Have you ever heard someone say that God spoke to them? Is this true? Can you really hear directly from God, and gain wisdom and instruction from Him for your life? The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk believed so. “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what He will say to me…" (Habakkuk 2:1) he said. He stood and listened for God, knowing He would say something to him. And God still does speak to people today. Here are some practical ways you can be ready listen, and to hear God’s voice when He speaks to you.
Be prepared to listen. Just as in any conversation, you can’t hear the other person if you’re distracted. You must have a mindset that is ready to listen. Consider first a time and place to meet with God every day where you can give Him your undivided attention.
Be quiet and still. Shut out the noise around you. In your quiet place, open the Bible, which is one of the main tools God uses to speak to you. Consider doing this in the morning, as King David wrote about in Psalm 143:8, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul”. Regular reading of the Bible is an immediate source of God’s voice for you.
Be committed to doing. As you read God’s Word, be committed to following what it says. Often if you desire to hear from God, it’s for a specific reason or decision in your life. The Bible gives instruction from God on nearly every facet of life, from parenting, to caring for others, to what God wants you to obey, to how to treat your spouse in marriage. Trust that if you read and are committed to living out what God specifically says in the Bible—the 90% of your life that He addresses directly—that as you obey He will also direct you through the other 10%. So much of what we desire to hear from God is in that last 10% that most are not committed first to following the 90% that He clearly tells us.
Pray and write. As you read, also pray. Ask God to help you understand what you are reading. Ask Him to make clear the areas where He wants you to obey. If you have specific requests, ask about those things as well. Have a notebook where you can write down what you pray about and what you read. Write down names of people that come to your mind, things to do, what to say, things you are doing that are against God (sins) that you need to turn away from. Let these notes be private. Sometimes take a moment to look back over what you wrote, prayed about, thought about, and see how you are changing and how God is working through your life and through your prayers.
Observe. As you read and prayed, did you see something you need to work on in your life? Did you read something that God is directing you to do? Did God answer a prayer? Did you learn something about God that you did not know? Congratulations! God has just spoken to you! It’s not magic or mystical. It’s simply a process of knowing more about Him through the Bible, asking Him and talking to Him through prayer, acting on what the Bible says, and observing the results.
Psalm 40:8 says, “I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” Let this be your heart as well as you spend time in the Bible daily, read what it says, know that it is inspired by God and its words are His instructions to you.