What does it mean to “Hear God”? In almost every Christian testimony I witnessed growing up, there was always a moment when the individual claimed, “God spoke to me and it changed my life”. I hated when they said that, because I had no idea what God sounded like. Was it a voice in your head? Would a rushing wind pass through the trees like it did in the movies? Maybe if I prayed hard enough God would send me a sign through a dove, or a deer, or since I lived in the suburban Midwest, a semi-majestic raccoon.
Over time, I’ve learned God can speak to people in many different ways. Prayer isn’t a science, it’s an art, and learning to recognize His voice takes practice. Jade Mazarin, of Relevant Magazine, recently compiled a list of useful strategies for Christians seeking to hear God more clearly. Her helpful steps included,
Recognize the Purpose of Silence
It can be so frustrating to us when we don’t hear from God. But if we’re encountering silence, there may be a reason for it. It’s not that we’re unworthy, or that God doesn’t care or isn’t able. The purpose for silence, rather, may be the infinitely more precious thing of our development. There are times when God is simply more concerned about our inner growth than what we do with one decision (even if that decision feels huge at the time).
Discern if It’s His Voice
A common concern when people think they heard from God, is whether the message is just from their own thoughts. If you’re wrestling with this question, consider these things:
Are you likely to think this type of thought? If it’s more freeing and kind, or more insightful than something you usually come up with, it could be God. Ask yourself if it reflects the nature of God. Be aware of how it makes you feel—peaceful and loved, or confused and condemned? If it’s an instruction, see if the thought continues—does it stick with you through the next several days and months?
"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life" - (John 6:63).
Added to this, it’s important Christians remember they can always turn to scripture for guidance on how to pray. The Bible is filled with individuals who, like us, often struggled to comprehend God and His plan. Here a just a few of the more encouraging verses,
- "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." – Psalms 46:10
- “So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.” – 1 Corinthians 14:15
- “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." – Matthew 18:20
- "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." - Psalm 145:18
Remember, trust in the Lord and He will make himself known to you. He is always with you and will never abandon you.
What about you? What other ways can a Christian hear from God?
**Ryan Duncan is the Entertainment Editor for Crosswalk.com