God wants to speak to you, and He wants this conversation to happen through His Word. The Scripture makes it clear that God wants us to jump into His Word to learn, understand, receive correction, and get a grasp of doctrine. He even sent the Holy Spirit to help us.
When we don’t look at His Word, though, God does employ a few other methods to communicate with us.
- God speaks to us audibly. In Acts 9, we see that Jesus stopped Paul — Saul, at that time — on the road to Damascus. He asked Saul why he was persecuting Him, and Saul immediately knows that whoever was speaking was bigger than he was. Also, the men who were with Saul heard the voice. They couldn’t see the Lord, but they heard Him.
In the Old Testament, Samuel heard the Lord. He was a child, training to become a prophet, and wasn’t sure if the voice he heard belonged to Eli or the Lord. If you don’t have discernment, or you’re not listening, it’s easy to get confused about who is speaking.
- God speaks to us in dreams. Not every dream is from the Lord, but in my experience, every dream that’s come from the Lord had met one or both of these characteristics: when the dream was over, I genuinely knew it was from the Lord and in some, I even knew what it meant. The most important thing you can do when you have a dream, and you’re not sure if it’s from the Lord is to err on the side of the Word and make sure everything lines up with Scripture.
- God speaks to us in visions: On the road to Damascus, Saul could see the Lord, even with his eyes closed. You won’t get all of the details, like what Jesus looks like, but you’ll walk away with a clear picture of what He wants to tell you.
- God speaks to us in trances: In Acts 10:9, Peter falls into a trance. He quite literally checked out, was entirely focused on something else, and awoke without realizing anything had happened. I once saw a preacher fall into a trance for 18 minutes during a sermon. When he came out of it, he continued with his message by sharing the vision but had no idea he’d even stopped preaching. Everything he saw came to pass a week later.
- God speaks to us through angels: In Acts 27, Paul recounts the message that was given to him by an angel. If you see an angel — which is exceedingly rare, even in the times of Paul — keep in mind that angels can’t preach the gospel. Everything that the angel tells you should line up with the Word.
- God speaks to us through prophets: Acts 21:10 talks about Paul’s experience with the prophet Agabus, who brought him a message from the Holy Spirit.
Remember, though, that just because God uses these methods to communicate doesn’t mean they are His top choices. There’s not much intimacy in any of these, and intimacy is what the Lord wants. What He’s hoping to achieve is that you’ll see what He sees because you’re so in tune with Him. Before the angel came to Paul in Acts 27, he told his fellow travelers that he perceived something.
This perception should be our goal. This is where God’s Spirit bears witness with yours, and you end up knowing something that there’s no way you should or could know. God doesn’t usually speak in loud, boisterous, spectacular, or wild voices. In 1 Kings 19, strong winds, earthquakes, and fires all occurred before the Lord spoke in a still, small voice.
That’s the voice we need to look for, not the trances, visions, angels, and prophets. God wants to talk directly with you.
Watch below to learn even more!