I feel a sense of conviction so powerful that I would die before I’d turn away from it. Say what you want, I can tell you I’ve been a Christian for fifty years, and I’ve never been wrong any time I had one of these strong convictions. If I had to give up the conviction or die, I’m ready to die for it; it’s that clear to me.

Does God speak that clearly to you?

101.1 Crazy Talk

Perhaps God has spoken to you in the past and you’d like to experience that kind of communication again.

Maybe you’ve never heard from God personally—but you long to.

Or could it be that you are skeptical that God speaks at all?

One reason people say they don’t pray more is because they feel as if nothing happens when they pray, that God isn’t listening, or worse, that he is not there at all.

A one-sided relationship isn’t worth much.

If we’re expected to talk to God through prayer, shouldn’t we know whether he will talk back? And if he will, how we will hear him?

So does God speak to you?

Think carefully before you respond. People are likely to make judgments about you based solely on how you answer this question.

In the mid-eighties, Jennifer was a high school sophomore actively investigating the claims of Christianity, but she hadn’t yet made a decision as to their veracity. While riding in a car with a guy from school, she had a disturbing conversation, so disturbing that twenty years later she can’t recall the context or the guy, just the conversation. She remembers he was smart, cute, and she had a crush on him. And he was a Christian. Though cute and smart are good boyfriend traits, she wasn’t so sure about the Christian part, especially when he happened to mention that God spoke to him.

I clearly remember that he said, “God told me . . .” and all I could think was, This guy must be crazy, and I didn’t mean crazy in some fun-loving way. I meant crazy in a certifiably deranged sort of way. People who hear God’s voice do crazy-people things like shoot their mother or drown their kids in a bathtub.

I have to admit, I was nervous riding in a car with someone who thought he was hearing God speak, but like I said, he was cute. So I asked him about it.

“God speaks to you?”

“Yes.”

“Do you hear voices? Do you hear a deep voice like in the movies?”

“No, not really—”

“Well, what does his voice sound like?”

“Well, it’s kind of—”

“Wait. Do other people hear him when he speaks to you?”

I wasn’t sure how I wanted him to answer that question. If God spoke only to him and no one else heard God’s voice, then this guy was not boyfriend material; he was drown-our-future-kids material. But if he said that other people also heard God speak to him, like eavesdropping on a conversation at a restaurant—Cute Guy and God discussing football scores—then it was even weirder.

Was this guy a member of some strange cult?

Had he been drinking?

Or was it possible that God really did speak to him? Was he speaking to everyone? And if so, why didn’t I hear him?

Fortunately, Cute Guy interrupted my thoughts with an explanation.

“No, it’s not like God says things out loud to me like Charlton Heston shouting through a megaphone. It’s more like it’s a passing thought that comes into my head from out of nowhere. It’s more like a feeling than an audible voice.”

“Then how do you know it’s God?” I asked before peppering him with questions about what he heard, how he heard it, and if he was taking any prescription drugs.

I left that conversation more curious and a little less skeptical. But if God really spoke to people, why wasn’t he speaking to me? And could I get him to start? I wasn’t yet convinced that he directly communicated with people. And I knew I wouldn’t believe it based on someone else’s reports. If God wanted me to believe that he really does speak, he’d have to speak to me personally.