We need to learn to hear God's voice better. If it is true that God has a plan for our lives, if it is true that God spoke to people in the times of the Bible, if it is true that the Holy Spirit lives within us, then surely it ought to be normal for us to know things by the Spirit of God concerning what the specific will of God is for our lives.
Looking at my own life, while I can say that God has definitely spoken specifically over the years to me, I'm sure I also sometimes did things only because they seemed right, or seemed interesting, or seemed exciting, rather than because they WERE right, or WERE God's plan.
These failures until now would account for the difference between where I could have been, and where I am now in terms of my closeness with God and fruitfulness for the Kingdom.
BUT, all is not lost. While there is life there is hope! This is true for all of us. We must remind ourselves of things perhaps we once knew, but have since forgotten. Principles of waiting on God, hearing from God, receiving grace and empowerment and instructions from God. We need once again to be sensitized to the leading of the Holy Spirit of God.
It seems natural that a good Father would want to communicate intimately to His children concerning His specific plan for their individual lives. There are general things that are true – the LORD God wants us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, be filled with the Word of God and give thanks to the Father for all things at all times! Wow, that would be a big change for most of us. But in addition to these general things, God has specific things for us that are a function of his individual plan for us. God has arranged the place of our birth, our ethnicity, our background, our unique talents, spiritual gifts and more as part of His preparation for our specific life calling. Beyond these clues, we need to know to hear God speak – through His Word, through impressions He gives, and through any other method He may choose – including the use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
I've been listening to some of the teaching by Joy Dawson on this subject of hearing the voice of God. I can't replicate all that she teaches, perhaps it would not be right to attempt to do so, but there are some principles she brings out which I believe would be very instructive for all of us to consider.
In hearing from God, we have to recognize that we are not merely dealing with another human being. We are dealing with the Sovereign Lord of the Entire Universe. Almighty God. Compared to God, apart from God's grace, we are really ZERO. We are nothing. We can only function by God's enabling. We are not the creators of our own being. We did not create our own minds. We cannot save ourselves from our own moral and personal defects. We need God. Without Him, we are nothing.
Our attitude towards God should then be one of recognition of our need. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. The humble He guides in justice. In general God does not reveal His mind fully to proud people. When we are proud, we are unable to receive the truth. Pride makes us vulnerable to deception.
We have to have confidence in the faithfulness of God. When God makes a promise, He will certainly fulfil it. Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice". We need to believe that, and all the other promises God has given concerning His willingness to communicate and guide us into all Truth.
Related to faith is the idea of diligently seeking God. Hebrews 11:6 says that Without Faith it is impossible to please God, for He who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who DILIGENTLY seek Him.
God will not generally honor casual enquirers. By this I mean people who may ask God for an answer, but are not prepared to persistently ask, seek and knock until they get an answer. People who give up easily concerning the quest for revelation of God's will need not assume that they will receive the promise. I believe God requires from us a tenacity in seeking Him. If that means dropping some things and taking hours to pray, wait, study the Word of God, or even fast, then so be it. It might require more than that. It might require some steps of diligent obedience.
4. A Surrendered Will
If a person wants to know God's will, they need to be willing to do it first. God doesn't reveal His will so that people can then make up their mind whether they'd like to do it or not.
John 7:17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.
There is a principal here. You have to be willing first, then you will know spiritual truth.
I know there are many other important components to preparing oneself to receive Divine Guidance. I would appreciate others commenting on this, adding to this post and so on.