As teachers, I am sure we all teach our
children about prayer and encourage them to develop good prayer
habits for themselves. However, we should always remember that
rather than just listening to our monologues, God desires to have
a two-way conversation with us. Listed below are ten ways in which
God can and does speak to us. Some of these ways may not be
totally understandable to some children, so taking their age and
Christian maturity into consideration, you will need to decide
which ones are suitable for sharing.
As you share these ways with your classes, it will
always be good to illustrate them with examples, including your
own personal experiences. Space considerations have only allowed
me to include two such illustrations here. However, I have
included many more examples in the fuller version of this
article which is part of my Newsletter 28, and can
be found on http://mauricesweetsur.blogspot.com/
1. The Bible.
This is God's Word, so what the Bible says, God
says. This is the main way in which God communicates with people
today. Thus, if you neglect your Bible reading, you could well be
preventing God from speaking to you.
Although all of the Bible is God's everlasting
message to us all, He can take a part of it - perhaps even a
single verse - and use it to speak into our lives, by making it
'come alive' to us, so to speak. Thus as we read this particular
verse, we get excited and just 'know' that God is using it to
speak to us.
God can of course bring to our mind at any time any
scripture that we have memorised. Almost every Christian has
experienced times when the Holy Spirit calls to mind some
scripture or truth at a moment when it is needed, for example in
their own conversion experience or personal life, or in
counselling or witnessing. That is why scripture memorisation is
so important for teachers and children alike.
2. An audible voice.
The Bible records a number of occasions in
which God spoke to people this way, perhaps the best known being
the boy Samuel. This is not God's usual way of communicating with
people today, but that is not to say that He cannot or will not
speak to you in an audible voice.
I have never heard God's audible voice, but I know a number of
people who have. In most cases, someone's life was in danger. It
was as though God had to speak to someone urgently to avert the
danger. However, I once taught my class about God speaking to
Samuel. The following week a girl came up to me and said God spoke
to me a few days ago in an audible voice, just like He spoke to
Samuel. He told me to go and tell my Gran. that He loved her.
I asked her if she had done it, and she replied that she had. This
reminds us that the important point is not how God speaks to us,
but whether we are obedient to what He says.
3. An inaudible voice.
Although you may not hear God speaking to you with your ears, if
you are trusting in Jesus, God's Spirit lives in you and He
can speak to you through your spirit. For example, you
may get a 'little voice in your head', a strong desire or
impression to do / not to do something, speak to someone, go / not
go somewhere etc. The closer you grow in your relationship with
God, the more clearly will you be able to recognise this 'inner
4. Your conscience.
This is one of the things that makes us different from animals.
God has given to everyone who has ever been born a conscience.
This is God's voice within us all that warns us - by making
us feel uneasy or anxious - when we are about to do wrong.
God will never take our free will away and prevent us from doing
wrong, but He will always warn us when we are about to make a
We should always listen to our conscience, because if we keep
ignoring this little voice and continue doing wrong, the
voice will appear to get smaller and smaller until we can
hear it no more.
5. Older Christians.
By this I mean people who have known Jesus longer than you have.
They are often able to give us good advice and help guide us into
what God wants us to do.
God can use the everyday events of life to guide us. This can be
likened to the opening and closing of doors. For example you may
wish to get into the school Rugby team, but you are never chosen.
Therefore you start playing Soccer instead - and find you have a
greater ability for Soccer than you ever had for Rugby.
When certain events happen at the same time in our lives, it is
very easy to just write them off as coincidences. Often it is only
as we look back that we are able to see God's hand guiding us
through these 'coincidences'.
7. The desires of your heart.
Psalm 37.4 says Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you
the desires of your heart. Most people think this means that if
you put God first, He will then give you whatever natural desires
you happen to have. I interpret this verse in a slightly different
way. I believe it means that if you concentrate on delighting
yourself in the Lord, He will then put His desires for
you in your heart, so that they become your desires as well.
Probably the strongest motivation for doing something is that you desire
to do it. So do you have a strong desire to be something, to do
something, to go somewhere? It could be that God has given you
these desires because that is His will for you.
8. Through Prophets.
A Prophet is essentially a Messenger. That is someone who hears
from God, and takes His message to someone else. There are many
Prophets in the Bible. Indeed much of the Old Testament itself is
a recording of these ancient messages from God.
There are still Prophets in the Church today, and God may use one
of them to bring you a message, perhaps to tell you to do
something or to go somewhere. But if someone 'brings a message
from God' to you, how do you know that it really is from God? The
main thing to remember is that God uses Prophets to confirm what
He has already spoken to you about. For example, suppose
someone comes to you and says God wants you to go to China. If
your reaction is something like What me? What a surprise! I have
never thought of going to China. Then forget it, this message is
not from God. However, if your reaction is more like Oh yes, I
have always been interested in China, I love the Chinese people, I
always thought I would go there one day, then this message is
almost certainly from God. It is God confirming what he has
already spoken into your life, and perhaps enabling and
encouraging you to take the next step in your preparation.
9. Through dreams and visions.
We all know what dreams are, and God can speak to us through them.
Visions are often similar to the 'moving pictures' we get in
dreams (or they could be just a still picture), but God gives them
to you while you are awake. God spoke to many people in the Bible
through dreams (e.g. Joseph and Daniel) or visions (e.g. Peter and
10. Through Ideas.
We all have ideas, and we tend to think Oh, that idea is mine. But
perhaps God placed the idea in your mind in the first place!
I once came across an eight year old girl in the school
playground, crying. I asked her what was wrong, and she replied
that none of the other girls ever played with her and that
she had no friends. I told her that I would pray for her and ask
God to give her a good friend. As I began to pray, I noticed
another girl about 100 metres away begin to run towards us. She
arrive just as I finished my prayer and had said 'Amen.' She
looked at the girl I had been praying for and said Will you
come and play with me? An instant answer to prayer! But why
did that second girl suddenly run over to the first one and ask
her to play? I don't really think that God shouted down into the
playground with a loud voice Hey Jessie, Go and ask Jodie to play
with you. No, I think He just put the idea in the mind of Jessie
(who interestingly was a Christian) Why don't you play with Jodie.
She's not really all that bad. Alternitively,Jessie could of
course have heard God's inaudible 'inner voice' , though when I
questioned her afterwards she didn't seem to be aware of it. In
either case the important point was that she was obedient to what
How can I know if it is really God speaking
There are two tests that we can apply to any message we think may
be from God.
1. Does it agree with the Bible?
God never contradicts Himself. Therefore, if your message doesn't
agree with God's revealed Word in the Bible, then it is definitely
not from Him. For example, if you think God is telling you to tell
a little lie because it will get you out of trouble, forget it!
That is not from God, because the Bible says Do not lie.
2. Do you have 'Peace' about the message?
Colossians 3.15 says Let the peace of Christ rule (be the umpire)
in your hearts. An umpire is the one who decides. And God has
given us His Peace as our umpire, so that we may know if something
is from Him or not. Thus, if you feel at peace about a
message, supposedly from God, then it probably really is from Him.
On the other hand, if you feel uneasy or anxious about the
message, that is God removing His Peace to warn you that this is
not from Him.
How can we hear more clearly from God?
If you love God, your greatest desire will to know Him better and
communicate more fully with Him. How can we hear more clearly from
God then? Fortunately, the answer is very simple - stay close
If I was talking in my normal voice and you were sitting close to
me, you would hear me very clearly. But suppose I was still
talking in the same way and you were at the other end of the room,
or even outside the room. Would you hear me so clearly then? No.
You may not hear me at all, and if you did, you would probably
hear me incorrectly and get the message wrong.
It is exactly the same when hearing from God. If we stay close to
Him, we will hear Him clearly. But if we are a long way from God,
we are unlikely to hear Him. How then, can we stay close to God?
There is no short cut to this. We need to ensure that we spend adequate
time in His presence by reading and meditating on His Word,
talking to him (prayer) and doing what we know He has already told
us to do. Then we will be in the right position to hear from Him
when He speaks to us.
This lessons was originally posted
Vault area of our website.