Someone asked me this question recently and he was only one of several who have asked me in person and they are merely a tiny fraction of the number of saints worldwide across all times who have been asking this very same question but not so many have found workable answers.
I have something for you and trust it would be of tremendous help to you.
First of all, let’s capture some basics.
1. God speaks.
God speaks to us all. This is one thing that distinguishes our God from other false deities around us. In fact, you can know that he spoke to someone because he can tell you as well.
2. God’s children do not have hearing problems
If you’re a child of God, you hear God. I didn’t say you can you God, I said you hear God. Many times you were about to make a decision and you had a thought and you changed your mind and things worked out, that was God. When narrating the episode to people, we use expressions like “my spirit told me” or worse, ” something told me”.
As long as we don’t consciously acknowledge that it t was the Holy Spirit who was guiding us, we will keep short changing ourselves in this regard not because He will get offended and hold back but because we will never consider him a valid resource person we can always turn to when were in a tight spot.
3. This is more than God speaking, it is a relationship
The implication is that if you do not put to use what you do hear from God, you will not ever get to build your confidence in the concept that you can hear from God. Christianity is a walk and one testimony builds on the last. If you haven’t listened or heard God on other non-critical matters, you will naturally panic when it comes to hearing him on the matter of choosing a spouse knowing how much risk is involved. We are on a journey of faith and panic won’t let us hear God.
Now, many Christians, knowing that the devil also speaks get scared that they might hear from the devil when they ask God to speak. As valid as we feel that concern is, it is actually baseless … or perhaps based on ignorance or fear.
If you ask God for something by faith, the devil cannot respond, God is the one who will respond that’s how the spirit world works. People think that when they ask and God is bringing an answer, the devil will rush and give a misleading word. This assumes that Satan is faster than God. Well, Satan is fast but God made Him so He can’t be faster. Besides, God is omnipresent, Satan is not. God doesn’t need to even move to get to you.
And you know what, He lives in you so communication between the two of you is not on telecom but intercom. Have you ever heard someone say they couldn’t communicate with a colleague via the intercom because network was down? It doesn’t happen.
There is a very real story of Angel Gabriel being waylaid by the prince of Persia for 21 days until Michael went and freed him. Christians remind themselves of this story and worry forgetting that in Daniel’s days, God did not dwell in man but by faith in Jesus, God moved house when you got saved, and you are his temple. So, nothing really can stand between you and God talking to each other.
All this is fine and dandy but how do I now hear God? I never consciously heard him before how do I start?
Here, I’ll tell you my story.
I was in fellowship and Pastor George Woodbridge, who was obviously one kain spiro like that, was talking about what I can’t remember but every few minutes he would say, “be sensitive to The Spirit and ….” or “with a high sensitivity to The Spirit, you’ll get …” and along the way he said, “increase your sensitivity to the spirit” but he never said how. So after the service, I walked up to him and asked, “How do I increase my sensitivity to the Spirit?” His answer was, “Study the word” and he walked away. If you’re thinking along, you like me were expecting more but, guys, that’s all I got.
At first, I was disappointed that he didn’t give me more but then, I thought “maybe that is all” so I went back to my hostel and started to study. I started with the notes I took from service and went through all of the scriptures quoted. I made this my routine. I noticed after some time that as I studied those notes, I was making new notes, writing down things that “came” to me that were not said in the service. And after a while, I got used to it, I always expected it to happen and it never failed.
Then one day, a though occurred to me that was not tied to the noted I took or the scriptures in them. The thought was this, “When you’re studying and things seem to be jumping out at you, it’s because I am there with you, as though standing over your shoulder pointing them out to you”.
It was a first person comment to me. It was a thought but it claimed an identity of its own and I understood that the Spirit of God had spoken to me. I even did a painting in my drawing pad back then capturing that idea.
And friends, that is how my journey with God took off. All those times I was studying and getting new stuff, it wasn’t because I was so smart, it was because the author of the scriptures was giving me tutorials in His work first hand.
See the word says, every good gift comes from God so I concluded that if anything good was happening in me, it’s not me but the treasure of heaven inside me. So each time I got a good idea, I’d say thank you to the one who gave me the idea, not because I was being spiritual but because I was being real giving credit where it was due. That way, I kept Him front and centre of everything I did.
The more I spent studying, the more time we had together, the more He spoke and the more I heard his voice and gradually got used to how He “feels” and sounds in my spirit. Then in the place of prayer, He would tell me stuff about my siblings at home and I would pray and some days later, I’d get a message that something did happen about that time but God intervened.
From then on, since I’d become used to having Him around, I could talk to Him about anything at anytime I wanted and He always … always … always talks back. So, choosing a spouse was just one of those things two good friends talked about between me and Him. Two good friends … just that one is all knowing and all wise and the other is a mere jar of clay that knows nothing really but together, we come off as one good team and I look good.
This story began in 1995 and till today, I have never heard the voice of God in my external ears and I really don’t need to. But those who know me can attest that they see signs that I am a man led by God and full of the wisdom of God. Am I boasting? Well, maybe I am but I am merely boasting in the friend that I have had all these years who walks and talks with me every time every where.
If you want to be led by God, pray in the spirit, study the word and you’re good to go. But practically speaking, start by asking small innocuous questions that have no risk attached so that fear will not build. For example, “what shirt should I wear today, what should I have for lunch, should I even have lunch?” Use what He tells you and the testimonies will build your confidence. From there, grow on up and don’t be afraid to say, “God told me”.