Listening Lesson 6: My process for listening to God
Updated: Nov 5, 2020
In these lessons I have tried to establish that God speaks in many ways and that we can discern that voice. Now I want to share a process for listening which has helpful to me:
1. Seek the voice- I begin in prayer and share with God the area in which I am seeking guidance. I invite God to speak in any way that God desires and share that I will be open to listening for that voice in Scripture, the words of friends, the circumstances of my life and even in my reading of books and social media.
2. Give God space- I try not to force God in to a box or my timetable. So, I will go about my life whether it involves working, playing or even grocery shopping; while keeping my antennae up for God’s communication.
3. Test the word- When I believe that I have received a word from God, I will measure it against the “three lights” mentioned in lesson 4- Scripture, circumstances and trusted people. If it is a particularly delicate or critical issue, I sometimes ask God to send me three independent confirmations. In other words, I ask for the answer to come up again unsolicited or “out of the blue.”
4. Act on the word- I will act on what I believe that I have heard. I reason that God will not send me more frequent communications if I fail to respond to the communications which God has already sent my way. Of course, sometimes I get it wrong like the time I thought God had told me to buy lottery tickets to fund a church project! But even if I obey a word that I have misheard, I believe that God may be pleased that I’m at least trying to listen and respond and that I am learning through trial and error to better recognize God’s voice.
Finally, what if I have not received a clear word from God about my issue? As I mentioned last week, I will check for any blockages in the arteries of my spiritual heart. If I find none, I assume that God has no clear will on my issue. I then try to do what seems best and most helpful for all concerned.
I am reminded of the late Dallas Willard and his backyard metaphor. When my children were growing up we had a nice backyard with a sandbox, a tree fort and a basketball goal. As long as they stayed in the backyard it did not matter what they played on. In the same way sometimes God may not give us a particular answer because any decision we make still keeps us God’s backyard.
Ultimately, that’s why I should listen for God’s voice: to not only stay in God’s backyard but also to enjoy “playing” with God as well! ~David