(based on Dallas Willard’s book with added practical insights)
“If you talk to God, it’s called prayer; but if God talks to you, it’s called schizophrenia.” That describes the confusion about hearing God in our life. At times the need to hear from God seems so urgent yet confusing that people resort to playing games like Bible roulette (open the Bible and point) or calling all the wise people they know to get a vote. It doesn’t have to be that way. We’ll look at foundational ideas and practical suggestions that guide us in living a conversational life with God.
Session 1: Never Alone (chapter 3)
What are the various ways God is with us? What is that with-God life like?
God wants to have an interactive relationship with us, where we both speak and hear. But many people settle for a vague sensing of God’s presence or not sensing anything at all—just forcing ourselves to believe God is there. We’ll also look at mistaken views and motives that keep us from hearing God.
**Optional exercise: Replaying Elijah’s experience of the still, small voice (1 Kings 19)
Session 2: The Still Small Voice of God (chapter 5)
In what ways has God spoken to people before? How did God usually speak to them?
God spoke to people in spectacular ways throughout Scripture but the preferred method seems to be experiencing the “still, small voice.” IN time, this develops within us the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:15,16 ). Practically speaking, we’ll look at the tone and quality of that voice, how to determine credibility of recurring thoughts and the importance of asking God questions.
**Optional exercise: Exploring our own mistaken imitations of the still, small voice and letting go of them.
Session 3: Recognizing the Voice of God (chapter 8)
How can people be sure they’re hearing God and not their own voice?
We learn through personal experience and experimentation, weighing the quality, spirit and content of the voice. Scripture is our guide and we find (through experience) that God most often says the same wise things said in Scripture.
**Optional exercise: Opening self to the invitational yet weighty tone of God’s voice.