Prayer Requests and Learning How to Pray

Our biggest sale! 50% off your PLUS subscription. Use code SUMMER

How to Hear God

  • Updated Aug 17, 2017
How to Hear God

It's an honor to be able to speak to God. We don't have to go through a priest or a saint or any other intermediary. We don't have to follow any prescribed rituals. We don't have to wait for an appointment. Anywhere, anytime, under any circumstances we can approach the throne of grace with confidences, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Heb. 4:16).

Ironically, though, most of the time we think of prayer as talking to God, rarely stopping to wonder whether God might want to talk to us. You can almost sense God saying, If we enjoy a relationship, why are you the one doing all the talking? Let me get a word in somewhere.

The importance of listening:



  • People who are really interested in hearing from God must pay a price: they must discipline themselves to be still before God. This is not an easy task, but it is essential. Be still, and know that I am God (Ps. 46:10).


  • God's power is available to you when you come to Him in solitude, when you learn how to focus and center your heart, and be quiet before Him. Then you find that His leadings come through to you clearly, with little interference.


  • Set aside a half-hour each day (preferably in the morning) and be still with God. Use the time to reflect on the previous day, write out your prayers, and invite the Lord to speak to you.


  • Custom-design an approach that will still your racing mind and body, soften your heart, and enable you to hear God's voice. If journals aren't your thing, try talking quietly to God, then have a period of listening.


  • Ask God questions.



    • What's the next step in developing my character?


    • At what educational goals should I aim?


    • What's the next step in my ministry?


    • What's the next step in my vocation?


    • In what direction should my dating relationship go?


    • What should I do for my children?


    • How should I plan my giving?



  • Keep your ears tuned to Him each day. It is possible to be aware throughout the day, even while going about your daily work, of God's gentle promptings. That's what it means to live by the spirit (Gal 5:16). These on-the-spot promptings are not a substitute for unhurried quiet time with God. In fact, they tend to come when you regularly make time for stillness and solitude.


  • You don't need to feel upset if sometimes God chooses to remain silent. He's a living Being, not an answering machine, and He speaks when He has something to say. If we aren't willing to follow up on the Holy Spirit's leading, He may see no reason to continue speaking.


  • Usually the reason we don't hear His voice is that we don't listen for it. We don't schedule times of stillness that make communication possible. Turn off the TV, radio, CD player, and formally invite Him to speak to you.


  • How can you be sure that a leading is truly from God?



    • All leadings that come from God are consistent with God's Word, the Bible. The surest way to test the source of a leading is to check it against Scriptures.


    • God's leadings are usually consistent with the person He made you to be. God is purposeful; He wants to use you in the areas of the gifts and talents He gave you.


    • God's leadings usually involve servanthood rather than being self-serving. He will call you to humble yourself, serve somebody, encourage somebody, or give something away.



From How to Hear God by Bill Hybels, copyright (c) 1988, 1998, 1999. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill.

Bill Hybels is pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill.