Awhile back Letty and I took our grandkids on an overnight trip to Lego Land in Carlsbad, CA. It was the boys’ first experience in a hotel. Early in the morning, I stepped outside and had my Personal Worship Time with God on the little patio area next to our room. Aiden, my youngest grandson, woke up and asked Letty, “Where’s Grandpa?” She told him, “He’s talking to God right now.” “Oh,” said four-year old Aiden. After I was done, I left to get some breakfast at the nearby McDonald’s. Aiden sneaked out into the patio area while Letty was cleaning up the room. There was a man talking on his cell-phone on the patio right above us. Upon hearing the man’s voice, Aiden jumped back into the room, wide-eyed with excitement as he asked his grandma the question:
“Was that God?!”
You can imagine the delight in my heart when I heard that story after I got back from McDonald’s. I had a smile on my face all day long!
Although Aiden did not hear God speaking (at least, I don’t think it was), I am so glad that he is inquisitive about hearing God’s voice. I pray that he never stops listening for the voice of God. I long for the day (and that it would come soon) where Aiden and DeeJay would recognize the small still voice of God speaking to their soul. I pray they would learn the many ways God speaks to us, through His Word, through godly people, through Creation, through circumstances (both good and bad), and through the many blessings He gives to us day after day.
Hearing God’s “voice” is essential to Whole Life Worship, as we seek to glorify God by walking with Him, following His direction and obeying His will. Whole Life Worshipers need to understand how God encourages, strengthens, prompts, and leads. It is imperative that we continually keep our ears open to the “voice” of the Lord, and expect Him to speak to us – certainly not on demand or at our command, but as a servant would expect his Master to communicate his bidding.
Jesus says that we (the sheep of his fold) should expect to hear his voice (the Great Shepherd). In John 10:3-4, Jesus says:
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him (the Shepherd), and the sheep listen to his (the Shepherd’s) voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
Many years ago, before I was on staff at my church, I had the honor of joining the pastoral staff in prayer for the needs of the people in the church. As we prayed, a thought came into my head to pray for a specific person who was battling cancer. But before I could pray it, one of the pastors prayed that exact prayer! Then the thought of praying for the growth of our youth ministry popped into my mind. But, again, someone prayed it before I could open my mouth! A third time a thought of praying for a needy family came. But – you guessed it – someone beat me to it.
After the prayer meeting, I came up to Bob Logan (my mentor and our founding pastor). I apologized for not praying and shared with him what happened. He looked at me intently and said, “Doug, you were hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. God was speaking to you. So memorize that voice!”
How do you hear God’s voice?
How do you discern whether it is God who is speaking to you or your own thoughts?
How important is it for you to hear and discern God’s voice in your daily life?
How can you increase the frequency of giving God space to speak to you in your life?