The Dangerous Idea That We Can Hear God Speak
When I was in seminary, I got reported to the administration.
Another student thought I was crazy and told the staff I was potentially dangerous.
I didn’t mind that they thought I was crazy (totally understandable). But the reason they thought I was balmy just blew me away.
This student had heard me talk about hearing God.
This freaked them out—they reported me as someone the school should keep an eye on. They said that people who claim to hear from God are dangerous; they run around shooting things, hurting people, and doing dangerous anti-social activities.
It dumbfounded me when I heard this. Then, I was angry.
But then I was indescribably sad.
I was sad for this person, who went to seminary yet didn’t believe that God can speak.
I was sad for all the other seminary students I met who also didn’t believe that God still speaks. How tragic. How troublesome for the churches they will one day lead.
“Hearing God? A daring idea, some would say—presumptuous and even dangerous. But what if we were made for it? What if the human system simply will not function properly without it?… Isn’t it more presumptuous and dangerous, in fact, to undertake human existence without hearing from God?”
Dallas Willard, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God
It’s true, hearing God’s voice is a daring idea, even a dangerous one.
Yes, some people do crazy things and try to blame it on God. And, yes, there is some risk in learning to listen to God’s voice. After all, people could misinterpret what God says. Or, they could tune in to the wrong voice all together.
But overall, isn’t it far more dangerous when we neglect learning to listen to God’s voice?
Haven’t people proven, over and over again, that we aren’t qualified to run the world without His help? We aren’t even able to run our own lives without His guidance!
Living life without hearing God’s voice is a far riskier endeavor than learning to listen to His voice. It’s a risk none of us should attempt to undertake.
What do you think? Have you learned to listen to God’s voice?
If not, would you like to talk about some easy ways to begin the practice?
I’m currently creating a guide to help people hear God’s voice (I hope to have it available this month). In the meantime, here’s a simple way to start practicing Listening Prayer.
Listening Prayer is, of course, a time of prayer where you make space to listen to God. Most prayers never give God a chance to speak. We verbally vomit our concerns but never wait for a reply.
Learning to listen to God is what makes our relationship with Him a real relationship. After all, what relationship have you ever had that didn’t require you to listen to the other person?
How can I have a personal relationship with God if I'm the only one who talks? … Conversation with God is vital to a personal relationship.
Jan Johnson, When the Soul Listens: Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer
Listening Prayer is a way to develop a dialogue with God. It’s the first step toward experiencing a conversational life of prayer.
So, if you want to try Listening Prayer, be sure to downloard the handout. Also, keep your eyes open for the upcoming guide.
Let me close with this final thought:
Consider who’s crazier, the Christian who says they can hear God talk, or the one who never tries to listen to the Lord speak?