How to hear from God

As a prophetic person, there have been times I’ve heard from God very clearly about what I needed to do next, what I would need to do in the immediate future, or what would happen in twenty years or longer.

I, as anyone else, would of course love to have God via the Holy Spirit, tell me what to do, what to expect, how to proceed anytime a major life event happens.

Maybe it’s ironic that many prophetic people struggle with worrying. The two seem to be in direct opposite of each other, they are. Look at one of the greatest biblical prophets in history, Elijah. The bible tells us about a time that God used him to do some incredible things on God’s behalf, even calling down fire from heaven and then Elijah freaks out and runs into the desert. He sits under a bush dreading his existence and wishing he was dead. Why? He was afraid of the threats made against him by Jezebel.

One of the things that drives many prophetic people is prayer and seeking God. Not because they are super godly people, but because they are desperate people. People who worry are more desperate than people who have a lot of self dependence and self reliance.

A person who is desperate, will do desperate things like fasting, and praying for months everyday, throughout the day, until they get the answer they need. To be honest, a lot of time is wasted because they won’t make a decision before they either hear from God or are absolutely forced into a situation requiring one. Lack of faith? Yes. Not lack of faith in God, but lack of faith in their ability to choose the right path without God.

Most people who might be considered, “prophetic people”, which only means, they seek God, cry out to God, and wait upon God until God finds a way to point a path or make their steps clear; do not hear God every day, week, month, maybe not even every year.

Most decisions in life do not need God stepping in to say, “This is the way to go”. We don’t need God’s help in deciding if we want a slice of tomato on a hamburger. We do not need God’s help to decide what kind of car to drive, we don’t even have to have God tell us, “this is a good person to marry”. We certainly want God’s help in some of those kinds of decisions, but God gives us free will, he teaches us through the experiences he’s led us through in the past, he’s given us the ability to think, reason and discern, “This thing over here is good, this thing over there is not good”. We can base some decisions on what the bible tells us, others decisions we have to rely on non-biblical sources. When I need to troubleshoot an issue my car is having, I grab it’s owners manual, not my New King James Bible. My bible might give me some insight on how to fix a chariot, but it’s not going to help with my Honda.

Even for something a big as marriage, we can often make up our own minds. Ask a friend, pastor, or your parent, they want you to be happy, they’re probably going to tell you “Yes, great!”, unless your potential spouse has given them reason to believe they are toxic or harmful for you.

When it comes to sex and physical contact before marriage, that’s wisdom and biblical. When it comes to waiting for and finding “the one”, that’s a Disney cartoon, and some churches encourage that based on the single time God helped Abraham’s servant find “the one” for his son Isaac. It happened once, like the parting of the red sea, Noah’s flood, Jesus feeding the five thousand with a couple of bread and fish. It’s not normal, you parents probably don’t have a servant. They’re probably not going to send a servant to your uncle’s house to find you “the one” from among your cousins. Ew. Yucky.

I once asked my mentor who was very gifted in the prophetic, “But, I thought she was the one, so what does her breaking up with me before getting engaged mean?” He told me two things that no pastor or church had ever told me over my fifty years as a Christian. 1. God gives us free will. 2. There are many possible, “The ones”.

Basically, the bible says, “Do you want to get married, then marry”. “Do you not want to get married, then don’t?”. Both are equally allowable decisions. We can observe the character of the person we think we might want to marry, then choose to either ignore those character flaws, or acknowledge them. We have free will. The world contains many possible, “The ones”.

Acrylic painting by artist Randall Gorden 1992

But what if you’re not a “Prophetic person”, or you don’t think you’re a prophetic person?What about those times you’re not “hearing from God”, and there is no bible verse that pop’s up when you flip through the bible pointing to a solution, or there isn’t any “Godly counsel”, that’s also good counsel?

The majority of the time the answer you need is whatever gives you the most peace. The bible talks about the peace of God as a good thing, a desirable thing. In contrast the bible talks about fear as not good, not being from God. Fear is the opposite of peace.

Fear is like grabbing the steering wheel when someone else is driving, it just doesn’t work out that well. You may still get where you’re going, but it’s not going to be a good ride.

Peace is like riding along in someone’s car who you have confidence in their ability to drive. Their maturity as a person, gives you confident in their ability to navigate the traffic, weather conditions and crazy road rage drivers without incident. You can relax in your seat when they’re driving, look at the scenery and view, maybe casually talk about your day.

God say’s to Trust him, he’s got the steering wheel.

Satan say’s, “Can you really trust God in this situation?”, “Does God really care about you”, “What if God doesn’t show you what to do?”, “What if you hear God wrong?”

Satan has a bunch of questions and challenges he whispers in your ear. You know it’s Satan if you feel like God isn’t helping, you’re afraid, worried, unsettled, have no peace, feel discouraged, oppressed, depressed, confused, defeated, etc. None of those things are from God. If you have any of those, you’re not hearing from God. Where is the place of peace in this situation, it is probably opposite of what fear is pressing you towards.

God say’s to trust him. That doesn’t mean the ride won’t be bumpy, so you may still want to put on your seat belt. But it does mean God is going to get you to where you need to be, to do what you need to do. When you trust God, you’re letting God do the driving.

That doesn’t mean you don’t do what you can do or need to do. Sometimes it takes a long time to get from point A to point C. There may be detours, road blocks, delays. In other words, you still have to take care of things you’re responsible for. You still have to pay your bills, for example. You still need to show up on time for work.

We trust God, because God is trustworthy. We trust God, because God said to trust him. We trust God, because God has a good plan for us. We trust God even in the presence of fear, because God has already conquered fear. We trust God not because of who we are, but because of who he said, He is.

The majority of the time, the Holy Spirit speaks to us in one of two ways.

1.) Peace = YES

2.) Lack of peace = NO

Peace will be present for the right direction, and it is often completely opposite of the advice or pressure you may be hearing from those around you. It might be just a little peace along with some uncertainty, and that’s when you have to sit back and take your hand off the steering wheel so God can drive.

Sometimes you know the right path simply by doing what is Good.

Psalm 37:3 “Trust in the Lord and do Good.”

If all else fails and you haven’t heard from God in some way, or you do not have peace in a situation, then you “Trust God and do good”. The very minimum thing God tells us to do is to trust Him, and do Good. Do good, and let God work out everything from that place.