How does one hear from God?

People say things like, “God spoke to me” or “The Lord told me.” What does that mean? Did they hear an audible voice like Samuel? How can I hear from God?

We primarily hear from God by regularly spending time reading the Bible and obeying what it says. The Bible is God’s message to humankind. Everyting we need to know to live the Christian life is already in the Bible. As we spend time meditating on his Word, God reveals his truth to us.

The Bible speaks of six ways that God speaks to us:

1. God speaks to us through scripture

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

2. God speaks through gifted teachers whose source is the Bible

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:6-8).

3. God speaks to us through difficulties

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees” (Psalm 119:67-68).

4. God speaks through the Holy Spirit

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).

5. God speaks through his creation

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2).

6. God speaks through whatever or whomever he chooses, but never in disagreement with the Bible

“For God does speak — now one way, now another — though no one perceives it” (Job 33:14).

Can anything keep us from hearing God?

Wrong attitudes, resentment, or unconfessed sins can create distance in our relationship with God. When this happens, confession and repentance will bring us back into a close relationship where we can hear from God again. Spiritual breathing is an excellent practice that will help keep the lines of communication open.

Ready to hear from God? See the rest of our series on Listening to God.

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updated August 2019

Photo Credit: Artem Kovalev