Have you ever been guilty of having a conversation with someone without really listening to them?  Yeah, me too. As a mom, that is something I do way too often.

With four children that I homeschool, constant noise and chatter abound around me. Being able to tune out the noise is sometimes a survival tactic. But there are times I also tune out my children’s voices and miss opportunities to connect with them.

I get my cue when one of them asks, “Mom, are you listening to me?” (Sorry, but no. My brain checked out again.) To really listen to my children, I must shut out the noise, including the noise of my own thoughts, and focus on them.

I often hear the same question from God, “Daughter, are you listening to me?” To really listen to God and hear His voice, I must silence the voices around me. I must focus on Him.

Learning to listen to people takes practice. Listening skills are commonly taught to improve communication. Learning to listen to God’s voice is no different. It takes practice, so don’t be discouraged if you feel like you don’t hear Him. You can learn!

There are a few truths from Scripture that can help us learn to listen to God’s voice.

Get to know your Shepherd.

Sheep know their shepherd because he spends time with them. They know his voice and follow him. Jesus calls Himself our good Shepherd. (John 10:1-18) To hear His voice, we must get to know Him by spending time with Him. That’s exactly what we do through prayer and spending time in the Bible.

How are you getting to know your Shepherd today so you can recognize His voice? Talk to Him. Read His Word. Be still to shut out the other voices. It takes practice.

Listen for the still, small voice.

While fleeing for his life, Elijah heard God’s voice. God’s presence was not in the strong wind, the earthquake, or the fire. Rather, His voice came in the sound of a gentle blowing (NASB), a gentle whisper (NIV), a still, small voice (KJV). (Read the full story in I Kings 19).

Are you listening for the quiet voice of your Jesus today? You probably need to shut out some other voices to hear Him.

Respond when you hear Him.

“Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah.” Psalm 95:7-8 and Hebrews 3:7-8 (NASB)

Meribah was the place where, after their miraculous Exodus, the Israelites grumbled, complained, and quarreled that they had no water to drink. God showed His power and provision by bringing water out of the rock at Horeb. (Exodus 17:1-7)

If our hearts are hardened by grumbling, complaining, and quarreling, then we will not hear God. A hardened heart refuses to respond. In contrast, a softened heart is willing to receive whatever He has to say. The more we refuse to respond to God’s voice, the less we will hear Him.

What characterizes your heart today? A hardened heart that grumbles? Or a softened heart that responds?

Let’s not be guilty of having a conversation with God through prayer without really listening to Him. Get to know your Shepherd. Listen for His still, small voice. Respond when you hear Him.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect with Jesus today.

Today’s Challenge:

Listen. Write down what you hear God say to you.

Take a few moments to be quiet, to shut out the voices and noise around you. Ask God to speak to your heart. Write down what you hear Him say.

Hint: If a Bible verse seems to pop into your mind, that’s probably the Holy Spirit 🙂  Ask Him what that verse means for you, today.