Four Keys To Hearing God's Voice
age in which we live is so married to rationalism and cognitive,
analytical thought that we almost mock when we hear of one actually
claiming to be able to hear the voice of God. However, we do not scoff,
for several reasons. First, men and women throughout the Bible heard
God's voice. Also, there are some highly effective and reputable men and
women of God alive today who demonstrate that they hear God's voice.
Finally, there is a deep hunger within us all to commune with God, and
hear Him speak within our hearts.
As a born-again,
Bible-believing Christian, I struggled unsuccessfully for
years to hear God's voice. I prayed, fasted, studied my Bible and
listened for a voice within, all to no avail. There was no inner voice
that I could hear! Then God set me aside for a year to study, read, and
experiment in the area of learning to hear His voice. During that time,
the Lord taught me four keys that opened the door to two-way prayer. I
have discovered that not only do they work for me, but they have worked
for many thousands of believers who have been taught to use them,
bringing tremendous intimacy to their Christian experience and
transforming their very way of living. This will happen to you also as
you seek God, utilizing the following four keys. They are all found in
Habakkuk 2:1,2. I encourage you to read this passage before going on.
Key #1 - God's voice in our hearts sounds like
a flow of spontaneous
thoughts. Therefore, when I tune to God, I tune to spontaneity.
Bible says that the Lord answered me and said...(Hb. 2:2). Habakkuk
knew the sound of God's voice. Elijah described it as a still, small
voice (I Kings 19:12). I had always listened for an inner audible voice,
and surely God can and does speak that way at times. However, I have
found that for most of us, most of the time, God's inner voice comes to
us as spontaneous thoughts, visions, feelings, or impressions. For
example, haven't each of us had the experience of driving down the road
and having a thought come to us to pray for a certain person? We
generally acknowledge this to be the voice of God calling us to pray for
that individual. My question to you is, "What did God's voice sound
like as you drove in your car? Was it an inner, audible voice, or was it
a spontaneous thought that lit upon your mind?" Most of you would
say that God's voice came to you as a spontaneous thought.
So I thought to myself,
"Maybe when I listen for God's voice, I should be
listening for a flow of spontaneous thoughts. Maybe spirit-level
communication is received as spontaneous thoughts, impressions,
feelings, and visions." Through experimentation and feedback from
thousands of others, I am now convinced that this is so.
The Bible confirms this
in many ways. The definition of paga, the Hebrew
word for intercession, is "a chance encounter or an accidental
intersecting." When God lays people on our hearts for intercession,
He does it through paga, a chance-encounter thought, accidentally
intersecting our thought processes. Therefore, when I tune to God, I
tune to chance-encounter thoughts or spontaneous thoughts. When I am
poised quietly before God in prayer, I have found that the flow of
spontaneous thoughts that comes is quite definitely from God.
Key #2 - I must learn to still my own thoughts
and emotions, so that I can
sense God's flow of thoughts and emotions within me.
said, "I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the
rampart..." (Hb. 2:1). Habakkuk knew that in order to hear God's
quiet, inner, spontaneous thoughts, he had to first go to a quiet place
and still his own thoughts and emotions. Psalm 46:10 encourages us to be
still, and know that He is God. There is a deep inner knowing
(spontaneous flow) in our spirits that each of us can experience when we
quiet our flesh and our minds.
I have found several
simple ways to quiet myself so that I can more readily
pick up God's spontaneous flow. Loving God through a quiet worship song
is a most effective means for me (note II Kings 3:15). It is as I become
still (thoughts, will, and emotions) and am poised before God that the
divine flow is realized. Therefore, after I worship quietly and then
become still, I open myself for that spontaneous flow. If thoughts come
to me of things I have forgotten to do, I write them down and then
dismiss them. If thoughts of guilt or unworthiness come to my mind, I
repent thoroughly, receive the washing of the blood of the Lamb, and put
on His robe of righteousness, seeing myself spotless before the presence
of God (Is. 61:10; Col. 1:22).
As I fix my gaze upon Jesus
(Heb. 12:2), becoming quiet in His presence, and sharing with Him what
is on my heart, I find that two-way dialogue begins to
flow. Spontaneous thoughts flow from the throne of God to me, and I find
that I am actually conversing with the King of Kings.
It is very important
that you become still and properly focused if you are
going to receive the pure word of God. If you are not still, you will
simply be receiving your own thoughts. If you are not properly focused
on Jesus, you will receive an impure flow, because the intuitive flow
comes out of that upon which you have fixed your eyes. Therefore, if you
fix your eyes upon Jesus, the intuitive flow comes from Jesus. If you
fix your gaze upon some desire of your heart, the intuitive flow comes
out of that desire of your heart. To have a pure flow you must first of
all become still, and secondly, you must carefully fix your eyes upon
Jesus. Again I will say, quietly worshiping the King, and then receiving
out of the stillness that follows quite easily accomplish this.
Key #3 - As I pray, I fix the eyes of my
heart upon Jesus, seeing in the
spirit the dreams and visions of Almighty God.
have already alluded to this principle in the previous paragraphs;
however, we need to develop it a bit further. Habakkuk said, "I
will keep watch to see," and God said, "Record the
vision" (Hb. 2:1,2). It is very interesting that Habakkuk was
going to actually start looking for vision as he prayed. He was going to
open the eyes of his heart, and look into the spirit world to see what
God wanted to show him. This is an intriguing idea.
I had never thought of
opening the eyes of my heart and looking for vision.
However, the more I thought of it, the more I realized this was exactly
what God intends for me to do. He gave me eyes in my heart. They are to
be used to see in the spirit world the vision and movement of Almighty
God. I believe there is an active spirit world functioning all around
me. This world is full of angels, demons, the Holy Spirit, the
omnipresent God, and His omnipresent Son, Jesus. There is no reason for
me not to see it, other than my rational culture, which tells me not to
believe it is even there and provides no instruction on how to become
open to seeing this spirit world.
The most obvious
prerequisite to seeing is that we need to look. Daniel was seeing a
vision in his mind and he said, "I was looking...I kept looking...I
kept looking" (Dan. 7:2,9,13). Now as I pray, I look for Jesus
present with me, and I watch Him as He speaks to me, doing and saying
the things that are on His heart. Many Christians will find that if they
will only look, they will see. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us (Matt.
1:23). It is as simple as that. You will see a spontaneous inner vision
in a manner similar to receiving spontaneous inner thoughts. You can see
Christ present with you in a comfortable setting, because Christ is
present with you in a comfortable setting. Actually, you will probably
discover that inner vision comes so easily you will have a tendency to
reject it, thinking that it is just you. (Doubt is Satanís most
effective weapon against the Church.) However, if you will persist in
recording these visions, your doubt will soon be overcome by faith as
you recognize that the content of them could only be birthed in Almighty
revealed Himself to His covenant people using dream and
vision. He did so from Genesis to Revelation and said that, since the
Holy Spirit was poured out in Acts 2, we should expect to receive a
continuing flow of dreams and visions (Acts 2:1-4,17). Jesus, our
perfect Example, demonstrated this ability of living out of ongoing
contact with Almighty God. He said that He did nothing on His own
initiative, but only that which He saw the Father doing, and heard the
Father saying (Jn. 5:19,20,30). What an incredible way to live!
Is it actually possible
for us to live out of the divine initiative as Jesus did? A major
purpose of Jesus' death and resurrection was that the veil be torn from
top to bottom, giving us access into the immediate presence of God, and
we are commanded to draw near (Lk. 23:45; Heb. l0: 19-22). Therefore,
even though what I am describing seems a bit unusual to a rational
twentieth-century culture, it is demonstrated and described as being a
central biblical teaching and experience. It is time to restore to the
Church all that belongs to the Church.
Because of their
intensely rational nature and existence in an overly-rational culture,
some will need more assistance and understanding of these truths before
they can move into them. They will find this help in the book "Communion
With God" by the same authors.
Key #4 - Journaling, the writing out of our
prayers and God's answers,
provides a great new freedom in hearing God's voice.
told Habakkuk to record the vision and inscribe it on tablets...(Hb.
2:2). It had never crossed my mind to write out my prayers and God's
answers as Habakkuk did at God's command. If you begin to search
Scripture for this idea, you will find hundreds of chapters
demonstrating it (Psalms, many of the prophets, Revelation). Why then
hadn't I ever thought of it?
I called the process
"journaling," and I began experimenting with it. I
discovered it to be a fabulous facilitator to clearly discerning God's
inner, spontaneous flow, because as I journaled I was able to write in
faith for long periods of time, simply believing it was God. I did not
have to test it as I was receiving it (which jams one's receiver),
because I knew that when the flow was over I could go back and test and
examine it carefully, making sure that it lined up with Scripture.
You will be amazed when
you attempt journaling. Doubt may hinder you at
first, but throw it off, reminding yourself that it is a biblical
concept, and that God is present, speaking to His children. Don't take
yourself too seriously. When you do, you become tense and get in the way
of the Holy Spirit's movement. It is when we cease our labors and enter
His rest that God is free to flow (Heb. 4:10). Therefore, put a smile on
your face, sit back comfortably, get out your pen and paper, and turn
your attention toward God in praise and worship, seeking His face. As
you write out your question to God and become still, fixing your gaze on
Jesus, Who is present with you, you will suddenly have a very good
thought in response to your question. Don't doubt it, simply write it
down. Later, as you read your journaling, you, too, will be blessed to
discover that you are indeed dialoguing with God.
With God; by Mark Virkler," used by authors permission.
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[Reader comment #1] 1/8/11
Looking back at
all the Biblical examples, direct contact (i.e. Seeing Jesus or anything
else) with the spiritual realm seems to be something God is picky about
and our desire for it may make us more susceptible to deception. The
context in Habakkuk seems to be more about understanding what God was
going to say as opposed to literally seeing something. Daniel was
actually having a dream so his situation fits the visual definition of
"seeing". This article, however, has given me something to
think about and I will definitely take everything into consideration.
we appreciate your contribution to the conversation. Two things we seek
are truth, and helping people to think out of the box.
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