Gaining Confidence in Hearing the Holy Spirit
by Dale Anderson
I don’t know about you, but I just had no idea how to talk to God, let alone hear Him or have confidence I was hearing His Holy Spirit. I saw in the Bible that my faith depended on hearing Him (Romans 10:17) and that Jesus said Holy Spirit would speak to me and be in me (John 14:16). But how would I know that?
I just had no confidence. My heart was overflowing with anxiety about life, and my mind was full of so many questions and accusations. I could read that God had a remedy called “the peace of God that transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:6–8), but it wasn’t placing a guard over my heart and mind! I was confused and troubled by the accusations bombarding my mind, tormenting my soul!
Then one day while reading and contemplating the Scriptures, I connected with three verses that have had a profound effect on my life. First, we see in Genesis 1:1 God at the center of creation: “In the beginning God.”
Next in affirming the centrality of God in creation comes John 1:1. John starts his gospel by telling us that “in the beginning was the Word, . . . and the Word was God.” So again, God is speaking and is the central focus of life. And finally, John in his first letter says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have seen and our hands have touched, this we proclaim to you” (1 John 1:1–2, paraphrased).
Putting God at the Center
I realized that life’s story began with God at the center and that He was speaking. I realized that if I put God first in every area, He would speak to me in those places. I realized that God was speaking to me through the life of His Son, Jesus, the living Word. I realized that, in some way, I was invited to see and touch God and from that experience proclaim what I had experienced. So I started to read about the life of Christ and ask myself how His behavior reflects His character and therefore the nature of God. As I did this, I would experience moments of a deep spiritual touch. I would see certain situations in a new way. In essence, I awoke to the fact that I was beginning to hear God’s voice! I was extremely excited!
Then I heard several teachers on prayer talk about very practical ways of praying the prayers of the Bible. So I began a search for the prayers of the Bible and, lo and behold, found that the Bible is full of people praying. And I just figured—hey, if it worked for them, then it would work for me.
As I began praying the prayers of the Bible, phrase by phrase, not being in a hurry, the Word of God started to fill my soul, touch my spirit, create a more joyful approach to my life, and anchor me in difficult situations. I could start to see, little by little, the communion that was taking place. My confidence in God’s nearness rose—even confidence that the voice of the Holy Spirit was whispering in my heart increased dramatically.
So, I made a decision. I decided to take God at His word, and I asked the Lord Jesus to take control of every area of my life. I asked Him to be on the throne in every area of my life. That gave me the confidence that He would speak to me in those areas because I was making Him the central focus of my life. Remember, He is always speaking, but we must make Him the central focus so that our hearts become in tune with His voice.
Some Practical Steps
As I set God in the center, He started to lead me to very practical ways I could communicate with Him. I took the prayers or songs of the Bible (psalms and hymns in the book of Revelation) and slowly, phrase by phrase, sometimes spending weeks on one phrase, I did three things with those phrases.
First, I expressed gratitude for the contents of the phrase. “Jesus, thank you. Thank you that You are the faithful witness” (Revelation 1:5). Secondly, I would agree with the truth of the passage: “Jesus, I agree. Yes, it is true—You are the faithful witness.” You will be surprised how much transformation takes place in your heart when you express gratitude and agree with the prayers of the Bible.
Finally, I would ask for more insight or information. “Jesus, tell me more about what it means to be a faithful witness.” It was these three things that helped me touch the Word, and in turn, Holy Spirit would inspire me.
The next practical thing I would do is what I will call adoration. In this method, I used the names or attributes of God. Sometimes I would use the letters of the alphabet to trigger a name or attribute of God and then adore Him for it. So, for example, m—Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6); and I would say, “God, I love You. You are the Mighty God.”
Then, one day while adoring Jesus, the mighty God, I prayed, “Fill me with Your might” (Ephesians 3:16—”strengthened with might”). Suddenly I realized that the prayers of the Bible would act as triggers to a conversation and to cross-references inspiring confidence.
This is what I’ve done for 40 years as a believer.
My heart still moves at the sound of His voice. Over the years, confidence has grown, and my heart is hungry for the words of His mouth. Where are you in hearing the voice of Jesus? Maybe it’s time for you to establish those simple ways of communication that build confidence in relationship.
How can you gain confidence in hearing God’s voice?
If you’d like to grow in hearing God’s voice, consider ministry training at International House of Prayer University—where God’s Word is spoken and sung day and night. Grow in confidence as a singer, musician, preacher, teacher, or media messenger with online and hands-on training available. Learn more >>
Dale Anderson has been a teacher for over thirty years, serving as a public school teacher (BEd, University of Calgary) and a Bible teacher. He was a missionary in Gliwice, Poland, from 1992 to 1999, where he taught English and established a church focused on prayer and intimacy with Jesus. Dale is the author of Mercy Wins: Learning Mercy in a Merciless Age and has a passion to see the global Church established in night-and-day prayer with fasting. Dale and his wife, Cheryl, have two children, Jordan (married to Victoria), and Bethany.