Twenty years ago, hubby and I were in Israel on a work party painting a hospital in Nazareth. Whilst there, we also toured around and since it was part of a subject for our theological degrees, we had lots of biblical input from various people. Unfortunately I don’t remember it all but the thing I most remember is walking down the hill from the place where Jesus may have given his sermon on the mount to the Sea of Galilee. As our group chatted away, we passed an old arab shepherd and his small flock of about ten sheep. Due to our noise, we fightened the sheep and they ran off in all directions. The shepherd quietly uttered a couple of arabic words and the entire flock of sheep immediately stopped and ran back to him. I was flabberghasted. I had been brought up on a dairy farm in Tasmania and we had some sheep from time to time (mainly for the freezer). Sheep in Tasmania never obeyed your voice. These sheep did. As I pondered this, I realised the main difference was the shepherd was sitting with these sheep all day. They knew they were safe with him. They knew his voice. It made the passage in John 10 come alive for me that day “My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
Basically, to hear God’s voice, it requires us to be intimate with Him. To spend time with Him. To recognise His methods of communicating with us, His love languages, His voice, His nuances, His tone. I don’t know about you, but I want to hear clearly from God, to be able to instantly recognise Him.
There are basically 3 different voices we can listen to:
- God’s voice which is encouraging, safe, peaceful, comforting, bringing life and sounding like the fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23) – love, joy, peace, patient, kind, gentle,etc.
- Our own self – reasons with human logic & what is already known, justifies, can be self seeking, tries to be logical and doesn’t usually contain any new information, speaks what is best for us & our expectations, can go around in circles,
- Satan which is full of accusations, half truths, discouraging, condemning, killing hope, and sounding like His fruit (Galations 5:20-21) – angry, intimidating, jealous, bringing shame and fear,
There are some different ways we can hear God:
- Auditory – loud voice, still small voice, songs, sounds
- Visual – pictures, colours, symbols, vision, dreams, angels
- Emotions/physical sensations
- Other senses eg smell, taste,
- Through reading the Bible
- Impressions / ‘gut’ feeling
- Other – nature, music, numbers, and more
How to hear God clearer: positioning ourself to hear more from God
- Be intentional – desire to be more intimate with Father God, Holy Spirit, Jesus
- Confess known sin
- Worship Him
- Quieten yourself down and get rid of distractions
- Soak – play some quiet worship music that allows you to sit / lie in God’s presence and meditate on Him.
- Be open-minded – God doesn’t always work the same way. He loves trying new things and methods. God is creative. He wants to romance you with the unexpected.
Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:
The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them.
Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3)
1. Children / families: Everyone choose a person to give a prophetic picture to eg in a family, the person sitting on their left. If a big group of children, pairs might be easier and quicker. Ask God to show everyone how God wants to dress/clothe their partner. Ask God why those particular clothes/outfit. Then share with each other. If you are doing this as a family, you may all enjoy asking God for a picture of how He sees them dressed for everyone in the family.
2. Group activation: Everyone grab a paper and pen and sit in a circle. Everyone will write a prophetic word without knowing who they will give it to. Ask God how He sees that person, what His heart is for that person, how He feels for that person. Write it down. After 5 minutes, have everyone pass their paper to the 3rd person on their left. Everyone then reads what is on the paper in their hand.
3. Beginner Activation: Grab a journal and a pen and spend some time just with God. Ask God “What do you think/feel when you look at me?” Write down everything that comes to you, every thought, feeling, picture, impression. Everything no matter how seemingly small or insignificant. Later, spend some time reading over the list and taking in everything positive and encouraging that you wrote down.
4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to show you who to give a prophetic word to. Then spend some time asking God to show you a Bible character for that person. Continue asking God questions to ‘flesh’ it out more eg why that character, what specifically about that character, what character qualities is that person known for, what impact did that character have on their world and what impact are you seeing this person have on their world, etc. Then give that prophetic word to that person.
5. Advanced Activation: Ask God to show you a specific person you could sing a prophetic song over. If you are unsure, practice at home whilst you have a specific person in mind. Ask God to give you a new melody / tune and words that speak to that person’s spirit and ask if you can release it over them.