(The following is an excerpt from Chapter One: Our Need to Hear God from the book The Beginner’s Guide to Hearing God’s Voice. To learn more on this subject, get this practical book from our EN Resource Center.)
Our Need to Hear God
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me.” John 10:27
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20
Does God really speak today? Will He speak personally to me? If I listen, will He speak in such a manner that even I can understand? Thank God, the answer is YES! He wants us to hear His voice more than we even want to hear it! From my set of lenses, the greatest need in the church today is for believers to clearly hear the voice of God for themselves.
We were created with a deep longing within us to truly hear our Master’s voice. We desire to do His will. But we are not made to be mechanical robots that just march around doing “ordained things”. Fellowship with our creator is our birthright. If this yearning for intimate relationship with the lover of our soul is to be fulfilled, then hearing His voice is a must. In order to grow in our relationship with God, then we must draw near to Him without fear and trust that He wants to personally speak to us.
Jesus came to restore mankind into sweet, divine fellowship that Adam and Eve first knew in the garden. Sin cut them off and sin acting the same today, cuts each of us off as well. But thank God for the cross and shed blood of Christ Jesus! After all, one of the main reasons Jesus came is that we walk in restored communion with God?
For this potential to be reached, close, intimate communication is a must. To have good communication though, we must learn to “speak up” and to push the “pause button” in order to listen. We have to restore the lost art of taking time to expectantly listen.
It Takes Two
Fellowship is not a one way road. It takes at least two, with both attentively in one another’s presence sharing in communion. Our relationship with our Papa was never meant to be a long distance, telephone conversation. Availability is God’s middle name just aching to spend time with us alone. He yearns to hear from you! Did you catch that? He desires to hear from you! Give Him something to respond to. Talk and listen.
As I travel in ministry and am away from my family for days at a time, I diligently attempt to keep in touch with what is happening at home. Sometimes I do a better job than others. But I attempt to “keep in touch”. It helps a lot! But cell phone calls and e-mail do not compare or replace being near or with my dear family. Sometimes I just need (or want) a hug! True communion and intimacy require being together. The greatest key to hearing God’s voice is cultivating a “love based” relationship.
As for me and my house, I want to hear His voice and intimately know Him, not just on a casual basis – but a daily vibrant one. Sounds like to me that you want this kind of two way love relationship with God also. Come join me and thousands of others who are learning to hear our Master’s beckoning call by leaning our ear His way. Go with me now on a journey of beginning to hear (and love) God’s voice.
The Desire for Discernment
This drive to know God in the middle of my junior year at Central Missouri State University led me to cry out for “discernment”. With another Jesus Freak, late one night, I went to pray in an Episcopal Church where a friend’s father was the pastor or rector. The pastor was an evangelical, Spirit-filled Episcopal priest! At the front of the sanctuary, on the wall close to the communion rail, there was a candle that was lit. It was a symbolic representation of the light of God and presence of God. I loved sneaking away when I could and go there in quiet reflection as His sweet presence definitely seemed to reside there.
While basking in the light of His presence late that one night, I began to vocalize my desire to hear and know the voice of God better. I logically proceeded. “Based on John 10:27, You have stated, “My sheep hear My voice, I know them and they follow me”. Now I don’t have any problem with the first part of the verse – “My sheep hear My voice.” I know I have heard your voice because in Revelations 3:20 it says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” I have heard Your knock at the door of my heart and I am one of Yours.”
I continued with my line on line presentation, “So Father, I accept by faith that I do hear Your voice.” But I added, “And the second part of the verse I don’t have any problem with either. I know that You know me, and You know me better than I know myself. I don’t have any problem with the that.” I went on to say, “But it’s the third part of that verse that I have a big problem with, ‘and they follow me.’ So God, I need to do more than just hear Your voice – because I also hear my voice, the voice of my flesh, the voice of others, the voice of the world, and the voice of the enemy, satan. Therefore, if I’m going to be able to “follow You,” I must do more than only hear Your voice. I need to be able to discern Your voice from the voice of others.”
That night, my friend and I, knelt in prayer and simply said, “Lord we ask that you enroll us in Your School of the Spirit. Teach us not only how to hear, but also how to discern Your voice from the voice of the stranger and all the other voices that contend for our attention. Please do this so that we could truly follow You.”
Perhaps there is a book in heaven called “The book of Godly Desires” that He keeps a record in. All I know is that night in November, 1972, it seemed to me that the Lord wrote my name down in His book. I enrolled in His “School of the Spirit”. Some thirty plus years later, I’m still taking various classes in that school. I don’t think I’ve graduated from it yet. I want to be amongst those who are continuously learning to hear and discern His wonderful voice and follow Him. How about you?
We Each Have A Desperate Need
There are many biblical examples we can learn from – they each had a distinct personal relationship with their God. O to be like Moses, who talked to God, face to face. But please Lord save us from the 40 years of wilderness wandering! Maybe you want to hear God in the gentle breeze like Elijah. But please Lord help us to not to get the moody blues and just hide out in a cave! Did I hear someone say they wanted angelic encounters like Daniel – just get ready for the fire of His furnace as well!
So you want to do the impossible? Then respond like a young teenage girl named Mary who pondered on the words of an angel in her heart and conceive a gift from God. But God, that was a one time deal, right? Or to be like Paul, the amazing apostle, who realized the words from the Lord were to prepare him for the costs that lie ahead.
There are scores of others, of course. People just like you. Each person is created with a need and a longing to hear God’s voice. Each person is given equal access to the throne of God through the finished work of the cross of Christ Jesus. And each person is created with the need to be continuously dependent upon His voice to guide us into the paths of life. Somewhere I think I hear the words of the old hymn being sung right now: “I need you Thee, O I need Thee. Every hour I need Thee.”
We all need to see and hear what our Papa is doing. We need to hear and know the voice of our Father, the son Jesus, and that of the Holy Spirit, our Helper, Guide and Comforter. It is also, oh so true, that they, all Three, desire to speak to us. Again, it’s all about being in God’s presence, how else are we going to see and hear, first hand?
Perhaps you too will add your name to the list of those who heard God speak and then waxed strong in faith and do mighty exploits in His great name. Remember, faith comes by hearing and hearing the words of Christ. Need another level of faith for what lies ahead? Then take time to listen for His voice with all your heart. All things are possible to them who believe!
Ready to get started in a few lessons?
You Can Enroll Now!
In fact, you don’t have to wait any longer – classes start every day! School is in session at all times! You can enroll right now and be a student with me in the School of Hearing the Voice of God. If this echoes the cry of your heart then prayer right along with me.
I want to hear Your voice and learn Your ways. Be my Teacher and Guide. Enroll me in Your School of the Holy Spirit’s Art of Hearing the Voice of God. Write my name down! I want to know You, be a disciple of Christ Jesus, and have sweet communion with You. I want to hear You, have faith and obey! Help Lord, your servant wants to listen! Amen!
Let’s pray together this week in our Global Prayer Storm that we might hear our Master’s Voice more clearly!
Remember now to listen and then obey!
James W. Goll