Hearing God’s voice changed everything for me. I was at Rock Bottom when I discovered the wonderful ministry of Robia Scott. Through her teachings, I learned practical ways of applying my faith.
The personal ministry I received from her team was incredible. It was wonderful to hear God’s voice through their powerful, prophetic ministry. I looked forward to those precious moments where I could hear God’s heart towards me and about his plans for my life. I mean, who doesn’t love to receive a great, prophetic, encouraging word, right?
I didn’t quite expect, during one of these ministry sessions, to be asked: “So what has God been saying to you, Meliza?” Uhm, that’s not what I signed up for! “That’s your job, isn’t it?” I thought to myself. “God doesn’t speak to everyone like he speaks to you, or does he?”
That conversation started me on a journey of learning how to hear God’s voice, for myself, and it has changed everything. If this is something you are struggling with, here are some things that helped me along the way.
Let me just say, it isn’t very deep or complicated. Developing your relationship with God is very similar to building a relationship with anyone, really. Communication is key, and the same principles we apply with our friends and family, applies to our relationship with God.
Just like we are born into the kingdom of God by faith, we hear His voice, by faith: we believe it in our hearts, and confess it with our mouths. (Romans 10:9)
John 10 says that his sheep hears his voice, and they don’t follow the voice of a stranger. As I set off on my journey with developing my relationship with God, I had to first believe that…
a. I can hear His voice because I belong to Him. (John 10:27-28)
b. He hears me when I speak to Him. (1John 5:15)
c. He wants to speak to me. (Jeremiah 33:4)
I started making a daily declaration: “Thank you God, that I can hear your voice and that you speak to me.” And then I sat ready, with my journal, with expectation to write what I hear.
Building your vocabulary
When I first moved from South Africa to the UK, I settled in quite quickly. I think one of the reasons for that was that I had a fairly good command of the English language. When I lived in Taiwan, I really struggled to settle in. I couldn’t read or speak Chinese. It made communication with the native people of Taiwan extremely difficult.
I often thought of reading my Bible as one of those things a “good” Christian do, in order to please God. But in recent years I have discovered that reading my Bible is not about scoring brownie points with God, but to help me learn the ways (the culture) and the language of the kingdom of Heaven.
It has given me a vocabulary that the Holy Spirit can work with when he speaks to my heart. If we want to understand God’s ways and His language, we need to read His Word.
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7 (KJV)
Tone of Voice
There is a tonality to God’s voice that is very distinct from your own thoughts or the voice of the enemy. In order to learn how to recognise His voice, it was easier to start with what God doesn’t sound like.
I like to call it the 5 C’s:
Condemnation – God never shames us or puts condemnation on us. He doesn’t put pressure on us to perform. There is a gentleness about how he convicts us if we’re out of line.
Crisis – I am always wary of a “act now or you’ll lose out on a blessing” kind of message. God doesn’t pressure us into decisions or actions. He doesn’t use fear (of missing out, or failure) to motivate us. Even at times when we experience a crisis, his voice will be calm and reassuring. He never panics, so neither should we.
Confusion – The Bible says that God is not the author of confusion. His directions are always simple and clear. This doesn’t mean that we will always have ALL the answers or pieces before we step out in faith. But he will clearly lead you to your next step. It is also important to have some friends (who are experienced listeners) around you that can help you navigate when you are getting conflicting messages.
Criticism – God is not in the business of putting anyone down. When you are bombarded with negative thoughts towards yourself or others, you can be sure it is not God.
Contradiction – God will never say anything in contast to His Word. If the Bible tells you not to steal, God certainly won’t encourage you to rob the convenient store around the corner. That’s a bit of an obvious example. There are some subtle ways the enemy can use contradiction to throw us off, and that’s why having a strong Biblical vocabulary is so important.
So what does God sound like? Encouraging. Uplifting. Loving. Kind. Powerful. Peaceful. Gentle. Always!
And He is NOT boring. He has an incredible sense of humour and can be very funny.
Any communication expert will tell you that listening skills are one of the most important element to effective communication. When I started out in the world of corporate training, I used to deliver Listening Skills courses as part of Sales or Customer Service training. The same principles apply here. If we want to be effective listeners, we need to:
Remove barriers – there are external barriers (noise, clutter, distractions) and internal barriers (assumptions, preconceived notions, worry, fear) that can have an effect on the way we interpret a message. That’s why it is so important to “be still…”
Focus – one of the techniques I use to help me focus is to have a notepad ready, so I can write notes as I listen. Recording what you hear is a great way to focus.
Clarify – good communication does not flow one way but two ways. It isn’t a monologue, but a dialogue. Asking questions is great to ensure that you understand the message. God loves it when we engage in the conversation and ask questions.
When I receive a word or message from God (especially when I started out on this journey), I would always do some checks.
First, I would look for a scripture that would confirm what I received. The Holy Spirit will help you by bringing a scripture to your remembrance, as you read over what you have noted down. Sometimes it might be just a phrase. I have often googled the phrase, and that took me straight to the chapter and verse in the Bible. Thank God for Google, right?
Initially, I also asked friends who are skilled in hearing from God to check over what I have written down, until I felt confident with it.
You can also ask God to confirm His word. Whenever I was preparing a message for a meeting, I would always ask God to confirm it, because it really helped with my nerves. God often used random songs, movies, even social media posts, to confirm the message he had put on my heart to bring. It was a lot of fun.
Learn new methods
There are many different ways that people hear from God, and a lot of books written on the topic. I love learning and trying out different ways to hear God. This keeps things fresh and exciting too.
Two authors and teachers that I have found extremely helpful, has been Mark Virkler (check out his teaching on how to use journaling to hear from God) and his daughter, Charity Kayembe (on hearing God through dreams).
I use both those techniques and it has lead to some amazing times with God and some deep revelations.
Practice makes perfect! The more we practice hearing, the easier it gets. We start to develop a deep, intimate relationship with God. What is more exciting than that?
But practice doesn’t come easy and will cost you time effort. It might mean getting up earlier, or switching of your telly or smartphone. The best way is to plan ahead and carve out time on a daily basis. Even 5 minutes a day will change your life! I guarantee it.
Initially it may feel difficult, but it does get easier as you continue in it. Surround yourself with people who can support you in this process. People who are skilled in hearing from God.
I hope that this helps and encourages you on your journey. For me, this has been the greatest game changer, knowing that God is always ready to speak to me. I no longer need to wait for a special word from a special person, I can go straight to the Source.
He wants to love on you, build you up and encourage you. He wants to tell you great and amazing things. He wants to share his thoughts and dreams. He wants to lead and guide you into his dreams for your life. You only need to tune in.
Today I hear God whisper: “There is nothing I love more than spending time with you. Let’s get together as often as you can, and just talk. I am calling you into the greatest conversations of your life! I love you so much.” ❤