Can I Learn To Hear the Holy Spirit? With Becky Thompson [Episode 195]

Hear Holy Spirit Becky Thompson

GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book God So Close by this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to find out how!

In a busy world full of distractions, an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit is more important than ever. But for many, the Holy Spirit seems vague and even a little confusing.

Today, author Becky Thompson is back on the 4:13 Podcast to invite you into a closer relationship with the Holy Spirit. She’ll unpack who He is and how He moves. And you’ll learn how to recognize His voice and discern when God is leading you.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t only attend certain church services or speak only to certain people. Oh no, my friend! He is with you right now, so let’s learn about who He is and how to hear His voice. But first, let me introduce Becky…

Becky Thompson is a bestselling author and the creator of the Midnight Mom Devotional online community, gathering more than one million moms in nightly prayer. An author of seven books, Becky has appeared on the USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. She’s also the host of the Revived Motherhood podcast and lives in Oklahoma with her husband, Jared, and their three children.

As we discuss Becky’s newest book, God So Close: Experience a Life Awakened To His Spirit, you’ll get answers to some common questions about the Holy Spirit, including:

  • Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • Why am I so hesitant to engage the Holy Spirit?
  • What role does the Holy Spirit play in how we know God?
  • How can I hear from God if I don’t hear God’s audible voice?
  • How do I decipher the voice of the Lord from my own thoughts?
  • How can I go deeper in fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit?

It’s amazing to think we have access to the God of the universe through the Holy Spirit, and it’s through His Spirit that we have the ability to know Him, trust Him, hear Him, and follow Him.

Isn’t that incredible?

Well, if this is all new to you, be sure to read the quotes below from Becky’s book, God So Close. I pray they will give you confidence in knowing you can hear the Holy Spirit because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

Book Exerpts

I don’t know what your relationship with the Holy Spirit has been like in the past,” says Thompson. “I don’t know what you’ve been taught or who you have known Him to be leading up to this moment. But He wants to meet you as He met me and millions of others. He wants to fill you and for you to be aware of His presence continually, every day of your life—each one a reminder of God’s purposeful pursuit of your heart.

My prayer is that as you become more aware that the same Spirit of God who filled Jesus and raised Him from the dead is living inside you, it will be impossible for you to remain satisfied with anything less than His full presence. You’ll look for the Holy Spirit in your everyday situations. You’ll wake up listening for His voice. And you’ll boldly do exactly what He asks because the risk of following Him is worth the reward of being used by Him.

Related Resources


Books & Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild

More from Becky Thompson

Related Blog Posts

Stay Connected

Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Learn To Hear the Holy Spirit? With Becky Thompson [Episode 195]

Jennifer Rothschild: In a busy world full of distraction, an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit is more important than ever. But for many, the Holy Spirit seems vague or even a little confusing. Well, today best-selling author Becky Thompson is back with us on the 4:13 to invite you into a closer relationship with the Holy Spirit. She's going to unpack who he is and how he moves and you'll learn how to recognize his voice and discern when God is leading you. The Holy Spirit doesn't just attend only certain churches or speak only to certain people, oh, no, my friend, he is with you right now. So let's learn about who he is and how to hear his voice. K.C., let's do it.

K.C. Wright: Let's do it. Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Now, your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, sitting right here in the podcast closet next to K.C.

K.C. Wright: Woohoo!

Jennifer Rothschild: We are so glad you are with us. I am Jennifer. And if you're new to us, I'm just here to help you be and do more than you even feel capable of as you live this "I Can" life of Philippians 4:13. We say it often because it's true. It's two friends, one topic, and zero stress. So I hope you're ready to take a break for the next 30 minutes and really get some very practical, good conversation going about the Holy Spirit.

Now, before we do, though, I always have to humor K.C. Okay? Y'all, I have a lot of things to manage with him. You have no idea the emotional management required.

K.C. Wright: That is so true.

Jennifer Rothschild: Anyway --

K.C. Wright: The emotional management.

Jennifer Rothschild: So he goes in today -- now, y'all know this, right? He pastors a church. Well, he is all pumped up because he has some new jokes that he has told at the beginning of some of his sermons. So instead of me listening to them alone in my kitchen, I thought all of us should hear your jokes. Now, I'm a pastor's daughter, so my dad had quite the collection of pastor jokes.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: And there's nothing quite like them, K.C. There's just nothing quite like them. So let's just hear a couple of them. Let me hear two of your best ones.

K.C. Wright: Okay. Okay, all right. I'm so glad you asked.

Jennifer Rothschild: I bet you are.

K.C. Wright: I'm so glad you asked. I paid her $50 to let me do this. Okay. All right. A kindergarten teacher gave her class a show and tell assignment of bringing something to class to represent their religion. Well, the first child got in front of the class and said, "Hello, my name is Benjamin, and I'm Jewish, and this is the Star of David." Ooh.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right? Okay.

K.C. Wright: The second child got in front of her class and she said, "My name is Mary. I am Catholic and this is the crucifix." Okay? The third child got up in front of his class and said, "Hi, my name is Tommy. I'm a Baptist and this is a casserole."

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that is good. And all the Baptists out there are going, "Mm-hmm." That's so true. Okay. That's good, K.C.

K.C. Wright: Well, yeah. I mean, some Baptist churches believe that you can't even get into heaven unless you have a covered dish, right?

All right, one more. One more.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, one more. Thank you.

K.C. Wright: You're either laughing or you're groaning.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. But either way, you're engaged, and that's what we want. All right.

K.C. Wright: We promise Becky's on the way.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, she is.

K.C. Wright: Okay. So this older couple were celebrating 65 years of marriage at their little country church. Family and friends had gathered from far and wide -- right? -- and they're celebrating 65 years of marriage. And someone yells from the audience, "Hey, what's the secret of your success?" Well, the husband, the man, he sticks out his chest proudly and says, "I take her on a lot of fancy vacations. As a matter of fact, on our 25th anniversary I took her to Beijing, China." The audience oohed and aahed and wowed, right? Well, of course, someone yells from the audience, "And what about your 50th? What'd you do then on your 50th?" He said, "I went back and picked her up."

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my gosh, that's awful. Okay, that's funny. That's funny. Awful and funny. That's great, K.C.

K.C. Wright: That was the secret of their longevity of marriage.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, those are just -- I'm just saying there is a unique category of humor called preacher jokes.

K.C. Wright: Preacher jokes.

Jennifer Rothschild: Those are them, right?

K.C. Wright: Right. Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Those are them. Well done.

So when you're in church, if you have to hear preacher jokes, our real hope is that you actually also hear the Holy Spirit. And here's the thing, y'all, you can hear the Holy Spirit. You're about to hear from Becky. You're going to love how practical she makes this. She's been with us before. We love Becky Thompson. So let's give her an intro to the conversation.

K.C. Wright: Becky Thompson is a best-selling author and the creator of -- love this -- "The Midnight Mom Devotional" community gathering more than 1 million moms in nightly prayer. An author of seven books, Becky has appeared on the USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. Becky lives in Oklahoma with her husband, Jared, and their three children.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, Becky, the subtitle of your new book is "Experience a Life Awakened to His Spirit," and, of course, that means God's Spirit, the Holy Spirit. So kind of explain for us -- because some people may not really understand -- who the Holy Spirit is, and what does our life look like when we live more fully in the presence of God's Spirit?

Becky Thompson: I love that we're beginning the conversation right here with this thought, because truthfully this is the heart behind the whole book. I mean, this is why you make it the subtitle. It would take 50,000 words to explain who he is and what that life looks like, but I think I can summarize it like this. First of all, the Holy Spirit is part of what we call the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And throughout Scripture we see the Holy Spirit represented with wind or with fire and these sort of images or pictures that make him seem as if he's more of an idea or an expression. When I turn to Scripture, I see that he is a person. And so often we almost -- oh, it almost feels harder to have a relationship with somebody that we don't understand. Right?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Becky Thompson: It feels hard to have a relationship with an idea or with wind. How do you know wind? How do you know fire? How do you talk to wind or fire? But throughout the Word of God, we see that the Holy Spirit is referred to by Jesus as another helper. And when we get down to it, the nitty gritty there is Jesus' words mean "another like me." Another like him was coming. And the Holy Spirit, we see, has a mind, and he has a will and he has emotions and he feels, and all of these attributes of personhood, yet without the confines of a body. And when Jesus comes into the room, we can understand him. You know, we can picture him. No matter what our mind sees, we can picture him. But the Holy Spirit, what do we imagine? What do we picture?

And so my heart with this book is to get women into a room with the Holy Spirit, so to speak, where we can sit down together and say we want to learn to hear your voice, we want to learn what it means to have a relationship with you, and we want to live the full life that Jesus made available through the gift of his presence in the Holy Spirit.

Jennifer Rothschild: I love this, I really do, because I think this is something that, as you said, is so ambiguous to a lot of us that we will avoid it. And what's interesting to me is that -- like, when you were on the 4:13 Podcast before, you were with your father, because y'all were talking about the book that he had just done -- or you had co-written with him, "Midnight Dad."

Becky Thompson: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: And that's your thing. I mean, you've been so involved with dealing with motherhood stuff with your past work and your books. But this book is different. And so why do you think -- I just think it's so interesting that this feels a little like a departure for you. So why did you feel like this was the book, this was the message, this was the time?

Becky Thompson: You know, Jennifer, when it came down to it and I had the opportunity to write this book, and I was sitting with the publishing team and they said, "Okay, so what's next? What has God put on your heart?" And I have this wonderful team that trusted me to listen to the Father and say, "What do you want me to write, God? What is next? What's the message that you want to share next?" I just felt in my heart like it was time. And he knew what that meant and I knew what that meant.

But the reality is -- I've written a book called "Hope Unfolding," and it's "Grace-Filled Truth for the Mom's Heart." I've written a book about marriage and how we can return back to the first love that we experienced, how to hear God's voice in a book called "Truth Unchanging," how to experience peace in a book very understandably called "Peace." That's the title of that book. But all of these things spoke to the heart of the mother about who God was to her and how she could have hope or love or truth or peace. But the reality is, what I want her to know, is that if she knows God for herself, if she understands the full relationship that he's made available, then she'll have hope and truth and peace. She'll have access to all of these things. And so really, I felt like I had almost earned the opportunity in trust with my reader to say let's talk about something almost -- it's not hard, Jennifer, because it's not, it's God. He's good and he's kind and we trust him and we love him, but let's go deeper together.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Becky Thompson: Let's get down to what's waiting for us. What is the foundation for the rest of our lives to be built on? And it was just time. It was just time.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, and the Holy Spirit is often misunderstood or overlooked. And you've even written in your book that some Christians, you know, they hesitate to embrace the Holy Spirit's role because they've been told that, you know, that's weird or only certain denominations do the Holy Spirit thing --

Becky Thompson: Yeah. Right, right.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- you know, that's not what we do. And so why do you think, besides the fact that -- like you were explaining earlier, the wind, fire -- you know, it's hard to have a relationship with an idea. Why do you think that women are so hesitant, or believers in general are just so hesitant?

Becky Thompson: Well, I'm going to be kind of bold here and say that if the enemy of our hearts, who is real -- you know, he's real. We have a very real enemy.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Becky Thompson: Scripture explains that he doesn't want us to know God. That's been his goal from the very beginning. He said to Eve in the garden, you know, "Did God really say?" His goal was to separate humanity from their relationship they had with God. And this has been his aim across the ages, to place distance between us and what God already made available to us. You know, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, they had everything they needed. They had relationship with God, they had full provision of food and resources and peace, and they didn't even know what it was like to be without him. And then brokenness comes in through this disobedience and the enemy thinks, you know, I've done it, I've won.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Becky Thompson: And then Jesus comes in triumphantly and says, "But I. Before you even knew that this was coming, I knew. I created the world knowing this moment was going to happen." And so from the foundations of the world, the Lamb of God was slain, and Jesus made a way for us to have access to God again and back to his heart again. But this relationship continues through the Holy Spirit. We don't have access to God unless the Holy Spirit draws us into this relationship, unless the Holy Spirit seals the promise of our salvation in our hearts.

And so I feel like the enemy still tries today to say, "You shouldn't go there. You shouldn't, you shouldn't, you shouldn't." He's weird. You don't want to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. You don't -- that's weird. Because he can't take the power away from the church, but he can do his best to convince us that we don't possess it.

Jennifer Rothschild: Good word. You know, anything to me that -- when you break it down like that, anything that the enemy is for, we are against. So that right there is enough of a reason for someone listening to go, okay, so this Holy Spirit thing is new to me, or it's something I just acknowledge that, yes, he or -- you know, sometimes people say "it." Which you have made very clear it's, no, he exists and is a part of us when we know Christ. But that right there just says, girl, if the enemy wants you to avoid this, then that shows why you need to press in and learn more.

So in your book, Becky, you outline ways that God does communicate with us throughout Scripture, and showing us the power of the Holy Spirit. So give us some of those examples, because I think that will also help some people who are unfamiliar see, oh, this is not a new thing that goes with a certain denomination, this is a Trinity, a God thing that has happened since the beginning of time.

Becky Thompson: Exactly. Well, I love how God communicates throughout Scripture a number of ways with his people. So we often look at the Word of God and say, well, this is how God communicates with us. And it's true. I hope no one listening ever thinks that I've said anything other than that true fact. The Word of God is sufficient for a pleasing life to know the Father and to live according to his plan.

However, throughout the Word of God, we see moments where God spoke through dreams to people, where God spoke through angelic voices to people. Angels with messages came and spoke. We see moments where people heard directly from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit prompted Paul, Don't go that way, don't enter that area. Do go this way, do enter this area. Speak to that person, pray for that person. So we see ways that the Holy Spirit spoke, but we also see ways that he spoke outside of things that would seem common, like through the dreams, like through the supernatural encounter with an angel. But also, you know, we also see times when God spoke to what we would think of as our spiritual eyes or our spiritual ears or our hearts. And so I think often where we get confused -- and I'll come back and give an example for a few of those in just a second.

Jennifer Rothschild: Sure.

Becky Thompson: I think often where we get sort of convinced maybe that we don't hear from God -- have you ever heard somebody say that, Jennifer?

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, yeah.

Becky Thompson: I just -- God doesn't talk to me that way.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, right.

Becky Thompson: He talks to everybody else. Or almost envious. I remember a time in my life where I felt envious of the way that people knew God, and I just thought, well, I -- nobody wants to know him more than I want to know him, so why is he making himself known to these people more than he's making himself known to me? And it took some time and some study for me to see that I didn't need to hear him with my ears that were placed on my head. I could learn to hear him in a knowing in my heart, in an idea that I thought was just my really good idea, Jennifer. I thought, man, I'm a smart lady with good ideas. Then I realized, oh, that's not really an idea that I would have had on my own, that is something that came from the Lord.

And so when I say that God speaks to our spiritual ears or gives us a knowing in our hearts, there's a moment in scripture when Elisha says, "I pray for my servant here, that his eyes would be opened and he would see what's happening in the unseen world around him." And he prays and the servant's eyes are opened and he sees in the Spirit these chariots that are going to war against the people who have come to make war on them. And so often I think our hearts sort of scoot that off to the side, you know, this is stuff that's reserved for a weird part of history and a weird part of the church and that doesn't happen today. But we are still made in the image of God, created to know him in his fullness. And so sometimes God speaks to us in ways that we wouldn't contribute to his voice or as being his voice. And I think, Jennifer, when we go, "Oh, that's how God's communicating to me. I just thought that was something that happened, I didn't realize that was his voice," then we go, oh, look at all of the other places. And now I'm going to be in tune and now I'm going to look forward to what God might say next.

Jennifer Rothschild: So how do you or how does someone trust that they are hearing the Holy Spirit's voice? They are -- because he's our counselor, our helper, he's guiding us into truth. How do they know? How do they trust that it's really him and, like you said, not just your good idea?

Becky Thompson: Okay, I love that idea. Because discerning the voice of the Lord is just as important as thinking, I think this is his voice. How do I weigh this out? How do I know? And so I have four questions that I ask myself, really asked myself a lot in the beginning when I was first learning to hear the voice of the Lord, and now they're just sort of checkpoints that I go over again in my heart.

The first question I ask myself is does the Bible confirm what I'm hearing? God will never say anything to our hearts that he hasn't confirmed in his word. Now, this gets really tricky because, you know, God doesn't talk about airplanes or switching jobs to work in social media or things like that in Scripture.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right.

Becky Thompson: But it really kind of brings me to the next question of does what I'm hearing sound like Jesus? Is this the God I know? Is this leading me toward peace or away from it? Is this leading me toward a relationship or away from a relationship with him? You know, there were plenty of times in Scripture when God directed people's lives and they ended up in difficulty. And so I think it's important to know that sometimes God leads us down roads and we think, well, God brought me this way, but I've encountered an obstacle, you know. I've met someplace and -- and I think of Paul, who ended up shipwrecked and he followed the Lord, you know. He was imprisoned and he followed. Or he got bit by a snake and he followed Jesus, you know, like all of these things.

So God doesn't promise that our life will be free from trial if we follow him or hear his voice, but he does promise that he will be with us. And so is what I'm hearing confirmed in the Word? Does what I hear sound like the voice of Jesus? I say, "Would Jesus say this to my face?"

Jennifer Rothschild: That's good.

Becky Thompson: If Jesus was in front of me, would he say this to my face? If I'm hearing something that's going, well, you messed that up, but dot, dot, dot, that is not -- I don't know what Jesus you know, but that's not the Jesus I know. He doesn't talk like that. He's my good friend.

The next question is, does what I'm hearing lead me toward God or away from him? Does what I'm hearing lead me toward God or away from him? The enemy will often speak to us in a way, like I said, that sort of condemns us or says, "Well, you messed up," or, "Here's where you're at fault." But God always -- he is in the business of reconciliation. So when God speaks to us, he is always drawing us into a more intimate relationship. Even if he's pointing out faults or things that we need to fix, it's to bring us closer. So it's not, "Here's what's going on where you're such a -- you know, a mess-up or a problem," it's, "Here's where I need you to work on this because I want you closer to me."

And then finally, does this message that I'm hearing testify of the work of Jesus? So is what I'm hearing reminding me that Jesus is good? Is what I'm hearing reminding me that he wants a relationship with me? Is what he's telling me reminding me that he wants to speak hope and love and truth and peace and patience and all of these fruits of the Spirit in our lives?

So that is how I sort of gauge. And I think listeners can go, oh, okay. I think that was the Lord; it drew me closer to him. I think that was the Lord; it made me rely on Him. I think that was the Lord; it sounds like something Jesus would invite me to do and I think that sounds like something that is confirmed in the Word of God.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's really good. Because as you've already explained, there is this elusiveness sometimes that we feel about God's Spirit. And those give us a little bit of -- almost like guardrails on this highway as we're cruising with him that keep us really knowing that we are hearing his voice. And I also think that it's never a bad thing either -- if you have a trusted sister in the Lord who is mature in Christ, there's nothing wrong with even discussing, "You know, I feel like the Holy Spirit is telling me this," because God uses all of us when we're filled with his Spirit. There's great wisdom in a multitude of counselors, and I believe our Great Counselor, the Holy Spirit, uses all of us, too. So that's super good, Becky. I really anticipate how readers are going to get free in this area. It's going to take away some confusion, give clarity. Watch out, enemy, is all I have to say.

All right, girl, last question. All right. So how can someone who's heard all this today, and they're like, okay, I want to go deeper, I need this. So how can someone get into a deeper relationship with God through the Holy Spirit even now? How do they start?

Becky Thompson: You know, I think the first thing we do is we recognize that that relationship is available. So if our listener is saying, Ooh, I want that. I need that. I need to know I'm not alone, I need to know that God is close. I need to know that he's real and he wants to still move today like he moved throughout the Word of God and he hasn't changed. I think the very first thing you do is you just pause and you pray. In your own way, in your own words, you know, you speak to the Father in the name of Jesus and invite him. Give him room in your heart to do something that maybe he hasn't done before. Say, Father, just send your Holy Spirit. Help me know him as you want me to know him. Help me understand that through your Spirit, God, not some strange spirit, not something I don't understand, not fire or wind, but this person. The same Spirit that filled Jesus, fills me. I want to know him. Just pray that in your own words, in your own heart.

And then surround yourself with a group of people. I would point to the book, not because I want to sell the book, but because it's chapters and chapters and chapters of here is what I have learned in the Word of God scripturally based through my own life, through the Bible, of what this relationship looks like, of how you can go deeper, of what those steps look like and what is available to you.

So begin with prayer, search out great resources, and then begin asking questions. Because here's what I love about this, Jennifer. When we start asking our friends, "What do you know about the Holy Spirit?" you'll be surprised how many people are curious or want to have a deeper relationship or have a deeper relationship that they maybe just haven't shared with you yet.

K.C. Wright: Let Becky help you on this journey of knowing and growing in the Holy Spirit. Her book really is a practical roadmap. You know, true story. I got her book mailed to me and I gave it away yesterday at church --

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, good.

K.C. Wright: -- to a lady that I really feel is going to be blessed by this book. It's a fantastic book.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, it is fantastic.

K.C. Wright: Yeah. And we're giving a one away today.

Jennifer Rothschild: Which is even more fantastic.

K.C. Wright: You can win one through Jennifer's Instagram. Go to Jennifer's profile @jennrothschild to enter to win. Or you can go straight to the show notes right now to get connected at And also you'll find a transcript and some great quotes from Becky's book, "God So Close."

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. You know, I was thinking, K.C., this book is really a great book to do as a book study or a book club, so y'all should gather some of your friends, whether they're there in your neighborhood or online, and do this book together. Study it together Because you're going to grow stronger as you grow together.

All right, our dear people, this was some really good stuff today. So remember that you can listen for the Holy Spirit's voice and you can trust what you hear, because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.

K.C. Wright: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, we're ending right now before you tell any more jokes.


Go deeper into this week's question in my Bible Study Bistro Facebook group. There's a community of 4:13ers waiting for you!