of taking the risk to believe, and then forgiving ourselves if we have misheard. I am finding that it is better to say, “I am practicing my confidence in listening to God, and I believe He said…” and then later, I can correct my mistake if I feel that I misheard Him. God likes our confidence in Him. Sometimes we might believe we heard something that is incredibly outlandish…these words are much harder to voice, but sometimes we have a BIG calling on our life and we need to believe in Him, know that He is God, and proclaim what we have heard to others. This is what builds our faith in Him.
Over time, I have become more familiar with His voice, but initially I needed to pray consistently to The Holy Spirit for revelation and truth in all things. I prayed earnestly before I read The Bible and asked for The Holy Spirit to guide me every day. It was not until I began asking what was on God’s heart and asking The Holy Spirit for guidance in prayer that I began to reach deeper and deeper levels of prayer and communication with Him. This is where I encountered Jesus, saw what God had in store for the world, and He showed me what was weighing on His heart. (Read the blog, Vision, where I explain what God spoke to me.)
In order to accurately hear God’s voice we must first understand the character of God. We learn about His character by reading and studying His Word. Once we are grounded in the scripture, we will notice when God speaks to us it always lines up with His Word and it will bolster our faith. Additionally, the devil’s lies and doubts will also be easier to identify and we can fight him off with the promises of God (also known as the sword of the Spirit) and his lies will no longer knock us down. The devil wants us to second-guess what God says to us and he usually follows everything God says to us with lies and doubts. It takes time and patience to understand what we hear and also to rebuke the devil’s attack that comes right after a revelation. Patience and vigilance is vital.
Our communication with God exists on many different levels. We might say a simple prayer of thanks before we eat, while other prayers will last for hours and when our spirit is fully activated and we speak to God in tongues (God’s heavenly language). God hears all of our prayers, but only the deepest prayers will bring us fully into His presence. When we reach these deeper levels of prayer God may reveal our purpose, the next steps we need to take, or He may show us what is happening on a global or spiritual scale. This can be thrilling but what do we do with such information?
What do I do with the Words God spoke to me?
When God makes us a promise we cannot merely wait for it to manifest in our lives. We often hear that we must have faith that it will come to pass and also to take steps and work towards that promise. While these things are undeniably true, there is a third step that God has put on my heart to share. Every promise God has made must be prayed into the earth because He has given us authority. As we recall “The Lord’s Prayer”, particularly the part about, “Your Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”, we see that Jesus wants us to pray relentlessly for the Kingdom to come. We need to believe that it is coming and we need to build it, but most importantly we need to pray for it. God makes a promise and He wants us to believe it, confess it, and pray for it to manifest. The bigger the promise, the more prayer is likely needed for it to come to fruition. Imagine how much prayer it took for Jesus to be born in the earth? Better yet, imagine how much prayer it is going to take to fulfill the promise of Jesus’ return? Are we already praying daily for God’s Kingdom?
As God has spoken to me and has directly revealed some of the plans for this generation, I am committing myself to prayer for its manifestation. I know it is a promise from God, therefore it is already done and set into motion. It is my duty to pray for these promises and also to confess it. To join me in prayer, please read: “Vision” to learn more about what God has spoken to me. Bend your ear towards God and you too will start to hear and understand His promises and where He is taking us.