This is a complete guide on how to hear God’s voice.
In this guide you’ll learn:
- What the Bible says about hearing God’s voice (scripture)
- How to discern God’s voice from your voice and the voice of the Enemy
- 7 Common ways that God speaks to us
- How to confirm that you are indeed hearing the voice of God
- A step-by-step activity to help you get started on hearing His voice
- And more…
If you’re looking to hear and discern God’s voice with confidence, you’ll love this post.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
The Basics Of Hearing God’s Voice
Who does God speak to?
Oftentimes people think that in order to hear the voice of God, you need to be some kind of pastor or prophet.
The truth is God speaks to all people… even those who are non-believers.
In Numbers 22, God speaks through a donkey to a pagan prophet. In Genesis 41, God speaks to pharaoh in a dream, and in Daniel 5 God speaks through a writing on the wall to Belshazzar.
These are just some of the examples in scripture of God speaking to the world.
But what about those who have accepted Jesus into their life?
In John 10:27 Jesus said:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
“The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (John 10:3-4).
If you are a born again believer, you have already heard God’s voice at some point in your life because you are a part of His sheep.
The only problem is that you might have not been aware of it or you denied that it was really Him.
Stop and think about all the moments when:
- You were convicted of sin
- Someone popped into your mind that you knew you had to pray for
- You were prompted to tell someone about Jesus
- And so on…
Many times, this was the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to you and guiding your way.
What does the voice of God sound like?
Sometimes when we think of hearing God’s voice, we think it is just about waiting until you hear the audible and thundering voice of God.
Like in John 12, When God speaks to the crowd about his beloved son…
“The crowd that was there and heard it, said that it had thundered”
Although God can speak in this way, most of the time, it’s not like that.
God speaks in different ways and some of the ways He speaks doesn’t involve any words at all.
7 Common ways that God speaks
1. The Bible – God often speaks through the Bible by highlighting certain words that directly apply to our life and gives us understanding of its meaning.
2. His Still Small Voice – In 1 Kings 19:12, The Bible talks about the Lord speaking to Elijah through a gentle whisper or a still small voice. God’s still small voice usually comes in the form of a thought or whisper in our mind.
3. Impressions in our spirit – An impression in the spirit is like a tug on your heart or a deep sense of knowing in your spirit. It feels as if the Lord is speaking something directly to our inner man.
4. Pictures – Sometimes God will speak through a still picture in our mind as He did with Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:11).
5. Visions – A vision is when God shows you a moving picture or scene that is being played out like a video in your mind.
6. Dreams – Also referred to as visions of the night, Dreams are different from visions in that they happen while you sleep. (Genesis 31:24)
7. Trance – A trance is like an open vision where your mind is unaware of your surroundings while you are awake (Acts 10).
How To Confirm The Voice of God
1. The Bible
The Bible should always be our foundation for hearing and confirming the voice of God in our life because everything He speaks always points to the scripture.
If God truly is speaking to you, His word will never contradict the Bible.
God’s still small voice will never ask you to lie, steal, or sin in any way, no matter what the circumstances look like.
His voice will always be in alignment with what the Bible says.
This means your first source of confirmation should always be to compare what you’re hearing with what the scripture says.
2. The Fruit of the Spirit
When the Holy Spirit is in a place, a moment in time, or voice, the fruit of His Spirit will be there:
Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
When God speaks, He will often confirm the word or vision by coating it with the Fruit of the Spirit.
As you hear or discern an answer or an impression in your thought life, does it bring a deeper awareness of Peace with it? Do you sense His love or His gentleness as He speaks?
The way you feel inside when you hear the Lord’s voice can be a good indicator of whether it really is God or not.
Which brings us to our next point:
How To Hear God’s Voice When Making A Decision
One of the best ways to hear God’s voice when making a decision is by presenting your options before the Lord and following the direction of His peace. It is His peace that passes all understanding which guards our heart and mind while leading us at the same time.
Philipians 4:6-7 says:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Here’s how you can make this verse practical to your life:
Let’s say I’m faced with 2 options regarding a future decision.
Option A, which brings with it one set of positive and negative outcomes, and Option B, which brings with it another set.
As I spend time with Jesus, I start thinking over the beauty of Option A and present it before Him.
I remind myself of His promise: that He will never leave me nor forsake me, regardless of which decision I make.
Then I ask the Lord:
“Lord, How should I be looking at this?”
Many times, He will begin to lead my thinking about the situation.
I realize that if I do Option A, He will be with me. There is a real presence of peace in my inner man.
I then spend time processing Option B with Him in the same way and see, if I do that, He will likewise be with me.
Wherever I sense His peace or a greater measure of His peace, I know that’s where He wants me to go.
How To Discern God’s Voice From The Devil’s
Jesus said the
This voice is usually a voice of condemnation, fear, self-hate, shame, doubt, jealousy, envy, hatred, etc.
It often sounds like this:
“You’re a pathetic loser.”
“You will never be as good as that guy.”
“God is not going to speak with you. He doesn’t even like you anymore. Remember that sin from 2 days ago?”
When the voice of the Enemy comes up in your thought life, you don’t want to meditate on that – you want to counterattack it with the promises of God.
The Enemy: “Remember that sin from 2 days ago?”You: “God thank you that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus according to Romans 8:1”. Thank you that as your child I can come boldly before your throne in a time of need according to Hebrews 4:16.
How to Discern God’s Voice From Your Own Voice
The best way to discern God’s voice from your own is to practice stepping out and acting on his voice when you think it’s Him. As you take those steps of faith, He helps you sort out and recognize his voice through a process of learning.
A banker who spends most of his day touching real money is much more likely to know when a fake bill gets passed to him versus someone who doesn’t handle money very often.
The more time you spend in the secret place with your attention on God, the more accurately you will be able to recognize and discern his voice throughout the regular rhythms of your day.
The truth is, you will get it wrong sometimes.
Every child first colors outside the lines, before they learn to color more perfectly within the lines.
The Lord will often start you out by asking you to do things that are very low risk anyway.
Let say you hear a voice ask you to tell someone that Jesus loves them at Walmart.
Even if you’re wrong and it wasn’t the Lord, you would still be okay.
But think about this for a moment:
What if you step out and tell that person that Jesus loves them and the person breaks down crying because they really needed to hear that.
Wouldn’t that be a pretty good indicator that this was indeed God’s voice?
After you begin to listen to the voice of God and practice stepping out, you will eventually start to recognize a pattern.
You’ll notice that His voice carries a tone of gentleness and peace that sounds a little different than your voice.
Soon you get to a place where you start to recognize God’s voice like He’s your best friend.
The first time you met your best friend, you would not have recognized his voice if he called you on the phone the next day.
However, after one year of friendship, you would recognize the slightest whisper of your friend’s voice in a crowded room.
It is the same process with learning to distinguish God’s voice.
Step-By-Step Activity For Hearing God Speak
With all this information, you may be wondering…
How can I get started on hearing the lord’s voice? Is there something practical I can try right now?
Yes, there is!
In this section, we’re going to go through a step by step exercise on hearing God’s voice using the Bible.
In fact, I’ve used this same exercise with a bunch of teens from church who said they heard God speak to them through pictures, visions, and His still small voice during this exercise.
The best part?
It’s really easy and takes only a few minutes to try!
What you will need
- A pen and paper to write down anything that God might speak to you
- Preferably, a quiet place
- Simple, childlike faith
How it works
We’re going to read a few verses from Scripture. At the end of each verse, we’re going to ask God to make each verse specific to us and to speak to us through his Word.
Then, we just listen.
Let’s get started.
Before I do this exercise with people, I like to start with a simple prayer to hear God’s voice (feel free to join).
It goes something like this:
“Jesus thank you that You live inside each and every one of us. You say in John 10:27 that “My sheep hear My voice”, and if we are Your sheep we can hear Your voice. Thank you, Lord that Your voice drew us into a relationship with You and told us that we needed You. It was Your Voice that drew us into Your Kingdom and Family. I just ask that You would make us aware of Your voice and help us to hear Your voice clearly, God”
In Jesus name, Amen ☺️
Step 1: Read Psalm 23:1 out loud
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want
Jesus is the good Shepherd, which means that He is always watching over you, even when you’re not aware of it.
So with that in mind, I want you to ask the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit a question. This can be either in your mind or you can whisper it to Him.
Step 2: Ask The Lord This Question:
“How have you been protecting me this year that I have not been aware of?”
As I ask this question, I like to just close my eyes and focus on the Lord.
Step 3: Just rest for about 20-30 seconds
If you wanna hear someone’s voice in a conversation, you ask them a question, rest, and allow them to answer. Don’t speak or pray for now, just listen.
Step 4: Evaluate
Did you hear or feel Him say something to you?
Did you see a picture or vision of something?
How did that make you feel inside?
Side note: He doesn’t just speak something to our minds but also imparts something into our hearts. The voice imparts peace, joy, hope, etc. into us. That is the fruit so often of His voice.
Not hearing God? That’s ok! Don’t give up. You can either ask him the question again or continue on to the next one.
We’re going to go through the next few verses just as before.
Read Psalm 23:2 out loud
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters
Question 2: Holy Spirit what is one area that you have been showing me your love that I am not even aware of… Would you highlight an area in which you have been pursuing me that I am not even aware of?
Rest for 20-30 seconds
Read Psalm 23:3
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Question 3: Holy Spirit, How have I been growing in righteousness this year, in what areas of my life have you been establishing right living and holiness in me?
Read Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Question 4: Jesus, What is one fear which I regularly have that you want me to lay down at your feet now?
If you want to keep going, you can ask Him some more questions such as:
• Jesus, How much do you love me?
• What do you love most about me?
• Who is one person that you are calling me to encourage throughout my day or in church?
• Would you show me who they are?
• How should I encourage them?
Side Notes & Common Questions
Before you begin to practice this, ask the Holy Spirit to help you hear His voice more clearly and to teach you to discern it. Make this a regular prayer of yours. It is only with His help that you will begin to discern His voice with greater accuracy.
Like in any new thing you learn, you will make mistakes. In many situations, you will still not know for sure if it’s Him or not.
A good father never gets angry at his child when they fall down as they learn to walk because He knows it’s part of the learning process.
He is patient with you and He will teach you, as long as you ask for His help. Keep your attention on Him and don’t give up.
Please, use common sense when you begin to try this. The Lord will never tell you to sin, harm anyone, etc. Dude Disciple is not responsible for anything you try or act on from this post.
“That’s just my voice, I’m hearing something, but it’s my voice.”
There’s one voice that responds to your question and another voice that comes right after that and says that’s just you.
Remember what Jesus said:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” – John 10:10
I believe the first voice, almost always, is the Lord’s voice answering you. The second voice comes to steal that away or its a voice of condemnation: “you’re not qualified to do that, only pastors can do that” or “you’re not in right standing with God because you sinned 2 days ago.”
The Enemy is always building up a legal case in your mind about why you are not saved, why you cannot access your Father’s Presence or come into greater intimacy with Jesus.
I have learned that the first voice which answers, after I ask a question directed at Jesus, is almost always the Lord’s voice answering me. And it often is calling me to step out in faith in some way to release Jesus.
He doesn’t just speak something to our minds but almost always imparts something into our hearts. His words, or His reply, are often coated with an aspect of His Spirit.
Now I’d like to hear from you:
What did you get for the first question?
Did you sense a fruit of the Spirit as the Lord answered you?
What helped you the most from this post?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment below right now.