Signs: God may choose to get your attention through a supernatural and direct sign, but He will usually do so in conjunction with other ways of speaking to you. But don’t depend on signs to hear from God. Instead of focusing on signs, focus on God Himself and strengthening your relationship with Him. If you become close enough to God to recognize His voice, you won’t need to test Him by asking for signs. Sometimes it’s fine to ask God to send you a sign – when you want to obey and need one to strengthen your faith.

Surprises: Sometimes God may get your attention by speaking in ways you don’t expect. Be open to hearing from God in unpredictable ways, and alert to whenever He may take you by surprise.

The unique way God has made each of us: God will speak to you according to how He has uniquely wired you. His messages will tie into His unique purpose for your life. Don’t compare yourself to other people’s ways of hearing from God; simply seek Him yourself and trust the unique ways He speaks to you.

History: God wants you to learn from what He has said and done throughout history – and how well or poorly people have responded to Him. Be willing to embrace change whenever God leads you to it, so you can grow and mature.

Different cultures: Every culture has a redemptive purpose from God that needs to be honored. God speaks to every culture in its own language, and He will speak to you in ways that you can best understand in light of your own culture. If you’re trying to communicate God’s truths to someone from a different culture, get to know their culture well so you can communicate in ways the person can best understand.

People’s lives: You can learn valuable lessons from the way other people live their lives. If they make mistakes, you can see the results. If they live faithfully, you can be inspired. Regularly ask God to teach you what He wants you to learn from the people you know. Seek to live as faithfully as you can, so others will be drawn to God through your life.

Stories and parables: Be alert to what messages God may be sending you through the meanings of stories and parables. Reflect on them and pray about them.

Commonsense wisdom: Your common sense is a gift from God that you can use to help you make wise decisions. If you don’t sense God leading you about a particular decision in a specific way, you may be able just to trust the common sense He has already given you.

The local church: God may often speak to you through your spiritual leaders and fellow believers at your local church. Pay close attention to what they say and seriously consider it. Do your part to support and encourage them, as well.

The whole body of Christ: You can learn to hear God more clearly and grow spiritually when you talk with other Christians beyond your own church and read Christian writing. Be open to hearing God speak through any part of His body on earth.

Other people: God may speak to you through the counsel of other people. Before taking people’s advice, however, make sure they’re mature believers whom you trust, and that you’ve thought and prayed about the advice yourself.

Testimonies: Your testimony – the story of how you personally came to believe in and trust Jesus – can powerfully impact other people. Tell it whenever God gives you a good opportunity. Let other people’s testimonies inspire you and help you learn more about God.

Authorities: If you have an attitude of love and submission toward those God has placed in authority in your life, you’ll place yourself in a position to hear God speak. Do your best to honor and respect healthy authority figures in your life.