Prayer is powerful! God still speaks and He reminded me again today that prayer is a two-way conversation.
While shopping, I encountered a woman incessantly talking on her phone. She was having a non-stop, one-way conversation with someone who could not possibly have gotten a word in edgewise! I’m not even sure when or how she found time to breathe. Her voice could be heard throughout the entire store.
I’m afraid our prayer conversations with God might all too closely resemble this scenario. Do we do all the talking, or do we take time to listen, expecting to hear from God? God designed prayer to be a mutual exchange of dialogue.
Do you ever feel like your prayers hit the ceiling and go no further? From time to time, I think we have all experienced the feeling. Let’s be encouraged. God hears and He answers! In many places throughout the Bible, He encourages, “Anyone with ears, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15). But how does God speak to us? And how do we know that it is God speaking and not just our own thoughts or imagination?
We don’t need any unique gift to hear from God. The only qualification is to have ears. That includes most of us. Contrary to what some people might believe, God still speaks. Let’s explore what the Bible says about the topic.
He spoke to an incredibly wicked king, King Nebuchadnezzar both through dreams and through the prophet Daniel (Daniel 4). He spoke to Moses face to face, like we would speak to our friends (Exodus 33:11).
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
God Speaks Through the Bible
The most common way God speaks to us is through His infallible Word — the Bible. Scriptures form the plumbline for every other way God speaks. He will never say anything that contradicts the Bible. So whatever way He might speak, we measure against the accuracy of His Word.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path.”
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
2 Timothy 3:16
God consistently speaks through the living words recorded in the Bible. His Word remains relevant and undiminished in power.
God Speaks Through the Holy Spirit
God has given us the Holy Spirit to teach, comfort, and direct us. Holy Spirit waters God’s Word within us causing it to grow and become fruitful.
“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 2:14
The Holy Spirit brings the truths we read in Scripture or receive from biblical teachers and leaders, making God’s Word relevant and alive. He affirms God’s words written or spoken to our hearts to our spirit, in a Spirit-to-spirit communication.
God Speaks Through Nature
Like many people, I feel the closest to God while walking in nature. In His creation, my heart seems the most sensitive to hear His sacred echoes. Jesus used many illustrations from nature to reveal God’s character, purposes, and truth. Whether birds, sheep, storms, plants, or so much more, Jesus strung His parables around everyday life and the land people were familiar with.
“The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic.“
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”
How God speaks through creation remains one of His many mysteries. Yet we find ourselves filled with awe as we gaze into a starry sky or hold a newborn baby. We can’t help but worship Him as we watch ocean waves crash against the rocky shore or feel the power of a summer storm. God is in it all. He speaks through a gentle breeze as clearly as through the intricacy of a flower. God speaks the language of a listening heart.
God Still Speaks
The limitations we have to hear from God rests within ourselves. God speaks in limitless ways. I love the way Job phrased it:
“For God does speak — now one way, now another — though no one perceives it.”
Why is perceiving His voice so difficult? Has the overture of busyness dulled our hearing? Oh, may we give God opportunity to speak, and tune our ears to hear what He is saying. May we have a willing heart to receive His words. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, compared us to sheep — His sheep. He said,
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.”
God speaks through gifted authors, teachers, and speakers. He speaks through circumstances and the difficulties we face. He speaks through dreams and visions, just as He always has. Because of His unending love for us, He invites us to draw close and to listen.
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