I have been in so many conversations with friends and family where the question always came up about how to recognize the voice of God.
Oftentimes as Christians both new and old, we go through situations that leave us wondering if God hears our prayers. God tells us very clearly in the Bible that the more we seek Him, the more we are going to experience His presence in our lives.
We all have experienced confusing times when we cried out to the Lord, and the Lord constantly speaks to us and gives us His direction.
It is never the Lord who is not speaking, but it is us who are not hearing. Jesus made some radical statements about hearing His voice in John 10:3-5. He was speaking about Himself as the Shepherd of the sheep and the only way to enter the sheepfold.
You have to know God’s Word if you want to hear his voice and transform your life.
Recognizing the voice of God, discerning His voice, and desiring Old Testament like direction would be so useful in this time of information overload.
It is quite exhausting when everywhere you turn there is a new avenue to get connected to others and to outside voices. There is advice on every topic. A how-to about everything under the sun.
God speaks to His children in many different instances in the Bible. He still speaks to us today if we are willing to listen. 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.
“He who is of God hears God’s words;” (John 8:47)
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What Does the Bible Say About Knowing the Voice of God?
It is so amazing how God spoke to Jeremiah. Jer. 1:5-12 where God calls Jeremiah into his ministry. God asks Jeremiah, “What do you see?” Here we read how God spoke and revealed His prophetic purpose to Jeremiah.
I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected. Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. “Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.” Hab. 2:1-4 NKJV
knowing the voice of God should be normal for a Christian? Jesus said clearly “My sheep hear My voice…” (John 10:27 NKJV). As a follower of Christ, hearing the voice of God is a normal and expected reality. There is… basic principles that each of us can learn to hear his voice, and more specifically, how God speaks to us individually.
All throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, we have a record of God talking with his people. He spoke with Adam and Eve in the garden, with Noah, with Abraham, with Moses, and others. God’s desire to speak with humanity has never ceased. God is love, and love communicates.
Hebrews 5:14 says that we distinguish between good and evil by training our senses with practices.
With so many distractions around us, it can be hard to distinguish his voice from the noise around us and we question whether He is listening.
When we set aside the distractions of everyday life to focus on God is not just a physical or mental activity. It is a way of centering your heart on God and communicating that He has your complete attention.
You cannot expect to hear God’s voice if you do not regularly focus your attention on Him as fully as you can. God speaks to us constantly; we just have to always expect his voice.
That is what it is like when we hear God speak to us. When we are tuned into his frequency, and if we have programmed his voice, then whenever God communicates with us, we are ready.
How Do You Know you are Hearing God’s Voice?
When you are believing God for an answer to a prayer, do you ever wonder if you are really hearing God’s voice, or if it is just your own.
Let me encourage you! God is speaking to you all the time. He wants to have fellowship with you, and He wants you to hear Him—all the time.
God has promised us that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. He promised to lead us by His Spirit and enable us to know His voice.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:22
That means you can learn to know exactly what the Spirit of God is saying to you about every situation. You do not have to go through life blindly, making decisions or relying on your own abilities.
When you learn to tune in to God’s voice, it will not be an occasional event but an everyday part of life. That is why, in the New Testament, Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” 15 different times.
The truth is, God speaks in many ways. How He speaks to me (the method he uses, tone of voice, etc…) may be different than the way He communicates with you.
Although God speaks in a multitude of ways, His communication (instruction, encouragement, guidance, etc.…) will never contradict His Character or His Word (the Bible). Therefore, it is crucial to understand the character of God.
Let us look at how you know you are hearing God’s voice clearly. It really comes down to discernment. How can you discern the voice of God from everything else that is coming at you? There is a lot of noise and stuff coming, and it is not always good, righteous, and holy. You want to be able to discern God’s actual voice.
God speaks in many ways, and He speaks often. But there are lots of voices trying to speak to us all the time. So how do you know if you are hearing God’s voice? God wants you to be confident about hearing Him. So, he gives you a few ways to confirm what you think you hear Him saying.
God is never going to contradict himself. What does that mean? You need to be able to test everything that comes your way with scripture. Whether it is from God, from yourself, from your friend, from your pastor, from me, or from the stranger on the street. Anytime that you are getting something from somewhere else, you need to test that with the word of God.
Does what you think God is saying agree with scripture? If it does not, then it is not from God because the scripture is God’s word in our hands and so he is not going to contradict himself.
God is not going to tell you to go and steal from the shop without paying for it because that is contradictory to what his scripture tells you about what God expects from you and how you are to live your life.
GOD SPEAKS TO US THROUGH SCRIPTURE
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
God speaks through the Bible. That is why it is often called the Word of God. The God described in the Bible is and always has been the same God that followers of Jesus worship today. His character does not change. So, when God speaks, it is always consistent with what He said to people like Moses, David, and Paul in the Bible.
Does what you think God is saying match with his character or his nature. God’s word is how he reveals himself to you. It is where you get to know him and find out what he will or will not do. You will learn what he says and what he does not say.
This will help you discern his perfect will. When you are hearing something from God, you may be able to find a scripture that supports whatever it is you think he is saying but go one step further and ask if it matches God’s nature and what you know to be true of him.
If you think you have heard God speak to you, but it seems to be inconsistent with the character of God in the Bible, it is unlikely that what you heard came from Him.
It is possible to fool yourself into hearing what you want to hear, and Jesus’ followers also have a spiritual enemy, the devil, who loves to convince God’s people of lies. Your defense against this is knowing the Bible and knowing God in a way that enables you to know which voice you are hearing.
When in doubt, always go back to scripture and check and see if what you are hearing lines up with scripture and God’s nature.
Another way that God will confirm his word is in your own quiet time. Have you ever had a verse that follows you everywhere you go? You read it in your quiet time, hear it on the radio, and then your pastor preaches it during the Sunday sermon.
Always remember, when you are diligently seeking God for something, he will begin to point arrow signs in your time with him. He will begin to confirm those things so that you have peace in your heart about what he is asking you to do.
Spending Time with Him
Reading His Word
Reading the Bible and obeying what it says. The Bible is God’s message to humankind. All that we need to know to live the Christian life is already in the Bible. As we spend time meditating on His word, God reveals His truth to us.
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).
You are not meant to live the Christian life in your strength or independently. You have Christ and the Holy Spirit, and you also have a Christian community that serves as an environment for your spiritual growth. You can learn to hear God’s voice by being around people who are regularly listening to him.
When trying to discern God’s voice, it is a good idea to find other believers who have been walking with Christ longer than you have. Ask them if they can affirm what you sensed the Lord saying to you.
Listening to other Christians should never become a substitute for listening to God Himself. But other believers can help you confirm whether your thoughts are consistent with what the Bible says.
Learn to Discern His Voice
“My sheep hear my voice.” –John 10:27 (KJV)
If you want to get to a place where you do not have to wonder whose voice you are hearing—yours, the devil’s, or God’s—you need to spend time with the Lord. A lot of time.
God is consistent, and He is persistent. He does not lose patience or give up. He communicates like that as well. He is continually speaking to us. If you believe that you are hearing God, say the same thing to you over a period of time and through several of the different ways you can hear Him, be confident in your ability to recognize His voice. Test it against Scripture and affirm it with others, but God wants you to have increasing confidence that you can listen to and hear Him.
This is a learning process. If at any point you feel like you misheard God, go back to Him, admit that, and ask Him to speak again so that you can understand Him more clearly.
Your Christian life and your relationship with Jesus mature with time and experience. The longer you walk with Jesus, the more you will learn to hear His voice. God always speaks, but over time, you will become more confident in discerning when He is speaking and what He is saying.
How Do You Recognize God’s Voice?
You may ask, “How do I recognize God’s voice? “How do I know I’m really hearing from God?”
I remember these were the same questions I used to ask. It seemed like a long journey of crying out to Him, seeking Him, with my hole heart.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
Have you ever wondered what God would say to you? Or even if God has anything to say at all? God still speaks today. The Holy Spirit will teach you what you need to know.
Most importantly, you cannot have a relationship with God, if you cannot hear him. In the Old Testament, we read stories of God speaking directly to His people in an audible voice.
Moses boldly said, “Now show me your glory,” and God delivered (Exodus 33:18, NIV). Moses had to hide in a rock as the glory of the Lord passed by, and although he was not allowed to see God’s face, he received the assurance he needed to do what the Lord asked. Moses beheld the Lord’s glory.
Sarah spoke directly to God, and in their first conversation, when God asked her why she laughed when He told her she would have children in her old age, she lied to God, saying she didn’t laugh. As we know, Sarah had a child years after that conversation with God. His name was Isaac.
Rebekah, the wife of Isaac (son of Abraham and Sarah), could not have a child. Isaac pleaded to God on her behalf, and He answered their prayer.
When she was pregnant with twins, the babies were giving so much trouble that she inquired of God what was happening. The Lord answered her and told her the future of her two sons, Esau, and Jacob.
As believers, when we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we receive what Jesus described as being better than his physical presence: the Holy Spirit. How could anything be better than seeing Jesus? But Jesus knew His leaving earth would allow each of us who accepts Him to receive this beautiful promise:
But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you. God can speak through other believers, His creation, and His Word, and as our faith grows, He wants each of us who have named Him as Lord to recognize the voice of His Spirit. John 14:26
God is always talking to us; our job is to deliberately and intentionally screen out all distractions and listen for His voice. Hearing God’s Voice: Will God Speak to me, too?
He speaks to us about everyday situations and gives us clear and concise information; there is never any uncertainty or guessing when we hear from Him.
God wants us to develop a relationship with Him so that we can hear what He says allows Him to rescue and deliver us and make our lives a powerful witness to others.
God is consistent. He will never contradict what he is already said in his Word, and he will never tell you to violate a principle that is in the Bible.
After spending more time in God’s presence and in the word of God, I begin to hear His voice. My relationship grows stronger each time I am in His presence. I became confident in knowing when a word is from Him. My journey has taught me these things about His voice:
Here are some ways we can tell what we are hearing in our spirits is the voice of God and not of the enemy:
God’s voice will never contradict Scripture.
Hebrews 13:8 tells us that God never changes. And in Psalm 89:34, God asks us, “Do you.
God’s voice will give Inner peace, calm, and clarity.
When you are in tune with God’s will, you will experience a sense of calm and tranquility that cannot be found anywhere else.
Additional ways that you can seek his voice include:
- Welcoming him into your life.
- Make praise and worship a lifestyle.
- Surround yourself with faith-filled friends.
- Be intentional about quiet time with God.
- Follow God’s laws.
- Be led by the Holy Spirit.
- Seek God in everything.
- Ask God to show Himself strong in your life.
Benefits of Hearing the Voice of God
God reveals His plans, purposes, and even our destiny to us.
Psalm 91:15 says He will answer our cries and protect us. Joshua 1:7-8 tells us that God provides for us as we meditate on His word. We see in Psalm 23 that God’s voice, His word brings peace during difficulty.
John 15:15 reveals that God desires intimacy; He wants us to be friends.
Romans 8:29 shows that this intimacy with God where we hear His voice brings transformation to us to make us more like Jesus. To experience these benefits, we must also learn to recognize God’s voice as He communicates in a variety of ways.
God speaks through the Old Testament Prophets, and He speaks to us through Jesus who is the full expression of the Father (Hebrews 1:1-4).
Paul writes to Timothy to remind him that the Bible is God’s written word to us (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Jesus tells His disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and speak to (teach) them, reminding them of all that God says and does (John 14:25-26).
We also have New Testament prophets (Ephesians 4:11) and the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) for the benefit of the whole church. Finally, we can see all throughout Scripture that God sent angelic messengers to carry His word to His people.
Hearing God’s voice is beneficial and should be a normal part of our daily life. Proverbs 20:12 says that God has given us ears to hear and eyes to see.
He created us in His image so that we could hear His voice and see what He would show us as we walk with Him. One thing to remember is that no dream, vision, angelic visitation, or prophetic word should ever contradict the Bible!
Bible Verses About Hearing the Voice of God
Bible verses about hearing God are a reminder that He is always with us, no matter where we are or what situation we are in. His presence is always around us, and we only need to follow His voice.
Today, if you hear His voice, whether audibly or not, remember that the Lord always speaks to us and reaches out. So, let us respond to His outstretched hands with prayer and these bible verses about hearing God.
John 10:27 ESV
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
In this promise, Jesus gives us three important truths about our relationship with our good shepherd.
First, those who follow Christ hear His voice. Jesus never leaves you on your own. He leads and directs you with His voice. It is His voice that speaks to your heart.
Not only is God speaking, but as His follower, you hear His voice. Those who call Jesus their Lord can recognize and understand God’s voice. Jesus gave us His word in the Bible. The Bible is our plumb line for living. It gives us principles and wisdom for living. However, God also speaks to you and me. He speaks in the still, small voice of the Spirit. You do not have to be a pastor or super-spiritual to hear God’s voice. You only have to listen. Regular people like you and me can hear from God and receive direction for our lives.
Second, Jesus knows His followers. As the Good Shepherd, He knows each of His sheep by name. He knows your strengths and weaknesses. He knows what you are going through right now. He has a good plan for you. Jesus is working in your life today to bring about His plan in your life.
As His sheep, you will never be overlooked or ignored. Jesus knows your name. He knows all about you and has an incredible love for you. He knows when you hurt, when you are in pain, and when your life is filled with joy.
Third, His sheep follow Him. I know nothing about sheep, but I do know a little bit about cattle. There is a difference between how you handle cattle and sheep. You drive cattle, but you lead sheep. The rancher drives the cattle where he wants them to go. The shepherd leads his sheep. The sheep know and trust the shepherd. They know their shepherd wants the best for them and will lead them to a place of safety and provision. Is it any wonder Jesus is called the Good Shepherd, not the good rancher?
Finally, there is an old hymn that says, “Wherever He leads, I’ll go.” That is the heart cry of the growing Christian. With your eyes set on our Good Shepherd, you follow Him wherever He leads.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is leading you to good places. You should never fear where God is leading you. At times, it may be out of your comfort zone, but you can be assured it will be for your good and will result in provision and safety.
Romans 10:17 ESV
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
To have faith in something or someone, we must first be aware of their existence. Such is the meaning of “faith comes by hearing.” Furthermore, when people hear the Word of God they can know and trust in the Godly order of life and why we should accept the redemption of Jesus’ atonement with faith in Him.
John 8:47 ESV
Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Whoever is of God hears the words of God. Every born-again believer born of God hear and no the voice of God. As Jesus is, so are we in this world.
John 6:63 ESV
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.
The Holy Spirit gives spiritual life; without the work of the Holy Spirit, we cannot even see our need for new life.
John 14:26 ESV
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will, in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
The Holy Spirit’s work brings deep and lasting peace to our hearts and minds. Unlike worldly peace, which is usually defined as the absence of conflict, Jesus’ peace gives us confident assurance. With his peace, we have no need to fear the present or the future. Jesus says he will give us that peace if we are willing to accept it from him. When you feel the stress of life, allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with Jesus’ peace.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV
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.
God’s powerful Word will change us.
1 Kings 19:12 ESV
And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.
Elijah knew that the sound of a gentle whisper was God’s voice. He realized that God does not reveal himself only in powerful, miraculous ways. Step back from the noise and activity of your busy life and listen quietly for his guidance.
Revelation 3:20 ESV
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Christ knocked at the door of their hearts, but they were so busy enjoying worldly pleasures that they did not notice that he was trying to enter.
Jeremiah 33:3 ESV
Call to me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
God assured Jeremiah that he only needed to call out to God and God would answer. God is ready to answer our prayers, but we must come to him.
Ezekiel 43:2 ESV
And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory.
God’s glory had stopped over a mountain to the east of Jerusalem- almost certainly the Mount of Olives before leaving the city.
John 5:37 ESV
And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,
Luke 11:28 ESV
But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Isaiah 30:21 ESV
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.
When the people of Jerusalem left God’s path, he would correct them. He will do the same for us. But when we hear his voice of correction, we must be willing to follow it!
Genesis 3:8 ESV
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
The thought of two humans covered with fig leaves trying to hide from the all- seeing, all- knowing God seems ridiculous. How could they be so silly as to think they could actually hide? Yet we do the same thing, acting as though God does not know what we are doing.
Psalm 119:105 ESV
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
The Bible is our light to show us the way ahead, so we will not stumble as we walk. Studying the Bible will show us the right way clearly enough to stay on the right path.
John 16:13 ESV
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.
The Holy Spirit guides us to see the truth about Jesus Christ who he is and what he came to do for us. The Spirit also helps us, through patient practice, to discern right from wrong.
John 5:25 ESV
“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
Jesus was talking about the spiritually dead who hear, understand, and accept him will have eternal life.
Psalm 18:13 ESV
The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones, and coals of fire.
The “Most High” was an important designation for David to make. David was placing the Lord alone in a superior category: He is by far the Most High God.
Revelation 19:6 ESV
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord, our God the Almighty reigns.
Let the heavens rejoice. The great multitude, with a voice like thunder, say, “Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Rev. 19:6). But one thing above all others shall give joy and gladness to this vast multitude — the marriage of the Lamb. The bride, the Lamb’s wife, now takes her true separate place in the glory.
Prayer to Hear God’s Voice
Father, in the Name of Jesus, 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. I seek Your face, Your truth 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. Amen.
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