Knowing His Voice when Praying Your Desire

Praying your desire is a wonderful, two-way conversation. A Question for Jesus specifically asks for a rhema—a personal, experiential word from God that touches your deepest yearning. When you hear Jesus tell you he loves how you go after things, of that he likes how you smell (to a gal with an essential oil business) or that finding you was like finding a half-million-dollar house someone was letting go for $30,000 (that's one a realtor heard), it changes your heart. You can read about how Jesus feels about you and renew your rational mind, but when you hear him say it first hand, personally and intimately, it touches the depths of your heart. Without this experience of God speaking to you, praying your desire loses its power. The language of the heart isn’t logic and reasoning, but living experience. Your heart longs for an intimate touch from the lover of your soul.

Hearing Jesus talk to you this way isn’t hard. You just ask him a desire question [the Questions for Jesus book has hundreds of examples] and see what wells up in your mind and heart in the next minute or so. Don't listen any longer--your first impression will usually be the best. What you receive may come in words, an image, or just a sense of God present with you in a certain way. Jot it down. Then double-check if what came into your heart is consistent with the character of Jesus in scripture. That’s all you need to do.

We make this hard because we want proof that what we heard is really God. We are obsessed with the question, “Is this God or just me?”—so afraid of hearing wrong that often we don’t hear at all! The question is not whether you will hear something when you pray these prayers. He will speak. The question is whether you will believe that what you hear is him.

Can it really be that simple? Well, if your question is, “Is this just me?” think about what scripture has to say about that. If this is an important question that you should be asking, one would expect that early Christians were asking it as well. And if it is as crucial a question as we make it, the New Testament would surely tell us how to differentiate between God’s voice and our own ideas, wouldn’t it?

If it does, I can’t find any trace of it (there are verses that tell how to distinguish the voice of God from the voice of the devil, but not from that of your own heart). The New Testament writers never even addressed this question in any of their letters to the churches! What does that tell you about how much effort you should be expending on this question?

What it does say is, "My sheep hear my voice." Jesus believes in you. He knows you can hear him. The questions is whether you will believe about yourself what Jesus believes.

So be confident—you can do this. The hardest part of praying your desire is allowing yourself to believe that the still small voice you are already hearing is the voice of God.

Tony Stoltzfus is a long-time coach, author of 11 coaching books and founder of the Leadership MetaFormation Institute, a innovative training school that teaches coaching the heart.