In my book Snatchproof, I have an entire chapter of exercises to help you practice hearing God’s voice. I’m not going to include those here, but I wanted to expand on that chapter and add some new exercises (below). I’d also like to recommend a website that I have benefited from called Stir the Water. StirTheWater.com is a place for you to grow in your revelatory gifts as well as other creatively inspired gifts of the Spirit of the Lord. They take you through a series of exercises where you spend time with the Lord and you exercise your mind to allow visions and ways for Him to speak. The first few times I did these exercises really helped me in learning how to hear Him in visions and pictures in my mind. I know it sounds crazy to people who are new at this, but with practice and prayer and keeping the Word as the center and as the “bar” that you hold everything up to, you really can grow in this area.
In my opinion this is the best way to learn how to hear His voice. Start with a new journal to write in, or open up a Word document in your computer and save it as your online journal. Make a habit of daily spending time with the Lord and having a two-way conversation with Him. This means, you start by talking to Him, praising Him, loving Him, thanking Him, being honest with Him, giving Him your burdens, etc… Then, turn the tables and write the second half of the journal back to you FROM GOD. This can be really hard to do at first because most people are afraid to “speak for Him.” Who am I to write from God’s perspective?
Listen, if you believe in Jesus He says that you are one of His sheep and that you hear His voice! That means the Holy Spirit in you IS speaking! You might just not know how to interpret the voice yet in your mind to know the difference between God’s voice, your voice, and the enemy’s voice. Believe me, God wants you to figure this out. He is not shaking his head in disbelief at you as you journal from Him. Instead, picture Him whispering into your ear as you write to yourself. Usually the first sentence or two comes out awkward because you just aren’t sure… but this is just a journal. You can delete or throw it away later, and you certainly don’t have to show it to anyone. Once you start writing, GO WITH IT. Don’t stop. Don’t question every sentence or think about it, just keep writing. Usually, once I start going the thoughts flow so fast I can hardly keep up…but I’ve been doing this for a long time now. Don’t feel bad if this doesn’t happen to you.
Then, go back and reread what He says to you. If it contradicts the Bible in any way (His written Word), cross through it and make a note to yourself… “didn’t hear it.” If it doesn’t contradict and instead lines up with the Word of God and His character, you can bet that it DID come from Him.
Here are some exercises to help you get started in journaling:
1. Get ready to write. Think of three things to thank God for. Think of something, a quality like His Mercy or Grace, to praise Him for. Then, write out three things on your heart that concern you. They could be personal issues you deal with – sin, sickness, a harmful attitude… a relationship, a friend or family member, or a job. Whatever comes to the top of your mind when you are typing or writing, make a list of those three concerns and then tell the Lord about them.
Then, I want you to picture Jesus sitting on your desk beside you (or in a chair beside you, or standing behind you with his hands on your shoulder). His face is loving towards you. If it makes you comfortable, He touches you. Maybe a hand on your shoulder or arm… or maybe He touches your hair. He has heard everything you have journaled and is ready to respond.
Start typing with… “My child…I love you.” Then, close your eyes and imagine what He would say to you… at first it might take awhile to get a clear picture or idea, but as words form in your mind, take a risk and start writing them or typing them down. If they come out clunky it is because your brain isn’t used to doing this. The more you practice, the faster it will come. Listen as HE answers your concerns and speaks life to you concerning your burdens. He may give you direction or insight, be open to receiving it. And if at the end, you aren’t sure if you heard Him or not, just keep the journal tucked away for the next time and over time you will be able to go back and read what He has said. You’ll see your ability to hear Him get clearer and clearer. You’ll see things He said that actually came true later and confirmed He spoke. Stick with it and listen to His voice. I promise, He is speaking.
2. Get your journal out and get ready to write down impressions you might get from the Lord. Then, start with writing out several things you are thankful for. Then praise Him for 1-2 things. (This is a good format to open these sessions with). Then, I want you to close your eyes and see yourself sitting in a room with a tree. Ask the Lord to speak to you regarding your life being that tree. Sit in His presence and let the picture develop. What happens with the tree? Is it barren? Is there fruit? What does the fruit look like? What is the fruit used for? If you don’t know, ask Him. Ask Him to reveal to you what pictures you saw in your mind and what they mean to you. Do they represent your life? Do they represent your future? Is there a problem with the fruit? Then, using two-way journaling, switch to His perspective and write whatever comes to your mind. See if the Lord will use this to talk to you about your life…