Two of our CRM leaders, Dr. Myra Perrine and Patty Metcalf, had a conversation about how we can learn to hear God’s voice. The recording of that discussion was made into a podcast, which you can listen to here. Or read along to learn the wisdom these two women have to share about developing a conversational (listening) relationship with God. This is Part 3 of 3. (Start at the beginning.)
Key Question #3: What are the roadblocks to hearing God?
Patty: I think a roadblock for me can be fear. Sometimes we can be so afraid of what God might say regarding a situation that we hesitate to ask him. When I was first beginning this journey, I remember telling Myra, “I’m not sure I want to ask him, because what if he says something that I really don’t want to hear!” That’s a legitimate thing, and it comes back to the point of willingness and yieldedness. We may fear that the voice we hear is not God’s—that it’s the enemy’s, or maybe it’s our own voice, or maybe it’s tapes in our head. If you are fearful, you might want to spend some time and ask God, “God, what am I afraid of? Would you show me what that is?” Talk to God about it and do something.
I think another common roadblock is unforgiveness. As I do inner healing with people I see that this can be one of the things that blocks inner and physical healing. Unforgiveness is like a toxin in our life; it can hinder every area. Forgiveness is just so important. So I think it’s key to check in with God: “Do I need to forgive anybody, God? It could be myself, it could be another person, it could be you! You don’t really do anything wrong but sometimes I hold stuff against you that I need to release.” And when this stuff is taken care of I think there’s more of an open channel so we can really hear what God has to say to us.
Myra: Having unforgiveness in our hearts is a big one in terms of a lot of things in the spiritual realm.
For me, a big hindrance is busyness—not taking time to just sit with God and get quiet. That’s probably the biggest hindrance for me.
Patty: I think that is huge for most of us. Because in our culture we’re doers. The radio’s on, or the TV’s on, or we’re looking at our phone to see if someone’s texted us recently. It’s just a discipline to have total quiet.
Myra: We sit down and we say, “Lord, speak to me fast, cuz I’ve got to do some ministry for you!”
Patty: What about lack of trust? How do you think that can affect our hearing?
Myra: I think it can. If we’re kind of mad at God, like you mentioned before, or if we’ve been disappointed with him, or we don’t think he’s answered prayer, we may not want to talk to him or hear from him. So I think a lack of trust, just a lack of belief in God’s goodness—that he’s for us, that he loves us, that he wants to draw near to us—can affect us.
Key Question #4: How can you help others grow in hearing from God? How do you involve others?
Patty: I do this sometimes in healing prayer. We’ll just be still and ask the Lord to speak into the issue. And then I’ll ask the person who I’m praying with, “What do you hear?” They’ll often say something like, “Well, I think I’m hearing…” and I’ll respond, “OK let’s go with that and see what else God might want to say.”
Myra: When people are starting out they kind of need a wise community of people around them to confirm that they think it’s indeed God’s voice, because they’re timid about it. I took a group from my church through Brad Jersak’s book, Can You Hear Me? It’s a very good book, especially for beginners, because it has exercises where you listen. When you’re doing it with a group you can share what you’ve heard. The group I led was wonderful. Everybody heard God, a lot more than they’d ever heard him before.
Patty: I did the same thing with a group and we would do conversational prayer at the end of our time. We would be still and listen, and ask God how he wanted us to pray for a person in the group. People would wind up speaking into another person’s life and praying for things that nobody in that group knew were needs except for the person being prayed for. That was so affirming to the person who was praying, realizing that God did tell them that! A lot of growth comes in that affirmation as we practice.
Myra: I think it is easier sometimes, for people who are just beginning, to hear God speak for someone else rather than for themselves. It’s easier to believe God is going to say something good about another person than to believe God is going to say something really precious and special to them.
Patty: Humility is important here too, especially if we’re expressing, “I feel like God said this…” I think we’ve all had someone in our lives who’s come to us and boldly said, “God said so and so.” Well…? I usually don’t say that. Instead, I say something like, “I sense that God might be saying…” I think it’s important to have a humble attitude in what we have felt God was saying to us.
Myra: Another thing that can give us confirmation is getting agreement in the Spirit. If I’m having a big “aha” moment—something that might change direction or something like that—I will talk to my husband about it and ask for his discernment as well. That doesn’t mean we always discern perfectly. But a wise person can help us discern the voice of God.
You can grow in your ability to hear God's voice by making space to practice. This beautiful e-book will give you three key ways to actively listen to God.
Dr. Myra Perrine and her husband, Dan, live in Redding, CA. With a passion for intimacy with God, Myra holds a Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Formation. She has worked with Church Resource Ministries (CRM) since 1996 coaching leaders around the world, and is the author of several books: What’s Your God Language? Connecting with God Through Your Unique Spiritual Temperament (Tyndale, 2008), What’s Your God Language? Coaching Guide, A Companion Workbook of Spiritual Exercises for What’s Your God Language? and Becoming One: Nurturing Spiritual Intimacy in Marriage.
Patty Metcalf and her husband, Sam, were one of four families that began CRM in 1980. Sam has served as president of CRM since 1985, and Patty is equally involved in ministry with a particular focus on healing prayer and intercession. They live in Southern California and have two children and four grandchildren.
Date of recording: August 1, 2013