WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HEAR GOD SPEAK? – UNDERSTANDING THE VOICE OF GOD

Introduction

God often chooses to speak in strange ways and through unusual means. This is one of the primary reasons why many people do not recognize when God is speaking to them.  As we examine how God speaks,  let us remember that He is the Creator and that His creativity is expressed in the ways He communicates. In fact, we must recognize that God’s voice is seldom really a voice.

The Voice of God

In John 1:1, Jesus is called the “Word of God.” This description reveals that God is a communicator. He is the Word, and He created all things with the word of His mouth (Genesis 3:8). Fundamental to God’s nature is that He is a communicator. In the same way, fundamental to every child of God is the ability to hear God’s voice. If you are a true Christian, you have already heard God speak. In fact, you cannot come to Jesus unless the Father draws you.You must “hear His voice” in order to be drawn to Him. Although you did not literally hear a voice tell you that Jesus was the Son God, somehow you realized that the gospel was true. So, in essence, you were led by the Fathher to the Son.

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me” (John 6:44, 45)

God communicates in strange ways for a variety of reasons, but we will only explore the different ways in which He speaks.

“He said, hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; With him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings…” (Numbers 12:6-8).

Job 33:14-17 outlines these same ways in which God speaks. Dreams, visions, and “dark sayings” (Psalm 78:2) here mean a riddle  or puzzle. God often speaks in parables which require us to do some research in order to discover what He is saying.

Levels of Revelation

Some types of revelation are of a higher order than others. Lower levels of revelation include mental or spiritual impressions or perceptions, gentle internal visions, and the still, small voice of God that we hear in our spirits. Each of these is a valid type of revelation, although at a lower level.

Higher level revelations include open visions, visitations of the Lord, vivid dreams, trances, being caught up in the Spirit, and other prophetic experiences. As a general rule, the less subjective way in which a revelation comes, the higher it is.

Prophetic Impressions

Impressions are the simplest form of prophetic revelation. Almost every child of God has heard God speak through impressions. But because of general ignorance about revelation gifts in the church, many do not recognize these impressions as God-given, but discount them as stray thoughts or coincidences.
Most peopl have experienced the phenomenon of suddenly thinking about someone they had not seen or heard from in years, then, “by chance” encountering that person later in the day or week. Others, during the coursr of their day, have, a “stray thought” about something a friend or acquaintance needs to do, later, it is discovered that their stray thought was an accurate insight.

What many people think are coincidences are actually valid prophetic impressions from God. What would happen if you began recognizing the impressions you receive as being from God? He would begin using you to speak to people that He wants to touch.

Scriptural Examples of Impressions

The Bible contains several powerfuls examples of impression-level revelations. In Acts 14:9, Paul perceived that a man who was crippled from birth had faith for healing. When Paul acted on his impression, the man was dramatically healed. Paul did not receive a higher level of revelation such as an audible voice or a vision, but simply had a perception or impression.

As another example, Paul also had a prophetic impression while being transported to Rome for trial. “I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives” (Acts 27:10 KJV). Later, the Lord spoke more clearly to Paul and he received a higher level revelation concerning what would happen, along with a word of wisdom for keeping everyone safe (Acts 27:22-25).

Impressions are the entry-level prophetic revelation for most people, but this does not imply impressions are not significant. Paul, a mature apostle, continued to receive insight and help from God through prophetic impressions throughout his ministry. Today, many seasoned prophetic ministers also continue to receive impression-level revelations, even though God frequently speaks to them through higher level revelation.

Prophetic Senses

Using the model of our five physical senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch-we will discover another way that God speaks to us. He will give us revelation through seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching spiritually. Although this may initially sound strange, there is a scriptural precedent for God speaking to us through our “spiritual senses.”

• 1. “Spiritual Sight” – Prophets were often called “seers” in the Old Testament. In Kings 2, we find a biblical example of the gift of discerning of spirits operating through “spiritual sight.” When Elijah was translated to heaven, Elisha received a double portion of the spirit that was upon him, and he also received Elijah’s mantle for ministry. Consider what the sons of the prophets said when they saw him: “Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite him saw him, they said, ‘The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.’ And they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before
him ‘” (2 Kings 2:15).

These young men “saw” that the spirit of Elijah was now upon Elisha. What did they see? Was there some physical change in Elisha? Or was it a spiritual change that they could see with their spiritual eyes? There was a spiritual presence that was once upon Elijah that they now “saw” upon Elisha. This was the prophetic mantle or authority in which Elijah had walked.

Many times, the Lord will reveal that an individual has a similar calling as the other person. Sometimes they were born in the same province, city, or have the same occupation. In some instances, they have the same name.

• 2. “Spiritual Hearing” – Another way God gives revelation is through hearing. Like spiritual sight, God will give us revelation when we hear a person speak or we hear someone speak a name. By spiritual hearing, I do not mean that we hear when people sound depressed or excited because of the tone of their voice; instead we are spiritually discerning this.

God will also reveal struggles that people are experiencing, encouragements He has for them, and many other things in this fashion. If we will learn to identify when we hear something unusual and ask the Lord, He will give us a powerful ministry for and to people.

• 3. “Spiritual Smell” – God also speaks through the spiritual sense of smell. Just as with sight and hearing, God will often cause us to spiritually smell things that are messages or revelations. God also gives us revelation through smell that confirms His work, not just the enemy’s.

• 4. “Spiritual Touch” – Another way that God speaks is through the sense of touch. Some people receive revelation concerning touching an individual.

• 5. “Spiritual Taste” – This is similar in nature and application to receiving revelation through spiritual smell. We need to consider that Jesus healed people in some instances by spitting on their tongue, or by spitting on their eyes, or putting mud in their eyes. Remember, if we are to read scriptures honestly, we must conclude by agreeing with God’s word to Isaiah: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).

The Voice of the Lord

God does speak to us in plain words at times. In general, when we talk about God speaking to us, we mean God has communicated with us through an impression, vision, or some other means. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that He also simply “speaks” to us by His voice.

But even within hearing the voice of the Lord, there are different levels of revelation and different ways in which He speaks. While I have not provided clear scripture for these different designations, scripture does mention the “still, small voice,” and God speaking audibly at times. Some of the designations we make here are described in nature.

• 1. Still, Small Voice of God – This is a lower level revelation for the most part and probably all Christians have heard the Lord speak to them in this fashion. This is a soft and gentle voice of God which comes as we wait on the Lord in prayer or meditation. God speaks this way for personal instructions or encouragement. It is a highly subjective way to hear God, since it comes internally and quietly. It is a valid way that God speaks, but it must be judged in light of the desire of our own hearts.

• 2.  Audible Voice, Internal, Voice of God – This is a higher level revelation than the still, small voice because it is less subjective in nature. This is often a loud, booming voice, not coming in our thought, but instead cutting through and interpreting them. Although this is not really audible, it seems to be because it resounds so loudly within us.

• 3. Audible Voice of God – This is obviously a higher level of revelation than hearing God speak internally. The audible voice of God is difficult to describe, except to say that if you only think you have heard God speak audibly, you have not. When He speaks in this manner, all thought and doubt is removed. It is not so much that it is loud in volume, but that it is immense in nature.

Visions

There are many different ways in which God speaks to us, which are included under the general category of visions. There are glimpses in the Spirit, gentle internal visions, strong internal visions, and open visions. We must remember that God not only spoke in visions to the Old Testament Covenant saints, but He did this with the New Testament believers as well. He continues to speak this way to many today. On the scale of prophetic revelation, visions are generally a higher level of revelations than in different types of visions, some of which are described below:

• 1. Glimpses in the Spirit – These are the lowest level visions and are fleeting internal pictures that we receive from the Lord. They are brief in duration and usually contain only a small picture, not a scene or a story line. Although a lower form of revelation, God can speak powerfully through these gentle visions. Many of these glimpses are symbolic in nature. When praying for people, a person may see glimpses or still pictures in their spirit that have nothing to do with them personally, but are shown that they may pray for a certain individual, or intercede for a situation.

• 2. Gentle Internal Visions and Strong, Internal Visions – Internal visions are much stronger than simple glimpses although they are still “seen” internally. As a rule, these visions are more than just still pictures; they include a “story line” of transpiring events. This type of vision can be interrupted by distractions, and good focus is needed to keep from missing them. Since strong, internal visions are clearer and more pronounced than gentle internal visions, they are a higher level of revelation.

• 3. Open Visions –These are of a considerably higher level revelation than impressions, internal visions, or the internal voice of God. These visions are received when your eyes are open and are not stopped by distractions. These visions can start and continue even when you are involved in an attention consuming activity, such as driving a car. The experience is similar to seeing a scene acted out physically as on a cinema. Open visions are a higher level of revelation than internal visions, again because they are less subjective in nature. While an internal vision could come from our own mind, like a daydream, your mind will not cause an open vision that is seen externally and cannot be stopped. These are obviously from the Lord. Additionally, open visions may be seen by more than one person at the same time.

Trances

Do not be afraid of this designation.Trances are found in the New Testament. Peter fell into a trance in which God profoundly spoke to him. Through obedience to the instructions he was given in the trance, Peter received a revelation that was to open the way for the Gentiles as well as the Jews (see Acts 10:34). When he acted on this message, the door of faith was opened to the Gentiles.

During a trance, most, if not all awareness of your natural surroundings are obscured, and you are transfixed on the events in the trance as opposed to an open vision where you observe something transpiring. In a trance, you participate in a scene through your actions. They can last any length of time – from a few seconds to several hours. The history of the Church is filled with accounts of God speaking through trances.

Trances are a higher level of revelation than dreams or visions, again because they are less subjective in nature. You cannot make yourself have a trance; they come from the Lord and do not stop until He stops them.

Dreams

The Lord also speaks to us in dreams, of which there several types. These include: Literal and Symbolic dreams. somtimes dreams can only be interpreted or revealed by the Holy Spirit. Discernment is also a major component of uncovering the meaning of dreams.

Caught Up in the Spirit

God also speaks to us when we are “caught up in the Spirit,” through angelic visitations and visitations from the Lord. This immediately brings to mind the experience of Jesus’ beloved disciple when he was exiled on the Isle of Patmos for the Word of God. The apostle John was “in the Spirit on Lord’s day,” and received revelation from none other than Jesus Christ himself.

Conclusion

I hope and pray that you have been thoroughly blessed by reading this page, and hopefully, have learned how to recognize the voice of God when He speaks to you.

Please do not hesitate to email me at akidasababu@gmail.com if you have questions about hearing God speak, or understanding the voice of God.

61 thoughts on “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HEAR GOD SPEAK? – UNDERSTANDING THE VOICE OF GOD

  1. Thanks for sharing this. We all need to hear the voice of God in this day and time of increasing deception. I can tell you that when I heard God’s audible voice, it was not within myself. The Audible Voice was behind me… I knew that He was about 6 feet behind me.. Totally transforming experience!! Many blessings to you my friend!

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  2. Pingback: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HEAR GOD SPEAK? – UNDERSTANDING THE VOICE OF GOD | ~Esther's Corner~

  3. AS I ANSWER ANY PRAYER REQUEST, I WAIT FOR “YHWH” TO SPEAK TO ME ABOUT HOW TO ANSWER THAT PRAYER REQUEST, NOW I LISTEN TO WHAT “YHWH’S” HOLY SPIRIT SAYS TO ME, BUT FOR YEARS I REFUSED TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS THAT “YHWH’S” HOLY SPIRIT WAS SAYING TO ME, NOW I DAILY ASK “YHWH” FOR HIS HELP AS I LIVE MY LIFE AS AN INTERCESSORY PRAYER WARRIOR

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  4. Pingback: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HEAR GOD SPEAK? – UNDERSTANDING THE VOICE OF GOD | thedreamyactiveinertbrain

  5. This Is A Blessing.I Have Experienced Open Vision Once,trance Few Times..But I Want To Narrate My Experience On His Audible Voice,,, As An Undergraduate Years Back,i Was Walking Home From The Students Fellowship.It Was Dark When Suddenly I Had A Leading To Start Praying In The Holy Ghost.I Could Not Understand But I Just Had To Obey The Leading.After Walking And Praying For A While,i Heard A Voice As Audible As As Anything Else That Said ” Now On Your Torchlight”, I Immediately Turned On The Torchlight On My Hand. What I Saw Crawling Majestically Was A Huge Whie Snake. I Had To Stop While I Watched The Snake Walk Pass For Many Seconds..I Praise God For Speaking. Amen

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  6. hallo you have hit the jackpot on this issue.last year God spoke to me audibly and afterwards I spend a whole day in a vision and am walking in his presence.am still young in salvation and am contemplating writing some books. what do you think?

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    • Thanks for your kind words. I think it is an awesome idea to write a book to share about what God has shown you. But you must be very careful not to add to or take away what God is showing you and has shown you in the past. I have also recently published a book about marital relationships and what a woman really thinks and feels in her heart. It is entitled: THE HEART OF A WOMAN/WHAT EVERY MAN SHOULD KNOW.

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  7. The Lord whispered to me saying( Don’t give up!) I jumped up from my sofa from which I WAS laying, I looked around the room but I knew I was there all alone. I know that I’m a head strong guy, with all of my senses, and I thought maybe my conscience was talking who knows? And then all of a sudden He said it again!! DON’T GIVE UP! I’m no bible thumper, however I do believe in God, that’s why I’m here looking for meaning or answers as to why he spoke to me.thanks for reading be Blessed.

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    • God may have spoken to you because you could well be experiencing a crisis of some sort in a certain area of your life, and you were in need of divine encouragement.

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  8. 7yr’s ago, while on the sleeping. then. I was in a between. none of my fleshy, body scene. beneath me was a light reddish color &over me, a light blue. their was light. But did not know from where. And then. He asked me a question. would you like to go back and finish, what I have for you to do. I said yes. very powerful,meek,melodious voice.

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  9. My boyfriend tells me that God spoke to him God has told him to protect me because my soul is the most beautiful soul that ever has been. Can I believe this?

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    • I would be very skeptical of his statement. It sounds as if he loves you. Therefore his words may be coming from his own heart rather than from God.

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  10. This is a great, detailed overview. It is thorough and provides more than enough insight for the Truth seeker.
    Thank you for your consecration and obedience.

    The Lord answers those who diligently Him.

    Glory to God!!

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  11. He said simply, in a loud thundery soft voice, I have been waiting for u for a long time, I am so glad u came this happened after 7 months of beening in my heart, were I felt all the feeling I had been running away from all my life,but once felt and stayed with a treasure lay beneith, that I was love it self,we our love

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  12. What a powerful and detailed explanation of the prophetic experiences. I have always wanted to find an article like this and this helps alot. I now understand many things i did not. Thanks alot and may God richly continually bless you

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  13. I simply enjoyed this! Excellent work on breaking down and explaining the varieties of methods that the Lord may use for talking with us. I’ve been doing a lot of research on the topic and wanting to learn more about it so this is very insightful and helpful. Blessings!!

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  14. Thank you for shedding light about different ways of hearing from The Lord. This is inspirational. May the good lord continue to increase you in his knowledge and wisdom. I have heard from The Lord audibly once then several times in dreams and visions. Thank you for sharing divine information. May I know this: are you in the prophetic ministry? May you be blessed abundantly.

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    • Thanks for your question. I will ask you for additional details of your dream before I am able to interpret it. Your description of drinking water at work is not enough for me to provide an acceptable interpretation.

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  15. Thanks so much for shading light on this subject I am so blessed by your article.
    From my experiences, I would say God has spoken to me at several times with different methods you mentioned here except the train centre which I really desire.
    something is giving me Concern, and that is, there are dreams I have repeatedly which I seem not to have a glue of the meaning, dreams like always finding myself on vehicles of different kinds, bus, car, trucks etc and also recently broken fence. can you help please! God bless you.

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    • Thank you for your kind comments. Your dreams of being in different vehicles can only mean that you will travel to many different countries and meet a variety of people, and be involved in various situations. Very recently broken fence represents recent arguments and or disagreements within your immediate or extended family. The broken fence represents broken relationships or brokenness in the family. Hopefully this explanation answers your questions.

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  16. Hello
    This is very nice and I have learned a lot, and understood and gained too please keep sharing with us.

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    • The Apostle Paul was very definitely hearing the voice of the risen Savior on the road to Damascus. Some Bible scholars argue that it was something that happened spiritually, but that premise is contrary to what is written in the inspired Word of God. Moreover, the Scripture itself reads: “Then he fell to the ground, and HEARD a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? Paul actually engaged in a brief but extremely profound dialogue with Jesus Christ . Hopefully, my reply provides an answer to your query. May God bless you.

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  17. In 2004 i heard Jesus’s voice. His voice woke me up. He said i am the way the truth and the life.clear as day i heard his voice.

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  18. In re-reading what you wrote, I see that I was wrong about your saying that we don’t actually hear his voice…but only if we ‘think’ we’ve heard it. I understand that you are saying that when He speaks in His loud audible voice, there would be no mistake that He is speaking to you. You wouldn’t have to ‘think’ about it 🙂

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  19. Prays God! Really Awesome! Very well explained.I just would have like to know ABOUT when I Be thinking of something or like you said or someone or thing pops up in my head, and then that person come around or it happens!

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  20. Thanks for the insight.
    I have recently divorced and God has granted me permission to move on. I am no longer hurt by my spouse’s cheating.
    I met someone online and I thought he exactly match what I prayed for in a partner. Unfortunately, he did not meet my expectations. I severed ties.
    I experience what you refer to as a trance where I saw this person quickly swallow up in a black pod almost like a canoe closing in on him. Shortly after a spirit of the individual lying flat slowly rose from the pod in a blue effervescent light. God’s strong voice next to me said “he has to die to live again”. The exact words.
    Can you help me to interpret the meaning? Thanks.

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    • Thanks for your question. The most important part of your trance are the words “He has to die to live again” the Lord is trying to tell you that you must die; you must let go of your desires; anything that stands between and your relationship with God so that He can be glorified in your life.You must let go of your desire for a spouse, let go of everything that you hold dear, and only seek to know Christ, then He may give you the desires of your heart as long as your desires conform to His will. I would also like to refer you to several scriptures, the first is 1st Corinthians, chapter 7. Please read the entire chapter. And read also Romans 7:2, 3.

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      • Thank you for your insight and thought. I know that God has his own plans for me. I trust in Him.
        I have read the suggested scriptures and will continue to seek God.
        God bless.

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  21. When I was 12 God spoke out loud to me as I went to bed. He said, ” “Do not go to sleep!” I started to drift offf around 3or 4 am and He said again, “Stephanie, do not go to sleep.”
    I did not. I think he was protecting me from something but I still don’t know.
    I fell asleep when daylight broke.
    It sounds like every father figure in my life mixed with a voice I hadn’t heard on earth but knew as my fathers voice. I did not know that was a verse at the time. It radiated from inside and outside of every object, wall, sky. It was love and peace but extreme fear of not obeying. Fear of the Lord not scared, but like when you don’t want to let your dad down.
    I didn’t know it was God then. Not until 2.5years ago did he open my memory to show me or was Him. I just knew it as the loud voice at that age.

    Last summer he called my name in a potluck at church. I know it was Him and not a person, because I know His voice.
    Then still small but out loud out of my head “Stephanie” one morning after I prayed for Him to wake me up as I struggle with hashimotos.

    These were all audible and leave me with a significant feeling I have a impactful purpose here on earth. But I am the least of them.

    I have no idea why me. I have sinned so much and have been trying my hardest to follow wholeheartedly since September 2017. I love Himso much. I just finished my 1st read/listen through the niv bible and hope to start the kjv next.

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    • Please read the following scriptures. Hopefully these verses will assist you in your walk with Christ:

      12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

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