“Why can’t I hear from God?”
I can not even begin to count how many times I have been in conversation with a friend and spoken these words. Hearing the voice of God, discerning His voice, and desiring Old testament like direction would be so useful in this time of information overload. It is quite exhausting when everywhere you turn there is a new avenue to get connected to others and to outside voices. There is advice on every topic. A how-to about nearly everything under the sun.
And yet, we still have a longing in our core to have a direct connection to the ultimate information source and hear the voice of God. We speak to God often, with requests, questions, and fears adding to those external voices we hear. Our prayers are full of us speaking, but we fail to hear God, because our prayer time often ends when we run out of words.
If you are serious about hearing the voice of God actively in your life and getting his direction as you continue to grow your faith then keep reading for what the bible says about God speaking to you.
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What does it mean to hear from God?
When you hear from God you are listening to him. Now I know that is a very “duh” explanation but hear me out. Oftentimes as Christians both new and old, we go through things that leave us wondering if God hears our prayers. It can be hard to distinguish his voice from the noise around us and we question whether He is listening.
Hearing from god requires us to be listening. Listening means we are actively making our quiet time with him a dialogue instead of a monologue. It’s a dynamic conversation between a loving God and his doted on child.
If this sort of communication with God seems foreign you may be asking “How is prayer a conversation? I’ve been asking God for answers, help, direction, and it seems like all I am getting is a busy tone.”
I used to feel exactly that way.
I know what it is like to be sure of God’s existence, to know what things should be like, but to doubt your connection to God because you can’t hear God clearly. I know what it means to feel like he is ignoring you.
This. Is. Not. True.
He is not ignoring us, in fact God speaks to us constantly, we just have to expect his voice at all times. His voice is similar to when you get in the car and your favorite radio station immediately begins playing because it has been programmed. You do not have to worry about hunting down the station, it just plays. That is what it is like when we hear God speak to us. When we are tuned into his frequency, and if we have programmed his voice, then whenever God communicates with us, we are ready.
What does the bible say about hearing God’s voice?
Hearing the voice of God implies two different actions have to happen. The first of those is God has to be speaking. We serve a living God who is always speaking to us, through creation, through his holy bible, through his spirit. Hearing his voice requires, first, that he is speaking to us and second that we are listening. There are several bible verses about hearing God speak that encourage us that we need not worry about whether he is talking to us.
Bible verses about hearing God speak
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27 (NASB)
This scripture from the book of John is an encouragement to us. It tells us that hearing the voice of God will be a distinguishing factor to those who consider themselves his sheep and under his care. Now this should not make you worry, instead it is letting you know that you CAN hear his voice. Hearing God speak is a blessing we receive as his children!
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21 (ESV)
This bible verse about hearing God reminds us that the voice of God will give us direction. When he speaks, we will receive an answer to something we have asked, or a request we didn’t even know we needed. When God speaks to us, we will gain clarity.
The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. The Spirit doesn’t speak on his own. He will tell you only what he has heard from me, and he will let you know what is going to happen. John 16:13 (CEV)
This this scripture about God’s voice, Jesus was encouraging the disciples prior to his final accension. He was letting them know about the gift that would be given to them during Pentecost, a helper we know as the Holy spirit. In order for the spirit to speak in our lives, God has to have given Him words to say. So the feeling of the holy spirit speaking to you, that is GOD!
Ask me, and I will tell you things that you don’t know and can’t find out. Jeremiah 33:3 (CEV)
So many times we believe God is not speaking because we have yet to hear his answer. This scripture tells us just the opposite. It is a promise from the Lord. He is saying that when you ask him, he will answer. Now, it may not be the answer you were wanting to hear, or may not be in the form you were expecting, but he will answer!
In the past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. Hebrews 1:1-5 (NIV)
Here we see a history of the voice of the Lord in the lives of his people. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gave us access to the father. We no longer needed priests and prophets to be an intercessor for us for God to speak to us, instead we could encounter God for ourselves. Through Jesus we can hear God and see God in our lives actively and audibly, if we only listen for him.
Bible verses about Listening to God
Now the second thing that is required to hear God’s voice is that we are listening. Hearing the voice of God is effectively the second half of our prayer routine. So often we pray to God, like a genie or diary. We list our needs and share our hurts. We ask rhetorical questions and then check prayer off of our to do list.
We walk away, and stay still long enough to hear God respond. The following bible verses about listening to God can be a gut check!
Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God. John 8:47 (NLT)
OUCH! This first verse is hard to hear, but it is truth, and knowing truth is the first step to making changes. If we want to hear the voice of God, we have to be listening. And that could be figuratively, but also actually listening. Like, are you actually listening to the things that God has already told you in his word?
But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28 (NKJV)
Again, this bible verse about listening to God hits a space somewhere between our pride and our ego and splits them open. This verse blesses the people who not only hear the word of God, but follow it. Can we take a moment here and just sit with this thought.
Are you keeping the Lord’s commandments? Have you taken the step towards freedom and healing that he has already given you? Or are you simply praying to lay your burdens down, just to pick them back up from the alter when you are done talking?
We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. Hebrews 2:1 (NIV)
I always remind my son that there is a distinct difference between hearing me and listening to me. When you hear, you simply acknowledge that the person talking is speaking. But listening is an active word. It implies that you are taking in the words, processing them and acting on them. Perhaps, we do not hear the voice of God because we are not prepared to act upon the words that he might say?
Why is it important to hear the voice of God?
It is vitally important that we first seek the voice of God and then that we hear the voice of God. He is key to our existence and the success of our life. God is our creator. Before we were conceived he know us, loved us, prepared for us.
He is constantly speaking to us and guiding us in the way that we should go, if only we listen to him. Hearing his voice requires us to tune in to him and his word. It requires us to press in to what he is saying. We can’t however distinguish his voice from the countless voices of others if we do not consistently focus on intentional time in his presence.
Time in his presence allows us to know without a doubt what his voice sounds like so that we can:
- Get His guidance in the decisions we make
- Learn about His purpose for us
- Readily hear His warnings when we get off track
- Feel His comfort when we are in distress
- Be used by Him to encourage others
- Experience his love as He speaks over us
The benefits and importance of hearing the voice of God are endless. The bottom line is this, our survival and success are 100% dependent on our hearing God’s voice.
Bible verses about hearing God’s Voice
God speaks to us in many ways. His voice is both blaring loud and quiet as a whisper. He speaks to us in the morning during the chaos of our day and in the evening when we drift off to sleep. Knowing the ways he can communicate to you helps you in better discerning his voice.
Some of the ways that God may speak to you include:
- His written word
- Through the holy spirit
- Trusted counsel
- Through dreams
- Audible voice
He is always talking. The big thing to do is to work on distinguishing his voice from the others around you. One of the ways to distinguish the voice of God from the voices of those around you is to be diligent about your time in his word. Here are some additional ways you can prepare your heart, mind, and soul for the voice of the Lord in your life.
Be expectant that God is speaking to you
Do you believe that God is speaking to you? When you pray, do you know without doubt that he hears you and respond. Often times when we pray there is a hesitance. Not so much in trusting that God hears, but denying our own importance. We believe God hears us but we don’t believe that he will answer because we lack understanding of our importance to God.
This bible verse encourages us to believe he will answer.
Call to me and I will answer you and I will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.Jeremiah 33:3 ESV
God speaks and as we build our relationship with him we begin to understand the importance of being expectant.
This verse about hearing God highlights God’s voice in our life as a promise. When we seek him, he will respond.
In order to grow in our expectation, we cannot only seek him in the big decisions of our life. but for us to be sure of the sound of his voice in the big things, we must tune into how he speaks to us on the little things, in the little moments. This constant seeking of God and listening to him builds trust.
Making this simple change in understanding of how our conversations work, we can find so many new ways that God is speaking to us. Whether it be in dreams, in visions, through reading his Word, through others, in worship or in the Spirit, we should be completely devoted to being expectant of his voice.
Remove distractions that keep you from hearing the voice of God
When reading about hearing the voice of God scriptures are clear, we as God’s children should know his voice. But have you ever prayed and wondered why the answer sounds a lot like your own voice?
This is because we have not taken the time to meditate and internalize God’s word for us. While we are waiting on God to speak to us, we have to make sure we are digesting his word. So that his voice is not drowned out by whatever we choose to store in our hearts that is not him.
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.Proverbs 2:1-5 NLT
When we communicate with God we should do it with reverence knowing that we are speaking to the creator of the universe and with familiarity knowing we are speaking to our Father.
At times however there are distractions to that communication.
During times when we are undistracted, by sin, or guilt, or earthly desires, it is very easy to maintain a habit of prayer. When, however, we find ourselves actively failing at something, and needing to repent, a barrier to Gods words to us is felt.
We often disqualify ourselves from grace and thus begin avoiding listening to God, and change the station to avoid hearing his voice.
Sin is the number one separator between us and God. Because there is no sin in Him, He cannot inhabit the place where sin is, it grieves the holy spirit. The enemy uses this separation to fill us with guilt to keep us separated.
Another major distraction that keeps us from really tuning in to what God has to say is the voice of others. Who are your friends, who or what are you spending a majority of your time with/on. What we put into us is what will come out of us. The chatter of other voices is like trying to fine tune your radio with your cell phone close to the receiver, it becomes difficult to get a clear signal.
This scripture reminds us that God’s voice is intertwined with the words of the bible. When we keep these sacred words in our hearts and follow his commandments we can easily get back on track when we feel separated knowing that God is close to us all the time.
Praise Him in advance for his answer
God is speaking and if you are seeking him, you will hear his voice in his answer. In the meantime while you wait, praise him. Praise the Lord for his goodness and faithfulness towards you. Thank him for his concern for your situation and for his answer before you even hear him speak.
Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,Psalm 29:1-2 NIV
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalm 29 is a psalm of praise for the power of the voice of the Lord. It encourage us to life our voices in awe of the power that is present when God speaks.
The bible says that God inhabits the prayers of his people. He delights in our thanksgiving, in our praises and our acknowledgement of him in our life. As he delights in our devotion, he begins to reveal pieces of the journey he wants to walk with us! As we praise him in advance we prepare the atmosphere for which he can reach down and light our next steps, an atmosphere where he can whisper words of love over our hearts.
How will I know it’s God’s voice?
Knowing his voice and distinguishing it from the voices around you is key to closeness with God and growing your relationship with him. Staying in the word of God through Bible reading, worship and prayer with time for quiet meditation all help you tune into God’s voice and discern his words from that of others.
Remember that the voice of God will not contradict His word in the Bible. His voice will not cause you to sin. If the answer you come up with purposefully leaves others hurting. That is not God. His voice and his answer to your prayer will follows a Corinthians 13 model of love.
A prayer to hear gods voice
If you are seeking guidance and direction and you are longing to hear the voice of God, pray this prayer to hear God’s voice in your life.
Heavenly Father, I ask now; as I walk in boldness seeking you, as I prepare to take these steps, as I grab Your hand and lean into Your plans for me, that You would cover me in Your peace, still my restless and human heart, remind me of Your word through Your holy spirit, do not be far from me, but reach down from heaven and let Your presence be ever near me.
I choose You because You first chose me, You pursued me with a relentless love, a love I cannot begin to fathom, a love that I know I do not desire, and yet Your love is unshakable. Lord I ask that you show me what my next step is. I long to hear your voice Lord, Light my path and my way and guide me in the ways you would have me go! I look to you, and follow your footsteps! I praise You name for Your goodness! Amen
Seek God with all your heart to hear his voice
Hearing Gods voice can be tough if you aren’t prepared to receive the message. My prayer for each of us is that we would be constantly positioned to be wrapped in the Lords words for us! Try these techniques and let me know how they work for you! And remember as always, he’s provided the grace you need to grow in this practice! Be bold in that grace!