In the process of hearing God for something, many things are a part of the process. The principles included are by no means comprehensive and they are no substitute for the voice of your Father. As He lovingly directs you, obediently follow. Hopefully, the things I have learned in my own journey will simply help clarify the process.
Many times when we enter a season of seeking God for direction, we approach Him with a fistful of options and a heart of expectancy. Unfortunately, for most people it is very difficult to hear God while so many doors of opportunity are still available. If you are deciding between more than three options, I would strongly encourage you to begin your process by asking God which ones of the options can be eliminated. That is why I will call phase 1 the elimination phase. Ideally, you will enter into phase 2, the seeking phase, with 0-2 options on the table.
Did I just say 0 options was a potential ideal? You betcha! When we enter phase 2, we are often tempted to ask the Lord “yes” or “no” questions in order to discern what His will is. I submit that this is actually a veiled attempt at controlling the process and limiting God’s ability to speak. If we really believe that “God can do more than we ask or imagine” then we certainly don’t want to merely present our best thought. In this phase, we want to begin asking the Lord open-ended questions. Questions like “God, what do you have for me?” or “What is the vision/dream you want to plant in my heart?” When we engage God like this we accomplish two things. First, we ask questions that require that we sit and listen to Him for answers, which is vital to developing intimacy. Second, we access the heart of God about our lives and His plans for them. That, I can almost guarantee, will be significantly different and significantly better than we thought they would be.
At the end of the seeking phase, we will come out with some things that God has spoken. When you earnestly seek Him on decisions, you will hear Him speak! This seeds the way for phase 3, the mining phase. Most likely, the words that God begins to speak during the seeking phase will seem incomplete or completely impossible. That is ok. It is simply a way that God draws us into deeper relationship with Him. Remember, everything He does in our lives is designed to bring us to a place of peaceful dependence on Him. As God speaks and it is clear that He is leading in a specific direction, it is time to start asking clarifying questions. It’s time to “mine” the heart of God for more information. Psalms 25:2 says “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” When God gives you the foretaste, pursue it with passion and commitment, and it will be revealed to you.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, give the process its time. If you have 30 days, take 30 days! Let God have the opportunity to speak, invited and unencumbered, for 30 days and you will come out the other side with clarity and vision. Even if you hear God clearly on direction on day 2, spend the next 28 days listening and affirming that word. You will be amazed at the results!
Night School Assistant Director, Trey Green