7 Simple Steps to Hearing God’s Voice: Listening to God Made Easy
By Sindy Nagel
Step 1 – Expect and Believe
To hear God’s voice, we must expect and believe we will hear it. In faith, we should not doubt that God speaks to us. James 1:5-7 says,
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.
DOUBT kept me from hearing God’s voice for the first twenty years after I became a Christian. My skepticism resulted in a lack of spiritual intimacy with Jesus Christ for the first two decades of my life as a believer.
I knew being a Christian meant enjoying a relationship with Jesus Christ. I thought I had one, but I didn’t really consider that it required two-way conversation with Jesus to maintain that closeness.
Unfairly, I talked to God, but I didn’t pause to listen to His response. I never dreamed one of the voices in my head might be the Spirit of God within me.
I didn’t EXPECT that God would ever speak to me, an average person. I knew He spoke to prophets, pastors, missionaries, and other spiritually mature individuals, but I never thought I could hear God’s voice.
However, one evening about eighteen years ago, it all changed for me. I heard a voice in my thoughts that I knew was not my own. It was God! He spoke to me, an average girl. Now I know ordinary people hear from God too. And I know God speaks to all believers, but we don’t always hear Him.
In John 8:47, Jesus says, “He who belongs to God hears what God says.” Jesus said it, so you can believe it! When you belong to God, you will hear Him.
The next verse helped me when I found myself hesitating: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). To hear God’s voice, we must first believe we will hear it—believe, and then anticipate hearing it.
I attribute my years of doubt to a deficiency in knowing and understanding God. More precisely, I needed to better understand His Holy Spirit within me. It’s absolutely vital we grasp the idea of who the Holy Spirit is in order to expect we will hear God’s voice and believe God speaks to us.
When we invite Jesus Christ into our hearts to be our Savior and Lord, we instantly have the ability to hear God speak because He sends His Spirit to live in our hearts. The Holy Spirit is God’s voice in us.
When Jesus died on the cross, He didn’t stay in the grave. Amen? And He didn’t leave us alone as orphans to fend for ourselves. He gave us a far greater gift—God raised Him from the dead, and He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside the heart of every believer.
Did you hear that fantastic news? Jesus is alive, and the Holy Spirit is the living God who dwells in us and gives us life! We do not place enough value on this gift. It is priceless!
By the Holy Spirit’s power we are able to hear the voice of God within us. Here are a few other things the Holy Spirit does for us:
- He reveals to us what He knows and hears from God and Jesus. (John 16:13-15)
- He testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (See Romans 8:16)
- He seals us as a deposit, guaranteeing our eternal inheritance until the day of redemption. (See Ephesians 1:13)
- He is our Counselor. He counsels us in the wisdom of God. (See John 14:16)
- He is our Comforter who soothes us in times of sorrow, anxiety, and grief. (See 2 Cor. 1:3-4)
- He is our Teacher. He reminds us of what Jesus said and recalls Scripture to our minds. He properly interprets the Word of God for us. He teaches us the truth. (See John 14:26)
- He guides us to the truth. (See John 16:13)
- He ignites our faith. (See John 6:63, Ephesians 3:16-17)
- He empowers us to overflow with God’s hope. (See Romans 1:13)
- He teaches us right from wrong according to Scripture.
- He convicts us concerning sin, encouraging us to confess it and repent, or change our ways. (See John 16:8)
- He transforms us and encourages us to become exceedingly more Christ-like through the process of sanctification. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:13)
- He is Immanuel, God with us 24/7. (See Matthew 1:23)
- He makes the things of God known to us. (See John 16:14)
- He gives us spiritual gifts from God. (See 1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
- He empowers us to do the will and work of God. (See Acts 1:8)
- He is our intercessor, helps us in our weakness. When we do not know what to pray, the Spirit prays for us in accordance with God’s will. (See Romans 8:26-27)
The list goes on and on. The Holy Spirit of God indwelling us meets all our needs. Also, He connects us in relationship to God the Father and Jesus the Son. We know God better and experience more of Jesus through His Spirit within us.
The most astonishing part about all of this is the Holy Spirit is a free gift from God. Have you accepted this free gift?
1 Corinthians 2:12 says, “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” (emphasis mine). What a priceless gift it is indeed!
Jesus took our place on the cross. All we have to do is invite Him into our hearts to be our Savior and Lord. When we do, both abundant life here on earth and eternal life with God in heaven are free for the taking. We can have the Spirit of the living God dwell in us without any cost to us. Truly, this is amazing grace!
In John 16:13-15, Jesus explained the main role of the Holy Spirit when He said,
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is Mine and make it known to you (emphasis mine).
God speaks to all of His children through the voice of the Holy Spirit within. He makes known to us all that belongs to God the Father.
We have the living God inside us, so why wouldn’t we be able to hear His voice?
There are at least 7 things that may prevent us: doubt, fear, pride, worry, busyness, disobedience, and an unwillingness to forgive. To be clear, these behaviors won’t necessarily keep God from speaking to us, but they may make us deaf to His voice. Learn more about each of these obstacles in my book, 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak: Removing the Barriers between you and God.
Practicing any or all of the seven behaviors above may cause you to feel the All-Powerful God won’t speak to you because you’re not worthy to hear Him. Truly, despite your flaws and feelings of inadequacy, God continues to pursue you passionately. He doesn’t wait until you are perfect and sin-free to speak to you. If that were the case, none of us would ever hear from Him. Instead, the Holy Spirit helps you become more Christ-like, so it’s imperative you know how to hear and recognize His voice to utilize the promptings and assistance He offers you in the journey of sanctification.
Ironically, listening to the Holy Spirit and hearing from God are vital for identifying and changing or eliminating the seven behaviors causing your deafness to Him.
One of the roadblocks to hearing God’s voice is lack of time or busyness. The next step to hearing God’s voice is making Him your first priority and meeting with Him daily. This practice greatly increases your ability to hear Him speak. Expect to hear His voice. God does speak to you. Believe the truth. God desires an intimate relationship with you through two-way conversation. Now, make the time to listen. You’ll be really glad you did!