We needed an answer.
We really needed an answer; yes or no.
Should we or should we not move our family to Charlotte, NC, to plant a church?
Surely God would tell us? He was the whole reason we were even thinking of going in the first place.
So I prayed for a revelation.
I even prayed He’d send an out of town prophet to stop me in the supermarket checkout line and say, “Does the name Charlotte mean anything to you?” Because then I’d know for sure.
I wanted certainty. Uprooting our crew and heading across the pond was a massive deal and if it wasn’t God’s idea we didn’t want to go. Why would we? The church would flop and we’d be yanking our three kids from their friends and family for nothing. Perhaps He really wanted us to finish seminary and go back to London or maybe head to a small parish where the vicarage has roses around the door?
If only He would tell us.
So we prayed and we listened but all we got was silence.
No revelation in the check out line. Zip. Nada. Crickets
No out of town prophet, no writing in the sky, no God-incidences we couldn’t ignore.
Maybe you’re praying for an answer to a really big question too. A yes or no, a go or stay, a here or there question burning through you. It’s a hard place to be, isn’t it?
Our God is a relational God and we want to follow His will because we know His plans are better than ours. We desperately want to do the right thing but how on earth can we if we can’t hear what He’s saying? We’re left directionless, frustrated and if you’re anything like me a bit pissed off.
“Hello God, I’m trying to follow you here, the least you could do is give me a bit of direction.”
We did get an answer from God about moving to America but not in the way I expected. As I stood in the morning bustle of Sophie’s kindergarten class, as she packed her book bag away and sat down at her table, my mind wandering nowhere in particular, I just knew that I knew.
The answer was yes.
I heard His voice not as a revelation but as a realization, a knowing.
My friend Stephanie was next to me tieing her son Christopher’s shoe, “We’re going” I said matter of factly. Having prayed alongside me and listened to my deliberations long into the night, she knew what I was talking about and looked up calmly and replied, “Yes, yes you are.”
In the mindless daydreaming of the morning, my right brain was free to hear.
As J. I Packer says, “God … guides our minds as we think things out in His presence.”
Whether you’re seeking an answer to whether to move continents or marry your man, or you just want to deepen your relationship with the Man Upstairs who knitted you together, here’s a 5 step plan to hearing His voice. I made it for people like us, who don’t find it easy to hear His still small voice in this noisy, busy world.
It’s a summary of my FREE eBook Hearing God’s Voice: A Short Practical Guide
A 5 Step plan to Hearing God’s Voice
Before we start let’s get one thing straight. If you’re in any doubt you can hear what the creator of the universe is saying may I remind you that He is the Shepherd, He calls you by name and you, as one of His sheep, CAN hear His voice. (John 10) We so often miss His voice with all the other noise around us but it is there, we just need to learn how to tune into it.
Hearing His voice requires us to use both sides of our brain. The logical, analytical and rational left side AND the intangible, creative right side.
Using our left brain we ask God to speak to us confident He will. There’s no need for fancy prayers, a simple Please God speak to me is just fine. Let’s not be afraid to ask. We are loved, forgiven and enough. God wants to talk to us.
Now we must turn our left brain off and use our right brain to listen. God speaks through His Holy Spirit to the eyes of our hearts (Eph 1:18) which we access through our right brains. The key to listening with our right brain is to engage in activities that help us switch off our left brain and switch on our right brains and enter into it. Worship, journaling, meditative prayer, lighting a candle repeating a scripture – all these help us tune in to what He might be saying.
Still using our right brains and shutting out all our attempts to evaluate what we think we may be hearing we must acknowledge the thought that’s popped into our head and write it down. God never speaks so clearly there is no room for doubt so we must step out in faith and go with it.
Now we get to turn our left brains back on and test what we think we might have heard. Does it sound biblical, like something God would say, are other believers saying similar things to you?
Raise a hand if you’re wrestling with something, desperate for direction or to just to hear Him whisper “I love you”?
I get it. You’re not alone.
I’ve found learning to hear God’s voice one of the most fulfilling yet slippery parts of my faith. I just wish I could know for sure what He was saying, and yet, although God never speaks with such certainty that there is no room for doubt or faith, we can learn to tune in to His still small voice.
To help us I wrote this short FREE eBook Hearing God’s Voice: A Short Practical Guide and I’m giving it as a gift (along with an entire resource library) when you sign up for my newsletter that my readers love popping in their inbox at the end of the month.
CLICK HERE to grab your copy.