Hearing the Holy Spirit 101

The truth is, I’ve always been able to discern (hear) the Holy Spirit for as long as I can remember. I think all of those who belong to Christ can. The problem was and is that no one teaches us how to discern Him from the interference that bombards us on a daily basis. Also, when the Holy Spirit speaks, it’s not always in words. Language extends far beyond the words we speak. Sometimes it’s a knowing that comes from deep within or it can even be a smell or feeling. For example, as I am writing this, I am waiting for a tutoring student who is more than 30 minutes late for her accounting tutoring session. A couple of days ago, I had a feeling or a sense that she was not going to show up today. So I requested confirmation of this tutoring session. The confirmation came back that she was going to be here. But the sense that she was not going to show up did not go away. Nevertheless, I traveled the 45 miles to meet her here on a Saturday morning based on the fact that I received confirmation that she was going to show up. As it turns out, my ‘feeling’ was correct and she is not here. But the Holy Spirit did not use words to tell me this; I just knew. 

It’s amazing to me how Hollywood has advanced in 3D technology to enhance our movie experience. I saw Avatar not too long ago in 3D. I really enjoyed the experience but at the same time, since the technology was new to my senses, it was a little unusual and felt a little weird. This is how I sometimes feel when I’ve experienced something new from a spiritual perspective. However, all of those who belong to God have the gift to hear His voice and sense His presence.

I began enhancing my skills on learning to hear by journalizing, or writing down my prayers, and then remaining quiet, listening and then writing down what I think I’ve heard. This technique was taught at the church I was attending at the time. The process helped me to learn to quiet myself so that I could hear, and it was the beginning of learning what the Holy Spirit sounded like.

The voice of the Holy Spirit is a still small and calming voice. To better explain, I can tell you what the Holy Spirit does not sound like. The voice of the Holy Spirit does not sound like your voice, your mother’s voice or your father’s voice. The still small voice of the Holy Spirit is distinct from the other voices you may hear. (Not to be confused with mental illness.) The voice of the Holy Spirit will never try to make you feel ashamed or belittle you in any way. God loves us and the Holy Spirit will convey this love to us by guiding us and counseling us.

 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:15-18, NIV)

Learning to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit should have been taught to us beginning in childhood. For many reasons, we as Christians have neglected this ability. It is not my intent to blame anyone or point out what is wrong with our Christian teaching today, but to help get us back on the path from which we have strayed; and that is to hear His voice for ourselves so that we can do what we are destined to do as part of God’s Kingdom on earth.

It’s been more than an hour and the student has not shown up. I believe I was shown so that I could have a recent and specific example to share in this blog. You can begin at any time to learn to discern God’s voice. I pray that He begins to speak to each of you reading this and that He conveys His love and affection to each of you so that you will be reminded on how much the Father loves you.