One of the most commonly asked questions from believers is, “How do you hear the voice of the Lord?”
Let’s examine these truths briefly- and I mean briefly. There is much to be discovered about hearing from God in his Word. But, today, the Lord led me to write on this.
- Throughout all the dispensations (times in history in which God relates to his people in different ways) – one of the most consistent threads throughout the scripture is the need for God’s people to hear from him and be led by him. From the Old Testament to the New, God requires his people to hear his voice and to be led by him.
- Abraham was called a friend of God, because he left his family and the pagan culture to follow the Lord to a foreign land. Abraham didn’t know where God would take him, but he trusted him. “Abraham believed the Lord and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Pre-law)
- Moses spoke to the Lord face to face in a way no other man ever did. Exodus 33 tells us about this, “Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’” Moses asked God questions and listened to the Lord. He waited for answers from God and didn’t go around trying to figure out what everyone else thought first.
- Joshua and all the judges heard from the Lord.
- Samuel heard from the Lord as a young child. Here is the account in 1 Samuel 3.
The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. (emphasis mine)
8 A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them.14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”
15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.”
Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
17 “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”
6. Jesus taught that his sheep listen to and follow his voice. John 10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7. Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit would lead his followers into all truth. John 16:13 says, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
8. Paul teaches in Ephesians 1:17 that he prays continually for Spirit-filled believers to be given the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that they will know him better.
So, as believers, we have the privilege of hearing from the Lord. He wants to talk to us. He wants to lead us. He wants relationship with us. It is the integral part and the foundational part of our faith. We trust the Lord to lead and guide us and to minister to us.
What are ways the Lord speaks?
- Through his word. When we read the scriptures, we are reading what the Lord prophetically gave other men throughout history by his Spirit. God used regular people who loved him and followed him. He used them in their humanness. These were regular, everyday people who had walks with God. He used them and spoke through them by his Spirit. The things that the Lord speaks to us will never ever contradict his word- the Holy Scriptures. We should first and foremost hear from the Lord through scripture. This is our main source of hearing from the Lord.
- Through his Spirit. Romans 8:14 “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” We can and should pray for the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and revelation, as we are taught in Ephesians 1 to pray. We can also pray as Paul prayed in Colossians 1:9 “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…”
- Through other believers. God speaks through other people. He uses other people to encourage us, to teach us, to build us up and to correct us. He gives us gifts in the body of Christ so that we won’t be full of pride. We need each other and God wants it that way. When someone else ministers to us, it is a humbling experience- and a necessary experience.
So, how do you begin your journey of hearing from the Lord?
– Regular habits for hearing from God.
- Put your faith in Jesus Christ to forgive your sin. You cannot be filled with the Spirit of God without first becoming part of God’s family through the redemptive work of the Son of God who loves you and died on the cross to take your punishment.
- First start believing that God wants to speak to you. He has called you into relationship with him. This is what you were created for. He WILL lead you and speak to you.
- Secondly, have a healthy, daily habit of reading God’s Word. The more you read- the more you hear from the Lord.
- Thirdly, ASK the Lord to fill you with his Holy Spirit for wisdom and revelation to know him better. (Do this regularly.)
- ASK him to speak to your heart and to lead and guide you, filling you with a knowledge of his will with spiritual wisdom and understanding.
- BELIEVE he wants to answer this prayer.
- Find time alone to pray, worship and seek the face of God in his word.
- EXPECT him to minister to you. It may not be what you were thinking it would look like, but God will lead you, prompt you, direct you and yes… he will speak to you.
Father, in Jesus’ name. I ask that you will speak to me. I long to know you- to draw close to you and to follow you. I want to be led by you. I am your child and I am so thankful for all that you have done for me.
Speak to me through your Word today! Speak to me, filling me with your Spirit of wisdom and revelation so I can know you better. Fill me with the knowledge of your will with all understanding that the Spirit brings.
I want to know what is on your heart. I want my heart to beat with your heart. I want to follow your lead. Show me what scriptures you want me to study. Fill me with your word, God.
I wait on you patiently, Lord. I ask that you will patiently teach me to hear your voice. I thank you for your patience.
Protect me from deception and delusion. I don’t want to be tricked and deceived by the enemy or his lies or twisting of truth. I renounce deception, in Jesus’ name. I pray that truth and love will fill me.
Lord, I pray that you will lead the body of Christ in this world. I pray that we all can be encouraged by your Spirit, instead of walking in the flesh, in Jesus’ name.
(Take time to pray as the Lord leads you. When you are praying, if someone or something comes to your heart, begin praying for it. Ask the Lord to lead your prayers with the power of his Spirit. )