God can speak to us through variety of ways. Here are a few ways He might be speaking to you:
As you read the Bible and as the Psalms say, Selah, or take the time to think about what you’ve read, it opens you up to hear from God. Meditating on one verse for an entire week can open your mind to so many meanings and ways to apply it to your life. The Bible says meditation is the filling of the mind with God’s word.
The Lord call Jeremiah to be a prophet, and he responded, ‘I don’t how to.’ The same day God called Jeremiah, he taught him how to see visions and hear his voice (Jer.1:11-12). We can see a vision with our eyes closed, or with them open. We can see moving pictures, words, or whatever God shows us. In the case of Jeremiah it’s unclear which was happening, or if God was even drawing his attention to the very real and natural items in front of him. God asked Jeremiah what he saw and Jeremiah responded by saying, ‘I see an olive branch’ and, ‘I see a boiling pot.’ God then enlightened him to the meaning of what he saw. We should be in constant dialogue with God about what it is he showing us, asking him questions to cut to the quick of His message.
People in the Bible based life decisions on dreams. They understood that dreams came from God and could only be interpreted by God. Somewhere along the line we lost this understanding about dreams. The Bible is full of scriptures that show us that God speaks to us through dreams, but have we started listening to God yet? Joseph, unsure if he should marry Mary, had a dream that he should, and so he did. Joseph also had dreams that told him he should go to Egypt to escape Herod, and another which told him when Herod had passed away and it was safe to come back to Israel. The salvation of baby Jesus rested on one persons understanding and obedience to dreams. Both Pharoah and Nebuchadnezzar had dreams that would affect nations, but they needed a person who could hear from God to interpret it for them. If you dream, you should write it down, meditate on it, ask God about it, and share it with responsible people who can comment on and pray over it with you. We should treat dreams as we would a prophecy from God.
We can hear God through faint or strong impressions. People often do this through prayer without realizing it. Unsure about a person or a situation you can say a prayer, allowing God to lead you. Often doing this can become a prophecy, especially as we ask questions about what he’s leading us to pray for, then speaking to the person about those things.
Hey. 4:15 – For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses
Word of Knowledge
Often God dropped knowledge into Jesus that was outside of his natural ability to know. The new age movement has perverted this gift into what they call mind-reading. However, God gave us the gift and still operates in words of knowledge today (1Cor.12:8). When God gives us a word of knowledge it might be that he wants us to say the exact thing, and sometimes it may be that he wants us to address it without saying the exact thing. You’ll have to ask Him what He wants you to do with what He shows you. Some instances in the Bible are: Luke 9:47, Luke 6:8, Matthew 12:25. I had a word of knowledge that a girl burned a lot of incense and was to discouraged to pray anymore, so I said just that. This showed her that God knew her intimately and cared about her. However in this instance Jesus did not come straight out and say what God showed him. Jesus wanted to address the issue gently without condemnation:
Luke 7:39-47 – When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” 40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,c and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Word of Wisdom
Wisdom that is past our own understanding and come out of our mouths from the mind of God (1Cor.12:8).
Ex. 18:17-19 – Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you.
God will show us what is from Him and what is from a different spirit (1Cor.12:10).
Hebrews 5:14 – But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Mark 5:8 – For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
The voice of the Lord is like a whisper at times (1 Kings 19). Sometimes we just need to be quiet and listen to hear God’s voice. Being still doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get in a quiet place somewhere. It means you’ve got to still the clamoring within, to bring everything to a point of quietness in your heart, mind and spirit, to be still within.
While Jesus read a scripture out loud, God began to speak to him about the fulfillment or modern day implications of it and what would come next (Luke 4:17). God still speaks to us through scriptures, and good pastors and teachers may be operating in this realm of the prophetic without even realizing it.
Luke 4:16-23 – He (Jesus) stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place whereit is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ”
Mark 15:29-31 – Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself!…”
Speaking in Tongues
The Old Testament foretold us that God planned on giving us this gift, and from the first instance where God used it in the Bible, it helped us share truth with people from different nationalities. Those who operate in this gift today understand and this is still how God uses the gift. Speaking in tongues, plus an ability to interpret tongues, will encourage people the same way that prophecy will (1Cor.14:5). Therefore, many people who prophesy will ramp up their spirit by speaking in tongues first.
Miracles & Healing
Jesus often performed miracles and healed people. This opened the doors of their hearts to receive His message. God still does this today.
God often spoke to people through creation in the Bible. Revelations is full of signs of the end times, many of which deal with creation, so it’s safe to say that God still speaks this way.
Ex. 3:2-5 – Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
John 1:32-34 – Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
Sometimes God asked people to do something in faith to see a certain result. Joshua marched around Jericho, Naaman washed himself in the Jordan, Ezekiel bore the sin of Israel, the new testament references some too. Revelations in particular references some prophetic acts that will take place in the last days, so again, it is safe to say God still speaks this way.
Ex.17:10-13 – So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
Signs & Wonders
We need not ask for a sign, but the Lord still speaks through signs. Plagues of Egypt, signs of the Messiah’s birth, signs of the end times, etc.
Luke 2:12 – This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger
Answered Prayer & Confirmation
The Lord will often speak to you by answering your prayers, or confirming something to you through multiple sources.
Jud. 6:37 – I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.
Gen. 24:14 – May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’–let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
God will often send a message to us through an angel. Most Christians believe in angels, so why do we think that their purpose has changed?
Acts 10:3-4 – He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God…”
Study these ways God speaks to people and ask Him to start speaking to you! If you just found out that He is already speaking to you, then start listening and asking Him questions about what He’s saying. These are just a few ways that He speaks.
This blog includes personal research and excerpts from Developing Your Prophetic Gifting by Graham Cooke & Basic Training for the Prophetic Ministry by Kris Valloton