... and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name ... and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (John 10:3-4 NIV)
How do we learn to 'know his voice'?
First we expect God has something to say to us. As parents we always have something to say to our children and the same is true of God. Often it may simply be the assurance of his love and care.
Not only is expectation necessary, but also a desire to hear from God. Jesus often said, 'whoever has ears, let them hear'. This phrase speaks of deliberately tuning in to what God is saying.
Sometimes I find myself reading the Bible, yet my mind is elsewhere. Even in church I can be singing and yet my mind is far away. Lately I have been challenged to pay attention and focus on God. It's not always easy. I may not want to listen to God for fear of what he might say. Yet I know, and remind myself, there is no need to fear him who loves me perfectly.
God speaks in many ways. Through reading the Bible, praying and other spiritual disciplines we prepare ourselves to listen. Sometimes words will grab our attention in a way they haven't done before, or an impression or a desire comes to us after prayer, or maybe an idea drops into our mind that we know is not our own, but is it from God?
It takes preparation and practice to 'know his voice' but it will happen as we make the effort to listen. —Susan Barnes