If I were to be completely honest with you, learning how to hear God’s voice has been one of the hardest and most difficult aspects of my walk with God.
Probably not what you were expecting to hear, right?
But the thing is, until God spoke to me with words of love and comfort during a time of brokenness and complete desperation, it never even occurred to me that God would actually speak to me on a regular basis.
But now I know with 100% certainty that God does talk to His children. In fact, not only does God talk to us, but He is very interested and invested in our lives.
However this type of closeness with God doesn’t just happen. At least not for me, and I would imagine it doesn’t “just happen” for a lot of people.
Instead, my walk with God has been a daily (at least really close to daily) connection with my Heavenly Father through reading the Bible and prayer.
But I’m not going to lie to you, even if you do read the Bible and pray regularly, hearing God’s voice is still a challenge.
I mean, let’s be real, a million thoughts invade our mind on a regular basis.
Which thought is the Lord’s?
Which thought is from the enemy?
And which thought is my own wishful thinking?
It’s so easy to question yourself and wonder if God really said an encouraging Word over you, or did you just want it so badly you thought it on my own, and took it as a Word from the Lord.
That’s a tough one.
We will be discussing all of these thoughts, questions, and more throughout this post.
- Expect to Hear from God
- We Hear God’s Voice Through His Word
- Bible Verses About Hearing God’s Voice
- We Hear God’s Voice Through Prayer
- Listen to God After You Pray
- A Prayer to Hear God’s Voice
- How to Know You’re Hearing God’s Voice
- How to Discern God’s Voice from Your Own?
- How to Discern God’s Voice from the Enemy’s
- Fasting to Hear God’s Voice
- Books on Hearing God’s Voice
- How to Hear God’s Voice Bible Study
My heart is for you to have a close and intimate relationship with God where you are able to hear God’s voice and His plans for your life.
How to Hear God’s Voice
Expect to Hear from God
First and foremost, it is incredibly important to come into any situation with expectation. We need to expect that we will hear from God.
When you pray, when you read the Bible, or when you do literally anything throughout your walk with God, what are you expecting?
We need to come with the expectation that we WILL hear from God, and we need to know deep down in your heart that God wants to talk to you and wants to be involved in your life.
What are you expecting?
Are you expecting God to show up in the form of a burning bush like Moses?
Are you expecting God to perform miracles around the situations in your life?
Do you truly believe and have faith that God can and will answer your prayers?
We can delay our own breakthrough by having a thought life that sounds a little something like this:
- I’ve asked the same question for years, God clearly either can’t do this miracle or He doesn’t care
- Why should I even bother? God never responds.
- God must be mad at me, He never answers my calls for help
I know those feelings all too well.
Trust me when I say, there are prayers I have been praying for years. But the thing about God is He doesn’t always answer us in the way we expect, or in the timing we expect.
But that DOESN’T mean God doesn’t answer us. And that definitely DOESN’T mean God doesn’t care.
My favorite bible story on this subject is from the Book of Daniel chapter 10.
An angel of the Lord comes to Daniel and says, “Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for 21 days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.” (Daniel 10:12-13)
We must understand there are battles in the spiritual and heavenly realm that are completely beyond our comprehension. Maybe God is working on your breakthrough and you have no idea.
Maybe you have been praying the same prayer for years, but your breakthrough is just around the corner. You really do not know. Our first step is to pray and believe that God does care and God does want to answer us.
However, I must warn you, having a close relationship with God is kind of is a two-fold deal.
Some other questions you need to be willing to ask yourself are:
- Are you praying for God’s guidance, but you are already firm on what you want to do?
- Are you hoping God will give you approval over what you already know is a bad decision?
- Are you mad at God for not answering you, but when you’re honest with yourself you only seeking Him when it’s convenient for you?
- Are you a valley Christian, aka someone who only seeks the Lord when you’re in trouble?
About a year ago I was praying over a big situation in my life. I was desperately seeking God’s will and couldn’t find any peace until I’d heard from God.
Then one day during prayer, God spoke to me. He said, “Even if I answered your prayer, would you do as I say?”
I just wept. I can’t tell you how much that response hurt.
God had bypassed all the formalities and gotten to the bottom of what was actually going on.
I knew deep down in my heart that the answer was no. I didn’t want to listen to God. I was just hoping God would validate what I had already decided I wanted to do.
And the fact that I didn’t want to obey God if He said, “No Tiffany, this isn’t a good idea” tore me up inside.
There’s no fooling God. He knows our hearts.
So, as you read the rest of this post ask yourself, do you really want to hear what God has to say? Or are you just looking for confirmation for what you already want to do?
Do you really believe God wants to answer you?
Do you really believe God can answer you?
Do you really believe God cares?
Matthew 21:22 says, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
So, let’s start there.
Let’s believe God wants to, can, and WILL talk to us.
From here on out, let’s expect to hear from our Heavenly Father.
We Hear God’s Voice Through His Word
Digging into the Word of God is so crucial for your walk with God. Time and time again I have received an answer to prayer, or even a word of encouragement for someone else, through what has been written in the Bible.
The Bible is powerful.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joins and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Basically, the Bible is not just any ole’ book.
The Bible is in fact one of the key resources God has given us on earth to help us know Him more. It is designed to guide us so we know how God expects us to love and behave towards others. And yes, how we are expected to communicate with God.
But how do we do that? Especially when for so many of us the Bible seems outdated and confusing. But I promise you, the Bible is neither of those things.
The Bible is alive and active, just as Hebrews 4:12 says.
There are reasons God wants us to be in the Word daily. It’s not just some spiritual practice that sounds good.
Being in the Word is so important that when Joshua was preparing to go into battle to conquer the Promised Land, God’s instruction to him was not to do strength training work outs or to perfect his battle strategy.
Instead what God said was, “meditate on the Word both day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8)
When we read the Bible on a regular basis we are more likely to obey what God says in His Word.
Some of the ways God speaks to us through the Bible is by:
1. Using the Bible as a guidebook for how we should conduct our lives
There are certain commandments in the Bible that don’t need any interpretation. It is black and white and there shouldn’t be any reason for confusion.
An example of this is my past roommate had cheated me out of our living situation. Even though she was on the lease to pay half rent, she decided that she wouldn’t pay anymore and I was responsible for the rent on my own.
As you can imagine I was very angry with her. Everything in my flesh wanted to force her to pay, to yell at her, to call her names, to seek some sort of vengeance for the unjust I was experiencing.
However, when I look at the Bible, the Bible has a completely different command on what I should do in this case.
1 Peter 3:9 says, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
When we are facing these situations one of the hardest things to do is to put aside our own desires and LISTEN to the Word of God. When we listen to what the Bible says to do, we are listening to God.
2. God also reminds us of a bible verse that we can use and apply to our life
For the example given above, if I didn’t read the Bible on a regular basis (even though I might have a heart to follow Jesus), I couldn’t apply that verse in my life because I didn’t know about that specific bible verse or teaching.
I have found in my life that when we are familiar with God’s Word, He can use the Bible for situations we are going through so we can apply it in our life.
A bible verse may come to us during prayer, or even just throughout the day, and it is God speaking to us and guiding our direction.
Instead of it being a specific bible verse, God might speak to us from a story in the Bible.
If you are in a season of waiting, God may be speaking to you to have patience and faith in His timing by encouraging you to read the story of Abraham.
From the Book of Genesis, we know that God promised Abraham a son and that his descendants would become a great nation. Genesis 26:4 says, “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky”.
However, from the first time God called Abraham, to the time his promised son, Isaac, was finally born, nearly 30 years had passed!
We never know God’s reasons or timing, but we can certainly have faith that God uses the Bible to fill us with encouragement, hope, and perseverance while we wait.
3. God uses the Holy Spirit to provide our own unique interpretation of a bible verse and how we can apply it in our lives
During my walk with God I have seen Him use certain bible verses to speak to me directly and intimately, even if the context of the bible verse is about something else.
An example of this is from the Book of Samuel.
Samuel was searching for the next king of Israel to replace King Saul. When Samuel met David, he was less than impressed with David’s young and gangly appearance. He simply did not look like a future king.
However, God responded and said, “Do not judge by his appearance or height. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
At that time, I was conflicted about the guy I was dating. He wasn’t very tall, he was super skinny, and I was totally judging him by outward appearances.
One morning while reading the Bible, I read this verse regarding the future king of Israel, and immediately began to tear up. To be completely honest, I didn’t even know why I was crying. I was just suddenly overcome with emotion.
I knew that my reaction to that bible verse was so strong that God was most likely trying to speak to me.
I immediately stopped and prayed, asking God to reveal what He was trying to tell me. I prayed for a few minutes, and then it dawned on me.
I was judging my boyfriend by mere physical appearances, and taking for granted the only thing that truly mattered, his heart.
I felt God was telling me to stop looking at all the wrong things and instead to see people the way God sees them, by the quality of their heart.
Even though this particular bible verse had nothing to do with me and instead is a story about a king who lived over 2,000 years ago, God used this verse to speak to me about the current events that are going on in my life.
I have full confidence that God will use the Bible to speak to you in the same way. That is, if you dig into the Word on a regular basis and allow Him to speak to you.
Bible Verses About Hearing God’s Voice
There are so many wonderful bible verses on hearing God’s voice. To give you some encouragement, I have listed a few below. 🙂
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.”
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
We Hear God’s Voice Through Prayer
Prayer is a wonderful way we can hear from God. Having a consistent and strong prayer life is something that might take some work (at least in the beginning) until it becomes a habit. However, I promise you it is worth all the effort a hundred-fold.
Let’s first discuss how to pray. God has created you to be a unique being, and the way you spend time with Him is also unique.
Maybe you like to pray in the morning before the day has truly started (like me!).
Maybe you like to pray in the evening.
Maybe you need to be seated and still when you pray.
Maybe you pray better when in nature or taking a walk.
Maybe you like to pray while listening to worship music.
Maybe you like to be quiet so you can listen and concentrate better.
There are no hard and fast rules on how you should be praying or what kind of prayers God is more likely to answer. We would love it to be that simple though, wouldn’t we?
For a thorough understanding of prayer and how we should be praying, read my post How to Pray for Beginners.
Listen to God After You Pray
If I am really seeking a word from God or direction on a big decision, I often spend time listening to God during prayer.
When my own thoughts are flying around inside my head, whizzing by at 1,000 words a minute, it’s hard for me to quiet my mind and really listen to what God has to say.
It’s even worse when you are in crisis mode, and you are desperately seeking to hear from God. Panic thoughts tends to ensue, instead of the calming voice of God.
When I am in these situations, I usually start by praying through what is on my heart. I pray through my frustrations, my requests, the things I don’t understand that I wish I did, and the ways I wish God would show up in my life.
Furthermore, I have found that by writing down my request and frustrations is incredibly helpful. Read more about this in my post, The 4 Foundations of Prayer that Have Completely Changed My Prayer Life.
After removing all of these thoughts and feelings off of my own shoulders and give them to God, I ALWAYS pray prayers of thanks.
It is when I am not so wound up and my mind is quieter, that I spend time listening to God. I have actually had days where I was seeking God so desperately that I have said, “Lord, I need to hear from you today and I am not moving until you answer me!”.
This obviously doesn’t always work, but I like to think it make Him chuckle at my persistence and desire to seek Him. 🙂
A Prayer to Hear God’s Voice
If you are unsure of what to say or where to even start when it comes to hearing from God, let this prayer be a guide for you.
How to Know You’re Hearing God’s Voice
This is the honest truth about how to hear God’s voice, a lot of people struggle with it because we only seek God’s voice when we’re worried, anxious, or in desperate need of help.
If you only seek God on occasion when things aren’t going well, then of course it’s difficult to actually get to know the character of God and hear Him when He speaks.
This is when we tend to say things like, “God doesn’t care” or “God isn’t speaking to me”. It’s then you actually should ask yourself, are you truly seeking after God’s heart? Or are you only wanting a quick fix to a problem you’re facing?
I mentioned earlier how perhaps you’re imagining God to reveal himself in a big, showy way like appearing as a burning bush for Moses.
As cool as that would be, the reality is most of us do not experience a big booming voice or giant displays of “I am God hear me roar” moments.
I’ve even stopped expecting a “sign” from God or playing little prayer games like, “Lord, if you want me to be with this person, make him call me in the next 30 minutes”.
If it absolutely possible for God to give you a message through dramatic displays like angels (Luke 1:26-27), visions (Daniel 7:15), dreams (Genesis 40:8), prophesy (Jeremiah 26:18) or other forms of miraculous events.
I personally have experienced amazing displays of God’s glory through visions and prophesy, however this has only happened in a once or twice off event when I was desperately seeking God through a difficult time in my life.
But God also wants to speak to you through your regular, everyday life. Through your average highs and lows when the worst thing that happened to you was you broke your nail.
But guess what, God cares about your broken nail because God cares about YOU.
In addition to hearing from God in the quiet moments of personal time and reflection through prayer and bible study, I have found that God will speak to you through your mind and your thought life.
So, the next question is, how do you discern God’s voice from your own?
How to Discern God’s Voice from Your Own?
In the beginning, it may be difficult to discern God’s voice from your own. However, after spending quality time with God and truly understanding His character, you will easily begin to discern His voice from your own and be able to confidently take appropriate action when He does.
John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”.
God’s voice will tend to linger with you. It’s like a gut feeling you just can’t shake. You will know deep down when you should or should not do something. When those thoughts occur, take serious time to pray through what you are feeling.
Ask God if He is speaking to you when you are unsure if a message is from God or your own thoughts. Ask God to confirm what He is saying.
I have done this when I was unsure of God voice, and God confirmed in the most amazing way.
I was working on a project that didn’t seem to be panning out. I thought God had guided me towards this path, but everything I faced seemed to be one giant obstacle.
I began to pray for clarity if this was really God’s direction for my life.
I came upon the bible verse from James 1:12, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him”.
As you can imagine this is a nice confirmation from God, but I honestly still wasn’t convinced. I asked again for confirmation that God was with me during this project.
Later that week at a small group, my friend prayed over me and said these words, “I feel the Lord telling you to persevere through this” and then later while reading an unrelated article online I read how you need to persevere and not give up when times get tough.
The same theme kept reoccurring; persevere, persevere, persevere. Not only had that word kept coming up, but I also felt something in my heart when I heard the word “persevere”.
The word carried weight. It carried authority. I could tell in my spirit that God was speaking to me and telling me to persevere.
Sometimes hearing from God is unexplainable, you just know, that you know, that you know. And other times, you need to really test if this is truly a word from God.
Another example of this is in regard to my roommate situation I spoke about before. My roommate had decided to move out and asked if I wanted anything since she was selling her belonging before the move.
I told her I wanted a bit of carpet fabric that she had purchased for a cozy reading nook in the apartment. The price was $50. For some reason, I felt God telling me to not give her $50 but instead give her $100.
As you can imagine I didn’t like that particular word from God. Keep in mind, this is the same girl who had tried to screw me over with the rent. Now God wanted me to be a financial blessing to her? You’ve got to be crazy.
I wasn’t 100% sure if that was God’s voice or not, however I definitely knew my own thoughts weren’t telling me to give her an additional $50.
So, I decided what the heck, I’d rather be obedient to God in case it really was Him, then to not do it and disobey God. So, I forked up the $50.
Well, guess what happened…
After she moved out I roll out the carpet to put it in the reading nook and discovered that she had shorted me part of the fabric.
I had paid double to receive only half of the carpet!
My first thought was I was wrong. I must have heard God wrong. Surely God wouldn’t set me up to fail.
However, I still felt in my heart I shouldn’t say anything mean to her, but instead show her grace and love regardless of how she behaved towards me.
I simply messaged her and said, “Hey, it looks like you took part of the carpet fabric and now it doesn’t cover the reading nook” and left it at that. No condemnation, no accusations, nothing.
About a month went by before I finally heard back from her. I honestly didn’t expect to hear from her at all.
She ended up sending back the extra $50 and sincerely apologized for not leaving both carpet pieces. I could tell from her tone that something in her heart had changed. Something had shifted.
I knew then that I HAD heard from God, and everything that had happened were for His purposes which were far greater than this small situation about a carpet piece.
God never intended to set me up to fail, but instead He intended to teach me a lesson on obeying Him. He showed me that love truly does always win, and the power of showing undeserved grace towards others changes lives and circumstances.
It was a big lesson for me, and one I wouldn’t have experienced if I hadn’t made the effort to hear and obey what God was calling me to do.
How to Discern God’s Voice from the Enemy’s
Satan’s goal is to confuse and deceive us. He has many tricks in his arsenal, but a sneaky weapon is to confuse us with partial truths from the Bible. This is why it’s even more important for us to study the Bible and keep God’s word close to our heart.
Satan even tried to tempt Jesus by using scripture. In Matthew 4:6 Satan says, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
However, Jesus also knows the Word of God and replied saying, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’”.
This is a powerful lesson for all of us.
In order to fight your enemy, you first must know your enemy. Satan, or Lucifer, is not a dummy. In fact, he actually knows God (and the Word of God) intimately. Lucifer was a beautiful and powerful angel of the Lord who was cast out of heaven because of his pride and rebellion.
However, we see from the Book of Job that God still speaks to Satan. In Job 1:7 the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it”.
Satan knows God, and it’s his goal for you not to have a relationship with God.
The single most important thing to remember when it comes to discerning God’s voice from the enemy’s is to test everything you think, feel, or hear that goes against the Word of God.
God will never instruct you to do something that goes against the Bible.
The enemy will tell you to repay evil for evil. After all you deserve to stand up for yourself, you can’t just let people walk over you.
But the Word of God says to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)
The enemy tells you not to forgive someone. After all they hurt you, they don’t deserve your forgiveness.
But the Word of God says to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
The enemy tells you, you’re worthless, you’re not good enough, you’ll never be successful, who could ever love you? Satan takes life away from us.
But God nourishes us with the fountain of living water. (John 4:10-15) Jesus gives us life. Jesus tells us we are valuable, we are enough, He has plans to prosper us, we are loved.
Ask God for discernment against the enemy, and compare everything you think and do against the Word of God.
Remember 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God”.
Fasting to Hear God’s Voice
Are you familiar with fasting? Fasting is a biblical principle used throughout the Bible by Moses, Elijah, Esther, Job, David, Daniel, Paul, and even Jesus.
I fast at least twice a year, but definitely more than that if I feel stuck or am really in need of hearing from God. Fasting honestly works when nothing else will. It’s truly amazing.
The basic idea behind a fast is for you to restrain from eating either all foods, or just certain foods, for a period of time out of a practice of self-discipline.
Our body, mind, and soul is all connected. The foods that we eat affect our bodies, which in turn affects our minds and souls.
By denying yourself certain foods while simultaneously drawing closer to God through a more fervent prayer life, you become more sensitive, clear, and level-headed so you are able to hear God’s voice better.
I have had the most amazing breakthroughs during a fast. I highly recommend you give it a try.
For more detailed information on everything you need to know about fasting, read my guide Everything You Need to Know About the 21-Day Daniel Fast.
Books on Hearing God’s Voice
Many books have been written on how to hear God’s voice. I absolutely love Joyce Meyer and all of her teachings. I think she is a powerfully anointed leader and I love her honest, truthful, and relatable approach to following God.
If you are looking for a good book regarding hearing God’s voice, please read Joyce Meyer’s best-selling book, How to Hear from God.
Joyce Meyer has a gift for breaking down biblical principle into simple concepts that are all backed by scripture. She gives great tips on how to hear from God, but also discusses some hindrances in our lives that prevent us from hearing from God.
What I love about Joyce is she doesn’t approach this subject like she is perfect. Instead, she uses her mistakes to show us that having a close and intimate relationship with God is attainable for anyone.
Definitely pick up this book, How to Hear from God, for a thorough and enjoyable read of how to hear God’s voice.
How to Hear God’s Voice Bible Study
In this guide she walks you through the benefits of asking God for the sensitivity to hear His voice. This is a great companion book that takes you a step further, leading you through an interactive process towards a greater understanding of how God is working in your life.
There are question and answer sections, as well as further Scripture readings to help you know, hear, and understand God’s Word and voice personally and intimately.
I think you will get a lot of out this workbook-style study guide to help you draw closer to God. Click here to purchase the How to Hear from God book and click here for the How to Hear from God Study Guide.
I hope this guide has helped you in learning how to hear God’s voice. The biggest takeaway is to draw closer to God so you can have an intimate relationship with Him. Ask God to reveal Himself through the Bible, your prayer life and your thought life. If you are confused by what you are thinking and feeling, ask God to confirm what He has said so that you will begin to familiar and recognize when God is speaking to you. 💗
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Tiffany created Lavender Vines as a place to share her love for Jesus and adventures from around the world. She has a slight obsession with salted caramel lattes, Japanese kimonos, and an ongoing love affair with NYC and Paris.