Before you were born I set you apart. Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
The Hearing Series – Part 1
Every day we're faced with making choices that could change the course of our lives. Perhaps even more sobering, at any moment, something could happen that changes everything. How do you hear God while attempting to make those decisions? While living through those changes? How can you know what he's saying and if it's him that's saying it? For some of us that have been around Church for years, we forget how strange it sounds to say things like:
God told me.
I was lead through prayer.
I heard the voice of the Lord.
He spoke to me through his word.
Has anyone heard the voice of God? As in, audibly? Really? I know there are people who say they have, and that's great for them, but I’m pretty sure that that's not something the majority experiences.
And then, how do you know? How can you be sure that it’s “God” talking to you and not your subconscious, or last night's pizza (as they say), or if it's confirmation bias, or the voices in your head (more to the point…)?
God speaks, we know that, right? The Bible is FULL of stories about God saying all kinds of things to all kinds of people. I know he’s spoken to me, and I bet most of you can say that he’s spoken to you. Still, I get often asked, “How does prayer work? How can I hear the voice of God? How will I know it's him?”
I’ve made huge life decisions based on “God told me so,” only to question him (and my ability to hear him) when those plans seemingly go awry.
There’s a story in the Bible about a conversation between God and a young Jeremiah, the son of a priest. God said to Jeremiah,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart!” Jer 1:5 (NIV).
The “voice of God” will always validate your being, affirm your belonging, and remind you of your origins. If you hear or feel something telling you that you are inherently wrong, or that someone else is, that voice is not God. Although these few lines from the book of Jeremiah are a personal conversation between a young boy and God, it's a snapshot of what the Divine says to us all.
So many of our “prayers” and conversations with God concern the future or the past. We live in the past, dream of the future, and often miss today, this moment, the here and now.
When trying to hear his “voice,” start by being aware of ‘now.' Forget the past, let go of tomorrow, quiet your soul and still your spirit.
Right now, before you make any decisions or hear any voices, hear this:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart!“
Written by Lizzy Milani