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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

Can I Really Learn to Recognize God's Voice?

If we want to follow God, we must be able to recognize His voice, His nudges, His warnings. But how do we do that? That is probably the most often asked question I’ve dealt with in all my years of leading people to a more intimate relationship with God.

God’s way of speaking to each of us is as unique and individual as it takes for us to recognize His communication. His “voice” doesn’t make sound the way we hear our friends talk. There’s more of an awareness steeped in compassion, love, affirmation, and every other way that the truest Lover of who you are uses to get your attention.

Remember when Elijah was facing his devastating low after his victory on Mount Carmel? He went to edge of a lookout to hear from God. A gale-force wind nearly blew him over. Powerful? Yes. But it wasn’t God speaking. Then A rumble of an earthquake shook the ground and he almost lost his balance. Still, it wasn’t God. Then, everything settled down into a deep quiet. Elijah simply waited. In the stillness of the world and his own self, he heard God.

That’s the best description of God’s voice we have. It has sound and meaning inside us, but we must quiet our own self-talk to hear Him. Here is a way to start learning how to recognize the way God communicates to you and practice listening.:


Start by asking questions of God or His Word. What do you want me to do or say? What do you want me to understand about Who You are? What do I need to know or do to find your resources for my day or specific challenge? Always remember that God's Word IS the voice of God.


Wait for God’s response without filling the silence with your own self-talk. This is critical if you want a conversation with God. Often, we don’t hear God because we don’t give Him time to respond. How much time does it take? It depends. Sometimes my questions live with me through a day, a week, a month, and even longer. When you are willing to wait, you will hear what you need to hear at exactly the right time.


Decide before you hear a response from God that you will obey whatever He prompts. Obedience isn’t dependent on what we feel about what God asks. Obedience is a no-matter-what decision to say yes. It simply means we will do whatever it takes to obey. If you struggle here, it usually tracks back to a trust issue or misunderstandings about God’s character and integrity.

Reject Directing God

Reject the urge to present your way or your answer to God before you hear His. If we want to hear from God, we don’t fill our time talking about what we want. Focusing on what we want and how we want it prevents us from listening to what God wants and how He wants it. Do you see the problem?

Connect the Dots

In the end, listen for God to connect the dots between our life and His Word. When what I hear aligns with scripture without over-shaping it to fit what I wanted to hear, I know it’s God. When I hear more affirmation than struggle, I know it’s God. Example: You can do this. You are enough. I will be there. I know it’s God, because I don’t pep-talk myself in those ways.

If God can speak a world into being,

don’t you think He can find a way to talk to you?

Next week we’ll look at the connection between recognizing God’s voice and understanding His will. If you have questions, write me. I love conversations that help us know our real, available, consistent, always speaking God better.

pictures by pixaby-Robin Higgins

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