3 Ways to Hear God’s Voice

How to hear God's voiceDo you hear God’s voice? Or can you say you even know how to listen for Him?

Much confusion exists today about what it looks — or rather “sounds” like — to hear God’s voice. Especially if you’re waiting for the bright lights or a booming voice.

Many of us talk to the Lord often and just want to hear Him talk back now and then. But sometimes we aren’t sure how He’s going to do it. We’re not certain what to listen for.

In the more than 40 years since I’ve given my life to Jesus Christ, I have never experienced an encounter with Him in which there was an audible voice, a thundering from heaven, a burning bush, or a rushing wind. It was usually a still small voice that gave me an inner peace, a loving rebuke that changed my ways, the written Word of God that pierced my heart, or a sense of calling and direction that wouldn’t let me be until I followed.

God speaks in various ways by the Holy Spirit to those in relationship with His Son — through His Word (the Bible), through prayer (and what He lays on our hearts to pray for), through circumstances in our life, and through the church (godly advice from believers). And in my experience, I would have to say that He has spoken most clearly when I’ve been the most obedient, the most in need of comfort, and for the most part, taking the time to really listen.

Do you long to hear God speaking to you on a regular basis? Here are some ways you can fine-tune your hearing so you don’t miss Him and what He wants to say:

  • Look to His Word — God communicates through the Scriptures. Sometimes it’s a verse that pierces our hearts as we’re searching for His truth or wisdom. Other times it might be a passage or verse that He brings to your mind in a particular situation. The more you know the Word of God, the more you’ll recognize God’s words of comfort, conviction, peace, or guidance. So become familiar with His Word and you’ll become familiar with His voice.
  • Look Around You — Sometimes it may seem like God isn’t there. But He often makes His presence known to us by what we experience on a daily basis. Look for His presence in the circumstances around you — the tender words from a friend that you needed to hear at just the right time, the “coincidence” that confirms what you’d been praying for, the situation at work that suddenly turned in your favor. But God doesn’t only speak to us through the blessings in our lives. He speaks to us in our pain, frustration, disappointment and anger, too. It is during those times we can sense His presence, peace, and the affirmation that He knows what He’s doing in our lives, even if we don’t.
  • Listen for His Whispers — Sometimes we feel the urge to do something and we can’t explain why. Through prayer and discernment we can figure out if that is God’s whisper on our heart. Sometimes God speaks to us this way through prayer by nudging us to pray for something we wouldn’t otherwise have prayed for. When God directs our prayers He is speaking to us, whispering to us words of guidance, instruction, discernment, and encouragement. Sometimes we call this our conscience or our “little voice inside.” But the One who dwells within us has a voice as well. I call it my “loving voice inside.” He whispers encouragement. He whispers to me suggestions for acts of love toward someone in need. He whispers words to say at the proper time to heal another person’s heart. Sometimes it’s whispers of warning like “Stay away from that. You know better.” And other times it is whispers of “Trust Me, even though you don’t understand.” When you hear your loving voice inside, thank Him for what He has spoken to you.

There is no sure-fire formula for hearing God speak. He speaks in His own way and in His own time to the hearts that are prepared to hear Him. But if we cultivate a heart to hear, we can be sure that His silence is not on account of our not listening.

Fore more on cultivating a heart to hear God’s voice, see the chapter “Listening to His Loving Voice” in Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs.

About me

Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning author and national speaker who helps women find strength for the soul. She has nearly 30 years experience ministering to women and inspiring them to let God meet their emotional needs, grow stronger through their alone times, and pursue their dreams with boldness.


Receiving God’s Touch
October 27, 2015
4 Tips for More Effectively Hearing God’s Voice
October 20, 2015
Learning to Listen for His Voice
January 07, 2014


Amber Paulsen
Reply October 7, 2015

What a beautiful article Cindi! I long to hear God's voice daily in my early morning quiet time. I love how you put first "Look to His Word". :) Amen! That is the ultimate way He speaks, and I do believe He speaks in other ways, as you mentioned. I journal a bit each morning after reading His Word, and then I tell Him that I long to hear His voice, or "will you speak to me?" and then I sit in silence and wait to see if I hear His voice, which for me often sounds like a male's voice in my head, very gentle and loving (although He can be firm when disciplining). I write down what I hear, sometimes I really think it's His true voice and other times I think "is that really You, Lord or is that me?". There have been times when I sit in journal and sit in silence to hear His voice, right before opening the Bible, and I hear something, then when I open the Bible the first verse I look at is what God's voice said. It's only happened a few times, but I think the Lord did it to help me have faith that HE does personally speak, and we as believers are able to hear His voice. He is so awesome!
P.s. when I fell away from the Lord, I wasn't in God's Word regularly and I followed "signs" and thought God was speaking, when really I believe now that it was the enemy speaking. Kind of scary, but that's one thing that keeps me in His Word every day, I want to hear from Him, not the enemy (the deceiver).

    Reply October 7, 2015

    Thank you for that story, Amber. I think it helps us to hear from others and what they experience as they go to His Word seeking His voice. Jesus said His sheep would know His voice. And like you, I so want to know His voice from the enemy's, my own voice, and the voice of others.

Leighann McCoy
Reply October 7, 2015

Hey Cindi,
I enjoy reading your articles! Especially loved this one. It's an ongoing journey to hear the voice of God. One of my favorite children's stories is Max Lucado's "Song of the King." I've also written a book "A Woman's Guide to Hearing God's Voice" your readers might enjoy. (Bethany House, 2013)
LOVE THIS!! Leighann

    Reply October 7, 2015

    Hi Leighann. Thanks for your comments. And your book sounds wonderful. I'd love to give my readers a preview of "A Woman's Guide to Hearing God's Voice" right here on my blog. I'll be contacting you shortly. :)

Reply October 13, 2015

I appreciate.
It's a timely message.
May God continue to strenghten you in Jesus name.Amen.

Reply November 8, 2015

Such a comforting post Cindi, with truly wise direction, thank you. I can relate to Leighann saying, "It’s an ongoing journey to hear the voice of God." I am especially drawn to you saying, "It was usually a still small voice that gave me an inner peace, a loving rebuke that changed my ways, the written Word of God that pierced my heart, or a sense of calling and direction that wouldn’t let me be until I followed."

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