Discerning God Voice – Part 2

Welcome “Made to Crave” webcast friends! I pray God encouraged you tonight through Lysa’s message, Dr. Chilton’s nuggets of eating and exercise wisdom, or something JJ and I shared about our “cravings” that are drawing us closer to God and each other. If you missed the webcast, you can watch it Tuesday at 12, 3, 8 and 10pm EST here.

Today, I’m continuing my mini-series on listening to God and discerning His voice. Tuesday JJ and I will be taking questions and then Wednesday we’ll be sharing more about journey ing together through Made to Crave.


Years ago, my friend Melissa learned a powerful lesson about discerning God’s voice. It happened on the soccer field one afternoon.
Melissa’s son Hayden was really good at playing offense on his soccer team, and loved to score goals. But, although he was good at scoring goals, his coach recognized that Hayden was even better at defending the goal.

It was the last game of the season, and Hayden’s coach had decided to put him on defense for the majority of the game. As the game came down to the final minutes the score was very close. Every one was excited, and many of the parents became a little vocal, to say the least.

At this point Melissa noticed the coach was shouting to Hayden “Back up and play your position.” While another adult yelled, “Kick the ball and follow through!” Then another said, “Come on, number 9, chase the ball, go for the goal, move up, go right, you can get it.”

The coach, beginning to get impatient, said “Come on, Hayden, listen to me.”

Melissa noticed a look of extreme frustration on Hayden’s face, and she knew something was wrong. When the game ended, Melissa called Hayden over to the side and asked him what was wrong. He simply replied, “I couldn’t make up my mind who to listen to. I couldn’t tell which one was the coach’s voice.”

This is one of our biggest struggles in discerning God’s voice. We are bombarded by voices all day. Some are audible voices, but others are non-stop choices and unending noises. Decisions and concerns. Discouragement and doubt. Desires and dreams.

If we want to hear God speak, we have to slow down, look God in the face and become so familiar with His voice that we can recognize it in a crowd…a crowd of thoughts. A crowd of emotions. A crowd of confusion. A crowd of great options and big decisions.

That is what Hayden would have had to do to determine which one was his coach’s voice. Are you willing to do that?

Are you willing to spend time with Him, reading, talking, listening and letting Him whisper to your heart? Are you willing to turn off your computer, radio or t.v. and give some of your undivided attention to Him so He can give His undevided attention to you? Are you willing to let Him replace your thoughts with His by just being still and writing down what you sense He’s whispering to your soul?

When you do, you’ll become familiar with His heart. You’ll begin to know His character and concerns. And you will learn to recognize His voice over all the others. But it will take time.

Sweet friends, there are no short-cuts to the deepest desires of our hearts. We long to hear God and He longs to speak to us.

All of us have different things that draw us closer to Jesus, and there are two practical things that help me: reading through the gospel of John very slowly each year and watching the Gospel of John movie on DVD. The movie was in theaters a few years ago and it was breath-taking. It makes Jesus, His words, the people and the stories He lived in come to life in a powerful way. Now, after watching it, when I read my Bible I can see Him and hear Him. Which makes me want to spend more and more time with Him, which helps me know Him and recognize His voice more clearly.

So, what is one thing you will do this week to become more sensitive to and familiar with your Coach’s voice so you can recognize it in the crowd?

Let me know your plans, thoughts or questions, and I’ll enter ou into my give away that includes a copy of the Gospel of John movie on DVD.


The winner of last week’s give-away for Lysa TerKeurst’s book
What Happens When Women Say Yes to God is MARY.
About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.


  1. This is something I struggle with daily. I get up really early every morning and read the Bible and pray. I want more than anything to hear His voice. I'm trying…

  2. This year I am working on exactly this: Drinking from the well of God's word, so that it pours out from me even in my unconscious reactions.

    "Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives a blessing from God." Hebrews 6:7 NIV

    To drink in the rain this year, I am memorizing Colossians with Ann Voskamp's community. I am reading the Bible cover to cover again, after having just read it in 106 days. I am working through a study in finding God, called "God in the Yard" by L.L. Barkat.

    I feel like the cracked earth of my heart's garden is slowly beginning to sprout tiny seedlings. I pray that those seedlings will produce a useful spiritual crop.

  3. This is something I struggle with so much. Am trying to make it a priority this year. Have been doing the Chronological Bible study with Wendy Pope and trying to journal, which is very hard for me!

  4. You know, there are times in my life that I clearly hear Him and then there are times in my life where I struggle to discern His voice among all the others. I am learning that the more intimate I am with God, the easier it is to hear Him. In contrast, the busier and more distracted I am, the harder it is and the more I struggle…not just in this area. Be(ing) still is the hardest area of discipline for me. The quieter I am, the simpler my life, and the more I press into the Lord, the more authentic, peaceful, joyful and discerning I find I am. My heart and prayer is to linger in that very place. Oh, Lord continue to draw me into Your Presence!

  5. I do just what Beth (A Mom's Life) does. If I happen to wake up later than usual, I for go working out or other things- but I ALWAYS MAKE SURE I DO MY BIBLE READING AND PRAYER. This year, I have so up in the air with my life- but I keep my eye on Jesus. I feel that all this is happening because God is stretching my faith- and telling me to LISTEN. In addition to Bible reading,I've been minimizing TV and reading Christian resources (currently reading Reason for God by Tim Keller, Raising Boys by Dr. James Dobson and Am I Messing Up My Kids by Lysa Terkuers), I am subscribed to P31's encouragement for today and a few of the P31's writers' blogs. I am really looking forward to your blogs about Discerning God's Voice because THIS HAS BEEN THE CENTER OF MY PRAYERS since this year started- I have been asking God for wisdom and discernment so I can follow HIS plan for me.

  6. Daily quiet time!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I can relate to Hayden's struggle. mheard11@frontier.com

  8. I do a lot of studying, but I realized my prayer life was really lacking. So my goal is to try and set aside some quiet time with the Lord. Prayer is a 2-way conversation and not a 1-way. Also, to sit long enuf to hear God speak to me.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wow, "There are no short-cuts to the deepest desires of our hearts." That really cuts to the heart of the matter for me. I say I want to get closer to my Lord. I am in a bible study. I want that intimacy, joy, and peace, and truly do want to hear His voice more. But, I tend to end up crowding out precious prayer time with too much daily activities and things on "my" to-do list, thinking I'll get to it at least by the end of the day. Yes, I pray without ceasing. But, this is not the precious, deep yearning prayers I desire. I am committing now to setting a morning time (doable for me) and earnestly seeking Him. This means fasting from some things that have become idols in place of Him freeing up time to hear His voice. His word is critical but so is spending time with Him. I am studying Isaiah this year. I studied John last year. Conviction is one thing. Doing is another. I want to grow and not stay stuck. No more short-cutting for me on the deepest desire of my heart and that is to have a genuine, richer prayer life with my Lord and Savior.

    Thank you Renee, for truth I needed to hear to get me moving courageously closer to Him.


  10. Kathy in IN says:

    I want to pray at set times every day: when I arise, after I get back from taking the kids to school, noon, before I pick the kids up from school and bedtime. Every. single. day. I guess on the weekend I'll just have to to by the time and not the activities. I want to hear God's voice!!

  11. I struggle with this so often. I want to hear is voice and yet there are lots of other voices I can hear around me and it isn't God himself. Want to focus my thoughts on the Creator by praying and reading my Bible to get to know my Father.

  12. Giving anything up is a struggle for me. Which thing to give up? Facebook?!? TV?!? I love them both so much. So here's what's happening this week. Tomorrow I am fasting from Facebook for 1 day. The whole day. This is going to be hard. Pray for me.

  13. I am praying for you Kat and all of you who have shared your comments.

    Kat, I can so relate to your love for facebook and tv. God has also called me to fast from each of those at times. And it was hard but afterwards I felt released from the need to have them. I"m praying you won't see it as something you are losing but as something you are gaining in your focused time with Jesus. I encourage you to read Psalm 90 and let Him be your dwelling place. Let His love satisfy your heart tomorrow. I'll be thinking about you and reading it along with you.

  14. I am really working on this currently. I have been frustrated with my life lately and I'm trying to refocus myself. The thing that has helped me the most is surrounding myself with the right messages. I have started following Melissa Taylor, Lysa Terkeurst, Karen Ehman, you, etc. All of the loving blog messages really help keep me focused on God's will.

  15. Hey Renee- Lent is a season that has been a powerful time in my life. I started it in college as a lark- some of my friends were doing it so I thought I would too. Over the years I have given up things like sugar, soda, milk, reading fiction and fasted. At the same time I have also tried "to put on" a new habit, to do something else- read the bible everyday, pray, memorize scripture. As I have taken off one habit and put on a Godly one, God has been so faithful to transform my heart and mind. Ephesians 4:22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to "put off" your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and "to put on" the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

    I am so glad I read your blog and caught up on Lysa's (especially the CNN Article)thanks to your link. I have been really praying about the stress of putting yourself out as a public figure- the stress on your family and the attack of the world. As you started writing and editing the P31 newsletter- did you count the cost of putting your name out there?

  16. Oh, how dailyness just gets in the way of hearing God. I am a full time working mother with little time at home. Honestly, it is hard to find 5 minutes of quiet time. I try to fit in a few bible verses each day. I will try this week to spend more time in God's word and listening to him.

  17. With working full time, going to school, and being a mom, many times it is hard to carve out that time for Bible Study. Fron the time my alarm goes off in the morning I am on the go. But this year I have decided to make memorizing scripture (a new verse twice a month) a priority. I have also carved out one and a half hours on tuesday morning to attend my church's Bible Study. While it is hard to make time, I just have to decide that spending time with God is something I not only want, but something I desperately need. It's a choice. And today I choose God.

  18. I have embarked on a journey to read thru the bible this year!! I have never done this before, so I am excited! So far I feel that GOD lets a verse of scripture leap off the page to me every day, I am learning to submit and obey which is hard. I have also subscribed to your devotion which helps me a lot!! Please pray for me to keep hearing HIS voice.

  19. I think about this all the time. I wish God would speak to us with Billboards that, "Hey Mommy22ss, this GOD and here is what I want you to do." I plan on just spending more time with HIM this week.

  20. I will be turning off the tv and not wasting my time on things that aren't important. Would love the DVD to watch!

    marilynkaucher at gmail dot com

  21. Anonymous says:

    I am trying to read my Bible daily, following Wendy's blog..and I'm already behind! It is so hard to make time for my quiet time on a daily basis. I'm also doing MTC study and this is great.

  22. Renee, I enjoyed seeing you and JJ on the webcast last night! I can relate to your craving for connection (approval can be a struggle for me at times as well!) Actually about two months ago I was thinking of a friend I hadn't spoke with in awhile and in my mind I said, "I just want to hear her voice." Then God whispered, "I want you to hear my voice!!" He wants to speak to me, us, we need to expect it and make it the number one voice we want to hear!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I know for me staying in His Word and finding some quite time (a challenge, but so worthwhile!) is vital! I also believe the more we obey and actually listen rather than simply hear the more He will speak!! And the clearer it becomes! Thanks again, Jill

  23. I find it hard to hear God's voice so your blog spoke to me this morning. Thank you for the encouragement of taking the time to learn how to hear Him!

  24. I need to be still so the "noise" of life doesn't crowd in and make it hard for me to discern His voice!
    Thank you so much for this devotion!

  25. It is so hard to try to hear God when I am constantly hearing all the things I have been told all my life that do not match up. How can you silence all the negative when you are reminded throughout your days. Then you read the Word or others speak of a loving God? Wish there was a way to block out all the mean that has trained me.

  26. I came to read your blog today because I heard you on Made to Crave last night. I wanted to come and read your post for today (Tuesday) but got surprised when it wasn't there. I did, however, read your post from last night and I can tell you it was no accident that I read it.

    I just told Lysa the other day that I had finally heard from the Lord on what my one word prayer for this year should be. Would you like to guess what it is? Yep, that's right – LISTEN!

    And what have I done about it? Right again – not really anything! Yes, I have my 'quiet' time in the mornings but I don't really spend time LISTENING for His voice like I should. I felt God speak to me while I was reading your post – asking me why I haven't done this yet, if I say that my prayer this year is to learn to listen?

    If this was meant for no one else, it was meant for me. No, He wasn't judging me but He WAS chastising (or scolding – whatever ya want to call it) me because I've not done what I said I would do. The same way I would scold my child when she was younger. He did it because He loves me.

    Thank You for allowing Him to use you to speak to me.

  27. I often get the voices confused. But sometimes I know God is almost yelling at me, "Do this, not that." Often THAT is what I want to be doing and I just flat out wrestle with God over it. My goal is to just trust and obey. No more excuses. Just do what God asks and rest in Him when it's hard.

  28. Susie Daggett says:

    I need to get quiet, turn off all distractions.

  29. Anonymous says:

    GREAT post – and just what I need to hear. I too feel like Hayden did – just don't know which voice to listen to. I like your suggestions of reading John and watching the DVD (I seem to get things deeper into my heart when I have a visual image to cling to). I enjoyed listening to you and JJ on the Made to Crave webcast – thanks for sharing your heart with us!

    Maureen F
    Magnolia, TX

  30. It is easy to know it is God because all the distractions around me are no more when God speaks so I know if I am deliberating ignoring him and can't honestly say I didn't hear him. Sometimes I don't like what God is telling me but I know that it is for my best even tho I don't realize it at the moment. I know if I do it my way I am going to take the proverbial 40 year vacation in the wilderness where all I really wanted was a day at Disney. It was great, I ate all I wanted, laughed, had a great time. Now I am tired, belly hurts and I want to go home. But God says no because I didn't obey so now I get the lessons from the consequences.

  31. I have been struggling for years with this. In the past I know I was closest to God when I journaled & read almost everyday. I have strayed from this over the last several years. But I am happy to say that yesterday was the 16th day in a row of journaling & reading my Bible and I praise God everyday for making this happen. I now find myself craving God instead of TV after my young kids go to bed at 830pm. Thank You God!!!

  32. Jane V. W. B. says:

    I have no problem with Bible study and devotions and I pray without ceasing all day long, BUT my challenge is to BE STILL and LISTEN and pray (comprehensively) while communing with God intimately.

  33. "So, what is one thing you will do this week to become more sensitive to and familiar with your Coach's voice so you can recognize it in the crowd?"

    This week I will fast off unecessary TV.

    Back in Jesus' day people weren't sitting alone reading a bible with the kids watching TV in the background. Instead they were listening to Jesus. The bible wasn't even written then so it was very important for them to pay attention to Jesus. They were unclean and the only way to God was through Jesus who was clean.

  34. Anonymous says:

    i see people who know god and have such a beatiful realtionship with him i want to hear him!!!!!!!!!!!!
    i want to know that no matter what i will have gods love and if i want more i need to do some of the work myself. I just hate starting cause i feel i will fail. please enter me in you contest i'm not familar with this DVD.

  35. I am going to post verses about my identity on my bathroom mirror.

  36. Melanie Grace says:

    Fasting from facebook is something I decided to do yesterday, so I will spend that time to settle my mind and listen closer to God's voice. It was so cool today when I heard you say what you did on the Made to Crave live web. Thanks so much.

  37. I want to be so filled with the Truth that there is no room for the lies. The times in my life that I have sinned are because I listened to the lie (given by the world, a friend, myself…); trying to meet a need that only God could fill. I want to be able to direct my family, friends, and others toward God's Truth so they too can be set free. Thank you, God for the time I have had recently to sit at your feet to listen and learn. Thank-you for women like Renee and Lysa and the Proverbs 31 team to share your Truth!

  38. One thing that I've been trying to do on a daily basis is: as I get up from bed every morning, I literally ROLL out to the side of my bed and kneel. I surrender to God, and I make my body surrender as well. I forget to do this simple act sometimes, but it is becoming easier as I do it each day and it is so powerful! This puts me in a position of surrendering and listening to my coach (I loved your example with your own son!).

    My next goal is to start with your suggestion of reading the gospel of John. Thanks for the idea and for everyone's insights!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Awesome to see and be encouraged by you and your husband on the Made to Crave webcast this week.
    My one-word prayer this year is RECEIVE … to receive the love and wisdom God has for me and share it with others. To do this I know I must spend time in His word and 'get quiet and listen'. My lack of discipline, and spending way too much time on the computer have kept me from receiving His love that I crave. So I am going to turn off my computer for the next 3 days ….. and listen for God. I needed this encouragement to make some changes. Thank you Renee!
    Sharon Telfer pstelfer@tcc.on.ca

  40. Anonymous says:

    When I keep getting the nudge in my mind to do something I know it is God's voice.

  41. I really like the idea of starting reading the Gospel of John. It's hard sometimes for me to decide where to start reading. I think this wouldb e a good place for me to start. Would love to win the DVD to go with my reading. Thank you for the chance.


  42. Do you have any scriptures in regards to not seeking attention from others. I have lost quite a bit of weight and now ( i didnt realize it unitil you said something last night)i see attention from others. I crave that attention in my life right now because that seems to be the only positive thing going for me right now.


  43. You can decern his truths when your hold world is and has gone crazy but the a certain amount of peace that you feel despite the storm that is raging in your life.

  44. I read a book on Discerning the Voice of God by P. Shirer. It is so vital to me to know when I hear truth vs. falsehood. I'm growing in knowing God's will through His Word as well.

  45. Jennifer Renee says:

    I really plan to get up early and really spend time with God in prayer. Doing this has always been a struggle for me. I don't just want to say a quick prayer but I want to be able to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to him as he instructs me.

  46. I tend to get sucked into computer things, either with work or just reading things on the Internet. I struggle with not being able to discern God's voice in my life, especially in the area of my own self-worth. I am "fasting" from the news sites and facebook, which both suck me in, and trying to spend that time instead reading my Bible and memorizing Scripture.

  47. Great topic. I love my devotional/prayer time with my Lord in the morning but I struggle with the being still to listen part and I need to work on that.

  48. His voice Renee, His voice above all else. Thanks for the encouragement to keep listening. Not to the voice of the accuser, or the criticizer but to the voice of the lover and the friend.

    There's freedom in that voice, thank you!


  49. Out of the mouths of babes…what a wonderful analogy. Even when we know whose voice we should be listening for, it's so hard to hear over the other voices in our lives.

  50. Reminds me I need to watch that Woman at the Well video. Is it from this DVD? Would LOVE to see Jesus 🙂

  51. The one thing I'll do… I'm reading the Bible all the way through, sometimes some quite long chunks, but today I'm going to linger on the Word and not rush…

  52. I love your comment, Krista – 'Land that drinks in the rain…' Inspiring me to start memorizing Ephesians.

  53. I am so torn right now, too much happening in my life a lot of which is emotionally draining. I made the commitment to myself that I would take journey with Wendy Pope and am loving it. Then I go to the other P31 blogs and feel like I want to add hours to my day in order to soak it all up.
    Thank you, you inspire day after day!

  54. Thank you so much for this message. I want to be willing, but really struggling right now. I know just a start is all I need. Would love to be part of the give away.

  55. I know that when I do certain things (regularly attend church and Bible studies, continually in God's word, consistently pray)I can hear God's voice, feel Him leading me, and have peace more often.

    I keep hearing others talk about prayer journals, and that is something I would like to do – reading that would be a great reminder of how much God loves us no matter what the answer is to our requests.

  56. I hear you. Sometimes life has sucha way of getting in the way. Being a homeschool mother of 3 children 7 and under I get so busy being busy. I long to know my Savior, not just know who he is but REALLY know Him. I long to be a woman of prayer. I want to be till and know that He is God. Thanks for the remnder. This has been a Huge encouraging song to me to be still. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKWGSzxtcZA

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