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Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God
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Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  2,031 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
"God spoke to me." "The Spirit spoke to my heart." "God revealed the idea to me." Being close to God means communicating with him--telling him what is on our hearts in prayer and hearing and understanding what he is saying to us. It is this second half of our conversation with God that is so important but that can also be so difficult. How do we hear his voice? How can we ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by IVP Books (first published 1984)
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Jacob Aitken
We all get nervous when people say “God spoke to me.” And sometimes rightfully so. Willard deconstructs both sides of the reaction and gives us a tour-de-force in philosophy as well. While we Evangelicals want to preserve the Bible’s integrity and maintain sane spiritualities, we don’t want to hyper-react in the opposite direction, and so Willard begins:

The goal is not hearing an audible voice from heaven, but cultivating a relationship that rests upon divine guidance. It is a humble dependence
Jun 12, 2013 MGMaudlin rated it it was amazing
In honor of Dallas Willard's recent passing, I reread HEARING GOD. Filled with wise counsel and deep reflection, he begins with what should be obvious to all Christians: God wants to have an intimate daily relationship with us, one characterized by conversational communication. We are to expect God to guide, counsel, critique, and comfort us as he shapes us into his son's image. One mystery to me is why more Christian books are not preoccuppied with this very issue. How do we hear God and recogn ...more
Nov 16, 2007 Barbara rated it really liked it
This was a perhaps too-timely read for me. I started reading it in November, and finished in January--reading it throughout my most confused months of discernment/decision making after returning from South Africa. It did seem a little too obvious to read a book titled "In Search of Guidance" during this time.

I knew from the outset that reading this book wasn't going to answer all my questions or give me some sort of formula that if followed would yield instructions on exactly what steps to take
Alexis Neal
Jun 21, 2010 Alexis Neal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, religion
Here's the thing. It all comes down to what you mean by 'hearing' God.

Willard argues that our relationship with God should be conversational, that He should (and does) speak to us on a regular basis, if we can just hear Him. After all, the rest of our relationships are characterized by communication--why would our relationship with God be any different?

And I agree with him . . . up to a point. See, I believe God does speak to us. I just think He speaks to us first and foremost through His Word.
Jan 03, 2013 Greg rated it really liked it
I have spent a lot of time with this book. I first had the privilege of being asked to review the audiobook from back in April 2012.
I listened to the book once, and knew that I had to get more info, so I purchased the ebook as well. Over the last 8 months I have listened to this book twice and read it once, working through it slowly and applying what is says.

Dallas Willard goes into a lot of depth on this subject and gives lots of practicals as well as the theology behind what
Jul 22, 2011 Amanda rated it it was amazing
I positively adore this book. It is written in a simple, plain style that anyone can read and understand, but it is best read slowly, as a topic of this magnitude is no small undertaking. The author takes on some controversial topics but deals with them in a gentle and logical manner; for example, the misconception that a life guided by God is easy or risk-free, or that divine guidance means were are singled out to be special. He plainly says that anyone can develop a conversational with God, an ...more
Jan 19, 2016 Emily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, 2016
Among the books I've read about Christianity, this was one of the most challenging. None of it really went down easily, and it prompted some serious introspection. This one will be on my mind for a long time.
Hearing God

Developing a Conversational Relationship with God

Dallas Willard

InterVarsity, 1999, 228 pp, ISBN 9780830822263

First published in 1993 as In Search of Guidance, this book provides a biblical and experiential understanding that clarifies what it means to live in an ongoing conversational relationship with God. Hearing God relates to a whole life in the will of God, including who God wants us to be as well as what he wants us to do. I found it the most helpful book for my spiritual life s
Aug 21, 2009 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: guidance
Dallas Willard's book, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God, has the most practical, wise and biblically sound reading I have ever done on the subject of divine guidance. It's a book worth reading over and again for those who wrestle with the problems of how God communicates with us personally: Is it presumptuous to think that God would want to communicate with us directly? Isn't the Bible an entirely sufficient revelation of God's will for any and all Christians? What ...more
Gerald Thomson
Dec 26, 2016 Gerald Thomson rated it really liked it
I have a great deal of respect for Willard and his way of thinking through scripture. In Hearing God, he lets go of much of the intellectual side of his faith and concentrates on how God speaks to us. This book will open up the prompting of the Spirit for many as Willard argues that God is not through speaking to people just because the Bible is complete. This book is not an easy read and will likely take multiple readings, but Willard will get you to look at scripture and the Spirit in ways you ...more
Michael Hinnen
Jan 03, 2017 Michael Hinnen rated it it was amazing
Such a phenomenal book and a must read for anyone who wants to develop in their relationship with God. Willard offers wisdom throughout the book on the primary ways God speaks, and offers practical advice on how to hear Him. I would recommend this book to anyone, but don't try and speed through it. Cherish each chapter and use each chapter to grow in your own personal conversation and relationship with Him. 5+ stars
Josh Morgan
May 15, 2012 Josh Morgan rated it it was amazing
This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café (

Hearing and recognizing God's voice is one of the most confusing, challenging, and central parts of life. Arguably, all people try to find and understand God's voice speaking to them at some point in life. Even for the most spiritually devout, God's voice is not always clear.

Dallas Willard wrote and recently re-released Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God to address the complexity of connecti
Aug 18, 2013 Pearlie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been quite discouraged lately, and I felt my prayers were like monologues. I did try to listen and I did read the Bible but when it came to my prayers, it was like facing a wall.

That was when I went searching for good books on Christian living and spirituality and found Dallas Willard's Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God. I immediately bought a copy and started reading it straightaway.

It is an excellent book.

Willard firmly says that God do speak to us and we do
Aug 22, 2013 Bob rated it it was ok
This was a topic that intrigued me. Many people say that God "told" them to do this or that, and I always wondered how that worked. Willard's book seemed like just the thing to put the questions to rest.

I listened to the audio version of the book. Willard bounced around a bit, dealing with a variety of topics related to the idea of hearing God. This sometimes made it difficult to follow, but not too bad.

The place where he really lost me, however, is near the end of the book, where he says that t
Jul 31, 2007 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
Eminently readable, practical, and profound, this book has the potential to change Christ's people individually and collectively if it were more widely read and integrated into ourselves.

Because what Willard has laid out here is so compelling, there are some areas I wish he would delve into further, as well as a couple of minor quibbles. I would have benefited from more on the voice of Satan, especially as The Accuser; and on the apparent silence of God, particularly as it relates to unrepentan
Adam Shields
Jan 21, 2011 Adam Shields rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short review: This is a classic book on hearing God. And I think it will be reading in another 25 years as well. There are others books that tread the same ground. And some of them are about as good. The strength of Willard is his grounding in historical Christianity, his strong biblical and theological understanding and his awareness that no one will ever really fully understand God. So he is humble in his presentation, not because he is unsure, but because he knows that we are fallen.

I think t
Jonathan B
Dec 04, 2010 Jonathan B rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but went away disappointed. I wasn't satisfied with the way he expressed the role of Scripture as the Word of God, although he claims in the book itself to have laid emphasis on it. He definitely speak about it, but I don't think it was expressed in the proper order or with the proper emphasis. He also comes at the subject with a very strong view of man's autonomy which I didn't appreciate. He said a lot of true things, but none of it struck me as particularly ...more
Brandon H.
Dec 17, 2013 Brandon H. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
A must read for learning how to hear God's voice as well as maturing in the Christian faith. Dallas Willard not only makes the case for God still speaking today, he addresses the many roadblocks that get in the way of hearing that voice. He also challenges us to remain steadfast in our walk with Christ when we hear Him and when we don't and to take up the work of walking with God in conversational relationship and reality; to learn God's voice and appreciate it while not being "spiritual hypocho ...more
Adam Shaeffer
Apr 24, 2014 Adam Shaeffer rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was very appropriate timing to choose this book over Lent, particularly as we had some big decisions to make and really wanted to hear from God on them. Thanks to Dallas, I feel a bit more equipped to recognize God's voice when he speaks.
Alexander Velasquez
Dr. Willard has written a life changing book for those who crave a greater understanding for how God operates in his part of our two-way communication. I would recommend getting the latest edition so that the reader can perform each lectio divina exercise after finishing each chapter.
Nov 19, 2016 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author Dallas Willard maintains that God speaks to ordinary people today just as in Bible times but that we often do not hear. In Hearing God, he discusses the many ways in which God speaks (sometimes audibly, but more often through scripture, other people, circumstances, thoughts, an inner voice, etc.) and various reasons for our failure to hear or to discern that what we hear is from God. Willard offers practical steps for developing a greater awareness of God’s speaking to us. A key point is ...more
Jul 09, 2009 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 2nd 1/2 of this book gets to the heart:

What we want, what we think, what we decide to do when the word of God does not come or when we have so immersed ourselves in him that his voice within us is not held in distinction from our own thoughts and perceptions-these show who we are: either we are God's mature children, friends and coworkers, or we are something less.

We must resolutely resist the tendency to blame the absence of a word from God automatically on our own wrongness. And we must e
Feb 05, 2017 Neri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it requires presence of mind and focus to understand fully, Hearing God by Dallas Willard is a great book about understanding prayer and the importance of Scripture.

I hope to read this again because I know I still have to see more things in it.
Jeff Bjorgan
Feb 03, 2017 Jeff Bjorgan rated it it was amazing
Fantastically clear, broad in its application, and hopeful for those that are a cautious about the over-zealous, but deeply desiring a conversation with God. Highly recommend!
Bev Burrell
Feb 10, 2017 Bev Burrell rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best theologically-grounded books I've read on how to hear God's voice in your life. Truly worth reading!
Jan 29, 2017 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Required reading for anyone interested in this topic!
Gary Conachan
Oct 19, 2016 Gary Conachan rated it really liked it
This book is very thorough in the best of ways. It goes from the theological to the practical, which are actually woven together, especially as Willard writes. I started this as I was discerning my first post-grad commitment and finished it a year into that commitment. In both cases it was extremely relevant, but in the latter I was able to affirm Willard's thoughts more from personal experience already had rather than a place where I was currently seeking direction. I'd definitely recommend the ...more
Brian Mount
Sep 19, 2016 Brian Mount rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Simply the best book I've read on the reality of hearing the voice of God. Willard is a master at carefully and painstakingly through scripture bringing the reader along this marvelous journey. Absent is unbridled emotional references to Gods voice in lieu of solid scriptural foundations. Favorite takeaways: when you hear Gods voice, rarely should you announce it, and we should be suspect of those who frequently begin with "God has told me," and second God's voice is normally based on his "still ...more
Mar 23, 2008 Suzi rated it liked it
Shelves: religious
I have found it to be a book full of good thoughts and strong ideas. I have also found it to abound in his beliefs, which he sets against other beliefs (such as mine) or which he doesn’t even seem to realize might not be universal.

For example, on page 152 he quotes Eph. 5:25-27. “…just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or
Jun 22, 2011 David rated it really liked it
Willard writes about all the different forms that God's word takes. God speaks through his written word as well as in our thoughts and perceptions with His unobtrusive, still, small voice, and it all happens in a relationship with Him. There are no mystical techniques we can use to conjure up a message from the Almighty, like a “cosmic gumball machine”. Communication comes in building a relationship with the One in whom we “live and move and have our being”.

Willard bases his study in the author
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DALLAS WILLARD was a Professor in the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He taught at USC from 1965, where he was Director of the School of Philosophy from 1982-1985. He has also taught at the University of Wisconsin (Madison, 1960-1965), and has held visiting appointments at UCLA (1969) and the University of Colorado (1984).

His undergraduate studies wer
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“We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can almost be as stupid as a cabbage as long as you doubt.” 112 likes
“In many cases, our need to wonder about or be told what God wants in a certain situation is nothing short of a clear indication of how little we are engaged in His work.” 28 likes
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