Hearing God Speak 


I seriously believe that God still speaks to us today, not just through the Bible, but also directly.

A Scary Event

One day, I was in the bathroom at home when God spoke to me audibly.  I was really frightened! He said that I had to open two new bank accounts and call one of them a 'Help Fund'. The other was to be a deposit account. I had to pay a large sum of money into it, he specified the amount, and in due course he would tell me to whom I had to give the money. I wasn't to give this money as a lump sum, but rather provide a credit card for specific individuals, with a monthly spending limit. The money should only be spent on food, not cigarettes or alcohol. I was to ask for all the receipts each month to check that the money was being used wisely. I could also use the money to provide a needed larger household item like a fridge or even a car, and later it proved necessary to do this.

It was not one simple sentence, this was detailed, specific information. Still shaking from this experience, I went and told my wife what had just happened. She agreed that we must do it, and so I went to the bank and set up the two new accounts. I must say that we were not rich by any means so it really took some faith to be obedient. However what I'd heard was so powerful, so much more than mere imagination, I couldn't ignore it!

The Needy Person

Within a few weeks we found ourselves taking over a challenging task. A team of guys from the Church had been going in to help a young woman who was an alcoholic and drug addict. Her three year old daughter had been taken into care by Social Services because the mum was constantly spaced out from taking drugs. The woman needed to move house because a local boy was sexually abusing her other daughter who was only eleven years old. The mum wanted to try for an exchange council house in a better area, but her present house was in such a dreadful state, due to her sad condition, that the chance of this happening was remote. Her old house had to be cleaned, repaired and decorated before the local council would even consider an exchange for her. 

My wife started to visit her, realising she needed a friend, not just a team of builders and decorators stomping around her as she sat slumped in her living room. I helped out with the DIY too but as the work dragged on, one by one the team members lost interest and we were left on our own with what would turn out to be a very long term project. It soon became clear that this was a person that God had prepared us to help. She was a mess and she needed the power of God in her life. She'd already lost one of her children and the other was under threat of being taken away too, and this shook her up enough to realise that she needed help. After about nine months she turned to God and asked him to come into her life. It was a very real conversion and she was empowered by God to kick the drugs and the alcohol in a remarkable way.

The fact that we had trusted her by giving her a credit card and enough money to survive each month, was a real boost to her self esteem and during two years of regular tests by the Social Services she proved that she was clear of alcohol and drugs. She was finally called to appear before a special children's court, for them to decide whether she was now capable of having her younger daughter back home. The judge stated that he had never before seen such a transformation in an addict and that, knowing that she had friends supporting her regularly, he was delighted to award her the                       custody of her daughter again. He went on to say that he had never done anything similar before and doubted if he would do so again. There wasn't a dry eye in the court. 

By this time, we were helping several other one-parent families too and when the money ran out in our account a few years later, our ex-addict friend and the other families, had all managed to get back on their feet and were able to cope on their own. Our first 'client' had even gone on to be trained as a counsellor for alcoholics and drug addicts.

The Challenge

Can anybody really suggest that this chain of events was not as a result of hearing God's voice?

There was eternal fruit from this incident. Had I not have been given instructions beforehand, we would never have had the wisdom or the courage to handle our relationship with this young woman in the way that we did. 

If you are sceptical about this true story, I would ask you to read some of my other articles and you will see that I am extremely cautious about spiritual things. I do not go about seeking signs, nor do I necessarily expect similar things to happen to me again, but I don't believe I can tell God what to do or how to do it. However, as I have asked him to be Lord of every area of my life, if he chooses to speak audibly once more, then I can only let God be God, and pray that I will have the same attitude as Samuel who, when God called him, replied “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears”. We are told in Scripture to be discerning. Prejudging and rejecting spiritual things like this, is not discernment, it’s the result of cold legalism! 

The Bible

I recognise that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Have you noticed how, from one end to the other, it's filled with accounts of God speaking to people, sometimes ordinary people like me. Is it really so strange? After all, God is a God of relationship and it's his desire to have a relationship with us. Do we really believe that prayer is a one way conversation with us doing all the talking? He has given us his Holy Spirit to live in us, to guide and help us. This he does in many ways, sometimes he points us to specific Scripture verses, and sometimes he arranges events in our lives in order to guide us. The Holy Spirit is not without a voice though, and he also speaks to us and inspires us. 

The Scriptures are all we need to know in terms of how to live a Christian life that pleases God. The Bible is the ultimate measure that we must use to evaluate everything that comes into our lives. It is a truly wonderful book, but it could not have told me how to prepare for helping our young addict. God needed to give me explicit instructions. Hearing from God like this is not trying to add to Scripture, it was just preparing me in order to do his will. This is just what he did when he spoke to Ananias about Saul. Ananias needed to know where Saul was, and then what he had to do to help him. We are restricting God if we refuse to listen when he has something to say, we are frustrating his plans if we’ve already decided that he no longer speaks to us today.

Heb 12 v 25

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven.

A Word of Caution

Here I must add that it's part of my calling to warn people to be very discerning, since not every voice is God's voice. You have to be careful not to think that all the ideas that come into your head are from God. You should always talk things over with a mature Christian, someone you know you can trust, before you act on what you think has come to you from God. Hopefully they will weigh what you have heard against Scripture. Then, you need to be prepared to accept their advice. 

I usually ask advice from a friend who I know is not afraid to disagree with me if he thinks I'm wrong. This way I'm more certain of finding the truth. It's important to make yourself accountable to someone reliable, someone solidly grounded in the word of God.

Martyn Cunnington    

© Martyn Cunnington revised 2021