Hearing God, Pt. 6 

I began a series a few weeks ago about hearing the voice of God. Did you ever stop and consider that most of the major decisions you and I make are not specifically covered in the Bible? 

For example: Whom should I marry? Should I take this job? Should I buy this house? What type of vacation should I take this summer? Should I serve in this ministry? Etc.  

Therefore, learning how to discern God’s voice is very important!  

Jesus stated clearly in John’s gospel: 

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27 NKJV 

If you believe in Jesus, you are a sheep in His flock who hears the voice of His shepherd—period! He wants us to know His voice and follow Him. 

He is longing to speak with us. But are we longing to sit with Him?  

We must be intentional to spend time with the Lord. Perhaps an hour a day (Matt. 26.40). You and I must find the secret place, shut the door, and pray to the Father who is in secret (Matt. 6:6).  

If it takes you 50 min to shut the door, it is better to spend 10 min with God than 60 min with other things! 

One of my favorite verses about hearing God and receiving revelation is found in Jeremiah,  

Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced inandhidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand). Jer. 33:3 AMPC 

Notice in this verse how God solicits the call or prayer? Then the Lord promises to answer and reveal what is hidden and secret. This was to wayward Israel! How much more to us in the New Covenant? 

The Reformer John Calvin wrote of this verse that while Yahweh’s words are to Jeremiah, they are for all people to hear so they too will pray.1 

So, how does one recognize the voice of God and distinguish it from all the other voices that we hear? Is it audible or does God communicate differently? 

A major teaching of the New Testament (NT) is that God the Holy Spirit lives in the believer now, to be to the believer all that Jesus was to the disciples.  

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—John 14:16 NKJV 

The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father, who comes along side of us to help us, who is just like Jesus!  He reveals the Father and the Son to us, He leads us into truth, He guides and directs us, He gives us strength, and He comforts us. 

The language of the Spirit includes what we read in the Bible, thoughts, words, impressions, vision, dreams, and encounters—all comprise the language of the Spirit.  

Keep in mind that the voice of the Lord is not only heard; it is also seen. 

Hab. 1:1 “The burden (oracle, prophecy) which the prophet Habakkuk saw.”  

God asked Jeremiah, “What did you see?” Jer. 1:11. 

Ezekiel says, “as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.” Ezek. 1:1 

The voice of the Lord then can be visionary. In the NT, we are promised: 

Acts 2:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 

Four Keys to Hearing God’s Voice (derived from Dr. Mark Virkler) 

Mark was a tired discouraged pastor ready to leave the ministry about 30 years ago. Until he discovered that God still communicates with His people.  

A passage in Habakkuk stood out to Mark, which he derived four keys or principles a person can use to better hear the voice of the Lord. 

1 I will stand my watch, And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected. 2 Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision, And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.” Hab 2:1-2 NKJV 

Key #1 – God’s voice in our heart’s sounds like a flow of spontaneous thoughts. Therefore, when we tune to God, we tune to spontaneity. 

Hab. 2:2 “the Lord answered me and said…” Habakkuk knew the sound of God’s voice.   

Elijah described it as a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12). Many listen for that inner audible voice, and surely God can and does speak that way at times.  

However, for most of us, most of the time, God’s inner voice comes to us as spontaneous thoughts, impressions, feelings, visions, or dreams.  

For example, have you ever had the experience of driving down the road and having a thought come to pray for a certain person? This is most likely God’s voice calling us to pray for that person.   

The question to you is, “What did God’s voice sound like as you drove in your car? Was it an inner, audible voice, or was it a spontaneous thought that lit upon your mind?” Most of us would say that God’s voice came to us as a spontaneous thought.  

Therefore, when we listen for God’s voice, we should be listening for a flow of spontaneous thoughts. Dr. Virkler discovered that most spirit-level communication is received as spontaneous thoughts, impressions, feelings, and visions. 

The Hebrew word for intercession is paga and one meaning is “a chance encounter or an accidental intersecting.”  It also means “to pressure or urge someone strongly, to assail with urgent petitions.” A meeting! 

When God lays people on our hearts for intercession, He does it through paga, a chance-encounter thought, accidentally intersecting our thought processes. Therefore, when we tune to God, we tune to chance-encounter thoughts or spontaneous thoughts. 

Often, when I am giving a prophetic word to someone, it comes as a series of impressions, words, and vision. You may find the same is true for you! 

Key #2 – I must learn to still my own thoughts and emotions, so that I can sense God’s flow of thoughts, impressions, and visions within me. 

Hab. 2:1 “I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart…” Habakkuk knew that in order to hear and see God’s spontaneous thoughts and visions, he had to first go to a quiet place and still his own thoughts and emotions.  

Psalm 46:10 encourages us to be still and know that He is God. There is a deep inner knowing (spontaneous flow) in our spirits that each of us can experience when we quiet our flesh and our minds. Know is from a Hebrew word yada and speaks of intimacy, as in Adam knowing Eve. 

Here are several ways to quiet oneself to pick up God’s spontaneous flow. For example: 

Worship: Worship helps tune our spirit to God. As you become still (thoughts, will, and emotions) and are quiet before God that the divine flow begins. So, after I worship and then become still, I open myself for that spontaneous flow. 

2 Kings 3:15 NLT “Now bring me someone who can play the harp.” While the harp was being played, the power of the Lord came upon Elisha and he was able to discern the language of the Spirit or the voice of the Lord. 

Prayer: Specifically praying in tongues or praying in the Spirit.  

Lists: If thoughts come To Do’s, etc. I write them down and return to prayer.  

Sin, wrong attitude, offenses, etc.: If the Holy Spirit recalls areas of sin, attitude, offense, etc., confess, repent and see yourself washed in the blood of Christ, forgiven, cleansed and clothed in His righteousness (1John 1:9; Isa. 61:10).   

If there is offense, unforgiveness or judgment toward others in our hearts, that will greatly hinder or shut down our ability to hear God.  

Fix your gaze upon Jesus:  Heb. 12:2 AMPC “…Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus…”, become quiet in His presence, and share with Him what is on your heart, then the two-way dialogue begins to flow.   

It is very important that you become still and properly focused if you are going to hear clearly from the Lord. If you are not still and focused on Jesus, you will simply be receiving your own thoughts. If we are “looking” through a soulish desire in our hearts, we may be led astray. 

Key #3 – As you pray, and fix the eyes of your heart upon Jesus, expect to hear and see in the spirit the thoughts, impressions, dreams and visions of God. 

Hab. 2:1-2 “I will keep watch to see,” and God said, “Record the vision”. It is very interesting that Habakkuk was going to start looking for vision as he prayed. He was going to open the eyes of his heart and look into the spirit world to see what God wanted to show him.  

You should expect visionary encounters with the Lord, it is normal for a Christian once you train yourself to focus on Jesus and discern what He is revealing by the Holy Spirit! 

God gave you “eyes in your heart.” They are to be used to see in the spirit world the vision and movement of Almighty God.  

There is an active spirit world functioning all around us. This world is full of angels, demons, the Holy Spirit, the omnipresent God, and His omnipresent Son, Jesus. There is no reason for you not to see it, other than your rational culture, which may tell you not to believe it is there. 

The most obvious prerequisite to seeing is that we need to look.  Dan. 7:2,9,13 Daniel was seeing a vision in his mind, and he said, “I was looking…I kept looking…”   We must learn how to lean into vision and let it unfold. 

As you pray, look for Jesus to be present with you, and watch Him as He speaks to you.  Many Christians will find that if they only look, they will see. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us (Matt. 1:23). It is that simple.  

You will see a spontaneous inner vision in a manner like receiving spontaneous inner thoughts. You can see Christ present with you in a comfortable setting because Christ is present with you in a comfortable setting.  

You may discover that inner vision comes so easily you may tend to reject it, thinking that it is just you. Doubt is one of Satan’s most effective weapons against the Church.  

However, if you persist in recording the visions, your doubt will soon be overcome by faith as you recognize that the content of them could only be birthed in Almighty God.   

Is it possible for us to live out of the divine initiative as Jesus did?  A major purpose of Jesus’ death and resurrection was that the veil be torn from top to bottom, giving us access into the immediate presence of God, and we are commanded to draw near (Lk. 23:45; Heb. l0:19-22).  

This may seem unusual to a rational twenty first-century culture; yet it is demonstrated and described as being a central biblical teaching and experience. It’s time to restore to the Church all that belongs to the Church. 

Key #4 – Journaling, the writing out of our prayers and God’s answers, provides a useful tool in hearing God’s voice. 

Hab. 2:2 “record the vision and inscribe it on tablets…” If you begin to search Scripture for this idea, you will find hundreds of chapters demonstrating it. For example, Psalms, many of the prophets, and Revelation. We call the process “journaling.” 

It is a great tool to record the impressions, visions, and words that God is giving – as well as prayers and answers to them.  The journal helps you better discern God’s spontaneous flow and communication to you.  

You write in faith freely, and then go back and weigh and judge what you have received lines up with scripture. Doubt may hinder you at first, but throw it off, and remind yourself that it is a biblical concept, and that God is present, speaking to His children.  

Stay relaxed, rest in Christ, and avoid striving or taking yourself too seriously. When you do, you become tense and get in the way of the Holy Spirit’s movement. It is when we cease our labors and enter His rest that God is free to flow (Heb. 4:10).  

Therefore, put a smile on your face, sit back comfortably, get out your pen and paper, and turn your attention toward God in praise and worship, seeking His face.  

As you write out your question to God and become still, fixing your gaze on Jesus, Who is present with you, you will suddenly have a very good thoughts in response to your question.  

Don’t doubt them, simply write down the thoughts, impressions, and visions that God is giving you. Later, as you read your journaling, you, too, will be blessed to discover that you are indeed dialoguing with God. 

Final Thoughts 

If you are born again, are walking in right relationship with God, you can be confident that God will speak to you. You can hear His voice! 

To hear His voice: 

Believe God Speaks to You. Men and women throughout the Bible heard God’s voice. The Bible indicates that we can hear His voice today. There is a deep hunger in each of us to know God and to communicate with Him.  

Permit yourself to have more faith to believe you can hear His voice than to be deceived by the enemy. 

Learn God’s Language. Accomplished through developing relationship with Him. The more we tune our spirit to the Holy Spirit, hearing His voice will become a normal occurrence.  

God most often speaks to our thoughts, impressions, feelings, desires, emotions, visions, and usually in a still small voice. 

 Have a great week and spend some time at the feet of Jesus expecting to hear from Him! Next week I’ll take a closer look at dreams and visions. 

Bob Sawvelle

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