The Know Your God series was birthed in January this year when I felt the Spirit of God hovering over these words, “Know your God”. Follow along here as I share revelation + practical ways for you to get caught up in the Romance of God… and fall in love with Him all over again. You may also want to follow my #knowyourgod2015 posts on Instagam – I will be sharing little bits of my journey + prophetic words + encouragement there.
Prayer is quite simply this: Man talking to God and listening to Him talk back to us. Prayer is also very, very dangerous.
It is highly dangerous to talk to God, because we serve a God who talks back to us. Stay in a posture of prayer long enough and you will either have to shut your ears to not hear God, or you will be so stirred by the things in the heart of God that His works and proclamations must emerge out of you.
So before we begin talking about how to hear God’s voice, we need to take a few moments to seriously consider, “Are we ready for what He has to say?”
There are a few things that I have come to learn are foundational to hearing God’s voice.
1. Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is key to moving in the things of God – and rightly so, for He is God. The church today has largely underrated the value of the person of the Holy Spirit, and I do not think that we as a community of faith have done our due diligence in paying honor and studying the Holy Spirit. This is a grievous mistake, for when we ignore Holy Spirit, we miss out on one-third of the fullness of God.
Jesus made a way for us to enter the Presence of God by His blood, but it is Holy Spirit who leads us into the Presence – we cannot have one without the other!
The Church has forfeited herself from much of the things of heaven because of her fear of the Holy Spirit. One of the most common excuses for relegating Holy Spirit to a corner is this, “Let’s just focus on Jesus. I just want to love Jesus.” Do you understand that you can’t love Jesus more than Holy Spirit does? The arrogance, that we think we could somehow love Jesus without Holy Spirit. Jesus knew that He was to be exalted to the highest place as the name above every name, and yet His plan was “It is good that I go, because when I go, Holy Spirit comes”! This should be indicative of how valuable the gift of the Holy Spirit is to mankind.
Holy Spirit is our helper in the following disciplines (non-exhaustive list) that are essential to hearing the voice of God.
- Praying in tongues. Spend one hour a day praying in tongues. It helps us to surrender our own understanding/wisdom and submit to the wisdom of God instead. It will build up your spirit man and you will be surprised at how sensitive you become to the move & voice of God. Tongues is a gift from God that He is glad to give.
- Praise and Thanksgiving. We enter into God’s presence by way of thanksgiving and praise (Psalms 100:4), and that is the way that we rise above current circumstances and take our places with Him in the heavenlies.
- Prayer. One of my favorite descriptions of prayer is by George Macdonald, who said, “When one says to the great Thinker: ‘Here is one of Thy thoughts: I am thinking it now!’ that is a prayer – a word to the Big Heart from one of its own little hearts.” The substance of prayer is thoughts and desires that originate from the Living God. It is in prayer that we get to know God’s heart and slowly learn to understand His heart and His voice.
- Fasting. Charles Finney the great revivalist says that he “found it very profitable, and felt very much inclined, to hold frequent days of private fasting.” This was a man who was so steeped in the presence of God that he brought the conviction of sin with him wherever he went. Fasting is a great way to subdue the flesh to submission to the Spirit, and makes us a pure and open vessel for God.
- Removing resistance. There are many ways that our hearts resist God, and we talked about some of them in the previous post. These blockages cause interference in our communication with God, and we hear God with increasing clarity as we get rid of the things that hinder.
- Quieting our hearts. There are so many things clamoring for our attention. The more voices that we quiet, the louder God’s voice will be in the silence. God is the Lover of our souls, and lovers talk in soft, tender whispers. He shouts to get our attention, but He usually prefers speaking to us in an intimate, quiet voice. Let’s put it this way – if God has to talk to you in a loud, booming voice all the time, then you might have to seriously examine the state of your heart.
Jesus came to earth to baptize us with fire and with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11). If you have stifled Holy Spirit’s voice in your life, repent and ask Him to take His place as your counselor and best friend – He is quick to forgive and respond. If you haven’t yet been baptized with the Holy Spirit and you’re feeling a little apprehensive about it, let’s talk about it a little more (drop me an email via the contact form).
Without faith we can do nothing. We need faith in order to:
- Wait on God. Much like any other human relationship, it takes time and communication (and some mistakes) to really get to know, trust, and love God. We need to spend time waiting on Him – not praying with many words, not singing worship songs, not trying to “earn” the right to have God speak to us, but simply just waiting on Him. Too often, we go through the Christian disciplines without actually giving God space/time to talk back to us – we chatter our way through prayer, signing off with a flourished “Amen”, all the while not letting God get a word in edge-wise. To hear God speak, we have to let Him speak. At times, He does cut through all the noise with a loud booming voice or an unmistakable bright neon sign – but He rarely does that because that’s not the kind of relationship He is looking for at all. God is the Lover of our souls, and lovers talk in soft, tender whispers.
- Press in to deeper intimacy with God. The journey to learning & hearing God’s voice requires persistence/faithfulness, and it requires faith to be faithful (faith-full). It is impossible for any created being to persevere for long without the faith that what we are persevering for will ultimately bear fruit.
- Obey His Voice. Here’s the thing – hearing God’s voice is a risky, dangerous business. He may call you off to great adventures fraught with challenges, or ask if you’d be willing to give up something very dear to your heart. He will also very likely want to challenge the comfortable, snug familiarity of bad habits and little indulgences that have slowly wormed their way in to dull the sharp hunger in a heart that was created to ache until it found its way back to the unbroken fellowship in Paradise.
He is not a tame God who will sit quietly in any little corner of our heart that we’d relegate Him to. He must either be Lord of all or not Lord at all. He is unyielding, fiercely jealous for our whole heart, and uncontrollable… but He is good. And He loves you. And it is going to take plenty of faith to walk with Him because He is the God who calls His beloved out onto stormy waters so that He can calm the storm in your heart… but it is only then, in that quiet stillness, that you will hear His voice more clearly than you have ever heard before.
To walk with God is to be a participant of the Great Exchange. Our ashes for beauty, mourning for joy, a pauper for a king, a harlot for a bride… our thoughts for His thoughts, our ways for His ways. We exchange the shallow, tainted water of all the paltry things that don’t satisfy to the pure, heady wine of God’s banqueting table.
Is there a cost? Certainly there is. It takes time, effort, and resources to build anything of value that will last. But will the end result be worth it? It surely will, dear heart, it surely will.