Does God speak to us? If so, how?

Hi all
I’m at YWAM, and things are great, but a little problem. We are currently learning to Hear Gods voice, but the thing is I’m struggling severely, because I don’t even know how to start. I thought he might speak through my head by giving me images, but each one just becomes more complicated and there is no clarification, just random thoughts.

I’ve asked my teacher (who seems to have this intimate relationship with God) if it is from the spirit, and he says yes. Thing is, I don’t know how He talks to me, I keep trying to understand these images by asking, but he just keeps giving me more images, which none of them even HAVE a connection. I’ve prayed to see what I’ve done wrong, but nothings come up.

Can someone help me. PLEASE, I FEEL LIKE IM LOSING IT.

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Hi Vili
Good to hear from you again - hope you are going well.

May I ask in seeking to hear Gods voice, is this in relation to the dream you shared about previously (On A Leash) or is the question unrelated completely.

Consider that Abraham only heard from God, on average in his life, about once every 15 years. Abraham didn’t have a Bible, and continued to trust God during the silent times.

Sometimes when we are seeking a specific answer to prayer in a certain situation, it may be that we have the general principles and guidelines in the Bible to guide us and nothing more.

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@AlphaOmega

Hi Vili,

Thanks for sharing that struggle so honestly. My wife attended YWAM when she was younger and experienced the same drive in the teaching for her to hear God’s voice through various channels.

I won’t comment on what other people have or have not experienced because I am not them. But I will tell you categorically that I have never experienced a vision or an audible voice from the Lord. I can find no place in scripture that tells me that I must experience this in order to be saved by Jesus. I’m not AT ALL saying that the Lord could not do these things if he wanted to. He has obviously done this at various points to various people during the scriptures.

Can I encourage one thing that I think I can say unequivocally (although I encourage anyone who disagrees with me to voice their opinion)…

I CAN tell you one place you are guaranteed to hear God’ teaching… and that is the Bible.

2 Tim 3:16-17 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.

God-breathed… that is, the Word of God.

If I can offer any encouragement, brother, to strengthen you in your walk with the Lord; when you look for guidance from the Lord, start with his Word in scripture. His Word is complete for what we need to hear in regards to salvation and living in this world while we’re waiting for the next.

Please understand I’m not saying that there may not be other avenues to hearing God and him working by His Spirit within you… but if you want something concrete you can always rely on… his unchanging Word in scripture is where you must dwell.

I hope and pray for you that you may be strengthened in your faith and perseverance in the Lord.

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You are in the Father’s hand. When I was young I remember wanting the Lord to show miraculous signs as evidence he was there, and that he loved us. I looked for feelings as evidence, or outward signs like that described in 1 Kings 19:11-12, English Standard Version (ESV)

11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.

Rest assured, friend, God wants so much to have a relationship with you that he died for you. He will make himself evident. How he speaks to his children, it’s true, primarily is through his word. There we find his will, his ways of dealing with nations and individuals, his nature is revealed, He can speak to you when you pray, too. With me, I ask him questions. Things I want to know, that I don’t understand. James said to ask for wisdom, and God will give it, and he does. Sometimes I get answers right away, and other times it takes a while before I am ready. He knows. But concerning what I ask and didn’t know, I then know. Or I encounter a reading on that. It may be a scripture passage I’m not sure about. God wants to have the most intimate relationship with you that is possible – he made you for himself. So just tell him you want to know him better. Read his word. Talk to him often. You will see, and hear…him.

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Hello Villiami,

It is always a bit challenging for young people in a group context to sort out their own experience of how God works and reveals Himself.

I would encourage you to be respectful, while at the same time… exercise caution, so you don’t fall into a trap of succumbing to feeling pressured to experience something… like “hearing God”.

The responses here are good and true.
Stay in the Word of God and then, humbly continue to ask, seek and knock…in prayer.
God is not the author of confusion…
Wait patiently for Him to direct your steps…
God doesn’t work on timetable … or with a program agenda
His work is in accordance with the truth…His word…according to His will.
His work in our lives Is personal and unmistakable…but, it does take time and experience to be able to discern it.
It will never be outside of His revealed word.
Have confidence…if you are His child, He will keep, protect, guide and direct you.
“Be anxious for nothing, but, in all things make your petitions and requests be known to the Lord.”
“His love never fails”.
“To Him who is able go keep you from falling…”

Abide in Him…let His Word abide in you…
Don’t be moved away from the truth…by feelings, images or fears.

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@AlphaOmega I am sorry to hear of your struggle and echo what has already been said by others. I do not hear voices from God, nor do I receive images. And I have seen images / words people thought were from God not come true.

The good news is - you’re not going crazy :slight_smile: You are perfectly normal. The images / thoughts that pass through our mind are not God’s thoughts - they are generally produced by our mind. Could God inject a thought or image? Of course, if He so chose.

But to me, the Biblical pattern for hearing from God is to grow in wisdom by obeying God’s commands and studying His Word. The role the Spirit plays is not to give us nudges or thoughts or images, but to help us discern truth from error, comfort us, strengthen us, fill us with God’s love and conform us to the image of Jesus.

Even Jonathan Edwards, who was more into this kind of approach than I would be, cautioned against following impressions - even when a whole group of Christians thinks they have heard from God.

I . . . know by experience that impressions being made with great power, and upon the minds of true saints, yea, eminent saints; and presently after, yea, in the midst of, extraordinary exercises of grace and sweet communion with God, and attended with texts of Scripture strongly impressed on the mind, are no sure signs of their being revelations from heaven: for I have known such impressions [to] fail, and prove vain. Jonathan Edwards

In fact, far from teaching us to just “let our thoughts flow” and expect to hear from God, I think the Bible teaches us to control our thoughts - to set our minds on the things that are above and to be renewed in our thinking.

Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

How to Hear from God

For me, what God provides is wisdom and an ability to obey His commands by the power of the Spirit. We have God’s Spirit through Christ Jesus. And wisdom is gained by experience, study and other people. Some practical ways I believe God speaks to us are:

  • open and closed doors
  • the Word of God
  • when we seek council from multiple older, wiser people and weigh that council carefully and prayerfully

Hope you found some of that helpful :slight_smile: Christ grant you peace and wisdom.

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There is much Godly wisdom in these answers. Being in tune with the spirit and deeply desiring to hear from God is both the right attitude and altitude.

I have heard God speak to me a handful of times. In none of these circumstances was I seeking it. I think that’s how I knew it was not my own thinking, it was out of the blue and a totally different track than where my mind was at the time.

The first time I was at the lowest point of my life. I was thinking about suicide, but probably not very seriously. But I’d never felt so alone and valueless. I did not reach out to God. I’d fallen away from all Christian practice and was far too ashamed to seek God. In that long, dark night God reached out for me and I clearly heard Him say, “I still love you. I have never stopped.” It was my turning point.

Another time, on a beautiful spring day in our prize-winning city park with the azaleas on full display I was in full on expressing my gratitude to God and praising His handiwork. I mean I was literally surrounded by blossoms of brilliant color on all sides–these bushes were at least ten feet tall. I’m amazed that God could get a word in edgewise, but in the midst of my praise He said, “my Son did not die for this beauty, but for you. You are more precious to me than all of creation.” Talk about healing my non-existent self-esteem. As a matter of fact, ever since I’ve considered it God-Esteem!

Yet another time was after a time in our sanctuary where a large group had met at the church to pray for our church. We had finished and I was leaving the church. I clearly heard him ask, “Are you willing to be broken?” I didn’t fully understand until I learned more about the concept of brokenness.

There have been a couple of others, but I just wanted to illustrate that each of these circumstances was different. Each seemed to have a different focus. Whether I heard this voice only in my head or outside of my head, I’m not sure. I was alone in each instance but I’m pretty sure no one else would have heard it so it was probably a voice within.

Don’t stress. Know you are in His grip. Know that reaching out to grip Him back is always the right response. Look for his fingerprints…everywhere. In your life, in others, in circumstances, in nature…everywhere. As you become tuned to seeing His work you will become more aware of a growing intimacy with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.

Thank you for attending YWAM and having a heart for mission. My the Lord bless and keep you and make you a blessing to others.

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Hi @AlphaOmega it is wonderful to hear that you are learning to hear God’s voice at YWAM. I know many of their workers overseas and can see from their fruit that they are an awesome organisation.

  • First thing, as the others are advising do NOT put yourself under pressure. Learning to hear Holy Spirit is a life long process and though you can learn about it through a course, it is something we all need to grow in.
  • Next, we learn in the bible that we can hear from different sources. Some of these are angels, demons, Holy Spirit and our own soul. I believe the best place to start is by learning the difference between God’s voice, your own mind and the demonic. This can be done by spending time in the Word and by waiting on the Lord (or soaking) as some call it. I would also advise you to read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.
    @SeanO mentioned open and closed doors. This is a way I rely on the Lord to speak to me. For example, I am trying to adopt a girl at the moment. I prayed and asked God for advice, but heard nothing so I have gone ahead as I believe it lines up with God’s character, as revealed in scripture. A prophet friend told me he felt I should not, I respected his input but decided to go ahead. The adoption process is very difficult so if there is a ‘‘closed door’’ I will know it was not God’s will but if doors keep opening I will continue.
    I hope this helps. I have been trained in treasuring hunting, the basic prophetic, words of knowledge etc. and highly recommend you enjoy this time and training, but do not feel under pressure. God loves you, he is proud of you and will help you to grow.
    He who began a good work in you will see it to completion.
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@AlphaOmega, I have had a few experiences in my life as a Christian, where I feel confident that God had spoken. I believe that God continues to speak not only through the Bible, circumstances and godly counsel but also through dreams, visions, audible voice, prophecy, which I think is not in contradiction to the pattern described in the Bible.

While I believe these supernatural encounters can happen, I too believe that our focus must be only on Christ and obedience to His word. The daily experience of hearing from the Holy Spirit as others have also mentioned, is primarily through illumination of scripture to discern truth from error, comfort and encouragement, conviction of sins and repentance and a desire to walk in truth and love.

Let me describe some of those instances where I think I heard from God:

  1. There was one time when I kept remembering a good friend of mine all day accompanied by a feeling of anxiety and concern. I prayed for her but did not have the full understanding of why I was feeling anxious about her. That same evening, I got a call that she met with a major accident. I then met her in the hospital and she too mentioned that she had a sense before getting into her car that something may not go right with her that evening. After that incident, I have started to pay more attention to checks in my spirit.
  2. Another time I was in the middle of reading the Bible and was in Psalm 39. Suddenly, before my eyes fell on the last verse “before I depart and am no more” I heard a clear whisper in my right ear of a friend’s name. I got up from my prayer feeling sad that my friend would pass away soon. Soon after that, the natural choices I could see were to pray and reach out with the gospel. I was obedient with the first part but not entirely straight forward with the second part as I was afraid of conflict and talked about God without mentioning Jesus. I still feel very burdened by my partial obedience. My friend passed away three weeks after I received that word. That’s when I knew that what I heard was truly from God. Even though I knew I heard something in an unusual way in prayer, I feel sad that I was not quick to obey.
  3. Another time being influenced by my atheist co-workers, I lost my ability to trust the Bible as an inspired word of God. It led me to a very dry season of faith and I found myself unable to rest in God’s love. At that time, a pastor who didnt know me at all, received a word of knowledge in prayer and mentioned that I needed to set myself apart from my colleagues who were watering down my faith. In this case, I knew again he heard from God because what he said was true and brought encouragement to me.

So some things I have learnt from these experiences are:

  • God speaks at unexpected times in unexpected ways
  • God protects us from deception as we are adopted as His children in Christ.
  • We need to be sensitive to anything that leads us to prayer and greater conformity to God’s word.
  • He speaks clearly enough even if we have lost our way and may use supernatural means to get our attention.
  • He is a gracious God and pursues us when we miss Him. It’s about our relationship with Him and not about our performance.

So I would encourage you to be at rest. God has you in His hands. You will not miss Him when you need to hear Him. I would also encourage you to be cautious of methods and formulas to hear God’s voice. It’s about submitting our selves completely unto God than Him submitting to our methods and times. Please also be careful not to ascribe impressions you receive as coming from God unless you are certain so as to not run into disappointment later or slip into error. Let me know if you have any further questions. All I can say is when God speaks, we know it didn’t come from us. It’s not everyday that we hear from God our Maker in supernatural ways. He seeks to build our faith and walk not by sight.

I hope this is helpful in getting another perspective on how God could speak.

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