"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27
As children of God, it is our inheritance and promise that we’ll hear the voice of our Father, our Shepherd, our Lord! His desire to speak to us is greater than our desire to hear Him, and He is constantly speaking. Our challenge is (and always has been) tuning in to hear him speak.

Turn up the Volume

Imagine you have a song playing on your phone, but that you accidentally hit the mute button. The music might be playing, but unless you unmute and adjust the volume, you won’t be able to hear it. Similarly, God is always speaking, but we aren’t always able to hear him or are paying attention to what he’s saying!
Jesus lovingly invites us to silence all the other noises and turn up the volume to his voice so that we can be in a deep relationship and conversation with him. Learning to hear His voice is a process and a journey. Give yourself a lot of patience and grace: simply come with a heart that trusts in His goodness and His love, and take one step at a time. This journey will require you to keep trying and even make mistakes, but being in friendship and dialogue with him is better than anything else on this planet! 😄

Some truths to remember as you begin this journey:

God is… 
  • A good Father (John 17, Luke 15) 
  • The good Shepherd (Psalm 95:7, Ezekiel 34, John 10): we can trust Him to lead us, guide us, and protect us. 
  • Speaking and has been since the beginning, and even created by speaking (Genesis 1, John 1). 
  • Our Helper (John 14:26): He wants us to know Him and receive wisdom from Him (James 1:5)

We are… 
  • God’s beloved children (Romans 8) 
  • God’s sheep (Psalm 95:7, Ezekiel 34, John 10) 
  • Created for relationship with God (Genesis 3:8, 1 John 1:3) 
  • Clothed in the power of the Holy Spirit and have Jesus’ mind (1 Corinthians 2:6-16, Luke 24:49)

The Nature of God’s Voice

Ways to Test what we Hear:
  • It will reflect the fruit of the Spirit - loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle (Galatians 5).
  • The nature of God’s thoughts will be spontaneous and positive, usually in the first person.
  • It will affirm the character of the Holy Spirit - Encourager, Comforter, Teacher, Guide, Healer, Counselor, Revealer of Truth.
  • His words will not violate scripture but easily align with scripture. 
Further Indicators:
  • When received, His words bring healing, freedom and life transformation with strength and joy to walk them out. 
  • God’s voice within you will not eradicate your personality or manner of speech (1 Corinthians 6:17). It may sound like you – your tone/ flavor. 
  • His words are light, gentle and easily cut off by any exertion of our own thoughts and will, so we must honor the flow (John 7:38) over and above self-effort. 
  • His words may address sin or be a gentle rebuke that will produce a longing for restoration. 
Now, let’s begin this journey of hearing God’s voice! 

4 Keys to Hearing God

This simple process of 4 steps can help us tune in to hear God’s voice:
In Habakkuk 2:1-3: I will take my stand at my watchpost (STOP), and station myself on the tower, and look out to see (LOOK) what he will say to me (LISTEN) and what I will answer concerning my complaint. And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision (WRITE); make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.

In John’s Revelation 1:10-11: I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day (STOP), and I heard behind me a voice (LISTEN) like a trumpet, saying, “Write (WRITE) what you see (LOOK) in a book…
  • STOP - Quiet yourself down...relax! Get comfortable; remove distractions (outer and inner); you are going to have to choose to spend this time listening instead of the 101 other things you could be doing. DO NOT MULTI-TASK!
  • LOOK - Fix your Eyes on Jesus. It can help to spend a few moments in praise or worship turning your attention to Jesus. Some people might repeat a simple Scripture verse a few times. Some people say a short prayer like the ‘Jesus prayer’ – “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, your child”. 
  • LISTEN - Tune in to your flow of spontaneous thoughts. Now we trust the Lord will speak to us. God’s voice often sounds like our own voice, yet comes as a spontaneous thought (quicker than we can figure something out) and could be a ‘sense of something/ a quickening in your spirit’, or a picture (like your imagination), a word that comes to mind, or a reference to a scripture verse.
  • WRITE - Write it down. Write what you sense God is saying. DON’T STOP TO ANALYZE IT! Just write until the flow stops. We will test it afterwards.

Discerning What Your Hear

“Test all things; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)  
It is important to always take time to discern and test what we hear, both on our own and with others in our trusted community. Here are some questions to ask in this discernment process:
  • Is it scriptural? (are you familiar with Bible passages that back it up?)
  • Does it display the character of God? (ex: God is Loving, Holy, Wise, Faithful, Just, Merciful, Kind, Forgiving, etc.)
  • What is the Spirit telling your inward witness? Does it resonate or is there a check/resistance in your spirit? (John 10:2-5) 
  • What do people around you (trusted community and leaders) discern about the word? (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21)
  • Does it glorify God?  Does it make you love God/others more?

Responding to God’s Voice 

After you have discerned and are certain what you hear is from the Lord, it’s time to respond! There are several ways to respond: 
  • Follow Through: If it’s a word that requires an active response, obey it! Commit to do it by a certain time - don’t wait too long! Ask others to keep you accountable if needed. 
  • Keep Dialoguing: If it’s a word that requires further understanding, set aside time to bring the word back to God and ask Him to speak on it further. 
  • Take a Next Faithful Step: If it’s a promise or prophetic word, is it conditional? For example, if God says you will lead 10 people to Christ in another country, it won’t happen if you do not have a passport that allows you to travel and/or you don’t take a trip to that country. So, your first step of obedience and to see this promise come to pass is to get a passport! 
  • Keep Praying: If it’s a promise or prophetic word that does not seem to have conditions to it, stand in faith and commit it to prayer regularly until you see it come to pass.
Photos by Samuel Rios, Jochen van Wylick, Jon Tyson, James, Maja Petric