God is unceasingly reaching out to his people. So, how do people perceive Him when He speaks to them? And how do they receive God’s words in their lives if they do?
How do you know when God is speaking with you? More importantly, how do you listen to be able to hear God talking with you? There are a lot of instances in people’s lives when they feel the presence of God or sense as if God is talking to them. This brings up the question, is it God speaking with them? In the Catholics Read the Scriptures by Bramwell, the author highlights that God constantly converses with man, but not with man alone. The dialog is in context with the man as a living being within the people of God, a conversation directed towards all the nations of men.
When God Spoke
The Holy Scriptures is a good source for reference on documented instances when God was talking to his people. And the Old Testament is the treasure chest of those instances. The prophet Elijah’s encounter with God is a classic example of how He reveals himself. There was a gush of wind, raging earthquake, and fire, but God’s voice was not heard through these forces of nature. However, when everything was quiet and still, a small voice came through that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19); Elijah knew that it was God speaking to him.
Abraham was 99 years old when God first sought him out. It was through three men that God revealed himself bearing his first message to Abraham that his wife Sarah, at 90, would give birth to a son. This started the story and journey of Abraham, who became known as the Father of All Nations.
Here’s a story retold through many forms of media: Moses and the burning bush. After finding refuge in the land of Midian from his past with the Egyptians, Moses had his first encounter with God while tending to his father-in-law’s flock. God appeared to Moses in flames of fire coming from a bush, a bush that did not burn up despite the hot, raging flames. And so begins the relationship between God and Moses and the rise of the climatic exit of the Hebrews in the Book of Exodus.
Miracles are often signs and telling of God’s presence. Anything extraordinary or miraculous is what makes people think of God’s omnipotence. But God’s presence can also manifest through the simplest things, such as a touch or a whisper. In other words, nobody knows when or how God will reveal himself and communicate to men, and only God himself can decide the right time for this to happen. God is, after all, omniscient.
How to listen?
God often speaks and manifests Himself through the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, prayer, through His Holy Spirit, or what is known as enlightenment, or pastoral counselors or spiritual advisors. God is an omnipotent being who can choose to reveal Himself in any way and whenever He wants to. But when God does reach out, how should people heed and pay attention? How should they listen?
Be Still and Silent
Just as God manifested himself to Elijah, it was through stillness and in the silence. One of the ways to listen to God speaking is to be still and quiet. Worldly noises frequently drown the messages God keeps sending to his people. These noises are a distraction and could take the form of material things or pleasurable things designed by men to satisfy their needs and wants. But somehow, these are significant obstacles or blockers to hearing God’s voice. Being still and silent signifies man’s desire to listen to their creator.
To ignore worldly distractions and choose to do without them could tell how man craves to hear and feel God’s presence in their life. Stillness and silence can be best achieved through meditation and reflection. Quietly empty your minds of any thoughts. Be in a place where it’s peaceful and quiet. Reflect on Bible verses or God’s words. Prepare your mind by pondering on God’s graciousness and how you see yourself as God’s beloved creation.
Praise and Worship
Praise and worship are two of the most powerful tools for communicating with God and have been used since time immemorial. These two acts aim to exalt God’s holy name, honoring, magnifying, and glorifying him and his works. Praising and worshipping open up the spirits of the worshippers, making them more pliant and receptive to receiving God’s graces and feeling his presence through the Holy Spirit.
Reach out to spiritual mentors
If you don’t know where and how to begin seeking God’s presence, go ahead and talk to mentors or spiritual or pastoral counselors. People are symbolized in the Holy Scriptures as a flock of sheep needing a shepherd to guide them in the right way when looking for God in their lives. These spiritual mentors, or spiritual advisors, could be your local church community pastor or priests, even church counselors, or anyone in the ministry who had the experience in the effective way of communing and being with God’s holy presence.
These people are well-versed with the Bible and are familiar with the acceptable methods and practices of the church. These mentors can also help you discern if what you’re doing is right or wrong and if it’s genuinely coming from God that you’re perceiving. They’d get you through any confusion when praying, help sort out your feelings throughout the process and assist in interpreting all the emotions and perceptions you receive when praying.
Communicating with God is like talking to a friend. You can open everything and anything to him, and the best part, there is no judgment. After all, you’re communing with the One who created you, the being who made you out of His love for all, and the One being who has your best all laid out for you. Who better to talk to than to God himself? So, if you hear His voice today, stop whatever you’re doing. Give Him your full attention, and listen with your whole heart, mind, and soul.