God speaks to us in different ways. We can hear His voice through His Word, the Holy Spirit, during coincidences and hard situations, when reading words on a page, upon listening to lyrics in a song, or through words coming from someone’s mouth.
Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of God.”
We can “hear” and experience the voice of God by hearing and hearing the Word of God. That is what faith is all about! It’s hearing God’s voice and spending time in His Word. In growing your faith, it is important to constantly encounter God, and his presence.
I believe the greatest way to hearing God’s voice is through your quiet time in His Word, daily Bible reading, meditation, confessions, and worship that brings you closer to hearing his voice..
In the old and New Testament, the Bible talks about how the prophets throughout the ages have heard God’s voice and proclaimed his messages with confidence. And today we believe God still speaks to us. But how do we hear God’s voice?
“Whoever is of God hears the words of God” (John 8:47).
When we seek to truly know God, like the men in the Old Testament, he talks with us. He is not a God who is silent but a God who speaks to us in any and every way he can.
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What Does the Bible Say About Hearing God’s Voice?
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me . . . a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” (Jn. 10:5, 27).
When we read the Bible regularly, we become familiar hearing God’s voice. The more we read His Word, the easier it will become to recognize His voice. The more we read His Word, the more familiar we will become with His voice, and the better we know the Bible, the better our discernment will be. This is how you know God’s voice.
The Lord constantly speaks to us and gives us direction. It is never the Lord who is not speaking, but it is us who are not hearing.
He is the same God today that He was in the time of the Old Testament. He still speaks to us today. He made it possible for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him, which involves talking together every day. He communicates with us.
Many of us have just never learned how to recognize His voice, or we have forgotten how we did in the past.
In 1 Kings 19:11-12 , God speaks to Elijah in a “still, small voice.” We have the tendency as believers to become so busy and build up so many distractions that we may not even hear God, even if He were to speak to us.
So the Lord spoke to Moses’ face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.
“If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make Myself known unto him in a vision and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so… With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold” (Num. 12:6-8).
In speaking to Moses, God spoke to him just like he was speaking to a friend.
In the Old Testament, God manifested Himself to Samuel. “In those days the Bible said that the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions” (1 Samuel 3:1). People were not listening. God was not speaking. He was silent. Visions were rare. But the Lord called Samuel.
Samuel awoke in the night when he heard someone call out his name. He ran to Eli because he thought he had called him. Eli said that he hadn’t called his name and Samuel should go back to bed.
Samuel went back to bed, but soon he heard a voice call his name again, so he again went to Eli. Again, Eli told him that he hadn’t called him. Samuel went back to bed.
He heard God’s voice calling his name a third time. Samuel again got up and went to Eli’s bedside.
Eli finally came to the realization: God calls Samuel. So, he told Samuel if he hears the voice again, say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
The Lord did call again, and Samuel replied that he was listening. (1 Samuel 2:12-36).
Just like the Lord spoke to Samuel in the Old Testament, He is speaking today. Are you hearing God’s voice?
And because of Samuel’s obedience, he began a lifelong relationship with God. As a believer be confidence that if you would listen, God will speak. And when He speaks, say as Samuel did. Speak Lord, thou servant is listening
There are many verses in the Bible that tell us that God spoke to men in the person of Jesus in the Old Testament [to Abraham (Genesis 18:1-3), Jacob (Genesis 32:24–25, 30), Joshua (Joshua 5:14, 15), Gideon (Judges 6:22; 13:22), Daniel (Daniel 3:25) etc.] and in the New Testament as well (John 1:18; 6:46; 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 John 4:12).
When God spoke to the men in the Old Testament, they heard God’s voice. Even with us, it would be like trying to stay connected with a close friend, but you are so busy, stressed and distracted that you never have time to talk to Him. I often like to get into a quiet place free from distractions and simply focus on God, giving myself an opportunity to hear what He is saying.
Why is it important to hear the voice of God?
It is so important that we hear the voice of God because he instructs us to “hear the word of the Lord” for ourselves. God wants to ‘lead and guide’ each of us through this life experience, beyond what we were able to hear yesterday. What God has said in the past may not be what He wants to say about today’s particular situation.
Hearing God’s Voice, obeying God’s voice, and following God’s voice is key to our existence and moving to the next level in Christ Jesus. Before we were conceived, he knows us, loved us, prepared for us.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
The Holy Spirit is constantly speaking to us, leading us, and guiding us into all the truth. Hearing his voice requires us to tune in to his frequency and his word. It requires us to press into what he is saying. We cannot however distinguish his voice from the countless voices of others if we do not consistently focus on intentional time in his presence.
In John 14:16-17 Jesus says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
And later in John 16:13 Jesus says, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
God himself dwells within us and longs to speak to our hearts. He longs for us to know the will of the Father the way Jesus did. The Bible says, as Jesus is, so are we in this world.
God is constantly speaking to us but are we listening. All of us seem to be busier than ever, and that is one of the BIG reasons why we are not hearing the voice of God. We are just too busy.
We all live busy lives. The busyness of every day affairs can hinder our ability to hear God. we must be intentional and tune out the noise so we can distinguish His still, small voice.
But more importantly, we want to be sure that He has spoken, and it is not our random thoughts or any other person for that matter.
God will speak specifically to any situation when we petition Him through prayer, and his Word.
There are many ways in which God can speak—he can speak in any way he chooses so we cannot put him in a box.
Just like hearing the voice of our natural father, hearing the voice of our Heavenly Father should be the most natural thing for us as believers.
God gives us the freedom to make decisions, but He is faithful to guide us in the way we should go. He guides us by His Word, His voice, and His people. We can trust that as we practice listening and spend time in His Word, we will be able to recognize His voice:
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it'” (Isaiah 30:21, NIV).
Whatever we do, whatever decisions we make, where our journey takes us, are dependent on our hearing God’s voice.
Bible Verses About Hearing God Speak.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
One of the things I love about sheep is how they move together—either shepherded by a dog or a person. How wonderful to think that we might hear best in groups (at church or in a Bible study) by our good Shepherd.
Job 33:15 For God speaks in one way, and in two, though people do not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the nights, when deep sleep falls on mortals…
I write down my dreams first thing in the morning when I can remember them. They can be confusing and compelling all at once, but in Scripture we see how God spoke to people in their dreams. He still does.
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.
I do not know if my Sunday school teacher would give me two or three stars, but I would say, yes, I know how God speaks to us. Through others, through listening, through reading, through dreams and through stillness—a silence that speaks volumes.
Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
John 8:47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Isaiah 30:21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
Luke 11:28 But he said, “Blessed rather is those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Psalm 32:8-9 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
What Does It Means to Hear the Voice of God?
Psalm 46:10 tells us to “be still and know” that He is God. It is in those quiet moments, when we choose to stop talking and start listening that the Lord reveals Himself to us.
God will speak to the hearts of those who prepare themselves to hear; and conversely, those who do not so prepare themselves will hear nothing even though the Word of God is falling upon their outer ears every Sunday.1 —A.W. Tozer
God is a speaking God, and He speaks to His children every day. We have the wonderful opportunity to listen to Him and learn to hear His voice. We do not have to go through life blindly making decisions or relying on our own abilities. We can hear Him clearly and consistently.
You can hear God’s voice every day and walk in the confidence of being led by the Holy Spirit in your life.
He speaks to us primarily through His Word, but also through circumstances, through godly people in our lives, and prayer. But here is the challenge: Sometimes when we are pouring our hearts out to God, we forget that prayer is a two-way conversation.
How Do You Know If God is Speaking to You?
So, the way that God speaks is different for everyone. I can always tell when it is God, rather than myself. There are times it is a still small whisper, it is a knowing deep within, you just know in your knower.
For some people it is a thought that just rushes in, and it is nowhere close to what you had been thinking about. Sometimes it is a dream. Sometimes it is a picture he will show you.
Sometimes it is a sense of peace or joy that covers your body in a moment of chaos. Sometimes it is wisdom in a situation.
And sometimes God speaks to you in the state you are in, for what you are going through, sometimes He speaks to you for someone else, sometimes He just shares things that He wants you to pray about.
We have two amazing advantages when it comes to hearing God’s voice. We have the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to guide us in His truth. Begin there. God’s voice will always be consistent with His written word because what we read is what was spoken by God to the writers of the Bible.
God is always speaking; he is the same God today that He was in the time of the Old Testament. He still speaks to us today.
He made it possible for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him, which involves talking together every day. He communicates with us every day.
Take time today to meditate on God’s word and be still, you are in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Ask God to reveal His truth to you, seek wise council and begin hearing God’s voice.
As born-again believers, we are led by the Spirit of God (see Rom. 8:14). When Jesus left the earth and went to heaven, He left us the Holy Spirit to live in us and guide us. John 14:17 says, “You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
The Amplified Bible calls the Holy Spirit our Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby. He is everything we need to hear from God. We should not look for anything else, or anyone else, to lead us, we have the Holy Spirit.
John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
The reason the sheep knows the shepherd’s voice, is not because it is loud nor because it is a new voice, but that it is the voice that has always been there.
It is a tender voice that never leads them astray and that always protects and guides. The voice of the Shepard never fails.
The ninety-nine sheep that did not leave while the shepherd went to find the one knew the shepherd’s voice so well that they did not follow any other. That is how we will know our Shepherd’s voice. The more time we spend with our Shepherd, the more we know Him.
There are many ways to position yourself to hear from God. Here are some ways that have helped me hear His voice. It is my hope that as you seek to hear God, the ears of your heart may become more attune to His voice and presence. Now I must put out this disclaimer: hearing the voice of God does not just come in sound form. It can be a tug on the heart or an overwhelming sense of peace and assurance. Be open to how God may speak to you -– He is a limitless God, so do not limit Him.
Through His Word (Scripture).
God speaks to you through the Bible. In it, God tells you how to live the life He has called you to live. The Bible is full of stories with lessons, stories with God speaking truth and God revealing what you need to hear to lead a life that blesses Him.
Whatever problem you might have, you can find the answer in the word of God. Most of us have prayed about something and God answered by showing us a verse in the Bible that was perfectly appropriate for whatever we asked.
Speaks Through the Holy Spirit.
God also speaks through the internal promptings of the Holy Spirit. John 14:26 says that the Spirit teaches you and helps you remember what God has done. The Holy Spirit prompts you to act in obedience, to turn away from sinful things, and to reach out to the people around you for support.
The inner voice is that still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13). Usually comes when we least expect it but, in my experience, it is always God speaking.
When you hear ‘something’ telling you to go ahead and act at a certain moment (and it does not contradict God’s Word) then listen to this voice, often God is trying to communicate.
You will find that sometimes he is asking you to do what may not make sense at that time because he knows much more than we do.
That is why it is important to just obey, and you will find out afterwards. Do not overlook that whisper in your spirit. That is the Holy Spirit Speaking.
He Speak through People.
God can and does speak to us through others but others. At times God will speak through a minister or preacher and you will hear his voice through that person. It will resonate with your spirit, and there will be an assurance within that it was for you. Jesus said, “my sheep know my voice,” and when He speaks through others, deep inside you will just know.
God can speak through dreams and visions as well. The visions usually will not need any confirmation, when you have one from God you will know. Dreams on the other hand can seem to come from God and yet may not. One way you can tell for sure is the pattern of the dream. God’s dreams are orderly and purposeful.
I am reminded of dreams he gave Joseph about his future. Or even the dreams he sent to Pharaoh. Each dream had a pattern and was clear and orderly. Then there was a purpose behind the dreams which was to warn of the approaching famine. If God decides to speak to you through a dream, he will make sure it has clarity.
You Will Feel the Peace of God.
Have you ever had to decide about something, and everything about it felt right? And it proved to be a good thing in the end? That was the peace of God (the Holy Spirit) leading you. It is yet another way God can speak. He can also speak through a lack of peace.
God Can Speak Through Circumstances.
God will sometimes speak to us through circumstances, most of the time these circumstances will make us uncomfortable so that he may get our attention. Like being led in a certain direction, of which you had not planned.
A perfect example is when God wanted to anoint Saul as the new king of Israel (1 Samuel 9-12). The first thing that happened was that his father’s donkeys went missing. Saul was instructed to go look for them and after traversing large areas of land without finding them, he met with Samuel the prophet. He was anointed king, and the donkeys somehow found their way back home.
The truth is that as we walk with God, we will sometimes miss Him. It is a learning process to hear from God, but in addition to the good practices, we can always be patient as we wait to hear from Him. He will not always speak when we expect, but if we are patient the answer will eventually come our way. Also, it is important to remember that He can always redirect us when we miss Him so we should not worry too much about missing his communication. He will meet you right where you are. You will hear Him.
Expect God to meet you.
When you have intentional alone time with God, come expecting God to meet with you. Regular “dates with God” say to Him, “Lord, I give you my attention, you are my priority, I long to hear from you, please speak.” It says in Matthew 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” If you want to hear from God, you have to make room for Him. Isolate yourself (yes, even from your phone) and set aside some time where you can talk to God, but more importantly where you can sit and listen to Him talk back. Whether you are an early riser or a night owl, carve out some time to hear from God. Remember it is not a matter of how long you spend with God but making the time you do spend with Him count. When you are available for God and fit your other responsibilities around Him, you keep God first.
So, spend time with Him, spend time in the Word, spend time in prayer, spend time in silence. And listen. He wants to speak to you.
Related: Listening to the Voice of God
A Prayer to Hear God’s Voice
Father, in the Name of Jesus, I thank you that you hear me always. I thank You that You desire to speak to me every day—guiding me in spirit and in truth to obey Your Word and enjoy an abundant life. I thank You that You have called me Your friend and that I may come boldly to the throne of grace to find help whenever I have a need in my life.
Lord, Your Word says that when we draw near to You, you will draw near to us. So, I draw near to You today with a sincere heart. I seek Your face, Your truth, Your way, and Your word for my life. I want to know You more, hear You more and obey You more.
Your Word says Your sheep know Your voice and we will not follow the voice of a stranger. Help me to know Your voice and not be deceived by any other voice. Help me to guard my heart from the influences of this world and the people around me. Help me not to be deceived by the devil and his lies, but to view all thoughts and decisions through the lens of righteousness.
As I seek to hear You today for instruction, correction, and guidance, help me to confirm Your voice through Your Word. You said if I ask for wisdom, you will give it to me liberally, so I am asking for wisdom in the Name of Jesus to hear You clearly and consistently today and every day.
Help me to feel confident in knowing that I hear Your voice.
I praise You and thank You for it, in Jesus’ Name.
Enjoy this lovely BIBLE READING PLAN: Hearing God’s Voice printable!