How do YOU prepare your heart to hear God’s word?
There’s a scripture where Eli, the High Priest of Shiloh, is preparing to go to sleep and his young apprentice Samuel, has an encounter with the Lord- let’s view this in Scripture.
1 Samuel 3:1-10 NLT
“Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days, messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God. Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!” “Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did. Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.”Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”
I do believe that there are many times in our life that the Lord wants to speak to us. Yet, throughout our journey as Christians, it can sometimes be hard to hear His voice. We get busy and caught up in how we want things to be and pay very little attention to that still small voice- that wants to guide and teach us. The Holy Spirit communicates to us in various ways and as a body, we have to become more aware of the ways in which He speaks.
God speaks through the scriptures. He speaks through His Son. He allows the Holy Spirit to speak to us through dreams, visions and prophetic words. Each way that He chooses to speak, invites us to learn more about who He is and how He views things. Yes, as Christians, we go through silent season BUT make sure your silent season doesn’t last a lifetime. The Lord does speak, and we should be inclined to pay attention to everything that He wants to say when He does.
Some time ago, I shared with you that the way I began to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit was by testing out what I was hearing. I would hear a thing, move in what I heard and then eventually see His word be confirmed. Yes, I’ve had the Holy Spirit speak to me through visions and dreams, but it was through OBEDIENCE that I really learned how to recognize His voice.
BE AWARE– there are at least 3 distinct voices that you will hear in your life:
- The voice of the Holy Spirit
- The enemy
- And, our own voice
The same can be said about dreams…you’ll have at least 3 types of dreams:
- Prophetic dreams
- Demonic dreams
- Soul/Desire dreams
Both, be it while awake or sleeping, are access points of delivering a message to you. The most important thing to know is- who is speaking.
What I LOVE so much about the scripture above is that it shows process, development, vulnerability, innocence, and experience. While also introducing nuances in recognizing the Lord’s voice. I’ve heard it expressed that hearing the Holy Spirit is a rare occurrence, but fortunately for Samuel, he was not left to learn on his own. He had a teacher who was able to help him grow in the things of God.
Instruction comes by way of reading & hearing the word of God. It also comes by way of dreams, visions and prophetic words. However, increased intimacy with the Lord comes by spending time with Him. As you set aside time to be with the Lord your understanding of what He desires becomes prominent.
In the scripture above, Eli teaches Samuel how to position himself to hear. Samuel didn’t know the Lord’s voice but Eli understood that when the Lord called, it required an immediate response.
Let’s bring this to our current lives-
When the Lord calls, how do we respond?
-Do we push Him aside and say “call back later”.
-Do we completely ignore Him, because the last time we answered, it required us to have to die, shift position and/or change?
-Do we answer His call, hear what He has to say, and then reject what He said because we didn’t like what we heard?
Only we ourselves know how we respond to the Lord…. and I challenge each of my readers to take a moment to think about the last time the Holy Spirit spoke to you…
1). When did it happen? (Early morning, late at night….while you were resting or active)
2). Where were you? (At home, your job, vacation, driving)
3). What word did He speak to your heart?
4). How did you respond to what He said?
If you didn’t respond well, acknowledge it, repent and be more prepared the next time He speaks ❤️
Truth be told, sometimes the Holy Spirit can come out of nowhere and unexpectedly hit you with something. You could be watching a movie, be out for dinner or finally getting ready to go to bed after a long day and all of a sudden He wants to download something to you.
When this happens I’ve learned to respond quickly.
So if I’m asleep and He causes me to wake up, then I’m to stay awake until He finishes speaking.
If I’m in praise and worship and I’m jumping up and down enjoying the mood of service… if He chooses to speak, then I must calm myself and get into a position so I can better hear.
So if that means I have to mentally or physically take myself out of the room to hear Him- then I will. Often, at least for myself- too much noise causes a distraction to me hearing Him clearly.
Overstimulation Causes Friction
I find that my emotion during a church service can at times hinder my awareness of God speaking. (i.e. like if I’m in worship mode and I’m crying out to God, speaking in tongues, doing all the things that outwardly express how I feel on the inside about God, it can leave less room for Him to move. In other words, I get so caught up in what I’m feeling and doing that I miss what He’s trying to say. It’s like finally building up to the point that you sense His presence then never reaching the climax of what He wants to impart.) Sometimes you might have to sit down and be still while everything else around you is going crazy. To find that internal peace or place of rest that no one else can access except for the Lord.
A place where your spirit meets with His, unhindered by outside forces….. (I guess that’s why we have prayer closets 😅😩)
1 Kings 19:11-13 NLT
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah heard God’s voice in the sound of a gentle whisper. Samuel heard a voice but didn’t know who was calling out to Him.
I wonder how many people experience this- hearing a voice but not knowing it’s the voice of the Lord that’s speaking. The revelation that could’ve been received. The instructions that would’ve protected. The ideas and plans that we’re meant to be birthed out but became missed opportunities- never developing past the point of conception.
To hear the Lord, you must understand the importance of these 3 R’s
- Recognize- acknowledge that it’s the Lord speaking.
- Receive- hear (take in) what He has to say.
- Respond- act upon it.
Now I would be irresponsible if I didn’t mention to you that NOT ALL WORDS SPOKEN IS FOR EVERYBODY TO HEAR! Some words are for your ears only. Others are for specific people. The Lord might make you aware of a condition and only ask you to pray. He might speak to you about seasons or the timing of things, He might tell you to do or not do something. Either way, Discipline, and Restraint are needed as you hear.
“Speak, Lord, your servants are listening.”
The Holy Spirit was a gift given to all believers before Jesus was crucified.
(Why the Holy Spirit was given)
John 16:7-9, 13-15 NLT
“But in fact, it is best for you that I go away because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’”
(What the Holy Spirit Gives)
1 Corinthians 12:7-11(NIRV)
7 The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all. 8 To some people, the Spirit gives a message of wisdom. To others, the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge. 9 To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. 10 To others, he gives the power to do miracles. To others, he gives the ability to prophesy. To others, he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others, he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others, he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages. 11 All the gifts are produced by one and the same Spirit. He gives gifts to each person, just as he decides.
Yet, in order to be guided by Him into all truth and to better understand what gifts He has given to each of us, we must first learn to be still, sit down and read the word of God and recognize His voice when He speaks.
What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you?
Write down everything!
When He said it.
Who or what it was about.
What is required of you- (to speak it out or just be still and pray about it.)
So the next time you question if you’re really hearing His voice you’ll know that it was truly Him speaking.
As you look back, over time, you would have developed a book of memories, of how the Lord communicated with you through His confirmed words. By this process, you would have steadily learned how to listen, trust and obey His voice.
I hope this new post was helpful and I thank you for taking the time to read it.
To see some of the consequences of not listening to the Holy Spirit, check out the link below lol.