Hearing God

Developing a Conversational Relationship with God

Dallas Willard

"God spoke to me." "The Spirit spoke to my heart." "God revealed the idea to me." Being close to God means communicating with him--telling him what is on our hearts in prayer and hearing and understanding what he is saying to us.

Available in hardcover and paperback (Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Christian Book.com), eBook (Kindle, Nook, CBDReader) and audio (Audible, download) formats.

Hearing God is available in Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Portuguese, Russian (currently out of print), Spanish and in the U.K. Chapter one has also been published in Germany as Wie Er mit uns Redet.

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.
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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.


I have loved this book since it was first published under its original title, In Search of Guidance (my old, marked-up copy is still a cherished possession), and then I fell in love with it again when it was brought out under its current title. There is no one more sane, more well-reasoned, more deeply spiritual and biblically grounded than Dallas Willard in his careful, nuanced treatment of how we can develop an intimate, conversational relationship with God—one that actually includes hearing from God for ourselves. Hearing God is truly a classic that stands tall in the crowded field of discernment literature!

Ruth Haley Barton, founder of the Transforming Center and author of Invitation to Solitude and Silence

This is simply the best book I've ever found on hearing God's voice. It does it all—with nuance, grace, intelligence, and spirit. Few things matter more to an apprentice of Jesus than learning to discern God's voice. Few books come close to being as helpful as this one.

John Mark Comer, author of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

The best book on divine guidance I have ever read. I recommend it highly.

Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline

Hearing God is still the gold standard in learning to recognize God's voice in our everyday lives. It offers wise, thoughtful and grounded guidelines for discernment, while acknowledging that God still speaks to each of us today. Over the decades, I have not recommended another book on hearing God more.

James Choung, author of Real Life: A Christianity Worth Living Out

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.

Ted W. Engstrom, president emeritus, World Vision

Editorial and Customer Reviews on Amazon.com.

Hear an interview with Dr. Willard about Hearing God at www.christianaudio.com.


Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, English, Chinese


Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Nook, CBDReader, Audible, MP3 Download



  1. A Paradox About Hearing God
  2. Guidelines for Hearing from God
  3. Never Alone
  4. Our Communicating Cosmos
  5. The Still Small Voice & Its Rivals
  6. The Word of God & the Rule of God
  7. Redemption Through the Word of God
  8. Recognizing the Voice of God
  9. A Life More Than Guidance

Epilogue: The Way of the Burning Heart

Additional Hearing God Resources:


compiled and edited by Jan Johnson
Also available in Traditional Chinese and French.

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.



compiled and edited by Jan Johnson

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.


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