"Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you". James 4:8
Over the past several Sundays I have talked about prayer. When we pray we are talking to God. But is it a one-sided conversation? Are we listening to what God is telling us? Many times in the Bible we read stories about God speaking directly to his people, but rarely do we hear stories in our age of dramatic encounters such as God speaking through a burning bush. When we do hear people saying that God spoke directly to them we often must weigh the information very carefully before accepting that it is true. Does God still speak to us? Do we listen if he does?
Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
God can certainly talk to whomever he pleases, but usually He responds in accordance to our relationship with him. If we have established a steadfast relationship with God through persistant and faithful prayer, we are knocking upon that door which will be opened to us. God will speak to us, though it likely won't be in audibly direct words. God can speak to us through scripture or through the words of another person. His "voice" my be seen in an event or something we see around us that tells us what we need to know. When we are truly of God, then we will be able to recognize that which is of God. We need to open all of our senses in order to know when God is speaking to us.
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." 1Kings 19:11-12
We live in such a noisy world filled with plenty to distract us. With our television, computers, work, socializing, and everything that is in the crazy world around us it's sometimes hard to focus. And so often we are busy, busy, busy. You're going to have a hard time hearing God's voice unless you set aside a time and a place for God. Not many of us are going to be like a prophet of old and fast in the wilderness for forty days, but we can still schedule some daily time for reading and reflecting on God's Word and praying to him. In the stillness of our seclusion it will be easier to hear what God is saying to us.
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning." Psalm 130:5-6
As we set aside time for prayer and studying the Bible, we also must learn to be in God's time and learn patience. God will answer you when you are ready to hear. Learning to wait patiently is part of the process of listening to God. If you are not patient, then you may never learn to be ready to hear and understand God's will for you. In addition, instead of acting rashly on what you think is God speaking, you should act after carefully weighing out what you think you have heard to be sure that it truly is of God and not a product of your desire.
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.' Jeremiah 33:3
God wants for you to call on him. When we have a strong, honest, sincere, and faithful relationship with Him, He will tell us what we need to know. Faith, persistance, stillness, and patience will put our hearts, minds, and souls in the place to listen to God.
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand" John 10:27-28