Are You Hearing God’s Voice? Five Ways You Can Hear God Speak Directly to You

Without fail, every time I speak to a group or at an event, at least one person will come up to me after the talk and ask me this: “How can I hear God’s voice?”

Such a good question. And one I have asked before on my spiritual journey. I’ll never forget a time I was living in Manila, Philippines–after re-committing my life to Christ–when I was sitting with a group of friends and one of them said, “God told me to go up to my friend in church and give him some money.” I sat there dumbfounded, thinking to myself, What does he mean God ‘told’ him? I was too embarrassed to ask him for clarification right then, but I went home that night with my mind racing with questions: Was it possible to hear God? Why hasn’t God ever talked to me like that?

I realize now that God was speaking all along. The problem was, I didn’t know how to listen. We often assume God ‘speaking’ means hearing an audible voice thundering down from heaven in a boisterous, “Thus sayeth the Lord!” kind of way. Though I do know a few people who claim to have heard God audibly, He usually speaks through other ‘modes’ of communication. Just like learning a new language, when one has to train their ear to hear certain sounds and syllables of the foreign words, so it is with hearing God’s voice. We have to train ourselves to know and discern the distinct sounds and syllables of God’s voice in order to hear Him clearly.

Do you believe God speaks? Are you hearing God’s voice on a regular basis? If so, that’s awesome. If not, it’s okay, it’s never ever to late to learn!

Today, I will share five of the most common modes of communication through which God speaks, along with a clear example from my own life or someone elses. Tomorrow, I will offer five practical tips to help you get started hearing God’s voice in your own life. Are you ready? Here we go…

Five Ways God Speaks:

#1 Through the Bible. The Bible is the Word of God. Everything in it, though written by humans, is inspired by Him in some way (2 Timothy 3:16). We are instructed, “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3). If we rely on God’s Word in this way, and believe the words we read are directly from God’s mouth, we will hear Him speaking directly to us through it.

Example: Several months ago, I was praying and asking God whether He wanted me to move back to the U.S. or stay in Asia and work. That same week, my Bible study class was studying the Book of Mark. As we read the passages together as a group, the following verse leapt from the page: “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19). Since I had been praying so specifically, asking God for signs leading me in which direction to go, I immediately knew God was speaking to me through this verse about going back to the U.S. When we least expect it, God voice invades our world and guides us according to His will.

#2 Through the ‘Still Small Voice’. When we accept Christ into our hearts as Lord and Savior of our lives, we are immediately given a gift from God in the form of the Holy Spirit. While Jesus was still living among the disciples, He told them, “…when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come“ (John 16:13). Indeed, the Spirit of the Lord that resides within us, will tell us. The question is, are we listening?

Example: One time I was racing home to have a skype date with my sister. I was living overseas at the time so I really looked forward to these times connecting with my loved ones. As I rushed to make it home on time, I suddenly heard that still small voice of the Spirit say from within, “Think you could squeeze me in for a skype date?” Right then and there I sensed a deep longing from God to want to spend time with me as much as I wanted to connect with my sister. That was all I needed to start making time in my schedule to spend regular time with God.

#3 Through Other People. Have you ever been talking to someone and they suddenly say the exact thing you needed to hear? Or you’re sitting in church and the sermon tackles an exact struggle you have been facing? It is likely that God was speaking to you through other people–even without them even knowing it. God says he will use His people as ‘instruments for noble purposes’ (2 Timothy 2:21). These instruments may be in the form of people through books, podcasts, radio, TV programs, sermons or complete strangers on the street, but when it comes in it’s uncanny precision and accuracy, you know it when you hear it. Pretty cool right?

Example: A few years ago, the urge to write was growing stronger and stronger, but I didn’t know what to make of it. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with it. I even wondered if I had anything worthy to write about. Around that same time, I discovered a Writer’s Workshop online by a man named Francis Frangipane. I’ll never forget the words God spoke directly into my heart the moment I started listening to this unknown man, “You are called to write.” Something about the way he said it pierced the very depths of my soul. I took it as a direct Word from the Lord Himself. From that day on, I quit questioning, quit doubting and I began to step into the call God had over my life. God used another man I had never even met to speak words of life and encouragement to me in the very moment I was needing it most. How can we not be awestruck with wonder and gratitude every time this happens?

#4 Through Life Circumstances. Never take life’s circumstances at face value. No matter how bad or confusing or hopeless they may look, God often uses the ordinary to communicate His extraordinary love. Lose a job? Flight get delayed? Your product launch failed to get the results you hoped for? Don’t fret. Don’t necessarily blame God as the culprit either, but ask Him what He might be saying through it all. The Apostle Paul says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). We can be sure that God is at work through every circumstance in our lives, even when we don’t fully understand.

Example: When I was in my senior year in college, many of my friends were landing jobs in the large investment banks and consulting firms in New York City. I thought that was the route I too should pursue because that seemed the thing to do. But after several interviews, I still didn’t have any offers. While it was tempting to get discouraged and feel like a complete failure, I chose to trust God had something else in store. He did. A few weeks later, I found out about a job in the Philippines with a news broadcasting network. I could have never planned that in a million years, but it turned out to be the perfect fit. God had orchestrated the circumstances as a way of revealing His will for my life at that point. That is why we are instructed to live by faith and not by sight, for God is doing things in the Spirit even when we cannot see with our human eyes!

#5 Through Dreams and Visions. There are several points in Scripture where it says God will speak to us through visions and dreams (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17, Daniel 7:1). Though there are skeptics who say this is not true in today’s Church, I have heard too many testimonies that suggest otherwise. 
Whether it is a full blown dream while you are sleeping, or a vivid image that comes to mind while praying, God does use visuals to speak to us and gives us the wisdom to interpret what He is saying.

Example: I had a friend who was sensing the call to missions in India but worried that she would never get married and have a family if she went. Then she had a dream where she saw herself sitting in the center of God’s palm and she saw a man sitting in the center of His other palm, who in the dream she knew represented her future husband. God brought them together, joined their hands and released them into their united calling together. She interpreted this dream as God giving her encouragement to stay in the center of His will by going to India, trusting that He would take care of the rest. She obeyed and went to India and did end up meeting her husband while she was there. God speaks through dreams!

These are just a few of the most common modes of communication God uses to speak to us, though there are others. The cool thing is that God knows what makes each and every one of us tick, right down to the core. And He will often communicate with us in the most unique and special ways, which He designed specifically for us to recognize. Isn’t that awesome?

Tomorrow, I will share a few tips to help condition and prepare our hearts to hear from God on a regular basis. Don’t miss it!

Until then, ponder these questions:

  1. What kind of reaction to I have to someone who says they ‘hear’ God speak to them? Do I have trouble believing God makes His voice known to us?
  2. Do I hear God’s voice on a regular basis? If so, what are some ways that have helped me hear? If not, pray and ask God what could be keeping you from hearing Him and ask for help.
  3. In what ways have I most often experienced God’s voice? Recall moments where God could have been speaking through the Bible, His still small voice, other people, circumstances, dreams, and/or other ways.

Feel free to comment and share stories of hearing God’s voice in your own life. Or ask any questions around this topic you are currently wrestling with. May we journey together and encourage each other along the way!

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22 Comments on “Are You Hearing God’s Voice? Five Ways You Can Hear God Speak Directly to You

  1. Dear Ali,

    Thank you so much for sharing the message which God placed upon your heart to encourage the hearts of people who read your blog!

    I think it’s awesome how God speaks to us in a style that works best for where we are in life.

    Great job in supporting your opinions with Bible-based truth! Scripture is the best!

    I know that I struggle with taking time to be still and know that God is God (Psalm 46:10) and truly LISTEN for what He has to say and then not rationalize along the lines of “Well was that REALLY from GOD? Or was it just my thought?”

    My question for you is, how did you train yourself to hear God’s voice?

    • Hi Alexis,

      Thanks for your comment! I am glad you enjoyed the post. :)

      If you read the post on my blog today, there are a few tips there in how we can begin to ‘train’ ourselves to hear God, such as simply believing He can and does speak to us, being in and knowing the Word of God and being ready to obey what we do hear. The other thing that helped me and still does, is the saying “practice makes perfect.” We have to practice hearing AND acting on what we hear without fear that we are wrong. Eventually, you will begin to see fruits from those times and it can be a great encouragement that you are hearing God. There will also be times when you might discover what you heard wasn’t from God and that is okay. God sees our hearts to want to hear Him and please Him with our lives, so we can rust that He will meet us in our humanity and help us hear what he is saying.

      So keep practicing and you will learn to discern the voice of God in your life!

      Hope to hear from you again soon friend!

      Love,

      Ali

    • Dear,
      God bless you so much for sharing this very wisdom of the Lord with us. The good news has really inspired me and enkindle my spirit. May God who knows your true heart grants you all the needed grace you need in serving him alone.

  2. I totally believe ALL of this! I also believe God spoke to me by leading me to this blog, Amen!

    • Amen! May you enjoy the journey of learning to hear Him more clearly each day!

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Ali

  3. Hi. I loved this post!! I am just starting to see God speak through His word, other people, the same scripture/message multiple times within a short period of time, songs. I questioned and others have too if God uses music to speak to us. There are 2 songs that have special meanings for this season in my life and they always play at the right time…like a confirmation after I pray or something. I’m not sure, but I’ll take it! ha!
    My other struggle is how do you study God’s word, especially if you’re looking for Him to speak about a current trial/storm in your life? Do you just look up scriptures on that particular subject and meditate and memorize those? Some of the stories do not apply if I just open and read the Bible. I have lots of devotions,but I want more time in God’s word so He can speak to me.
    Also, how do you tell promises from scripture? Some tell me that’s a promise, or its not a promise. What counts as promises for marriage? What counts as promises for families? I see scripture on things like this, but I’m not sure they are actually promises, but truths??? Make sense? LOL
    Thanks
    T

  4. I thank you for your wisdom input in making this burning question for me a little more clear. I’ve been in church for 47 years and still find myself asking this question. I am growing more each day to have a more REAL & relevant relationship with god.

    God Bless You!

  5. hi, Ali my name is jesse vasquez I lived in san diego for several years now and I am a believer in God I use to go to a church in san diego I wont name it but they betrade me in such a way where is made me question my faith it very hurt me I have a mental disorders called schizophrenia I dont know if you know what that means basically it mean I hear demonic voices I was not born with it you see I was in a car accident and it nearly took my life I was dead for several mins but what I saw was a man named Jesus I never knew who he was or was tought who he was or is but when I saw him for the first time such peace came over me I couldnt like process it in words soo beautiful the man standing infornt of me but he said that jesse you cant stay here there are others who need you, you must go back and tell them who sent you to make a long story short I told my chuch that I wanted to be healed from schizophrenia they the church look at me like if I was some kind of monster that it was a sin to be schizophrenia I cry the next day and left that church when you read this it will be another day but right now for me its sunday, december, 15 at 5:47 am I…I was about to loose faith in God when something in my head told me to google a question and the question is “does God hear me? how can I hear God when he talks to me?” it when I saw your post it made me cry cause I yell out to God crying saying God please, please talk to me I need to hear your voice and everyone in my friend’s house is asleep but my brother’s girlfriend came out of her room and said to me jesse I may not know what your going throu but dont give up your faith in God he hears you and wanted for you to talk and listen to his voice how…how did she even know I was up and not sleeping? she couldnt have heard me I cried some more when I read your post on how God uses people for him to talk to me thank you Ali without your post I dont know what I would have done truly thank you please pray for me to have a bigger faith in God my email is: reapper_jvasquez@yahoo.com please please I wanted a bigger faith in God I dont want to doubt any more…

  6. Dear Ali,
    WOW. I heard from God for the very first time last night and I was left speecheless until I was able to grasp it and connect it all together. At first, I really doubted and and I thought that it was all in my head and that it was my own thoughts. Then I waited and I thought hard and prayed hard about it, and then throughout the service it was almost like God was proving all of my doubts wrong through my pastor. It was just all starting to make sense to me and my eyes were suddenly open to the truth and it was so beautiful and amazing and overwhelming, etc. Then today at work I got bored, and kept thinking about what had happened to me last night because it was SO awesome, so I decided to google what it feels like and how you know it’s Him and then I came across this. So Am I wrong to feel like God purposely brought me to your blog? Like is this all in my head and coincidental or is this Him and His work? I guess my main question to you is, is this possible that it was ACTUALLY Him talking to or connecting with me or is this all my own thoughts?

    Thanks so much

  7. I greatly appreciate this sermon. Recently I had a problem with smoking. I had my faith in God, but still I would devote my life sadly to my next high. I’ve almost gotten caught many times and each time I told God that if he got me out of that situation with no damage done, that I would quit. But I still remained using. I finally got arrested for possession. While I was sitting in the police vehicle I could only think of how much of a blessing it was, because I have forsaken God for breaking my promises. I don’t believe that smoking was phycally messing my life up, but it made me hangout with bad people and do bad things. It was an eye opener. I believe I confused the officer because I was smiling in the back of his car, because it was the breaking point of my bad habit. It was a blessing that God spoke to me and told me that the way I was living, is not the way that he wanted me to. Now I am on my own spiritual journey, living by Gods will, and it is taking me places I would never believed I would ever reach.

  8. I rejoiced at heart by coming here to read. I sincerely miss His voice in my everyday life. It is not gone completely, but I had sadly lost focus on this part of my relationship with The Lord. He used to speak to me to comfort, encourage, guide and instruct me and/or others through me. How I could let this slowly fade away is beyond me, thus my joy from coming here to be reminded. I’m quite certain of What or Who led me to this page.

    What is lacking now, and which was present when there was frequent dialogue, is the time set aside to be still and listen. Coming here this late evening made me see this clearly, so take a good guess what I’m going to fit into my daily schedule again, starting this very evening.

    Let me leave you a snippet from The Book Of Revelation 2:7 (and several more verses):

    “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says…”

    Regards and blessings,

    Geir

  9. I just discovered this blog and agree wholeheartedly with everything!! I’ve found since I’ve increased my communication with God, I hear him clearly…and more frequently. It’s so comforting to know he is always there guiding my steps. His voice humbles me and provides so much peace. Thank you for sharing your experiences!!

  10. I appreciate you taking the time to share this with us.
    I needed a Lil more clarity to the gentle voice in my thoughts.

    x0, D

  11. God is Alive!!!! I have just spoken to him and was puzzled because i have never had a conversation with him beforr…He told him I was “naive” and he laughed…lol i want to talk to him more

  12. I love this article–isn’t it wonderful how good God is at getting our attention? I’ve found God has plenty to teach me. I know if we’re observant and set ourselves up for learning, God will teach. I’m grateful for it.
    One of the members of my congregation wrote about her experience listening to God–here it is, if you’re interested. http://goo.gl/Rs9yyv

  13. Dear Ali,

    I loved your post very much. Thank you for posting this! I believe God has spoken to me through his promises but was not sure. After reading your example, I am almost sure he has spoken to me through the promises. Are there any other ways to confirm this?

    Thanks a lot,
    P.K

  14. Hi Ali,

    Thank you so much for these words. Even though I grew up going to church, I am still a babe in Christ. I started to take my journey with The Lord seriously the beginning of last year and have been struggling with listening and knowing if it is God speaking to me. I know this post is old but it is still relevant. I will continue to be still and listen and eventually there will be no doubt!!!!

  15. Dear Ali, my name is Michael. The name was given to me from the lord through the wind. Not only have I audibly heard the voice of God, but as you said, he knows what makes you tick. He told me at a time that I was his friend, and since then I often hear him as I drift to sleep or arise. I’ve also heard songs. The last was who I am pretty sure was Jesus, and he sang- I’m the only one that’s been living forever! (Instantly humbling me) and as I feared, his wonderful voice sung- and you and you are too. As i pondered how to conduct my thinking on this, he said-you’re just a (business name) we’ll see how it is when your dancing with my daughter in that manner. Now whether he had children is already up for debate. Surely he’s had plenty of time since his stay on earth to produce, and all believers are children of God,so I’ll let you go from there. But to conclude this bit, I left the house and went off with a cousin to catch a bus. Across the street I saw a business that isn’t yet opened, but the same business that he referred to me as. I applied. My heart goes out to those who who hear a warning from the lord! I pray that you take heed. I also want to validate the truthfulness in his word, in particular, when he announced: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God! Call me crazy, but I had a dream in which I was instantly in the fear of God, gazing into a night sky, and a man( I’m believing to be the Lord since we are in his image) walked across the night sky. I’ll save the details of his description for others. Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever and ever! I look forward to seeing you all in the coming of the Lord!

  16. This was amazing and God definitely spoke to me through you today. Thanks for the clarity.

  17. So many times, I hear a voice but I’m always feeling I’m the one speaking to myself..as if its my mind speaking to me

  18. I believe 100% God speak to me , in so many difference way, remember God live deeply in every human being soul.. the moment you taking a slowing step and people thinking you doing the greatest thing, not by your doing or power, i believe God speak by dream.

    Life is full of experience and wisdom, the moment you praying for wisdom you face a lot of challenge , i guess sometime we needed to lock our heart to our self. not everything your partner needed to know about you, because the moment they know everything you seem nothing to them,

    Life is so beautiful and hard. . the beautiful part is what human being praying for, which the harder time give you wisdom and knowledge..

    Life is just a dream, the moment you still alive, believe you ave so many Goal.. Praise God. because you still alive and you can still change

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