Today Bill and I listened to a message by Dr. David Jeremiah. He was talking about meditation…..and how to meditate upon Scripture as we read and study. It is often in the context of study of God’s Word that He will speak to us as we reflect on and engage with the Word.
Some people, it seems, are cautious and others are even skeptical about someone saying, “God said…..”, whatever the context. It is helpful if one can point to specific Scriptures through which God has spoken to someone personally about particular situations in their own lives. When one has an intimate relationship with the Lord and has learned to “test the spirits” and has “ears to hear”, hearing God’s voice is not a surprise. It is expected. It is desired. It is a satisfying experience which one can trust.
Yesterday as I cleaned out some files I came across this lesson on prayer that had been given by a friend in a group on May 19, 2013. I had made some notes on it and kept it for its wisdom and concise instructions. As I re-read it today, I thought its wisdom was worth passing along. Here it is:
“God doesn’t speak to us all in the same way. He knows how to relate uniquely to each of us since He is our Creator. Here are some guidelines for training your ears to hear God’s voice…..
1.) There is no set formula. As you try to listen for Him, the Holy Spirit will teach you how.
1 Samuel 3 and Isaiah 48:17
2.) Ask God for a clean heart. If there is unrecognized or unconfessed sin in your life that needs to cleared up, it can prevent you from hearing God. Proverbs 1:23
3.) Believe that God does and will speak to you if you ask Him to do so. Ask Him to speak to you as you read from His Word. Mark 9:24 and Hebrews 1:1-2
4.) Try reading the Bible until the Lord speaks to you. Ask Him, ‘what is it You want me to hear today from Your Word?” He will give you just what you need to hear. Hebrews 4:12
5.) Don’t be sidetracked by distractions as you listen for God. If thoughts come into your mind of things you need to do, make a to-do list for later and continue listening. Sometimes what you think is a distraction may be a person or a topic God is wanting you to pray about. Matthew 26:41
6.) As you listen for God, ask Him questions. Is there someone you want me to pray for? Is there something you want to show me about myself? Ephesians 6:12, 5:17
7.) Write down or journal what you think God is telling you to do. Isaiah 30:8 and Jeremiah 36:2
8.) Wait for God to confirm what you think He is saying to you through the Word and other people. Sometimes a verse from your Bible – reading or something that a Christian friend says to you will agree with what you think God is saying to you. 2 Corinthians 13:1
9.) Be prepared to obey what the Lord tells you to do. If you are convinced God is telling you to do something, obey. If you do not, you will need to ask for forgiveness and keep listening. Exodus 19:5 and Jeremiah 3:25 and Matthew 7:24
10.) Ask God to train you to hear His voice throughout the day. Sometimes it is not convenient to listen, but you will learn to know God’s voice even when you are busy. Psalm 86:11 and John 6:45
11.) Thank the Lord that He will speak to you in His way and His timing – through His Word, through his Holy Spirit, through the godly counsel of others, and through the circumstances in which God places you. John 14:26.”
When listening, be wary.
God’s voice is truth and honesty. It never disagrees with His Word or His holy character. We need to be biblically literate and well versed on the character, attributes, and ways of God that He has revealed through His Word. John 17:17 and John 34:9, 50
Our own voices try to gratify fleshly desires. They are self-serving. Jeremiah 17:9
Satan’s voice is condemning and manipulative. It echoes the voices of the culture, as well, and will often use logic and be close enough to the Word to confuse us but will, in fact, lead us away from God. He will try to make us feel badly about ourselves, past sins, sins we have already confessed and repented from. He will cause us to be fearful about the future and our ability to accomplish the things that God has prepared for us and us for! He will attempt to isolate us from those godly influences in our lives, too. Luke 8:11-13 and John 8:44
(One of my friend’s references for this study was “Listening for God: How An Ordinary Person Can Hear God Speak” by Marilyn Hontz, March 2013.)
Be available to respond. Do what you can with what you have where you are based on God’s personal word to you! He will guide you further as you are obedient one step at the time.