Hearing God’s Voice (How God Speaks)

Nov 18, 2020

Can kids hear God's voice?

Kids can hear God more clearly than anyone as they have a simple faith that is unencumbered by false beliefs or worldly experiences. There is a beautiful purity to how a child can connect with God and hear His truth that becomes a foundation for building up their identity in the security of their Father’s unconditional love.
Luke 18:16 “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for such is the kingdom of God.”
My kids often ask me how to hear God’s voice and my 5-year-old gets frustrated that he cannot ‘hear’ or ‘see’ clearly. Kids can be very literal and expect to hear God out loud. We have conversations about God’s voice speaking to our Spirit, or in our heart, and practicing using our spiritual eyes and ears to hear and see God. My little boy calls this “listening to God with my brain”. We do this often in the car where my kids will ask some great questions about God and they take the time to close their eyes, ask God the question and wait for the answer. Often times the answer is a picture or a feeling that we then talk about and compare to what the Bible says.
An example of my 4-year-old hearing God’s voice: He asked God for a gift and saw a big tall green tree, when we discussed what the tree could mean he said that the tree is him and God is helping him to grow big and strong. I was then able to speak in to that from scripture.
So often we rush through prayer with our kids and forget to teach them to take the time to listen for God’s voice. When we allow God the space to communicate with us He is able to speak to us.
God can speak to us in many different ways, including: wisdom, situations, dreams, visions, words of knowledge, and of course, through His audible voice. Here are three I find most prominent in my kids’ lives and mine.
Through the Bible: The Bible is God’s truth, His word that speaks to us. Spending time reading and meditating on scripture will help us discern God’s voice.
Starting small – as little as 5 minutes a day reading and discussing a bible passage with our kids will open them up to a lifetime of discovering God’s voice and truth through his WORD.
Through other people: God can use people in our lives to speak to us. It may be a family member, friend, a pastor or teacher that provides insight into our lives and can be a messenger for God’s voice. It is important that we consider if the person we are hearing from is walking closely with God and also to remind our kids to filter any messages through His word, the Bible. This is another reason why experiencing God’s word regularly is important, if our kids know the Bible they can use it as a filter when listening to others and making decisions. 
(The idea that God speaks through people is fairly abstract, and detailed discussions should be left until the child is old enough to comprehend this concept. Until then I keep it very simple and explain that God sometimes uses other people to get our attention or encourage us with words and He can use us too!)
Through the Holy Spirit: This can be confusing for kids; I find it helpful to explain that God sometimes gives us an idea or a thought inside our head or imagination. Erika Dawson explains it well; “if I see ice cream on the table, I might shout out, “I love ice cream!”
But if instead of saying those words out loud, I think to myself, “I love ice cream!” no one else can hear those words. But to me, those silent words are just as clear as the ones spoken out loud. They are real words and thoughts, even though my ears can’t hear them. Sometimes God speaks to us through the thoughts and ideas He puts into our head. Explain to your kids that we often experience God speaking in this way when;

  • Someone’s name is on our mind. Maybe God is encouraging us to pray for the person.

  • You have a strong feeling about something. It might be that God is directing us in the way we should (or shouldn’t) go.

  • A Bible verse comes to mind. God may be encouraging you to do what that Bible verse says, or He might be bringing you peace or courage through it.

  • A picture of doing something plays on the screen of your mind. God could be showing you a way you can serve Him or help another person.

As a child begins practising listening to the Holy Spirit, they also need to examine the content they are ‘hearing’ and whether it is from God or in their own mind. 

“For example, God’s voice is truth and will not contradict Scripture or tell us to exhibit ungodly behaviour or hurt anyone or break His commandments; it speaks about us surrendering more to Him and His desires; it always gives us a peace, even when asking us to do something hard; it always gives us a choice to obey or not; it is gentle and guiding; it carries authority; it brings conviction but not condemnation (telling us we are bad); it is always wise; it is in harmony with His Word, character, and nature. Satan’s voice lies and will never validate God or the Scriptures; it is self-centred, making everything about me (example: she was wrong and I’m right); it does not have peace; it is demanding and pushy (do it now, don’t wait); it commands and gives no choice; it is unwise and deceptive; it causes uneasiness and feels contradicting.” (International House of Prayer, 2020).

God is always ready to engage with us and has the perfect way to speak to your child. Ask Him for guidance and wisdom in how to help your kids connect, take the time to listen and then encourage your kids to engage, setting them up for a lifetime of connection with their Heavenly Father.
E. Dawson (2020)
International House of Prayer (2020)

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