In culling old emails from my ‘All Mail’ folder, I came across a response I had given to a brother on the matter of hearing God. It’s ironic I found it from the archives since I am reading on this very subject today.
The following response was sent exactly one week—to the day—I entered one of the darkest times of my life, a period in which I would need to draw on God’s love and wisdom as never before. (I have written extensively on this shadowed valley of death; you can find it here.) It seems our Lord was preparing me to learn even more intimately on the subject, so what you read here is “in part” but tested and true nonetheless.
I hope this encourages you today and gives you a passion to spend time in His presence. At the end, I will provide you with one of the best resources I can think of on the matter of hearing God.
______________, bless you, man! I am truly humbled by your words here and thankful I can offer some things for you, o passionate seeker! I have hesitated writing only because the way I hear God is so ‘simplistic’ and probably not far from what others would say, but there are a couple of things that MUST be repeated and reinforced. There is no formula for hearing God per se, it requires being quiet enough to listen and obedience without negotiation to say “amen, Lord.”
For years, the primary way I have heard God is to give hours to Him on a matter. Sure there have been plenty of times He’s spoken to me on the fly, but there is nothing He loves more than to know I am going to sit and stay awhile. Before I do anything, I pull out my journal and just begin writing out a lengthy prayer…oftentimes I see my prayer change before my very eyes, getting more in line with what is on His heart, but He is always gracious and patient to listen to what is on mine.
I stay on a systematic reading schedule of the scriptures because His word is alive and He can speak directly to me from anywhere in the scriptures. I can truly say it is more rare for me NOT to get a direct response from the scriptures after I have spent time through journaling and worship! It is uncanny! The Word speaks to exactly what I have poured out my heart about in my journaling. Every time.
I ran across this article and I’ll give the link to it here. Maybe it will add some helpful light to your journey. http://chicagoblogpage2.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-does-god-speak-to-you.html
Most guys I know do not like to journal but I think it is the most consistent tool we can use to access the mind and heart of God. Maybe you already do it. If you don’t, start with a paragraph a day, then work up to pages down the road…God knows the intent of your heart and will bless you in your efforts. It’s also VERY important to not assume that every thought you have in such a season in His Presence is your own.
God be gracious to you, beloved brother. Stay hungry. You are loved.
If you want to learn more on this subject, I recommend Peter Lord’s book “Hearing God” for solid biblical instruction, clarity and amazing practicality.
Remember, what kind of Father would never want to speak to His kids? Thankfully, our Father is perfect, not aloof, and speaks clearly and relevantly into our space and time. You’ve been given ears…do they work?