hearing god / by lani fast weins

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5:00 AM

The topic of hearing God and following the Holy Spirit has been surfacing around me. It has made me question how many people have yet to experience the voice of God, especially those who are in the church now, as well as those yet to set their hope in Jesus. I have been praying about what do to with this knowledge to bring about the awareness and beautiful intimacy that hearing God has on us and God lead me to some wonderful ladies I met through the Allume Conference, who are brave and bold and willing to share their story of how they have come to hear the voice of God through this series. It is not a list of "how tos" or of verses on hearing God or things of the sort. Just an honest, open discussion of the telling of their story. Of their journey to the place where God's voice is the one they listen to. You can find the entire series here. 


You would think that a girl like me would know all about listening to God. I grew up in a Christian home going to evangelical churches all my days. I was the good Christian girl who went to camp as a kid and rededicated her life every year around the campfire. As a teen and young adult I worked at camp, taught clubs and Sunday school, went to Bible college and everything. I was really good at all the Christian ‘things’, or so I thought. Then I got married to this guy who had something going on with God that I had never seen before.

It was like he had this ongoing conversation with someone happening in a constant fluid stream inside his head and no he wasn’t schizophrenic! He talked to God and apparently God was speaking back to him…all the time. He saw listening prayer modelled for him as a teenager when a new pastor came to his home church. He was hungry for what that pastor had and so he started searching, because, like me, he had the same sort of upbringing; conservative, evangelical doctrine which kind of left the Holy Spirit out for the most part.

Two books really challenged and changed his relationship with his heavenly Father, Hearing God by Peter Lord and The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and he started expecting that when he paid attention God would speak back to him, and he wasn’t disappointed. (Hearing God is no longer in print but I would recommend Brad Jersak’s books Can You Hear Me? And Children Can You Hear Me?)

When we got married I was fascinated by the relationship that my new husband had with God, I had never seen anything like it and I wanted it myself. We started going to Passion for Jesus conferences and anywhere where there was teaching on the Holy Spirit and a passionate relationship with Him. I realized that while God didn’t speak to me in the constant stream that my husband seemed to have, I ‘heard’ him more in other ways; through dreams, pictures, a word here or there of something that I needed to know, music and more. God was speaking to me, I just hadn’t chosen to listen or seek it out, He’d been talking to me all along the way and I wasn’t aware!

Since that time there have definitely been times when it seems God is silent. Sometimes this is because He has already said what needs to be said and I need to obey. Sometimes it is because I am not really willing to hear whatever it is he is trying to communicate or my heart is far from him due to sin or indifference.  As a children’s pastor (back in the day) I wanted the kids that I was influencing to hear God for themselves so I sought out a model that I could use to teach them, we still use the following model to teach our own kids to hear God.

One model for listening prayer that we have really appreciated and taught is a variation on a format from King’s Kids, a simple approach to help kids listen, discern and understand God speaking to them. We have usually done this in a group but it can be done by an individual as well.

  1. Welcome the Holy Spirit to be present, perhaps worship through music for a bit
  2. Repent for any known sins and leave your own agenda behind
  3. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak into a question or just wait in silence (God what do you need us to know about _____________?)
  4. Wait.
  5. Write down anything that crosses your consciousness – a word, a color, scripture, song lyrics, etc.
  6. Share these things all together with the group.
  7. Again, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what you need to know and start discerning how each piece of that puzzle fits with the question asked.
  8. Thank the Holy Spirit for the direction or light given, see if there is more.
  9. Write down whatever conclusions or directions you came to and then be obedient to what was shown.
  10. Don’t worry if you don’t ‘get’ anything.

This isn’t the only model for listening prayer but it is one that we have used over and over again to discern what we need to know about a situation, a direction we’re considering or some gray area. God’s direction will always line up with his word, it will not contradict it, nor will it lead us into sin. It doesn’t need to be a big, scary, mystical event. It does, however, involve our own humble spirit and the willingness to wait on him, trusting that he will, indeed, speak to us in a way that makes sense for us as an individual. We will each hear God differently.

My husband is very audio, I am very visual. The blog that I used to run, Fresh Flowers, was all about hearing God in the everyday. Every week I shared about how God was speaking to me in the everyday stuff of life. That period of time, where I was regularly seeking out God’s very practical voice was a rich spiritual time in my life. (if you want to go read the archives you can find them here) I was always seeking and he was always speaking. In the season of my life that I am in now I don’t hear him that particular way but every now and then I still find ‘flowers’!

Let me tell you one story about hearing God and seeing the fruit of that coming to light.

We felt like we needed to sell our house and move back into the city (because of a question that a dear friend felt prompted by the Lord to ask us). In my prayer time I felt like God was giving me some very direct instructions and a clear picture of what was going to happen with our house, the purpose of which was that we would know that this was His plan and not ours, for his glory and not ours. He sent me around the house praying for seven days (yes I felt somewhat foolish but decided obedience was a good idea). He said that the 11th person who looked at the house would be the one who would buy it. We kept track of the realtor cards and numbered them so that we couldn’t ‘cheat’. The 10th and 11th people came on the same day. The 10th were a sweet family and our house and huge yard seemed like a perfect fit. The 11th was a single lady, the house seemed so huge for just one person. We thought maybe we’d heard wrong. Surely it would be the sweet family that would buy our house.

A day or two later the offer came from the single lady, #11, cash deal, no conditions, full asking price…SOLD! Exactly the way the Lord said it would.

I go back to this rock of remembrance time and time again when I doubt that I can hear God’s voice, when I wonder if he’s real or if he is concerned about my well-being and the details of our lives. He didn’t have to show me any of that, but he did, because he loves us and longs to communicate with us. That example of his direct intervention in my life has shown me over and over again that he is a personal God, faithful and interested. Why wouldn’t I want to talk to him and hear what he has to say!

Trust him. Trust that he knows how to communicate with you and wait. Tune your ears and your heart to hear him, as Samuel said, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”

Lani is a blogger over at allthiscrazygrace.com. She is the mom of 6 kids and the wife of a farmer/musicianary. When she isn’t blogging or homeschooling or cooking or driving somewhere she goes to her happy place which is loaded up with fabric therapy materials!
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