I have a question for you; how does one hear the voice of God? If you think back to Moses you might say He simply speaks audibly and we listen. If you think back to Isaiah you might say it is through dreams. Even if you think of John and his mighty Revelation you wouldn’t be wrong in saying God speaks through visions.
Well suddenly you might be a bit overwhelmed, you might say to yourself “I’ve never heard God’s voice like that, I never dream, and I’ve never seen mighty apocalyptic and prophetic visions”. Well luckily, while these are definitely ways God CAN speak to us, they’re not the ONLY ways He speaks to us.
This raises the question though, how does He speak to us? The Bible tells us that He speaks to us through the Word (2 Timothy Chapter 3, verse 16), through Jesus’ actions and sacrifice (Hebrews Chapter 1, Verse 1-2) and through the Spirit (John Chapter 14, Verse 16-17), but here I want to talk mainly about hearing Him in the Spirit.
Hearing the Voice
I can tell you with certainty He’s never spoken to me audibly. I’ve never physically heard the voice of God. But I can also tell you with certainty He speaks to me often and that I always hear His voice. All the time during prayer and worship He is talking to us, I wonder how much of that time we spend listening though?
How much of your prayer time is spent asking God for something, whether it be direction, wisdom, anointing, or just love? We are constantly, actively seeking a response from God, but when you’re in a conversation with a friend how much of it is you talking, because if you’re constantly talking how could it be defined as a “conversation”?
Every Christian is in a constant conversation with God, whether they know it or not. Sometimes I think we need to simply relax and instead of trying to say the most holy things we can imagine in prayer we could just try listening. When we listen, we can actually hear the things that are being said to us, both in the physical, and in the spiritual realm.
Knowing the Voice
Now once you’ve taken some time to listen you might start hearing some things, but how do we know what we’re hearing is Him, or is us? Like, when you hear a clear thought in your head do you know it’s from God or is it just some personal thing you thought up?
Well first think about it, is it a positive or negative thing? Because God’s will is always good and right and always leads towards the advancement of the kingdom. So, while you’re listening for His voice or pursuing it you might think you hear His voice but in fact it’s your own or maybe a voice of the world trying to get you to do a thing for all the wrong reasons.
If we believe that God is always the same (Hebrews Chapter 13, Verse 8) and that He is ultimately good (Psalm Chapter 145, Verse 9) then the truth is that God’s words are also always good, meaning that they intend no hurt or malice of selfish gain.
This gives us a way to distinguish His voice from the worldly voices in our head, but it can be tricky at first. So, the best thing you can do to familiarise yourself with His voice is to test it, just try it. If you feel like you should just pray for a stranger and aren’t sure it’s God, just do it, because you won’t know if it’s His word until you walk it out.
Being the Voice
A friend of mine, let’s call him John, once saw someone’s face in his mind during a conference. John had never seen this person before in his life, yet he could see his face clearly. He knew God was telling him to give this person a specific word – the word itself was a name.
When John was walking out of the conference he saw the person he had so clearly envisioned. He went over to the person and introduced himself then told this person he had seen the name he had received. The man he had seen was baffled, this name had no meaning whatsoever to him, but John still faithfully told him, believing God had given him the name for a reason.
Now I’m not sure what the person is doing now, but what I do know is that if God meant for that name to go to the person then that name will have meaning. But if it wasn’t and was just some cosmic coincidence then there’s no harm. The world didn’t end, and no one was hurt.
The Voice has power
God’s voice changes things, and when we as His Sons and Daughters can learn to hear it, to recognise it, and to actually be it – act it out - on Earth we serve our Lord to bring the Kingdom of Heaven closer to people.
It can definitely take some practice to get right. You will almost certainly fumble a few times, but that means you’re trying, and eventually you will succeed. Because once you have, that voice, the voice you hear and the voice you use, will transform both your own life and the lives around you.
Josiah Gray lives in Logan City, Australia. He is currently studying teaching at Christian Heritage College and is committed to telling the story of Jesus to the next generation.