God loves to speak to us and is communicating with us all the time if we listen carefully.
But, because God is God He can and does speak to us all in an individual way. God created us all to be unique and different and this is reflected in our relationship with Him. So, that means He will speak to each of us in a way that is part of our unique relationship with Him.
Through His Holy Spirit, God speaks to us to encourage and build us and others up. God can speak to us through pictures, visions, images or through His word (scripture). You may even have been in a conversation with a friend and ‘feel’ as they speak to you that what they say is resonating deeply within you and may be a timely ‘word’ from God. He may also bring things to mind, things forgotten that He may want to use in the moment to teach you something or you may even have dreams from God. All of these and more are the many different ways God tries to get our attention, in the busy, fast paced world we live in.
Once you begin to realise that you are hearing from Him, what do you do next?
There are 3 simple steps to follow when hearing from God;
- Observation-What did I see, hear or feel?
- Interpretation-What do I think it means?
- Application-What should I do?
Applying these three stages and testing that what you heard is in line with Gods word is crucial. When you hear from God it should always be in line with scripture and Gods nature and will encourage and bring hope to the receiver. It’s also important to talk through what you feel God is saying with other believers as it can help as a confirmation or correction.
Getting around other people who hear clearly from God is so helpful, especially when you are starting out on this journey of hearing God. You may have heard the word ‘prophetic’ used in relation to people who hear from God and it is mentioned liberally throughout the bible. Being prophetic is like being ‘God’s mouthpiece’ and communicating what God wants the person in front of you to know. It is his now word into someone’s life and the heart of the prophetic is to encourage and build someone up. Prophetic words are generally accompanied with God’s compassion and they truly capture God’s heart for the person. In that moment the person receiving the word feels truly connected to the Father and it draws them closer to Him and makes them feel known by Him.
2 Peter 1.19 says: “…and we have something more sure – the prophetic word to which you will do well to pay attention, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts – knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation – for no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke as oracles from God.”
If you want to grow in hearing from God find someone with this ‘prophetic’ gift who can mentor you and help you to grow in confidence and courage. Having a mentor is like having a safety net where you can practice without fear of failure. Even if you get it wrong, as long as the person you are giving the ‘word’ to is encouraged and left feeling they have hope then don’t worry.
Always ask people to weigh up whether they feel the word is for them and if not to disregard it. Then know that God is celebrating your obedience in stepping out and leave the outcome to Him.
Remember prophecy is about encouraging, strengthening or comforting others and the main purpose is to build up the church.
1 Cor 14:3 but the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.
Just to encourage you I want to share a story of stepping out in the prophetic…
I was in a restaurant and asked God to give me a word for someone. My waiter came over and he had a large tattoo of what I thought might be Koi Carp. I felt God talk to me about his tattoo and say that the Koi Carp are highly prized and of great value and that He wanted me to tell the waiter that is how God saw him. I sat and thought about it and felt nervous and said to God “if he comes back over I will share the word with him”.
As you can probably guess the waiter came back over so, I plucked up the courage to ask Him about his tattoo and he explained they were Koi Carp and that he had been involved in a serious car accident and the tattoo had a deep meaning for him! I explained that I was a Christian and practising hearing God’s voice for people and proceeded to tell him what God had said. Bear in mind this was all in the middle of an evening service in the restaurant and the waiter was very busy. He was very touched by the word of encouragement and I felt God was celebrating my obedience at sharing His love for the waiter. By the way I did cry as I gave the word so don’t worry about showing emotion or compassion because that is from God too!
So what’s stopping you? Get out there and give it a go and remember we all have to start somewhere.