Hearing God's Voice 101
I wish that I could give you a syllabus, prepare lectures, and let you complete a test so that you could drink it in—it being the ability to hear God's voice. But it's not that easy. Sometimes God invites us, like he invited Moses, into the "thick darkness" and communicates with us there. That's what this is all about—going into the darkness and meeting God there. But before we head to those dark places, let's lay down some general rules about how God communicates with us.
God Usually Does Not Communicate With Us Audibly
First, God most often does not communicate with us audibly. I know, it seems a bit odd that he would give us ears—two, in fact—and expect us to use them to listen to one another when we communicate and then choose not to put those ears to use when he communicates with us. I don't know why he does this, but he does. I haven't heard the voice of God with my ears … yet. I am open to that, but God hasn't chosen to speak to me in that way.
God Communicates With Us Through His Word
Second, God most often communicates with us through his word, the Bible. Because God most often communicates through his word, you need to read it. It doesn't matter how living and active God's word might be—if you don't take time to read the Bible, you won't benefit from the power of it. When you read the Bible, it is good to read for information and to learn more about God—but also to read for inspiration and to experience more of God.
What is the difference? When you read for information, you might read the Bible much like you would a history book, taking note of dates and names, places and time periods. It is good to understand the cultures that set the context for the biblical writers. As you read for information, you grow in your understanding of God's character and his ways. This helps you to discern his voice when he speaks to you.
When you read the Bible for inspiration, you approach a particular passage of Scripture with this prayer on your lips: "Lord, I need to hear a word from you today. Please, speak to me through your Word; help me to hear and to understand what you are saying to me." When you make a habit of reading God's word on a daily basis, and you pray that prayer, you will experience the power of God's word. The words you read will jump off the pages of the book into your heart and mind. Then you will say, "God spoke this to me in his word today …."