The current book study is on Pete Greig’s new book, How to Hear God, and I recommend that you get hold of your own copy – you can purchase it here. Pete Greig is a best-selling author and co-founder of 24-7 Prayer and the Wildfires Conference. He also launched The Prayer Course and his really helpful and insightful books on prayer, which really go together with this new book on hearing God, include How To Pray and God on Mute.
He bases this current book around the wonderful story in Luke 24 of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, regarding it as a masterclass on learning to hear the voice of Jesus. It is about the ‘covert Christ’ drawing near and taking you on ‘a slow journey of deep discovery that will change your life’ (p.xv). There is a very useful introduction to the topic of each of the chapters – ‘how to read this book in 5 minutes’ – which gives good overview of the journey before we set off.
The following is my slanted summary (it inevitably reflects my take on it) of the first chapter, Hearing God’s Word in Jesus. Nothing can replace reading it for yourself, but hopefully this can give you a taster and encourage you to read it. I also provide a few questions to think about at the end.
Chapter 1 – Hearing God’s Word in Jesus: We have been created for a conversational relationship with Jesus and therefore hearing God is vital. The most important prayer of the Old Testament – the ‘Shema’ means ‘hear’ or ‘listen’ – begins with hearing God (Deut. 6:4-5). If we want to love God with all our heart and mind and strength, we need to listen to him. Followers of Jesus hear his voice and follow him. There are different ways in which we can hear God. But the most important point to grasp is that Jesus is the word of God. ‘Jesus is what God sounds like’ and every other way of hearing God must lead us to getting closer to Jesus. The Emmaus Road story of Jesus drawing alongside the two disciples is a great model for learning to hear God. It shows all the different ways in which the disciples heard Jesus. It is also a kind of model for the Christian life, which is really all about walking with Jesus along the way. We may have to wrestle with some theological and psychological difficulties to do with hearing God (Greig shares his own) but it is worth persevering. Different people’s psychological make-up affects how they hear God and that is okay – find out what best fits you. We need to be willing to go slow with this journey of learning to hear God. The journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus was a long one. And so Jesus doesn’t rush this. And if we want to learn to hear God, we need to be prepared to go slow, not just trying to pick up a few tips but seeking a fresh encounter with Jesus.
Pete Greig also includes short biographies and some listening exercises at the end of each chapter.
Some Key Quotes
‘Jesus is what God sounds like’ (p.xv)
‘…hearing his voice is not so much a skill we must master…as a master we must meet.’ (p.xv)
‘When it comes to hearing God, the Bible is the language of his heart’ (p.xv)
‘Learning to hear God’s voice – his word and his whisper – is the single most important thing you will ever do.’ (p.2)
‘…hearing God begins and ends with meeting Jesus’ (p.13)
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- When did you first meet Jesus and what did you learn from that encounter?
- Are you aware of some of the main ways in which you hear Jesus? What are they?
- What are some of the main challenges you face in hearing God? How do you hope this book may help?
There is a PDF version of this Study here.