Do you want to hear from God? Is there a situation in your life where you need direction? Do you simply want to have a deeper relationship with God? One of the most important things students learn at the Samuel Elijah Prophetic College is to learn the different ways that God uses to speak to us. God speaks to His people in a variety of ways and does so on a regular basis.
During the first year of training at SEPC, students learn about five specific ways that God may use to communicate with us: seeing, hearing, feeling, speaking and knowing. Now God’s voice is not limited to these five channels. He also speaks through His written Word (most important), creation, godly counsel, and opened and closed doors, to name a few other ways. However, these specific ways are personal and consistent expressions in which God wants to get through to us, if we only let Him do so. God does not speak to everyone in the same way but every believer can hear God’s voice through at least one of these ways.
One way God speaks to people is by showing them things. This could either be a mental picture or an open vision. Dreams also fall into this category. This type of communication with God is seen throughout the entire Bible from Joseph's dreams to the visions of Old Testament prophets to the awesome revelation of John in the New Testament. There are hundreds of examples of dreams and visions in the Word of God.
The exciting thing is that God still speaks through dreams and visions today! Acts 2:17 states: "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” God speaks to people through dreams, visions and mental pictures all the time. Have you ever seen an image of someone’s face as you were spending time in prayer? Have you had a significant dream that you couldn’t stop thinking about? Did you ever see a vision during a worship service? These are all examples of seeing.
Sometimes people hear God. This doesn't necessarily mean an audible voice. The majority of the time it is an inner voice which is very much like a thought, except it is not from your own intellect. Have you ever had a thought that seemed like it did not come from you? Maybe it was so profound that you would not think of it on your own? For example, years ago I got a little lost on the way to a prophetic conference. I felt compelled to go to this conference and was going on my own. This was before I had my GPS, which I can't live without now. As I was driving, I heard the word "Centennial". Soon after, I saw a sign that said "Centennial Ave". I don't remember how I knew to turn left or right but I made a turn and came to a familiar landmark that soon led me to my destination. I didn't know the area at all and would have never thought of that street name on my own!
God speaks to some people through the sense of feeling. One may feel a burden for someone by actually sharing in the other person’s emotional state. For example, some people could feel the anxiety or distress of another person. Likewise, they may feel a strong burden of depression. God is speaking to them about the other person through this and is asking them to take action, which is always a call to intercession in prayer.
God can speak to believers through speech. For example, a prophet or prophetic minister will often prophesy to people without seeing or hearing anything. The words that come out of their mouth are what God speaks to them. They don’t know these words ahead of time.
Sometimes people just "know" things. God speaks through gut feelings. I’m sure most of you who are reading have experienced a time where you just knew something wasn’t right. It could have been a bad feeling about a person or a situation. Sooner or later, you found out you were right. There was no logical explanation for what you were feeling at that moment. You just knew. That was God speaking to you.
God desires to have a growing, active relationship with every believer. Communication is an important part of every thriving relationship. All believers need to discover the ways God speaks to them and have a desire to hear from God on a regular basis. The more we desire and engage in communication, the more God will speak to us.