GREG SIMASFaith-Leadership-Culture
Six Ways To Hear God's Voice

6 Ways We Can Hear God’s Voice

Communication is the foundation to any relationship. Communication is about connecting, contributing, loving, strengthening and encouraging others. We are designed to live from it and we die without it.

What separates mankind from anything else in creation is our level of communication. We are made in both God’s image and likeness. We have the capacity to actually communicate with God, to talk with the One who never had a beginning and will never have an end.

I remember sitting in a church staff meeting and a Pastor around the table said, “can anyone truly hear the voice of God”. I looked at him completely shocked thinking, “Uh, you’re a Pastor?” If Pastors are not hearing the voice of the Lord then the people they lead are in trouble. So I looked at him and said, “YES!, It is possible to hear the voice of God because I just had a conversation with Him this morning. It’s called prayer.”

It is mind-boggling that we can actually have a conversation with God.  He  “hardwired” it in us. We have the capacity to talk with God.

God’s voice comes in many ways. Tuning into the frequency of His reality is vital to hearing His voice. For the record, God’s primary language is not English. His voice is multi-colored, multi-faceted, coming from the realms of heaven.

I want to give you twelve ways God talks to us. These ways are by no means exhaustive because God can get our attention in hundreds of different ways. Yet, these are what I would consider both normative and foundational. We will look at six now and six in in the next blog post.

1. The Bible – Hebrews 4:12

The primary way God speaks to us is the Bible. The Bible is the ultimate revelation of His voice. It’s the “litmus test”, “anchor”, the “filter” to measure all other things we feel the Lord might be saying to us. Though I believe God will never contradict His Word, I do believe He is bigger than it.

2. Visions – Acts 2:17, 2 Kings 6:14-17

The word vision means “to see”. Visions from God are heavenly scenes supernaturally imposed on the eyes and mind while one is awake. A scene you can see with the natural eye. The event found in 2 Kings 6:14-17 is an amazing example of an open vision.

3. Dreams – Acts 2:17

Dreams are a series of images and ideas that occur during sleep. Spiritual dreams originate in the Spirit and carry specific messages from the Lord. An encountering spiritual dream is where God speaks directly to the person in the dream (Genesis 31:24; Matt. 2:13). Another type of dream is where there is no direct voice and it needs to be interpreted (Daniel 2:27-28).

4. Mental Images – John 1:48

Mental pictures are images that occur in the mind while awake. They are snapshots from God that often come without warning or forethought. They often come when the gifts of the Spirit are in operation but are not limited to just the gifts. Like visions and dreams, mental images need to be prayed over before they are acted upon.

5. Audible Voice of the Lord – Mark 1:11,  Acts 9:3-6

The audible voice of the Lord comes to us while we are awake and it sounds as if someone is talking to us directly. It can be heard clearly and carries with it a realm of God’s presence. Both Jesus (Mark 1:11) and Paul (Acts 9:3-6) experienced the audible voice of the Lord.

6. Still Small Voice – 1 Kings 19:11-13

The “still small voice” is sometimes called an “inner voice” where God speaks through the inner declarations by His Spirit to yours. This often comes to us when we slow down enough to listen. A busy mind is a hindrance to hearing the still small voice of the Lord.

Let me say something here. People begin to freak out when we discuss ways of hearing God’s voice outside of reading the Bible itself. What I am saying here is that all of these are found in the Bible and the voice of the Lord will not contradict His Word. I believe we need to raise up a people who, like Eli, trained Samuel (1 Samuel 3:9-11), to pay attention and hear Gods voice.

More to come.

Your Turn: Has the Lord spoken to you in any of these ways? Why is it so important for believers to hear the voice of the Lord?

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  • this is a good series. still don’t know what I think about the increasingly popular, “God is bigger than the book”. While it is true in theory, in practice it is irrelevant. It’s kinda like saying, “God is bigger than Jesus.” Yes…but when you’re God, you get to decide when and how you are going to reveal yourself.
    While in the Scripture the Lord spoke in all the ways that you mentioned above (which we need more of!), they really only served to clarify, specify, and personalize the information already given in His Word. I have lots of thoughts on this, but I won’t clog up the replies. Great series.

  • Looks like a great series. I believe God is bigger than the Book, but the Book is what He wants us to rely on for He told us so and when we step outside of the Bible then we are going against Him.

    God speaks to all of us we just need to quiet ourselves and listen and know His voice, that is where the Bible comes is for often He speaks in verses for each situation. Fasting really helps as we deny self and focus on Him.

    I have never heard the audible voice of God but I have heard God through; the Bible, visions, dreams, mental images and the still small voice. God usually speaks to me via the Bible, small voice and images. I know this comes from God because it is a deep knowing that this is from Him and when I obey I feel great but when I don’t obey I feel a loss and I am saddened. These also line up with His word found in the Bible.

    Looking forward to your next post.

  • Really enoying this series Pastor Greg, especially since I’ve missed the sermons. I love how God speaks to me through mental pictures. I’ve even had a couple of open visions. I believe I have heard the audible voice of God once. It’s weird, you would think that it would have been very loud, but it was a very quiet yet loud in my spirit voice. He called me by my name. I’ll never forget that day!

    • You got one up on me. 🙂 Haven’t heard His audible voice yet.

      Getting pictures is a huge way the Lord speaks downloads things to you. I am glad that you have learned how He speaks. Lean into the other ways, He might surprise you!

    • jux growing in Christ and really wanted to know more about him i guess the most important thing i have learnt is not to doubt him having faith is the key i have learnt a lot God richly bless you Pastor Greg

  • Thanks for the six ways,i will really put it into practice,some months ago,i experience something i have never experienced before,on my way to school around 7:30am in the morning,as i was going i heard a strange voice,it was sounding heavily on my ears,it was like the voice of tongues,i thought it was people that were discussing in the farm but when i look into the farm i will see nobody,i cannot understand the language of the voice,it was very strange that i become so afraid inside,the voice kept on echoeing in my ears blebleblebleblebleblbelbeble,until at a certain place i stopped and said in my mind oh God pls am going for my examination,please this voice strangest me pls God help me,immediately the voice stopped.i have never witness it again,but am stil confuse,since then i have been praying for God to speak,because,i so much need him into my life as much as i need myself,pls pray for me along with you,my name is MARKANTHONY FROM NIGERIA, THANKS

    • MarkAnthony, This reminds me of Samuel when he was a boy. Eli taught him to respond to the voice after Samuel was initially confused.

      Here are some thoughts:

      1. Does the voice promote peace in your heart? If so, then proceed with the asking the Lord if He is speaking to you.
      2. If so, even if you don’t understand it, thank Him for speaking to you.
      3. Ask the Lord to speak to you more with greater clarity.

      It could be that the Lord is seeing if you will receive what has been given to you with thanksgiving though you don’t understand. Also, it’s important to realize that the Lord desires to to speak to the heart first then to our understanding (mind). This could be the process you are in.

      Each person is so unique in HOW God speaks to them. It might never happen again or it might. God might speak to you in a completely different way. This is part of the adventure and the joy of knowing the Lord. So keep pursuing Him.

      So good to have friends in Nigeria. Please tell your friends about this blog. Rich favor and blessings to you in your journey with the Lord! You can always contact via email as well!

    • God’s great he talks to me through the mind. When i think it’s in him. He speaks in a way that sometimes i doubt maybe he is. The write up above is very good above all setting the mind in a positive way is a way to hear his voice. An example was when i was young, a child was conceived and i asked the mother that what the name of name the baby, the mother said the baby has no name instantly words flow through my mind and the name of the baby was known to me. To my greatest surprise the child was named what i already know. Dreams also was a major way God speak. I greatly thank this article. It not hard all you need is to be God’s lover

      • You are right, Fredrick. Loved your experience in regard to the name of the child. There are all kinds of secrets the Lord wants to share with His kids, especially those who truly love and pursue Him. May His voice continue to come to you in many ways. Great testimony. Keep going, friend!

    • Hello Taiwo. I would encourage you to read these two posts on hearing God’s voice and begin to experiment a little bit. Try and recognize how God speaks uniquely to you. It’s an adventure. 😉

  • Hello! I stumbled upon this during a search for “ever received a calling in a dream?” I have a strong feeling that I am called to ministry, and many times I doubt myself. I just wanted to see if anyone else has had a similar experience to mine. I really enjoyed this read! I can totally relate! I communicate with God through my dreams very often. I also hear the “still small voice” you mentioned. I had a dream last December after fussing and walking around my house in frustration. I was angered at the fact that I had some things in my life had fallen apart, and I thought I was on the right path making a difference in my community. Out of frustration, I spoke to God kinda rough and said, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing, and you are not helping me! What am I supposed to do?!” I went to sleep that night, and I didn’t dream anything, and I always looked forward to dreaming because I remembered everything! I woke up really early in the morning, and ended up dozing off again, and that’s when it happened. I dreamed I was in a hotel and I went from room to room talking with people that I knew. The thing is, I acted differently with each person I encountered! I felt he was telling me I don’t act the same way with everyone, and He was calling me out! I ran out of the hotel and found myself in a parking lot of an empty grocery store. Behind the store, there was a concert going on, and my sister and a friend of ours ran from around the corner with loads of money! I asked them, where did you get that, and they replied this guy was singing and ripping scriptures from the Bible and passing them out in the crowd, and people was throwing money at him! So he gave it to us to help our community! It was close to a million dollars. I ran away crying and my sister ran behind me asking what’s wrong, and I said that I didn’t know what I am supposed to be doing. All of a sudden I heard a voice so loud that I trembled in my sleep, and it said, “If you would listen to me, you would be there by now!” When I woke up, I was crying uncontrollably, and I knew it was God. I share this story with friends as confirmation of my calling to ministry and to let them know that God is listening, but we have to be able to listen back.

    • Hello Kim. Pretty cool dream. The good thing about dreams is that they are extremely personal and powerful. I would say the Lord is definitely speaking to you. Your spirit is bearing witness to this. Dreams that are remembered so precisely and are so vividly to the dreamer are indicators that the dream is from the Lord. I do sense though that specific pieces for your calling will be coming. The Lord is really confirming, in the dream, a ministry direction for you. 😉
      Kim, I love that you are pursuing the Lord intensely. He has an amazing future for you and He wants to partner with you in it. Trust Him and move forward with joy!

  • I just think you need to get real with God and ask HIm for direction yourself. Let the prophetic word come to you as confirmation. I would fast and pray as well. Thanks for sharing.

  • He Jemi. God speaks in many different ways. Each way is just as important as another. If your friends have visions, great. That doesn’t mean you have to have them to be close/hear the Lord. As if to say that visions are a greater way to hear God’s voice. God may be teaching you to hear Him through His Word. Both are equal. Rest in knowing God’s loves you. Realize that your pursuit of God should be joyful and not filled with anxious work. I believe your eyes ARE open but I believe you’re trying to get the same revelation that your friends and cousins are getting. God, right now, might not be wanting to teach you to hear His voice in another way. Hope this helps.

  • When I was eleven, I had a dream in which I had a cellphone that connected directly to God. People would come to me and ask me to speak to God on their behalf and make a request on their behalf. I would pick up the phone and relay the message to God and instantly hear God’s reply and pass it on to whomever. Ever since, I’ve known that God wants to use me in communicating with His people. I, however, have been trying to get it to happen. I really long to hear God’s voice as I did in the dream but so far not much has changed. One Bible verse I received in that dream was Jeremiah 1:7.
    My brother-in-law heard from The Lord recently and told me to do a day’s fast of silence. I’m not sure how to go about it. Can you help?

    • Hi Ama, The dream could have been from the Lord. Sounds like it is. I tell people that God is talking all the time. I open the Bible and say, He is talking then I close the Bible and tell them He is not. A simple analogy that keeps people focused on the Word of God, informing them that He is always talking through His Word. Right now, maybe He is wanting you to tune into His Word to hear him speak. I would suggest that whatever the Holy Spirit tells you to do, then do.

  • When I was 19 I heard God voice it was autible he told me I would have a daycare at that time I was a security guard. So one day I was in my room and all of a sudden I heard this voice it was loud he called me by my whole name which is Katina because everyone calls me Tina it startled me I was not scared I remember telling my mom what happened I told her what God told me I ask her do you think I’m crazy my mom said no God told you so it will come to past. Well I was going to school to become a psychiatrist well today I have a daycare and it’s called Tender Lovin’ Child Care I have been in business for 22 yrs. now I’m 41 yrs. old I have not heard God voice any more it just was one time but I tell you this its very kind and pleasant and it’s very powerful I will never for get it.

    • Hi Katina. It can happen like that. So glad that He visited and spoke to you in this way. And you are doing the very thing He said. Way cool!

  • please sir I am 21years old from Nigeria I love God and what to have a closer walk with him.and I am also a young pastor can you coach me to know God deeply?? please I want to experience him.

    • Hi Stella. I probably can’t do this at this time. I might do some video coaching via the web in the future. I believe the greatest coach is the Holy Spirit. In addition, I would reach for blogs, like this one and books. Also, pray that there would be someone local that can assist you. May the Lord BLESS your ministry now and in the days to come.

  • I thank the lord for every moment he share with me right know I like to align my self with him in my dreams he always talk to me

  • After feeling so helpless and hopeless before Christmas, on the same night, I remember having a dream about being in the darkness and a light coming to me and touching me. It gave me so much peace and told me, “Don’t give up just yet, Angel. You’ll see.” Even the circumstances at the moment tell me that there is no hope between me and my partner, my dreams tell me otherwise. Even after having breakdowns, my dreams about my relationship being reconciled and restored have been so clear and felt so real.

  • I know that God has plan to speak to me while I waw sleep and I just figure it out why l I ask why when I was sleeping and the answer came immediately in to my mind the reason was because the noise of the world the noise of my mind and of the enemy was so loud that he had to talk to me while I was still sleeping. 3 times I heard God voice telling me he had my back and no one could brake me. Another i heard a voice saying to me he walks in the eye of the hurracan after seeing my self in the eye of a hurracan in my dream and another he said to me in my dream be still and know Iam God. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing God is in control and he wants us to trust hem I know God spoke to me several times in my dreams because I was seeing my self in my own storms. God is Good.

    • Hi Angy. Great testimonies here. I love how the Lord is so personal and he knows exactly how to reach us. Yes, God is good! Thanks for sharing.

  • I so much thank God for such posts. I usually hear God speaking to me through mental images and am praying that I grow and have my teritorries enlarged to hear Him even more through the other ways also.

    I so much thank Him so.

    • Hi Decider. Hearng God though mental images is very common with a lot of people. So glad that you are leaning in to God’s voice here and are looking for His voice in other ways as well! Cool.

  • Wonderful teaching. Every believer needs to be always and constantly spiritually literate to hear, listen and obey the voice of the Lord

  • First I heard a voice like thunder say my name and I thought it was God. A year later, I heard a voice that claimed to be Jesus and started out saying things you might expect Jesus to say. Eventually, though, the voice turned dark and would tell me things like I was going to hell. I believe this was a demon pretending to be God and Jesus; he definitely tricked me for awhile. Asking Jesus for help was what saved me.

    • Beth, I pray you to grow in confidence and assurance in hearing your Heavenly Father’s voice. Living constantly trying to determine if the Lord is speaking to you, or something/someone else is filled with anxiety and fear. The Bible says, His sheep (you and me) hear and know His voice. It is possible. This brings peace, reassurance, and life. Blessings!


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