I’ve had many people say to me, “I’m having trouble hearing the voice of God. How can I learn to hear His voice?”
Maybe you’ve asked the same thing yourself, so let me answer that question with an illustration.
Suppose you and I are standing on opposite sides of a large auditorium and I want to talk to you. I try to yell across the room, but you can’t quite hear me. What could you do to hear me better? You could move closer to where I am standing!
Well, that’s what you need to do in your relationship with God.
You need to draw much, much closer to Him than you are right now. You need to become so well acquainted with Him that you recognize His gentle, small voice in your spirit the moment He speaks.
Consider how easy it is to discern your mother’s voice in a crowd. Why is that? Because you lived with your mother for years. You have heard her speak when she was sad, when she was glad, and when she was mad.
You heard her speak in the morning, at noontime, and at night. You have heard her full range of expression for many years. Because you know your mother so well, you would know her voice anywhere.
It’s the same way in your relationship with God. If you want to know His voice when He speaks to you, you will have to spend much time fellowshipping with Him.
I once heard a brother in the Lord testify about a time he heard from God. For a long time, he had been praying, “Lord, I want to hear You. I want to do Your will. God, please talk to me!”
This man wanted God to talk to him in his mind. But God is a Spirit, so He doesn’t speak to His people in their minds; He speaks to them in their spirits.
Finally, this man got quiet enough to hear the Holy Spirit’s gentle voice in his spirit. These are the words the man heard: “I’ll talk to you from the Book.”
It’s All Inside
This is God’s message to you as well. Reading the Bible is the very first key to fellowship because God wants to speak to you from His Word. But it takes time to read the Word, and time is the primary thing the Devil wants to steal from you.
You see, time is the most precious thing you have. It is certainly much more precious than money or possessions. If material things are lost, they can be replaced. But once you lose time, it is gone forever.
The Devil is out to make his play in your life. He knows if he can rob you of time, he can cut into your faith. If he can cut into your faith, he can cut into your quickness to obey God and begin to steal the will of God for your life.
Now you can see why spending time with God isn’t optional. It’s vital! And the first thing you must do is to spend time reading His Word.
You shouldn’t read the Bible just to accumulate information, however. First Corinthians 8:1 warns you that knowledge in itself will puff you up. Only when knowledge is gained through loving communion with God will it edify and bless your walk with Him. So read your Bible prayerfully with your spirit alert, constantly expecting God to speak to you through His written Word.
The second thing you need to do to develop a sensitivity to God’s voice is to increase your prayer life. It’s actually very simple; the only way to develop intimacy with God is to read the Bible and pray.
These are bottom-line, basic keys that cannot be ignored.
So think about it for a moment. How much time do you take to pray every day? How much time do you spend fellowshipping with God in His Word? God wants you to talk to Him, and He wants you to recognize His voice when He talks back to you.
But let me give you a word of caution here. Don’t allow yourself to get in the habit of what I call “phony fellowship.” That’s when you go into your prayer closet and let your mind bounce from one subject to the next as your mouth prays to God.
You aren’t even that rude to the people you talk to throughout the day! When you hold a conversation with another person, both of you concentrate on what you are saying to each other.
That’s what you need to do with the Lord. One of the most important aspects of communing with God in prayer is learning to keep your mind centered on Him. This kind of focused attention is absolutely required if you are ever going to learn to discern His voice.