I've had a bit of a journey when it comes to hearing God, since I was quite young to now. It's something that I've reflected on before - I particularly did so when I did my story for my church's 'Real Stories, Real Faith' series - but things have changed a bit since then.
So, when I was younger, I didn't hear God. Praying felt like talking to God, not talking with him. And I wanted the latter, but I didn't really know how to get there. It didn't ever make me think that he wasn't there; because he'd communicate with me in other ways, which were much less direct. And I'd see him working in my life. But I wouldn't hear him at all. I remember once having a diary where you were there was a space to write down answers you heard to prayers. Those sections were always empty. I never heard God.
Things changed around the time of uni. I can't remember exactly when it happened, but at some point, I was just having quite casual interactions with God. It's not that I was hearing him, persay - more feeling him, sensing some of his emotions. One of the main ones I'd feel was laughter. He joked a lot with me, and I with him. That's partly where I got the idea that God is the ultimate troll from. But I think I talked about that in another post.
At some point - I can't remember quite when - I started going on walks with God. And he would show bits and pieces to me. I'd see something, and knew that it meant this or that - it was God's way of speaking to me. So I try to go for walks pretty regularly, even if it's just short.
Since then, I'd also had a few times when my mentor had asked me to go to a specific time and invite God or Jesus into that place, and we'd have a bit of a conversation there. Some of those were fairly short and simple - some had a bit more to them. But all really impacted me.
Last Sunday, I heard Bill Hybels' talk on time, and how we use it. And one of the big points he talked about was spending 15 minutes every day in a chair, listening to God and reading his Word. So I thought I'd give it a go. Our church is starting The Story this coming Sunday (if you haven't heard of it, it's the Bible written like a novel, in chronological order - it goes for 30-something weeks) so I thought I'd read that. So I spent some time reading that, then some time in prayer. I finished and I still had a few minutes left. So I thought, what the heck, let's try and have a conversation with God, like I did sometimes back with my mentor. And yeah. That happened. It was really simple. And really awesome. :) So I've been having some pretty awesome chats with God each day in that time, which has been really great.
I think part of the thing that held me back before was self-doubt - the thought of, "but no, that's just my own mind talking there," and that sort of thing. But I've since found that things like worry, doubt, fear - these things are always going to get between you and God, rather than connect you to him. (Yes, the Bible says to fear God. That's a different sort of fear, and not what I'm talking about here.) So yeah.
I'm still learning, but I thought that was a pretty cool thing that I'd like to reflect on :) As an aside, I definitely recommend taking the 15 minute Chair Challenge. And do it in an actual chair, and the same chair each time. It's a psychological thing, with the same environment and such. Even better if you can do it at the same time each day. Give it a go for a week, and see what happens :)