Everyone Can Hear from God
People sometimes ask me how I hear from God, and I share with them about when I learned to do this. Yet there were some basic steps I already had in place before I started down this path. I don’t do these perfectly, but I do lean into them and pursue them.
Here are the four steps of how to hear from God, with each one building on the prior one.
1. Read the Bible
Anyone—everyone—can find the written word of God in Scripture. It’s waiting for us, and all we need to do is read it.
Though you could open the Bible only when you have a question you want answered, the better approach is that it should be regular, whether you have a question or not. I recommend daily.
Pick a time each day and commit to reading, studying, and meditating on the Bible. The amount of time isn’t as important as it is to be intentional and regular. Make it a habit.
Reading the Bible is the simplest way to hear from God. Anyone who can read can do it. For those who can’t read, there are many options to have the Bible read to you, such as on Bible Gateway. And if you don’t have a Bible, you can read that online too.
2. Do What the Bible Says
Reading Scripture, however, isn’t enough. It’s also critical to put into practice what we read. If we don’t do what the Bible says, what’s the point of reading it in the first place?
Reading the Bible puts information into our head. Obeying the Bible puts that information into action.
As we do what the Bible says, we grow closer to God, and we serve as an effective witness for Jesus to a world who needs him.
Doing steps one and two prepares us to move to step three. Though not everyone is able to excel at the next step, everyone can and should try. And they should keep trying until it works.
3. Listen for the Holy Spirit
Once we’re reading the Bible and obeying what God’s word tells us to do, we’re ready to move to the next step. Now we need to open ourselves up to hear from God. We need to listen.
Before you dismiss the idea of listening for the Holy Spirit, remember that if you follow Jesus, you already have the Holy Spirit within you. He’s not distant. He’s present and ready.
Most people want to start with this step. But if they’re hearing from God as they read his word and aren’t putting it into practice, why do they think he’d be interested in talking to them through the Holy Spirit?
In this way, reading and obeying God’s written word stands as a prerequisite for hearing God’s spoken word.
To hear from the Holy Spirit, we must first put ourselves in a posture of listening. This means removing the noise from our lives, the things that distract us. When we’re in the posture of listening and ready to receive, that’s when God is most likely to speak.
People who hear from God experience his voice in diverse ways.
After years of practice, I hear from God throughout the day. This usually happens with ease and quite quickly. But it wasn’t always that way. I had to work up to it.
Read my experience when I first learned to hear from God. Perhaps it will work for you too. But this isn’t the only way. So if this doesn’t produce results, explore other options to hear from God.
I often initiate the times when I hear from God, yet this isn’t always the case. Sometimes the Holy Spirit talks to me when I’m not seeking his input. He’ll tell me to do something or to say something.
4. Do What the Holy Spirit Says
When we hear from God, it’s critical to obey. We must do what he tells us to do. If we don’t—or won’t—what reason does he have to keep speaking?
Though some of the times when I ask the Holy Spirit for insight, it’s to help me understand a portion of Scripture or to direct my words as I struggle to write a challenging passage.
Sometimes I ask the divine to help me remember something I forgot or find something I’ve lost. He guides me in those situations too.
Yet other times I’ll ask what to do in a situation. Sometimes I don’t like the answer. It seems embarrassing or doesn’t make sense. Though I wish I could say I obey right away regardless of what I think about it, the truth is that I sometimes delay.
Though in most cases, my delay is temporary and becomes obedience, but other times I talk myself out of doing what God tells me to do. My logic results in disobedience. This dismays me, and with his help I’ll do better in the future.
I’m also painfully aware that if I disregard what the Holy Spirit tells me, he may stop talking to me. May this never be.
Follow these four steps to hear from God: read the Bible, obey the Bible, listen for the Holy Spirit, and obey the Holy Spirit.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.