Hearing the Voice of God
by Ed Arcton
Don’t we all want to hear God speak to us? A talk show host recently said that “When Jesus talks to you, that is mental illness.” Does Jesus speak to people? Does God communicate with us? I believe He does. How can we hear God’s voice? I think there are several essential steps to consider how we can hear God’s voice.
First, we need time and space to hear God. Two of the ancient practices of the Christian faith come into play here, solitude and silence. To hear God’s voice, we need to get away from the distractions of work, people and electronics. We need some extended time alone where we can be quiet. One of my favorite places to go is a local Benedictine retreat center near my home. I take the time to go for the day or overnight when I need to be with God alone and hear from Him.
Second, we need a clean heart. We can spend time in reflection asking the Holy Spirit to show us any areas of disobedience to God or willful sin. As God brings these things to mind, we confess these to God and experience the forgiveness He has provided for us. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9.
Third, we pray and ask God to speak to us. Prayer is a conversation with God, we empty the things in our mind and heart to God, and then we quietly listen for Him to speak.
How does God speak you ask? There are at least three ways God speaks to me. He speaks through my most holy thoughts and desires. Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Somehow in God’s economy, He speaks through our desires, He affirms our desires. God also speaks to me through His Word, the Bible.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12. Lastly, God speaks to us through the words of wise counselors.
Many times in life and ministry we find ourselves standing at a crossroads, looking to the right and left wondering where each path could lead us. We desire to follow God and do what pleases Him, yet we are not sure what He is asking or us. I see this reality over and over again with church planters. They stand at the precipice of one of the most exciting and challenging assignments you can receive in ministry and ask God to show them what they should do. When they ask me how they will know if they should plant a church, I tell them three things: 1. Get some time alone with God. 2. Pray & listen. 3. Seek the council of Godly and wise people who know you and know church planting.
God does talk to His children, and don’t think you are crazy when you hear His voice.
Pastor Rick Dunn
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