I attended a Christian summer camp for the first time when I was 15. It was shortly after I rededicated my life to God and started diving deeper into what it means to be a Christian and pursue a life that reflects Christ. It was a small high school leadership camp where they equipped us and challenged us to grow closer to God.
During one of our classroom sessions, the speaker taught us about intercessory prayer. We were given a card with steps and supporting Scriptures for how to successfully proceed, and we were sent out to pray. I distinctly remember what happened next because it was one of my first experiences recognizing God’s intentional involvement in my life.
We stood outside in small groups to pray, and we were to be still and open our minds to hearing God’s voice. Our task was to pray for the people whose names God brought to our minds. As such a new Christian, I was terrified to communicate so directly with God. I was not afraid to pray and submit my supplications to Him, but I was afraid of asking Him to speak to me so clearly.
As my friends in the circle around me prayed aloud for people God was bringing to their minds, I closed mine off by not letting my thoughts rest. I was afraid to hear from God. As I was frantic in my thoughts, one of the counselors in our circle began to pray for me. And she prayed for the very thing I was fighting against — that I would quiet my mind and allow myself to hear God’s voice. He wanted to speak to me.
I felt like my heart stopped. No one could have possibly known the battle in my mind except for God. And not only that, but her prayer was so spot on that I knew God intentionally displayed His power for me. I began to realize how much He loves me and how much He desires for me to know Him. The same goes for you.
When I look back on some of the most defining moments in my faith, they are the moments when God interacted with me so personally that there was no mistaking His voice. They are the moments that shocked me, lit a spark in my heart and caused my faith to soar.
There are so many different ways in which God speaks to us. Sometimes He uses other people to speak wisdom and encouragement into our lives. Sometimes the Holy Spirit gives us a slight nudge, which might be our conscience working in overdrive or a feeling we simply cannot shake away. And sometimes He speaks to us directly through thoughts we know are not our own or even through an audible voice. Other times He brings related Scriptures to our attention for us to meditate on for guidance.
I’ve spoken with several friends over the last week who were discouraged or felt stuck regarding certain situations in their lives. The only advice I could give them was to pray and listen for the Holy Spirit’s leading because it would not fail them. Wise people told me over the years to pray through a tough situation until I felt God’s peace.
Whether you are facing a relationship struggle, a career struggle, a financial struggle or something else, God will speak to you and guide you as you seek Him above all the noise of worldly voices — including your own. My caution is to pay close attention while doing so because sometimes when God speaks to us, we’re so focused on ourselves and our desires that we dismiss it as a fleeting thought or emotion. It’s not a great feeling to look back later and realize God wanted to guide you and you missed it.
How has God spoken to you recently?