How do we hear God's voice? How can we be sure that what we think we hear is not our own subconscious? What if what God says to us is not clear?
Being close to God means communicating with him, and this communication is a two-way street—telling him what is on our hearts in prayer and hearing and understanding what he is saying to us. It is this second half of our conversation with God that is so important but can also be so difficult. How can you be sure God is speaking to you? The key is to focus not so much on individual actions and decisions as on building our personal relationship with our Creator. Hearing God is but one dimension of a richly interactive relationship, and obtaining guidance is but one facet of hearing God.
This updated classic, originally published in 1984 as In Search of Guidance, provides rich spiritual insight into how we can hear God’s voice clearly and develop an intimate partnership with him in the work of his kingdom. The reader will learn that divine guidance goes beyond the anxious, sometimes neurotic, quest for “what God wants me to do,” to having a critical role in my becoming a responsible co-laborer with Him, the kind of person He expects me to be. God is inviting us to reorganize our lives in a way that keeps us walking so closely with him that it becomes easy to know his mind and hear his voice.
Chapter one clarifies the tension in which Christians live, believing that hearing God is very important to our walk with him but at the same time lacking a confident understanding of how it works for the individual in practice. Chapter two removes some common misunderstandings about God’s communications with us. Chapter three explains the various ways in which he is with us. Chapter four examines some objections to the very idea of God’s communicating with individuals. Chapter five deals with the various ways in which he communicates and explains and defends the centrality of God’s speaking— God’s Word—to his creation and to the process of redemption. Chapter eight clarifies how we can be sure that we are hearing God. Finally, chapter nine deals with what to do on those occasions, sure to come, when God is not speaking—or at least when we are not hearing him.
Hearing God may be a daring idea—some would say presumptuous and even dangerous. But is it not, in fact, more presumptuous and dangerous to undertake human existence without hearing God? Dr. Willard’s hope is that Hearing God will leave you with a clear sense of how to live confidently in a personal walk that is complemented by an ongoing conversational relationship with God.
Few books have challenged me like this one. I would urge every serious-minded Christian to read it . . . at your own risk.
The best book on divine guidance I have ever read. I recommend it highly.
Willard wonderfully encourages us to listen for God’s voice, and then to respond and obey. This is a book of great encouragement and helpful insights into the arena of God’s direction in our daily living.
Hearing God (Intervarsity Press, 1999, 228 pp., ISBN: 0830822267) is the third edition of In Search of Guidance, (Regal Books, 1984, 250 pp, ISBN 0830708995). A thoroughly revised and enlarged version of the Regal Books edition was published by Harper and Row in 1993 (ISBN 006069520X).
The 2012 edition (IVP, 304 pp., ISBN 0830835695) includes additional material from Dallas's teaching at the Renovaré Institute, an appendix of key questions, a scripture index, and six lectio divina exercises by Jan Johnson). The 2021 edition (IVP, 306 pp., ISBN 0830848517) adds a new Foreword by James Bryan Smith.
Additional Hearing God Resources:
In Hearing God Through The Year, Jan Johnson gives us the daily opportunity to read small, thought-provoking portions of Dr. Willard’s Hearing God and guides us in ways to stop and ponder the Scripture and ideas presented. Each section closes with responses of prayer, meditation or reflection... opportunities to position ourselves to actually hear God and to allow His voice to shape our choices and encourage our hearts.
Try it out in the Bible App: Hearing God Through The Year.
Jan Johnson has partnered in ministry with Dr. Willard in many ways and he is grateful to her for her wonderful work on this book.
The Hearing God Bible Study guides you deeper into biblical texts and themes that are woven throughout Hearing God. With these six easy-to-use studies, written by Dallas’s longtime friend and ministry partner Jan Johnson, you will encounter what Scripture says about listening to God and what it means for you today. Each session features quotations from Hearing God matched with Scripture passages, reflection questions, and application ideas that will equip readers to connect the text to their own lives. A leader’s guide is also included. This guide is part of the IVP Signature Bible Study Collection celebrating the 75 anniversary of InterVarsity Press.
This 6-part series features Dallas Willard in conversation with Richard Foster and John Ortberg as they discuss biblically-based guidelines to hearing God’s voice. Includes group discussion guide.
i. For Starters
ii. A Word from Dallas
View the Promotional Video
View part of Session One