Dear Friend, What is the first step when you believe God is speaking to you? How should you respond to Him? What results can you and I expect as we listen to the voice of the Lord? Reading these questions, you may be thinking it has been a while since you have heard God’s voice. Or, you may realize He has been speaking to you all along, but it’s time to pay better attention. It is not unusual for lapses or obstacles to develop in our interaction with the Lord. The good news is—these barriers can be overcome. My hope with this letter is to refresh the communication between us and the Lord. In times like these, it is vitally important for you and me to improve our ability to hear from God and respond properly to Him. The first step is to tell Him you’re listening.
Lessons from Life
As you may have gathered, what I write in these letters comes directly out of my own personal experience. This time is no exception. I’m writing this message very early in the morning. Why? Because at around 2:30 this morning, it seemed clear that the Lord was speaking to me along the lines of this topic. My first response? Maybe not the most spiritual. I took one look at the clock and rolled over to go back to sleep. But when it seemed clear that the thoughts swirling in my mind were not going away—and I needed to pay attention to them—I chose a better response. At that point, I simply told the Lord that I was listening—and I asked Him to continue speaking. As I kept listening, the details of what I am now sharing with you became clearer and clearer in my understanding, culminating with the writing process. I sincerely hope what I communicate here will be timely and encouraging for you.
Starting to Learn Early
To be more specific, the words I eventually spoke in response to God’s early morning promptings were right out of 1 Samuel 3:9 (NAS): “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” This reply was the instruction from Eli, the priest at Shiloh, to Samuel, who was in Eli’s care and training. Realizing that God was speaking to the little boy, Eli told Samuel exactly how to answer. I find it interesting in the biblical account that the way Samuel answered in verse 10 was a little different than what Eli suggested. Samuel simply said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” Why was that? We find the answer in a preceding verse: “(Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor was the word of the LORD yet revealed to him)” (v. 7). Like it is with you and me, recognizing God’s voice is a learning process. It comes as we get to know Him better and better. For Samuel, the process began early and continued throughout his life. May it be so for us as well!
Results of Listening Well
Samuel’s early encounter with the Lord teaches us one of the main benefits of listening attentively when God speaks. If we listen well when God talks with us, He promises in return to listen to us when we call out to Him. It is significant that Samuel’s name means “heard by God.” Could it be that because Samuel learned early in life to listen to the Lord, the result would be that his prayers would be heard on high? There are many confirmations of this premise throughout the Scriptures. One of the most encouraging is Jeremiah 29:12 (right after God’s promise in verse 11 to give us a future and a hope): “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.” Another is Psalm 34:15: “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry,” as well as verse 17: “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears.” We also see many warnings in the Bible about not responding correctly when the Lord speaks to us. One of the most striking is a quote from Psalm 95 which appears twice in Hebrews 3—in verse 7 and 15: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” You and I must cultivate a soft heart, a listening ear, and a willing spirit.
A Wonderful Mentor
One of the traits modeled by Derek Prince that I always admired the most was his sensitivity to hear and respond properly to the voice of the Lord. It was not uncommon for Derek to stop in the middle of a message and say, “I sense the Lord directing us to pray right now.” No matter how involved Derek was in any particular teaching, he put the highest priority on responding immediately to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. A consistent theme in Derek’s teaching was this matter of hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord when He speaks to us. The following excerpt from “Hearing God’s Voice, Part 1” is a clear example of the significance of listening properly.
I believe the one unvarying requirement which never changed from dispensation to dispensation was the requirement to hear God’s voice. I believe that was what always marked out those who belonged to God and made them different from all other people. They had learned to hear God’s voice. I’ll now give you some examples from the Pentateuch (the first five books of Moses)—all of which show the unique importance of hearing God’s voice. The first is found in Exodus 15, verse 26. Israel had come to a stage in their journey through the wilderness where they were very thirsty. There was a pool of water there called Marah, but when they wanted to drink the water, they couldn’t because it was bitter. When Moses prayed, the Lord showed him a certain tree. When he cast the tree into the water, the waters were healed and the people could drink. In this context, the Lord said this to Moses: “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.” What is the primary requirement? “If you will diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God.” The Hebrew says, “If you will listen, listening.” I interpret that to mean that we have to listen to God’s voice with both our ears—the right and the left—that is, to listen, listening.
Expressing Your Willingness
Through all that has been presented, do you sense the Lord stirring your heart right now? Is He prompting you to adjust your ears and your heart to hear and obey? Are you seeing the necessity to open up your spirit to Him in a greater way? If you feel like you haven’t been very successful in this process of hearing and responding to God’s voice, don’t be discouraged. You and I can do a course correction right now. We can simply let the Lord know of our hope to respond more appropriately to His voice. Will you join with me as I express that desire?
Lord, I am so grateful for this reminder that You are actively speaking to me. Please forgive my insensitivity and preoccupation with other matters—allowing barriers to arise that obscure and drown out Your voice. For my part, I want to get rid of those obstacles today. With this prayer, I am actively opening my ears and my heart to You, dear Jesus, and to all You want to say to me. Please speak to me, Lord—for your servant is listening. I am starting the process today to hear You better—to listen more carefully and intently. Thank You for the promises in Your Word about all the benefits of hearing You. I am so grateful that in return for my improved listening, You have pledged to hear me when I call, and to listen when I cry out to You. Today, I am taking the first step to refresh my communication with You, Lord. This is my declaration: from this point onward, I will be actively listening to hear and obey Your voice. Amen.
He Will Answer
The prayer and declaration we have just voiced can be life-changing for you and me. In fact, I would encourage you to “test your wings” in the days ahead. If there is a matter requiring specific direction from the Lord, place it before Him over the next few days. Then set aside some regular times to wait quietly in His presence, listening for what He wants to say to you regarding this concern. Our hope is that you will experience His faithfulness to speak to you directly. We know it will help when you begin by telling Him you’re listening. Would you consider including us in your pursuit to hear directly from the Lord? We would count it a privilege to link arms with you, adding our prayers to yours regarding the matters that concern you. Please feel free to let us know what those needs are, and the staff here at DPM-USA will join with you in prayer. For additional encouragement, we would also like to offer the full message by Derek Prince from which the earlier excerpt was taken. Simply use the link below to download the free MP3, “Hearing God’s Voice, Part 1." We are so grateful for the partnership of so many people who, like you, are praying for us and supporting us financially. As a result, we are able to extend Derek’s teaching all around the world. Thank you for standing with us in these days. We are touched by your commitment—totally thankful for the love and generosity you have shown us.
With our commitment to listen to the Lord more closely, you and I have made a very good start today. We have begun a new learning process, inspired by the life of Samuel. The first step we have taken in hearing God’s voice is to let Him know we are truly listening. With that matter settled, He promises to speak to us. Then the reciprocal benefits begin—we have the privilege of talking with Him, knowing that His ears are open to our cry. Here is another interesting result, taken again from the life of Samuel. The third chapter of 1 Samuel begins with these words: “Now the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.” Just one chapter later, primarily through the willingness of Samuel to hear and obey the Lord, we read these words in 1 Samuel 4:1: “And the word of the LORD came to all Israel.” What a change had taken place! May we see the same positive result in our own times. What will bring it about? It starts with you and me—when we tell the Lord we’re listening!