How to Hear from God

One question that I get asked most often is, “How do I hear from God?” 

Is it an audible voice, like that of James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman?
Do I have to have some kind of special connection with God?
Am I not “religious” or “spiritual” enough to hear from God?

Unfortunately, after many failed attempts of hearing from God, many end up feeling spiritually inadequate and insecure. It’s not that God isn’t talking to them as well, it’s just that they don’t know how to hear God when He is.

Let me be clear… I haven’t always been able to identify the voice of God. In fact, I once struggled with those same questions that are the root of feeling inadequate. How in the world did others always “get a word” while I’m pleading with God and not getting a peep.

Eventually, I learned that I was being hindered by my own misconception of how God speaks and my method of trying to hear Him. I truly believe that this is the case for many people who still struggle to hear from God.

Though God speaks to each of us differently, I believe that there are 5 core things that must happen before you can hear from God in your own unique way.

  • 1. Eliminate distractions

God is speaking, but can you hear Him? No, really...have you silenced your life enough to hear from God. I posted a quote on Instagram that said, “It’s not that we’ve intentionally blocked God out, but it’s that we haven’t intentionally let Him in.”

Tweet: “It’s not that we’ve intentionally blocked God out, but it’s that we haven’t intentionally let Him in.” -@girtalkwithfo
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“It’s not that we’ve intentionally blocked God out, but it’s that we haven’t intentionally let Him in.”

Often times we do not create an environment to hear from God. By that, I mean we’re never still or silent. If it’s not the TV, it’s the computer; if it’s not the computer, it’s the cell phone. How often do you actually disconnect from technology and people and sit still before God?

Hearing God is an intentional matter. It’s not one that just happens by coincidence. Every time Jesus went to pray, He not only went alone, but it was usually in the wee hours in the morning-- the most still time of the day. We can’t hear from God when we prioritize things happening behind a screen before Him. Nor can we hear from God when we don’t know how to get away and be alone with God.

If you want to hear from God, first be intentional about creating an atmosphere that you can actually hear in.

  • 2. Stop talking so much!

If you were raised in church, then you probably grew up with the belief that the longer, emotional, yet more eloquent the prayer was, the more likely it was to be heard and answered by God. There was also a belief that those who prayed short, simple prayers weren’t very “mature in the faith.” I KNOW I’m not the only one. If you didn’t grow up that way, I did. Everybody knew that one person who could “pray a good prayer” and, as a result, they got chosen to pray at all of the gatherings. I just knew I had made it into the ranks when my family members would ask me to pray. Can we say #pridecheck.

Though I do believe that there is something to be said about a prayer ladened with scriptures (repeating God’s word back to Him), there is also something to be gained from being silent. Contrary to traditional thought, your prayer time should be 10% talking and 90% listening. Now, these aren’t hard numbers and I’m sure some religious theologen would argue them… the point is, if you want to hear from God, quite frankly you need to stop talking and be still.

Lengthy, empty prayers was the behavior of the Pharisees. In fact, in Matthew 6:7, the bible tells us this about prayer:

“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” (NIV).

God can be heard when you stop babbling.

  • 3. Don’t minimize your thoughts

I remember Dr. Myles Munroe addressing this very question in one of his messages. He spoke of religious figures who are always “getting a word from God” and how it made other believers feel as though it were unattainable for them. He went on to say that they are no more special than us and what they’re really saying is that they got an idea or thought.

God speaks through your thoughts. Now, it’s not to say that God isn’t audible to some people. I’ve heard stories of others who have heard audible, divine instruction. However, I don’t want you to miss the God of thoughts in pursuit of sound.

Growing up, I’m not sure what I thought hearing from God actually meant, but as I’ve matured in my walk, I’ve realized that it really is a God inspired thought from the Holy Spirit. Now, if it’s contrary to the word of God, it’s definitely not Him, but when you get those nudges and thoughts out of nowhere to do something like give a stranger some money, it’s definitely God talking to you. That’s His way of giving you instruction to fulfill His greater mission. It’s why we should pray for the Holy Spirit within us to lead us in everything that we do.

  • 4. Receive others

Just when you thought the conversation was just between you and God, the plot thickens. God uses people to relay messages all the time. In the Old Testament, and even today, such people whose gift was to share a word from God were called prophets. Not everyone who gives you a message from God is prophet, but don’t dismiss someone because they aren’t.

I often share this story when I give my testimony. I remember very vividly being a church service while living in North Carolina. At the time, I was dealing with my dad’s deteriorating health and a crumbling relationship. In a moment of worship, our First Lady approached me and said, “God told me to tell you to let it go.” She didn’t have to explain it, but I immediately knew what she was talking about. God used her to speak to me concerning that relationship that I needed to let go.

The point is, God uses others to speak to us. We just have to be discerning and know when it’s truly God using them or not. My former pastor would say, “Test the spirit by the spirit.” This means comparing their words to what you know the word of God says. Are they speaking life or death? In my case, she confirmed something that God has already spoken to me, so I was able to receive her message.

You will never know who God will use to speak to you. He has used children and even a donkey to get His message out, so don’t underestimate who He may send to you.

  • 5. Learn to worship & read God’s word

If you want to get God’s attention that you might hear from Him, you need to understand the significance of worship. The fact that God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3) is why your praise and worship leader is always saying, “Open up your mouth and give God a praise.” Having been apart or a praise and worship team, I know that’s it not about hype or delaying until the pastor shows up. *side eye* It's about creating an atmosphere where God can dwell.

Ultimately, God has already spoken through His word. The Bible is complete and nothing will be added to that; however, worshiping prior to reading God’s word opens the door to new revelation. Have you ever read a bible verse and it really didn’t have a significant meaning to you, but then, you read it at a later time and it was the answer to your problem or the assurance that you needed? That’s God speaking.

The awesome thing is that when God speaks, His word doesn’t return back void. What He says is final. And, although your situation may not look like what’s been spoken, you can depend on God to ensure that it comes to pass.

So, if you feel like you haven't been hearing from God, do these 5 things. Get in position to hear from God by silencing your life and positioning yourself to hear from Him. God is speaking, but can you hear Him?