We all want to discern what God may be saying to us. Here are some uncommon, but proven methods for hearing God.
To be sure, these methods for hearing God are not a mechanical sort of process in which we put our prayers into the vending machine and out comes the answer we want! But neither can we be passive.
These spiritual practices will help to foster your attunement to the Holy Spirit so you’re prepared to hear God when he whispers his thoughts to you:
1. LECTIO DIVINA
Benedict of Nursia (6th Century) developed Lectio Divina as a disciplined method for quietly and prayerfully re-reading a Scripture passage in order to receive God’s care and guidance. With each reading, a different focus question guides you to listen for a word/phrase, your emotions, and a personal invitation from the Spirit of Jesus.
With Soul Shepherding’s inspiring and handy “Lectio Divina Guides” you can pray Scripture to hear God’s voice.
Fasting from food (or something else) makes a space of time and energy for listening to God. It’s especially powerful when combined with feasting on God’s Word (Acts 13:2-4, 14:23).
3. LISTEN TO YOUR HEART
Many people trust their thoughts, but not their emotions. Yet, both are centers of intelligence and essential for discernment. The Psalmist trusts the Lord to counsel him in his heart, which is the source of his deepest desires (Psalm 16:7).
4. DREAM INTERPRETATION
God can speak in our dreams. In some cases, it’s a direct word, but more commonly it comes in a kaleidoscope of seemingly random emotional scenes that rise up from our unconscious mind. The meaning is probably more in the inward spiritual-emotional themes than the outward forms (Genesis 40:8; Daniel 1:17).
In The Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius teaches that to know God’s will on an “election” (a choice that is not a moral issue) it’s best to become indifferent to the options. We abandon the outcomes to the Lord because we can be happy in Christ in any situation. Then like a weather vane we wait for the wind of the Spirit to blow us where he pleases.
6. TAKE A BREAK
Dallas Willard teaches a paradoxical method to hear God. If you’ve spent concentrated time listening for God and haven’t heard anything then stop trying—take a break and do a mindless activity like gardening, doing chores, or running errands. (I like to go for a jog.) Later a divine thought or feeling may pop into your mind! This is waiting on the word (Psalm 25:5; 130:5).
Help for Hearing God’s Voice
To help you sense God’s presence and guidance in your life and ministry we have created three Bible meditation resources filled with easy to use and engaging one-page guides: “Ignatian Meditation Guides,” “Lectio Divina Guides,” and “Breath Prayer Guides.”
In our Soul Shepherding Institute, we show you how to hear God’s voice in your life and ministry. Contact us to learn more or get on the interest list for our next cohort!
Listen to Soul Talks “Hearing God to Lead Well.” In this episode, Kristi explores Scripture and her personal story to help us evaluate our assumptions and motives in hearing God. You’ll leave this episode with practical tools to help you listen to God in your unique leadership context.