How Do I Hear God’s Voice?
Rachel Billups | 1 Kings 19:9-13
Have you ever struggled in the wilderness of defeat, desperate to find answers? Maybe you’ve heard other people say they hear from God but you think to yourself, how does that even happen? How can I hear God’s voice?
In 1 Kings 19:9-13, The prophet Elijah has moved from the excitement of triumph to the wilderness of defeat. He’s on the run and desperately needs to hear from God – but doesn’t exactly know how that’s going to happen.
“And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, BUT the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, BUT the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, BUT the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19: 9-13 NIV).
Are you running? Not necessarily away from God, just running that treadmill we call life?
For you parents out there it’s running your kids to practices, rehearsals, appointments, and activities. Sometimes it gets so bad you have to pull out the spread sheet just to know which parent, grandparent, or carpooling friend is going where on any given day.
We are hurrying from one moment to the next!
What would it look like if you and your family lived at the pace of grace?
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28)
Living at the pace of grace doesn’t mean that we call go into hiding, isolate, become monks, or take our kids out of all their activities. It just means we need to develop grace-filled practices for our busy times.
What if we normalized “running prayers?” Simply saying out loud the things that are on our minds?
Prayer could become as natural as breathing.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 NIV).
Pray continually and give thanks without stopping.
Help me, help me, help me, thank you, thank you, thank you. -Anne Lamott
In his book, Practicing the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence discovered the significance of embracing God’s presence in the little things, even while washing dishes.
“God does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.” -Brother Lawrence
What simple prayers will you incorporate into your regular life rhythms?
Whatever it is, just do it. Let’s normalize running prayers, and then name your place
There’s a reason that Elijah runs to a mountain to experience God.
Mountains were thought to have spiritual significance. Mountains were close to the heavens so to speak and so if you wanted to be close to God go somewhere high where literally heaven meets earth.
Eljah was on the same mountain as when Moses received the 10 Commandments. Jesus took Peter, James and John up on a mountain as well, where they have a strange spiritual experience and who shows up but Elijah and Moses!
“After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus” (Mark 9:2-4 NIV).
So, does that mean you have to go to a mountain to hear from God?