You had a problem, or something you desired deeply. You prayed about it – a lot. You asked others to pray for you about it. And you prayed some more. You struggled, you cried, you tried to listen. And yes, you prayed some more.
Then one day something happened in your spirit. It may not have been an audible voice from heaven, but you heard something in your soul. You felt God spoke to you, and it was good. Very good. Your problem would be taken care of. You were going to receive that which you desired more than anything else. The whole world looked different.
What do you do then? What do you do after God speaks?
I’ve been there. Several times during my life I felt I heard God’s voice in my heart. The first time I was quite young, about 13 years old. I prayed for something specific to happen, and I believed I heard God say to me that what I prayed for would come to pass.
It didn’t happen.
I’ve grown up a lot – emotionally and spiritually – since then, and with maturity comes a better understanding of how God speaks to us. I’ve heard His voice on other occasions – sometimes pointing in a clear direction that I’m supposed to go, sometimes with a confidence that a certain outcome is going to happen. One occasion was a complete surprise to me.
Some years ago I was reading a contemporary Christian book while traveling on a plane. (I’m not going to tell you the book, because then you’ll want to read it. But that’s not the point.) All at once I felt what I thought was God’s voice telling me that I would meet my husband soon. I was shocked! Long ago I had ceased praying for a husband, and had become very happy and productive as a single woman. Where had this come from? I filed that thought away, and continued on with my life.
Six months later I was sitting in a little radio station in Jasper, Texas, talking with the station manager about producing some radio spots. Something immediately started happening between us, and some months later Al and I were married.
I believe God prepares us for what He is about to do if we are paying attention and willing to listen. He cares about us as a loving Father cares about His children. And He will speak to us.
But what happens after God speaks is even more important than the praying beforehand. Here are some specific things you need to do after you hear God’s voice speak to you.
After God Speaks
- Treasure His voice. God’s voice is not like the thousands or millions of other messages your brain receives every day. His voice is precious. He doesn’t speak lightly. His voice is rare, valuable, “pregnant” with meaning, purpose, and power. He doesn’t speak just because you wish for Him to do so. When He does speak, treat that word as the priceless commodity that it is.
- Recognize you’re not God. I believe part of the reason God doesn’t speak to us more often is that we so easily confuse our own thoughts, other people’s words, or even messages from the evil one as coming from God. God will not add His own voice to a confusing cacophony of sound. His word is always true, but we are finite in our ability to hear, understand, and differentiate His voice from that of others. Hold your understanding of His voice loosely.
- Get prepared. During the months after I heard God’s voice I began to read about healthy marriages and listen to others who had been successful in that part of their lives. I knew that I was capable of hearing God wrong, but if I had heard Him correctly I wanted to be ready. And when Al and I met, my heart was open. God speaks to us, in part, so that we have an opportunity to prepare for what He is about to do. That’s our part. Perhaps you need to study something in business, disentangle yourself from some current responsibilities or relationships, or deal with something in your character.
- Obey. It may be that God’s voice has impressed on you to do something, perhaps something difficult. It may be forgiving someone who has hurt you, changing something major in your lifestyle, or taking what feels like a big risk for His kingdom. He usually won’t tell you anything more until you follow through on what He has asked you to do.
- Keep on praying. Not in a desperate way, but to keep your own heart open. You will need God’s continuing guidance as you follow through on what God has told you. If it’s something major, keep asking for His direction all along the way. I asked God many times if I was hearing Him correctly during the time Al and I were going together. His reassurance, and His blessing on our life together since then, has made clear that it was indeed a God thing.
- Trust Him. Yes, you’re almost certain to get some things wrong, or at least slightly off center. God knows that. Joyce Meyer tells how God reassured her in this way; “Don’t worry about missing Me. If you get lost, I’ll come find you!” That’s part of what relationship is all about. And the more you go through things together with Him, the more that trust will develop.
When God speaks it’s only the beginning. What you do after that determines a great deal about how you experience what God wants to do for you.
Your Turn: Have you heard God speak to you? What was that experience like? Leave a comment below.
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