We hung a musical mobile over our children’s crib. Disney characters like Mickey, Donald, Pluto and Goofy went roundabout over their eyes and ears, chiming the tune, “It’s a small world.”  Before our children could walk or talk they were collecting impressions. As months and years passed our children would learn the character of those characters. Years later they would begin to understand an industry with theme parks, movies and marketing campaigns associated with the images. 

Babies may be born with audio sensitivity, but experience teaches them to distinguish the vibrations and significance of word sounds.

Many want a crash course on hearing God’s voice. Sometimes we are granted sudden revelations. Usually we learn a language by listening, and then listening more.

Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  John 10:27

We raised sheep. New lambs would stick close to mom and after a while learn to trust us as they learned our voices and saw we were friendly. Part of the process of lambs trusting us was seeing their mothers trust us.

A good way to start learning the voice of the Shepherd is to stick close to our spiritual parents. They will teach us to hush our spirits and learn the meaning of the vibrations. Pay attention to the way your spiritual mentors read their Bibles, pray, sit quietly for stretches of time and act when they sense the Holy Spirit.

We learn the Shepherd’s voice through closeness, attentiveness and reflection.  There is a school for listening!

In Scripture we see schools of prophets where people became seasoned listeners while learning from others. Elijah had a school of prophets. Wouldn’t you love that man to be your listening tutor! There was a school of the prophets because listening is not automatic but requires awareness and practice.

There are books and workshops on how to become better listeners in the human arena. Take on a determination to become your best as a listener, both to the Holy Spirit and to your human connections! 

We would love listening to be automatic and cost us nothing. It’s true sometimes there are bolts of lighting and crashing thunder moments of insight, but typically becoming a great listener takes attentiveness, practice and time. Many of us who have heard God speak for years are still learning the meaning of the vibrations.

We are students, life-time students at that, in the school of listening. The wonderful news is you are The Teacher’s pet. Stick close, little lamb, and learn The Shepherd’s voice!

Steven C Johnson


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