I started hearing God speak to me as soon as I got saved—and I needed to. It would be an understatement to describe my situation as desperate.
See, I got saved in a county jail. I was falsely accused of a crime I did not commit and the state wanted to send me to prison for five years. (You can read my entire testimony here.) God had a different idea and sent a group of evangelists to the jail to offer testimonies of Jesus' saving grace.
I was sold on the gospel—and sold out to Jesus—but I was still facing five years in prison on a false charge. I didn't know what to do, so I just started reading the paperback Bible they gave me after the jailhouse crusade, praying and attending any sort of quasi-church service I could find behind those cold hard walls.
Then He spoke to me. God made it clear that I would be released from that jail on the 40th day. I told everyone who would listen that I would be released on the 40th day. I told my "bunkie." I told the correctional officers. I told my mother.
I didn't know it, but I was warring with the prophetic word—and I won. I was released on the 40th day, completely vindicated. It was just as God said it would be. I write more about my testimony—and share daily prophetic words that Lord used to inspire, comfort and counsel me—in my new devotional Mornings With the Holy Spirit. But in this three-part series I want to share with you some fundamentals of hearing from God.
1. Believe That God Wants to Speak to You
If you don't believe God wants to speak to you, it's likely that you won't hear His still, small voice. The key here is that you expect Him to speak. David said, "O Lord, in the morning You will hear my voice; in the morning I will direct my prayer to You, and I will watch expectantly" (Ps. 5:3). The Holy Spirit lives inside you and may be speaking to you more than you realize. Jesus said, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you" (John 14:26).
2. Position Your Heart to Hear His Still, Small Voice
Jesus Himself said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27). Our part is to position our hearts to hear His still, small voice, or to recognize the other ways in which He communicates with us. (God can speak to us in many ways, which we'll discuss in later articles in this series.) Practice the presence of God. Cultivate an awareness that the Holy Spirit dwells in you and He longs to fellowship with you daily. Pray that He would make you sensitive to His Spirit and His voice.
3. Learn the Fine Art of Listening
Many people talk to God but they don't stop to listen—or they don't develop listening skills. Listening truly is a skill that you can learn, whether in your natural relationships or your spiritual relationship with God. You need to "have an ear" to hear the Holy Spirit and that may mean training your spiritual ears to recognize the ways He is speaking.
Jesus said, "He who has ears [to hear], let him be listening and let him consider and perceive and comprehend by hearing" (Matt. 13:9, AMP). Solomon prayed that God would give him a hearing heart (1 Kings 3:9). Many translations say "understanding heart" in that verse but the Hebrew word translated "understanding" in that verse is shama, which translates to hear, understand, listen or obey. Pray that God will give you a hearing heart, then listen and obey.
4. Fellowship More With the Holy Spirit
This is fundamental. If you want to hear from God more clearly, spend more time with Him and His Word. Paul told his spiritual son Timothy, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17, MEV).
Knowing the Word guards us from deception—and from falling into the trap of listening to other voices or even following vain imaginations. If you seek God, you will hear His voice. You don't have to be in a quiet room to hear from God. Your soul just needs to be quiet and focused on Him. Let your spirit dominate. Listen with spiritual ears. You can hear Him!
In my book, Mornings With the Holy Spirit, I share with you many of the words the Holy Spirit spoke to me in my times of devotion, worship, prayer or just everyday living. My hope is that this book will not only inspire you but also show you one way the Holy Spirit speaks. In the next article, we'll look at four ways God speaks to His children. Be sure to sign up for my Plumb Line newsletter so you'll get Part 2 of this series on hearing God's voice. You can also download a sample chapter of Mornings With the Holy Spirit by clicking here.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale and author of several books, including Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft, and The Spiritual Warrior's Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.