What is the best conversation you’ve ever had? Who was it with? Why was it so meaningful? What came out of it?
These questions posed to a broad audience will produce a variety of responses, memories, thoughts, and ideas. And yet, if I could sit with each one of you, one at a time, and ask you more questions about those questions, I believe I would uncover threads of the same thing: accounts of courageous conversations that cut to the heart. There is nothing quite like a heart-to-heart.
What if I told you that the chief of all counselors, the best of all conversationalists, the all-star listener, the greatest ever caregiver of the human heart was interested in having a friendship with you? Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15, NIV). The internal pillar of learning to hear God’s voice is having a passion for friendship with Jesus.
But how do you practically hear from God? How do you know if what you hear, think, sense, or feel is really from God, or if it’s just you?
First, you don’t always know whether something is from God or you, but you learn to discern this through practice. In the practice you need freedom to be a student and not an expert. It is okay to get it wrong sometimes. Be humble in the learning and have fun in the process!
That said, when I teach people how to hear God’s voice, I often start by helping them recognize the ways that they already hear from Him. I encourage them to value how they already hear and then take risk in growing in new ways. Here are a few daily life examples you may relate to:
- You are reading your Bible and a word, phrase, or verse seems to jump off the page.
- You are journaling and get a sudden flow of inspiration or wisdom on a topic.
- You’re thinking and a word or phrase pops into your mind.
- You are driving along and see a billboard or sign that somehow speaks to you.
- You are listening to music and feel moved emotionally, perhaps to tears.
- You are in prayer and have a mental picture of something or someone.
- You are asleep and have a significant dream.
- You are enjoying something, like nature, and hear internally God speak to you about that thing as a metaphor for something in your life.
- You’re going about your business and someone comes to mind. You feel you need to pray for that person.
A good response to any of these things is: God, what else do You want to say to me about this? There the conversation begins. For more ways of hearing God’s voice, I encourage you to read your Bible with this topic in mind. It is stacked full of stories about communication between God and man. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He still talks.
So…you want to hear God speak? You can! I encourage you to go for it. Take a dive into the heart of our beloved faith, where communication with the living God dances on the hearts of humankind. Here are some practical steps to get started:
- Ask God to speak to you.
- Pay attention to what you see, hear, sense, or feel from Him throughout your day.
- Take a risk by doing something with what you hear!
- Write down what happened.
Continue this routine for a period of time and you will grow in hearing God’s voice. Focus takes practice. Remember, the point of it all is personal friendship with Jesus. You were made for this: courageous conversations with your Maker.
Go have your heart-to-heart! He is ready for you.
— Katie Luse, Director, ConnectUp Ministry