How does God speak?

How Does God Speak to You? (& Sharing my Experiences)

Hi, friends. In today’s post, we’ll discuss how God speaks to people, and I’ll reflect on my own experiences.

God speaking in the Bible

Moses and the Burning Bush, Dierick Bouts, 1447

In the Old and New Testament, God speaks to people in a variety of ways. For most Biblical figures–Moses, David, Samuel, Elijah, Paul, Gideon, Jonah, etc.–direct speech from God is mingled to some extent with signs and wonders.

The disciples of the NT communed with God in human form, Jesus. After Jesus ascends to heaven, the disciples and others throughout the Book of Acts are compelled to action by the Holy Spirit.

God also works through situations without directly asserting His presence; the Book of Esther is a prime example. Many Biblical stories do not feature God outright, but His presence and influence are understood.

How God speaks to me personally

I feel that the Holy Spirit guides and shapes my thoughts. Often, certain ideas pop into my head at certain moments that seem significant, or I experience something which instantly produces the warm feeling inside me that God is present and working through my life.

I experience a lot of God winks–supposed coincidences and serendipitous moments that I know God orchestrated. Since I love to read, those winks are frequently intertwined with books or scripture. An example: I was led to preach a sermon that connects the exodus from Egypt to Jesus’s second coming (covering for my sick pastor), and my message touched on God’s initiating a rescue plan for all humanity by first calling Abraham. The day before church, when I picked up where I’d left off reading my Bible a few days earlier for devotional time (totally unrelated to the sermon), I “just so happened” to be in the eighth chapter of John, in which Jesus “just so happens” to declare, “Abraham looked forward to the day of my coming with gladness. Before Abraham was, I am.” What are the odds? This is the kind of “coincidence” I experience often.

[Another example: Two days before publishing this post, on the first day of 2020, I lost something wildly important. As I retraced steps and even drove to the places I’d been that day, I relentlessly prayed, “God, please. God, help me!” I even bargained in my hysterical fear–“God, I’ll never doubt Your existence again if you help me find it!” Well, long story short, I found it. And a thought came to mind, which I believe was put there by the Holy Spirit–“This experience is an omen for this year and/or decade that even when I think all hope is lost, God will be there to see me through.” The first day of 2020? The week I plan to post on the subject of how God speaks to me? Coincidences?? I think not!]

My insecurities vs. what I know is true

Since others refer to times when they “heard God’s voice,” I do sometimes feel insecure in my faith and my relationship with God. I wonder if I’m just not worthy; Satan whispers in my ear that maybe everything I believe is a lie. But then I think of what I know to be true…

A few years ago, I was submerged in the world of politics. I was divisive and aggressive, always ready for a social media debate, barely capable of engaging in conversation without mentioning (or at least thinking about) politics. While I was still in the height of my obsession, I signed up for a college course called Literary Study of the Bible. God’s word ignited a change in my heart, scales fell from my eyes, and I saw all my hypocrisy and inerrancy with a new clarity. I humbled myself and actually became a follower of Jesus (up to that point, I was more of a “church-goer” than a “Christian,” which applies to many others as well).

My belief in God is not some shallow shell of faith riding on the coattails of my parents’ traditions. Though I haven’t heard God speak to me in a literal way, God has spoken to me through scripture and other experiences in ways that have truly been life-altering. Considering that everything I watched and read at the time just provided confirmation bias, there is really no logical, non-spiritual explanation for the change that occurred in me. That lets me know that God exists and He loves me.

Maybe I haven’t had a prophecy in a dream or seen a burning bush or heard a voice boom from the sky. But in the whispers on the wind and the meditations of my heart, I hear God speak.

So I turn the question towards my audience–how does God speak to you–direct and literal commands, scripture, other experiences, answered prayers, God winks, etc? Please share in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

23 comments

  1. Always a joy on a Friday evening when I see you’ve published a new post. Very grateful for your consistency, not to mention your always interesting posts!

    As you’ve read my book God’s Grand Game, you will know my views on the subject of hearing from God. I acknowledge and understand all the ways you have said God communicates with you. You should never feel unworthy just because others may have experiences that you don’t. I know that feeling so well, and it can drive you mad if you focus on it too much. I believe God will communicate with you in the ways that are relevant for His purposes for your life. If you have any areas of confusion (i.e. am I missing anything, God?) then ask Him and hopefully He will respond and put your mind at rest.

    Those are my thoughts, take ’em or leave ’em, as they say!

    Wishing you health and happiness throughout 2020! 💛🙏🏻

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Steven! I agree that it’s best not to focus on feeling unworthy or other people’s experiences. I do ask God if I am missing things–now I just need to look for the answers, see how He might be speaking to me. I wish you the same! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post sis. God speaks to me through the scriptures and life experiences. Sometimes I also get “inner knowing” and very rarely inner voice of him instructing me. He is such a good father. I also agree with the previous comment about him speaking to us in ways that are relevant to His purpose💕

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Well said, Lily! Amen. I think you’ve hit on the major ways God speaks to us. I believe He’s speaking to us all the time (after all, He does live in us!), we just don’t always recognize His voice. I’ve personally heard Him (besides through Scripture, of course) in my thoughts and heart, too, At first, I wasn’t sure it was Him until someone else would come up tell me exactly the same thing! That’s how I first understood I was actually hearing from Him. As you said, it’s not usually audible, but it’s just as real to our heart.

    And this brings up another important indicator–what does hearing do to our heart? Does it have His grace on it, does it strengthen us and encourage us? Do we experience His love for us? (Like with a good Father, sometimes it’s corrective, but always done in love).

    The bottom line is, Jesus said His sheep would hear His voice, so hearing His voice should be normal for followers of Jesus. God bless.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Great post Lily! We see in the pages of the Bible that God can speak to anyone anyway he wants. In the end, we probably shouldn’t discount anyone’s experience on hearing from God, no matter how odd or out of line it seems to us. It does us no personal good to be in the business of judging someone else’s spiritual experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I absolutely loved reading this post. It is so beautiful how God speaks to people in unique and special ways. God speaks to me through experience and answered prayers. I have always been a firm believer in intuition and the guidance provided as a result of listening and analyzing surroundings. Blessings!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Obviously, God speaks through Scripture I’m personally reading or for sermon prep, but there are times I’d love for God to send a word with scrolling marquee or an audible voice. As a person who struggles with quiet, I have to wait in the silence to hear from God more clearly

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I feel like God “speaks” to me through my thoughts when I’m silent after prayer or even when I just take the time to acknowledge feelings when I slow down. I love the way He uses other people and the way that He reaches each of us in a unique way that works all towards His glory ✨

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Yes God does speak to us in many different ways and most every day if we would listen. I know yesterday as Roy and I were going to Winston Salem to a Doctor appointment for Roy, a place new to us. I put in our GPS for directions but not soon enough. Knowing Business 40 was closed after highway 52 I told Roy to exit to go on 52 south like we did when we go to Baptist Hospital for my eye appointments. I put in Gps again and because of a Technical disorder they couldn’t answer our call I tried again and again. Finally after waiting a few minutes we got thru to Gps directions. I knew we needed Silas Creek Parkway and just after getting in I40 we came up on Silas Creek I told Roy to take that exit . Onstar answered and gave us directions from there. Coming home he missed the turn to get on Business 40 , well again we found the way with Gods help and made it home safe and sound. I know with out a doubt he is witth us every day. We both at the same time Thanked God for being with us and showing us the way. He has answered many Prayers for us and I know he will be there for us always..

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  9. Love this!! I especially love when God speaks to me through others and more directly when I end up getting the exact same verse over and over through church messages, devotions, reading blog posts, etc..I absolutely love that, I know it’s not a coincidence, it’s a God sighting as He speaks to me that way!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. 1. guides and shapes my thoughts ✔ (and that whole paragraph that follows)
    2. God winks ✔ (including “thought came to my mind)
    3. Aha moments while reading Scripture
    4. On very rare occasion through a dream, but that did not start till I was older and started believing it was a possibility. I was not taught to believe that this was still a way God speaks to us in our days, so it would have been lost on me when I was younger. Hearing from God in a dream can be a lonely road if you try to tell people about it who don’t believe that it’s possible.
    I’m glad you wrote about this. In my experience, it’s not talked about for some reason, but I think it’s good to know how God is speaking so we can let God know we’re willing for that to happen. But ultimately, it’s up to Him. Hearing from Him is not something to draw us into comparing ourselves to others; That never ends well. It’s all about our relationship with Him, and communing with Him, recognizing that He is enough, and that His grace is sufficient with or without the “burning bush” type experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

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