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-- © GodSpeak International 2004 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis <ts@godspeak.net>
Editor: Paul Cummins

Prayer-School Course #27

A Spiritual Checkup For Intercessors
(2nd Edition)

By Teresa Seputis

Lesson 8
Practical Steps To Learn God's Voice


Decide that you're willing to accept the increased accountability to obey Him. Make a conscious decision of obedience; a commitment to obey what you hear regardless of what God asks you to do (or not do).

Then inform God of your decision and ask Him to teach you His voice. We know that God will teach us when we ask because of James 1:5, which says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

Once you've asked, trust God to communicate to you. His job to speak so we understand. When we ask God for good things, like knowing His voice, He assures that we get good instead of evil. We see that in Luke 11:9-13 where Jesus said, "9 So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him."


Increase your prayer/praise life. Get to know God's heart and to build relationship with Him. Remember, the more you know Him, easier it will be to discern His voice from any other voice. In addition to prayer, be sure to spend time in His word and with God. The goal is to get to know His nature and His behavior. That will make it easier for you to recognize when He speaks to you.

Have you ever had a close friend telephone you and then start talking to you without identifying who they are? Yet you know who they are because you have spent a lot of time with them and have learned to recognize their voice. That is the way it is with God, the more time you spend with Him, the more you read Scripture and learn His nature, the more you worship and bask in His presence, the easier it is to recognize His voice.

And you need to read the Bible on a regular basis. Scripture is the word of God. It is the final authority, where God has revealed His likes and dislikes and His heart and His nature to us. Pour yourself into it, read it, meditate on it, memorize it! The more you are familiar with who God has revealed Himself to be through Scripture, the easier it will be for you discern His voice. And the easier it will be to identify/discern the false voices that that try to imitate God's voice. For instance, if "God" were to tell you to go ahead and go out and get drunk and party and have fun in the world's sense of the word, you would know it was not really God's voice because it clearly contradicts Scripture.

In my early days of hearing God, the Holy Spirit would constantly speak to me by recalling Bible verses I'd memorized to my memory. Now, this may seem obvious, but He could not have recalled them to my memory if I had not memorized them in the first place. If you want to know God's voice clearly, get His word inside of you. Read it, become familiar with it, memorize it, meditate on it.


Learning anything, even learning to recognize God's voice, is a process. When you learn any new skill, you are clumsy at first and improve with practice. So, do not give up the first time you make a mistake.

I made a lot of mistakes in my early days of hearing God. Some of them were comical. One Sunday morning I thought I heard God tell me to go to this specific church. I looked it up in the phonebook, and sure enough, there was a church by that name. So I looked up the address on a map and drove there. It was a relatively short street (only about 6 blocks long). I kept driving up and down that street, but the address of the church simply did not exist on it. I spent an hour looking for the church and finally came home frustrated. (Later, I learned that this street was one of the streets that stopped and started several times, and I had been driving up/down the wrong segment of the street.)

Had I heard God right on going to that church that Sunday morning? Probably not. Did I feel like quitting since I'd obviously gotten it wrong? Of course I did. But I did not let myself give up. Eventually I learned to discern God's voice with a fair degree of accuracy.

When a baby learns to walk, it often takes a step or two and then falls down. What if, after falling two or three times, the baby decided not to try any more? That would not be so good, would it? Likewise, you must not give up on hearing God's voice if you make a few mistakes in the process of learning. You need to persist in hearing God's voice just like you persisted in learning to walk. You fell on your fanny many times, but kept on trying. And eventually you were running all over the house, your previous failures totally forgotten. If you keep at it with hearing God's voice, you will eventually learn to hear Him clearly and forget the frustrations of the learning process. So, give yourself room to make mistakes and keep on keeping on.

When Things Go Seriously Wrong

The learning process sometimes stops when you are walking in disobedience. If is actually a kindness of God, because the more clearly you hear, the more accountable you are to obey. So if you are demonstrating a repeated lack of obedience, then God will probably put the process of learning His voice on hold until you renew your commitment to obey Him. You will "know it" if you are in this situation, because you know that you've not been obeying what you had heard while you were still in the process of learning to recognize His voice. The solution to this problem is easy. Repent and get right with God. Recommit to obey. God will give you a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc chance.

Another thing that impairs the process of learning/hearing God's voice is you've fallen out of intimacy with God. Chances are you won't be able to hear Him very clearly if your walk with Him gets distant. Fix this by running back to Him, asking Him to restore you and walking in intimacy with Him.

Also, unforgiveness in your heart towards another can interfere with your ability to hear from God and damage your intimacy. Jesus discusses this in Matthew 18:23-35, the parable of the unforgiving debtor. You know the story. Someone owed a lot of money and was about to be thrown into debtor's prison. He fell on his face and begged mercy and was given mercy. Then he left the court and ran into someone who owned him a little bit of money. The person begged for mercy but he would not extend mercy to the person and had them thrown into jail. Let's look at what Jesus said in verses 32-35:

32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.

I am sorry to tell you this, but about the only way to get around that impairment is to choose to forgive and to ask God to help you truly walk in forgiveness. It is not easy, but it is definitely worth it! Intimacy with God and clearly discerning His voice are far more rewarding than the fleeting "satisfaction" of holding unforgiveness (no matter how richly deserved) in your heart.

There is one last "problem area" to cover here. That area is: what do you do if you seem to be hearing really weird things? First, bring it to God and tell Him what you heard and pray about it. Ask God to confirm if its Him or to correct if it's not Him. Also, get another believer to pray with you for guidance from the Lord. Run what you hear against Scriptural principles. If it violates Scripture, throw it out. Finally you can go to your pastor or a lay leader you trust (such as an elder or home group leader) and ask them to help you discern if what you are hearing is really from God.

Remember, God is more interested in talking to you than you are in hearing Him, but He won't force you. You must desire to hear His voice and be willing to obey Him when He does speak to you. If you are, God will teach you. And His ability to teach you to hear His voice is greater than your ability to hear it wrong! You can trust Him to teach you to hear Him clearly.

-- © GodSpeak International 2004 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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