top of page

Are You Listening to God? Learn how to do so.

Are you longing to hear God's voice and experience His guidance in your life?


Learning to listen to God is a transformative journey that deepens your relationship with Him and clarifies your path.


In this blog post, we'll explore practical ways to cultivate a listening heart, discern God's voice amidst life's noise, and align ourselves with His Word and character.


Whether you're a seasoned believer or just starting your faith journey, discover the joy and peace that comes from tuning into God's frequency.


Get ready to embark on a life-changing adventure of listening to the Creator of the universe!


Watch the YouTube Video

YouTube Video

Listen to the Podcast

podcast

Preparing to Listen to God


Think of any time in your life when you may have had guests over to your home. Now, consider all the preparation that you went through to ensure your guests felt welcomed. You made sure all the food was prepared. Maybe you even pulled the board games out of the hall closet to have a time of fellowship and fun. If you are a guy, you got the grill cleaned up and ready to throw down some meat.


I think of the same for my preparation to listen to God, and obviously, we should do much more! Do we hip-shoot our prayer time while putting more effort into preparation when family or friends come over?


If you want revelation and insight from the Holy Spirit about all aspects of your life, you must be intentional about your prayer time. You have to do more than say a few sentences and hit the door to work.


1. Cultivating quiet and solitude


Mark 1:35 (NLT) — 35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.

When conversing with a friend, would you rather have it in a room with screaming kids and the TV blaring? Or how about if it’s just you and your friend? You can clearly hear each other and enjoy the moment. I think the same goes for our prayer time with the Lord.


Many don’t have the space needed in their homes or apartments for a dedicated prayer room, but we must find a space to eliminate distractions. I am fortunate to have an office in my home. I can easily walk in, turn on soft music, and begin to pray distraction-free.


For you reading this, this may mean waking up earlier than others in the home and sitting on your couch. Others may need to be creative and go to a local park along their morning walk.


The key is to find a place of solitude so you can hear the voice of the Lord in your prayer time.


Also, I would like to note something else from the scripture, Mark 1:25. Jesus is our example. We are to pattern our lives after Him. Notice before daybreak. I am not necessarily pointing out the time, but the key is to intentionally set a specific prayer time. The Bible says God is a rewarder to those who diligently seek Him. To me, these are people who are intentional in their relationship with God; one component is prayer.


lady listening

2. Adopting a listening attitude


Proverbs 8:32–34 (NLT) — 32 “And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. 34 Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home!

First, we must know and believe that the Lord wants to speak to us. We can read that in Proverbs, but it is also confirmed and reinforced in many other areas of the Bible. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice.” (John 10:27) He is saying, I will speak to you! Receive that by faith and begin to walk in it. Expect God to speak to you.


Are there people that rub you the wrong way in life? They are always telling you what you should do. You cringe when you see them coming or calling on the phone. Your heart is not receptive to them. Many treat God the same way. They honestly don’t want to hear what He has to say because it may require them to be obedient and leave their comfort zone.


When we truly have an intimate relationship with God, we value what He has to say and His guidance. Back to John 10:27, Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice.” The key word here is LISTEN. To truly listen requires the right attitude. Listening isn’t just being present but taking an active role in doing so by taking in what is being said.


3. Focusing on God


Psalm 16:8 (NIV) — 8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Wherever we are in life, we must focus on the Lord. It doesn’t matter what is going on in our lives. To hear from God, He must be our center of focus.


I know that it may be difficult at times. Maybe the storms of life may be screaming in your face. You must do everything possible to shut those circumstances and situations off long enough to hear God speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


Matthew 14:29–30 says, “So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.” The Bible clearly says that Peter walked on the water. But he began to sink when he saw the strong wind and waves. If he had stayed focused on Jesus, he would not have sunk.


We must keep our minds on eternal things continuously in our lives. We do this through prayer, reading God’s Word, and managing our thought life. The Bible tells us to captivate our thoughts and think about whatever is noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. If it’s excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.


Shawn Paul

Practices for Listening to God


Proverbs 18:15 (NLT) — 15 Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.

In any relationship, it is critical to know how to communicate appropriately. I speak differently with my children than I do with my wife. I communicate differently with my mother than I do with my pastor. Why wouldn’t it be the same for the Lord?


We should always be able to learn more about how to listen to and communicate with the Lord properly. I would love for Jesus to plop down on my couch and start talking to me, but we all know that will not happen. The Lord speaks to us differently than our fellow human beings do. The more you learn, the better you will understand what He is saying to you.


1. Reading the Bible as a conversation with God


John 1:1–2 (NLT) — 1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God.

Months ago, I read one of the dumbest things a fellow minister could say. He said, “Too many Christians are putting too much emphasis on their Bibles and not on Jesus,” I was like, HUH?!? JESUS IS THE WORD! What is wrong with you? The Bible should be the central focus of our lives. Never should it get to the point where we need to dust it off when we pick it up.


One of my friends shared something with me, and I will never forget it because it has served me well over the years. You should always make a practice of reading God’s Word during prayer. You are communicating with the Lord while praying and with Him while reading the Word because He is the Word. I know this is very simple, but I believe it is profound.


As we read the Bible, we are being spoken to by the Lord. He is speaking directly to us. As I was reading the other day, I had to stop repeatedly. It was like stepping into a world of revelation and illumination of what the Word was saying to me; I had to stop and take it all in. I had to meditate on it to apply it to my life.


Learn to allow the Word of God to speak to you in your prayer time.


2. Relying on the Holy Spirit


2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NLT) — 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

For those of you who are avid readers, think how cool it would be to have your favorite author sitting next to you as you read their book. Even though Jesus is the Word of God, it took the Holy Spirit to inspire men to write it down. He is the author of the Word of God as we know it. The fantastic thing is that He is right inside of you.


I don’t know about you, but before I read the Bible, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand and apply what I am reading. Many times over, while reading, He will reveal truths you may have never seen in God’s Word.


I have known people who have read the Bible repeatedly, but you will find them saying, I am always coming across new truths in God’s Word that I haven’t seen before, even though they have read those particular scriptures over and over. But that is how it is when you ask the Holy Spirit to join you while reading the Word of God.


hand raised to God

3. Praying God's Word


John 15:7 (NLT) — 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!

Why do so many professing believers in Jesus struggle so much with this scripture and others who say we have the authority to speak, believe, and walk in His promises for our lives? It will not happen by accident or just fall into our laps, but we must participate in it. We must find ourselves praying out God’s Word over our lives.


Praying God’s Word is powerful on so many levels. Isaiah 55:11 says God’s Word will not return void wherever He sends it. As believers in Christ, we are His ambassadors here upon the earth and have been given the keys of heaven and the ability to bind whatever is on earth to be bound in heaven and whatever we loosed on earth to be loosed in heaven. When we speak in faith and accordance with the Word of God, it will not come back void but will accomplish what it was purposed to do.


We need to ensure our prayers align with biblical truths and promises. We will see His written promises come forth in our lives as we do. As James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” When we effectively pray, a lot gets done in our lives and the lives of others we pray for.


4. Asking God questions


Jeremiah 33:3 (NLT) — 3 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.

I love this scripture! How awesome it is that we have a Father God who created the entire universe, our world as we know it and every creature that crawls upon it. However, He is so mindful and loves us so much! He said right here in Jeremiah that he will tell us remarkable secrets. This is confirmed in other areas of the Word of God, such as James 1:5, where He will give us wisdom without reservation, and in John 16:13, how the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth and tell us about things to come.


We must always feel free to ask the Lord anything in our hearts. The Lord continuously shares things with me that require greater clarity. I can’t just take things I perceive in my spirit at face value. I must ask questions to understand what God is saying to me thoroughly.


Also, we will encounter things in life, such as situations and circumstances or dealing with people. We may not fully see the truth behind them. We need God to give us further insight and understanding. This all requires us to ask questions. I can only imagine how this makes our Father God feel as we show Him our need for Him—how we need Him to guide and lead our lives through the Holy Spirit.


Hebrews 4:16 says to approach the throne room of grace with confidence or boldness. We have permission to run to our Father God. Do so without reservation!


5. Journaling


I must admit that I am not the greatest at consistently journaling, but I recognize the value of it. When I go to prayer, I open my journal and have it ready to write if I feel inspired. It is a way to sort out what I perceive God is saying to me in prayer. I do reflect on things that I have written occasionally.


I know many people who take it to a higher level. Some have journals on bookshelves that are sorted by year. They start a new journal each year. This is powerful on so many levels. Think how you can go back years, read what was on your heart then, and see what God was saying to you then.


Journaling may not be for everyone. It’s not a command in the Bible to do so. But I know from my experience and others that it has been massively beneficial to discern what God is saying to them. It has allowed the Holy Spirit to work through their thoughts, discoveries, and insights. As a person does so, it provides greater clarity that they may not have had before.


journaling

Discerning God's Voice


Recognizing There Are Other Voices


We must recognize that there are other voices or influences from others or things in our lives. These influences can be from:


  • Personal thoughts and emotions

  • The influence of others and the world

  • The voice of the enemy


We must be aware of these various voices and know when they are trying to speak. The Bible says the devil is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. It also says that we must wear the Armor of God to stand against the enemy’s strategies.


Everything listed above is not always the devil, and I certainly don’t go around pinning everything on him. However, the devil does use these things to his advantage.


The best thing we can do is learn how the Lord leads us. An example of this is when bank tellers go through training. They don’t teach them what a counterfeit bill is; they teach them what the real bill is. So, when they come across a counterfeit one, they will know it is fake.


Ways God Speaks and Leads Us


God leads us in many ways, but they all point back to the Word of God. I will be teaching more on this in the future, but it is important to note them and begin to see them operating in your life.


From the list below, you will be led by some more than others. Also, some may never occur in your life, such as dreams, visions, or prophetic messages. I would never chase after these, but I would only allow them to come into our lives if the Lord chooses to do so. Also, they will always confirm what God is already dealing with you on, and they will not violate the Written Word.


Here are some various ways that the Lord can lead you:


  • The Bible and biblical teaching

  • The peace of the Lord in our spirit

  • The still, small voice of the Holy Spirit

  • The authoritative voice of the Holy Spirit

  • Through godly counsel and wisdom from other believers, especially spiritual leaders

  • Through dreams, visions, and prophetic words that align with Scripture


Learning to follow the Lord takes practice. Never will you get it right every time. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I thought God said, and it turned out wrong. The key is to keep pressing in prayer. Take note of areas where you miss it and possibly why.


Then, make little adjustments here and there. In time, you will see your batting average, sort of speak, get better and better. You will not miss the Lord's leading and guiding as much. You will be getting dialed in more and more as time goes by.


black woman worshipping

Bringing It All Together


Learning to listen to God is a lifelong journey that requires intentionality, patience, and a humble heart. As we cultivate quiet spaces, adopt a listening attitude, and focus on God, we open ourselves up to hear His voice more clearly.


By engaging with Scripture to apply it to our lives, relying on the Holy Spirit's guidance, praying God's Word, asking questions, and journaling, we create channels for God to speak into our hearts. As we grow in discernment, aligning what we hear with God's character and Word, we can confidently follow His lead amidst life's challenges.


May you embark on this transformative adventure of listening to God and experiencing the depths of His love, wisdom, and guidance every step of the way.


Devotional Questions


  1. Reflect on your current prayer life. What practical steps can you take to cultivate a quiet space and minimize distractions to hear God’s voice better?

  2. Consider a time when you felt God speaking to you through His Word. How did this experience impact your faith journey, and how can you make reading the Bible a more conversational experience with God?

  3. Examine your heart and ask yourself if you struggle to discern God's voice in any area of your life. Pray for wisdom and commit to aligning your thoughts and actions with His Word and character.


Scriptures on Listening to God


1 Samuel 3:10 (NLT) — 10 And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”


John 10:27 (NLT) — 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.


Psalm 85:8 (NLT) — 8 I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways.


Proverbs 2:1–5 (NLT) — 1 My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. 2 Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. 3 Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. 4 Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. 5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.


Isaiah 55:3 (NLT) — 3 “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.


Hebrews 3:15 (NLT) — 15 Remember what it says: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.”


Jeremiah 33:3 (NLT) — 3 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.


Revelation 3:20 (NLT) — 20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.


Frequently Asked Questions


What are some signs I am hearing God’s voice?


In the Bible, John 10:27 says, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." This means that if you're truly hearing God's voice, you'll feel a sense of peace and direction in your heart, guiding you on the right path. Hearing God’s voice will align with His Word and bring you closer to Him.


Another sign that you're hearing God's voice is in Isaiah 30:21, which says, "Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you, a voice will say, This is the way you should go, whether to the right or to the left." If you're unsure whether you're hearing God's voice, seek confirmation through prayer, reflection, and wise counsel from other believers. God will always guide you in the right direction and lead you on the path He has planned for you.


James 1:5 tells us, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you." Hearing God’s voice will give you wisdom and clarity in your decision-making. His voice will provide insight that goes beyond human understanding, giving you confidence in your choices. Trust in the Lord and lean on His understanding, knowing His voice will always guide you towards His perfect will for your life.


Remember, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 advises us, "Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good." When hearing God's voice, it's essential to test and discern whether what you hear aligns with God's character and Word. If it brings peace, comfort, and alignment with Scripture, you’re likely hearing from the Lord. Trust in His guidance and stay connected to Him through prayer and reading His Word.


How can I grow in confidence I am listening to God?


Want to grow in confidence that you're hearing from God? Try spending more time in prayer and reading the Bible. Proverbs 2:6 says, "For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding." This shows us that God's Word is where we can truly hear His voice and gain wisdom for our lives.


Another way to increase your confidence in hearing from God is to seek wise counsel from other Christians. Proverbs 15:22 reminds us, "Plans go wrong for lack of advice, but many advisers bring success." Surrounding yourself with believers who can offer guidance and support will better equip you to discern God's voice in your life.


Additionally, pay attention to the peace and clarity of God's direction. Philippians 4:7 says, "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." When you perceive a sense of peace and assurance about a decision or direction, it's a good indication that you're on the right path in listening to God.


Lastly, ask God for discernment and guidance in all areas of your life. James 1:5 encourages us, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking." Trust in God's faithfulness to give you the wisdom and clarity you need to hear His voice clearly.


How to get closer to God by reading the Bible?


If you want to grow closer to God, reading the Bible is the key! Psalm 119:105 says that God's word is a lamp to guide our feet and a light for our path. Like how you use a map to find your way, the Bible shows us the way to God.


When you read the Bible regularly, you allow God to speak to you directly. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” Reading the Bible helps us understand God's will for us and how we can live according to His plan.


Not only does reading the Bible help us understand God's will, but it also strengthens our faith. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” The more we read about God's Word and His promises, the greater our understanding and knowledge of our faith will grow.


So, make reading the Bible a daily habit. As Joshua 1:8 says, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.” Immersing ourselves in God's word draws us closer to Him and allows us to experience His presence in our lives.

 

Shawn Paul

Shawn Paul is an author and missionary who has been living and working in Central America for the past 10 years. He is passionate about living for Jesus Christ and inspiring others to do the same, which is the focus of his blog, where he shares his expertise in Christianity.


In addition to his missionary work, Shawn enjoys reading books, studying God's Word, growing plants and flowers, feeding birds, and keeping up with the latest technology.


As a writer, Shawn's unique perspective and passion for his faith shine through in his work. Shawn's goal for the future is to impact people around the world for Jesus through his writing and missionary work.



22 views

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page