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When God Speaks, How Well Do You Listen?

The importance of pausing when you feel a nudge from God.

Listening to God
Credit: Getty Images
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God speaks to me through His Word, the Bible. He speaks to me through hymns and songs. And sometimes, I’m beginning to think, He speaks through my memory (though precious little of it is left). When a Bible verse or hymn comes to mind, I’m learning to ask why…what is God saying to me by bringing those words to mind?

For example, I encounter a verse such as Proverbs 3:24 in my morning Bible reading: “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (NIV). That’s a sweet promise, especially since sleep often eludes me when I go to bed. I might forget about the verse as I go about the day but later, during an online teleconference, it comes to mind. And I wonder, is it simply a random occurrence, or is God saying something? 

So I listen. I ponder. I wait. Before long, it dawns on me that the verse equates not being afraid with sweet sleep. And I think, Ah, is it fear that keeps me awake? It may not seem like it on the surface, but my racing mind—going over the next day’s appointments and to-do list—may be a form of fear, a failure to trust God and rest in His ability rather than depending on my own. 

Those few moments of listening to God take less time than it took to read the words above, but they make a difference. That night I lie down with a new focus and a new surrender and soon fall asleep.

That’s just one example. On another occasion, I listen to worship music in the morning and leave my short prayer time with the words, “Your goodness is running after, it’s running after me,” repeating in my mind. Eventually, I pause and ask, “God, is that just a catchy tune, or are You saying something to me by bringing those words to mind?”

Sometimes just the act of pausing and asking brings an answer. Other times, I have to wait. But eventually I may sense God saying, “My goodness and mercy is following after you and will be with you all the days of your life, just like the psalm says.”

When something like that happens—a connection to Scripture that I hadn’t seen before—I realize that that’s God voice, and it often leads me deeper into prayer.

The more this happens, the more I remember to pause and ask why a certain memory returns to me. It may happen several times a day, and I don’t always get a discernible answer. But more often than not, God speaks through those simple, little memories. And as He does, I’m learning to expect it and to listen more and more, better and better.

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