Does God Really Hear Me?
How do I know when I'm praying that I'm really talking to God? Sure, I feel differently after I pray, but am I really supposed to hear his voice or see clear signs from him?
To start with, you're not alone. It's easy for Christians to sometimes wonder if we're really talking to God. The problem? Exactly what you're wondering: Most people don't actually hear a voice when talking or listening to God. We might not see clear signals either. Even when we think we feel God's presence, it's still easy to think, Is that really God?
The truth is, there isn't a way to know we're talking to God. But that's because prayer is a relationship of faith. I love the way faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1: "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see" (NLT).
The Bible tells us God is there, he's listening and he is involved in our everyday lives. And like Hebrews says, by having faith in that, we can be certain of what we can't see or hear.
But because there's no hard evidence, it's easy to understand why you've asked your question. And it's also OK that you've asked it. If you want to better hear God's voice and discern when he's speaking, just ask him. Pray he'll make his presence known to you. Pray he'll teach you to know his voice. Also, read Scriptures that reassure you of his involvement in your life, such as: "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you" (Hebrews 13:5, The Message).
So how do we hear God? Well, in a lot of ways. Some of my friends who pray a lot tell me that sometimes there's a quiet, inaudible "voice" inside them that prompts them to do something. Others describe it as feeling a gentle nudge. Some people say they experience some sort of sign-as simple as a song that comes on the radio-that gives them solid confidence that God is speaking. For me personally, I sense God's presence in prayer more often when I am in nature.
Take a moment to think about those when you feel differently after praying. What were you doing? How did it happen? It might be a good idea to reflect on how you've seen God answer your prayers. Maybe you can keep a prayer journal so that you can look back and see how your prayers have turned out.
Due to the volume of mail, Jim cannot answer every letter.
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