the weblog of Alan Knox

When I took a walk to hear from God

Posted by on Apr 5, 2013 in discipleship | 22 comments

When I took a walk to hear from God

This morning, I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood to hear from God. I wanted to block out everything else so that there would be no distractions. That way, I would clearly hear what God was saying to me.

It did not go well.

To begin with, even before I left my house, my family kept asking for help. My wife needed to talk; my son and daughter needed help with school; even the dogs needed to be fed. I was finally able to sneak out of the house while they were not looking.

I closed the front door, walked a few steps down the street, and took a deep breath. Finally, I would be able to hear from God, right?

No. Immediately, the neighbors across the street came out of the house to leave for work. They were yelling at each other the whole way to their cars. The wife pulled out of the driveway, but the husband apparently forgot something because he stormed back into the house slamming the door. He returned a few seconds later, paused a moment looking at me, then got back into his car and left for work.

Just as it was starting to get quiet again, a bunch of kids turned the corner on the way to school. They were loud and crazy, calling out to one another, picking on one of the smaller kids. Again, there was no way that I could hear from God with that racket. (But, I have to admit, I did chuckle a little as they picked on that little boy.)

The school kids had just moved out of ear shot when, believe it or not, my cell phone rang. Just my luck, it was a friend of mine who needed some counsel. He talked for several minutes before I was finally able to convince him that I was extremely busy. (What could be more important than hearing from God?) I told him that I would call him back. I’ll get around to that phone call soon.

I made the last turn on the way home and finally had a few moments of quiet to focus just on God… I wish! No! Just then, a mom and two toddlers decided to take a walk. You should have seen and heard that mom struggling with a stroller, bag, two kids, and other assorted assortments that moms always seem to have with them.

Well, I was back home. I guess I could have tried to walk around the block again, but I really needed to start work. I’ll try to hear from God another day.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-5-2013

    I hope it is still a lovely day for you Alan, though you have postponed the meeting with God. I also have a story to offer here.

    Twenty years ago, I had a job near home. Every day I walked to my office which is about 15 minutes away from home. After work, I also followed the same itinerary for home. On my way, was a TAFE (Technical and Further Education) college with a range of tall eucalyptus trees in its campus. I admired the beauty of those trees. One day, while I was looking at the scenery of the campus, God told me that the world is also beautiful as those trees. It is an expression of His Love in creating the world. On those trees there are dead and broken branches, holes, caterpillars and many types of living creatures on them. God said that the world is very ugly at close look, but it is still a beautiful expression of His Love. Then He told me about man. He said to me that every man/woman is an expression of His Love too. At close look, the person can be very ugly with all kinds of defects and sins, but God has made us from His Love. For that reason I have to love and embrace my brethren as He does. Since that day, my attitude towards people around me has changed.

    God can speak to us at any time He wants. He can show His Will through an unexpected event, or He can reveal a truth via a scenery, a person, an animal, a picture, an event, etc. There is no specific condition for God to communicate with us. He is spirit so His communication is powerful as long as our heart is constantly open to Him.

    I think He will book an appointment with you soon. So be ready!

  2. 4-5-2013


    This is not a “true” story. I did not try to take a walk to hear from God. Instead, with this story, I’m trying to communicate something to myself (and hopefully others) about hearing from God.


  3. 4-5-2013

    Same thing happens with me sometimes. Reading that post got me thinking about the time when Jesus tried to get away from the crowd to the desert presumably to pray, but he just couldn’t lose them (i.e. Matt. 14:13-14). Same thing happened with the disciples in Mark 6:31-33. In both of these cases, they went with the interruption and served the people.

    I don’t know how this fits in exactly with this post, but in my reading today, I just so happened to be in Isaiah 58, the fasting chapter. This time I noticed the results of fasting. People fast to be heard by God and to hear from God. Verse 4 says the people would fast superficially to be heard by God, but it didn’t work – all they got was silence. God didn’t want all the religious show. He didn’t want them to afflict their souls (vs. 5). He wanted them to do practical righteousness and justice: work against evil, help the needy, etc. If they did the good things, not the religious showy things, then God would not only hear them, they would hear from Him (vs. 9).

    I’m not at all implying anything bad about going for a walk to hear from God. I prefer getting away alone for that purpose also. But perhaps there are times when God speaks more through the unwanted interruptions or through serving others than through times alone with nobody around to bother us. Perhaps God was speaking to you through all of those interruptions you experienced.

  4. 4-5-2013

    You hit it head on. I did have to laugh at the clear implications for all of us if we will just stop to think about how that applies to us in our own reality. Kinda like thinking about praying about something 😉
    Thanks Alan.

  5. 4-5-2013

    Hi what I perceived from that entry was A walk and talk with God is not always the way we start out for it to be. Because everyone we run into may be the talk with God..Our family, we talk to them about God..we discuss what their day was like and how we can communicate to others about the good news of Jesus the a situation itself will allow God to show us Himself..right then..the way that the bible instructs us to look at how the animals and insects live and survive..all that is God talking to us..Sometimes we make such a big deal out of something that has such simplicity .. That old adage “take time to stop and smell the roses”..that itself is a walk with God…God Bless you all..Cynthia Jones

  6. 4-5-2013

    This story reminds me of the lady I knew that kept praying for God to bring her a Church to be apart of. Specifically a church family full of close relationships & all the characteristics of a Christ-focused family. She prayed faithfully every day and desired it so strongly. But when her neighbor asked her to go to coffee she said no because that neighbor really was not passionate about Jesus. And when family friends asked her to the park every Sunday, she declined because she really had to keep Sunday open because the Church is supposed to meet during that time. She so faithfully prayed… but she just really wasn’t willing to accept what God was giving her. Wasn’t willing to receive things *how* God wanted to give them…. and *when* He wanted to give them. And quite frankly, just wanted Church to fall into her lap without any work or seeking of her own.

    Really, it’s the same for our relationship with the Lord.

    So few are willing to seek in small steps. Or surrender the hold they have on their way of doing things – that they miss out on all the Lord is giving to them that they just can’t see.

    God has used the book that our Friday night ladies group is reading by Ann Voskamp – 1000 gifts – to show me that one way to really open that channel – open the eyes of our heart to see the Lord & be intentionally aware of His presence is through thanksgiving & praise in all times. God has really used that in my life these past months. Praise & thanks really does open us to receive!!!

  7. 4-5-2013

    Valuable story! In it you got what you set out to get! God spoke to you!

    Mind you, apart from the personal side of your hypothetical, it is very much like the neighborhood I live in, and many others I know.

    I have to smile sometimes at the preconceptions we have regarding what God is expected to “say” to us.

  8. 4-5-2013

    Real or fiction the story is telling us a message. God comes to us in the most ordinary way of our journey that we do not expect and fail to discern His presence(Joh 8:19; Joh 14:9).

  9. 4-6-2013

    Your piece brought this passage to mind:
    Matthew 25:35-45(NET) For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’ Then he will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’

  10. 4-6-2013

    I read a book as a young adult – GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER,The Man Who Overcame by Lawrence Elliott (a biography). It was very inspiring and still inspires me. In it I learned that Carver would go for long walks very early in the morning, and God would speak to him, tell him practical things that led Carver to many of his amazing accomplishments. For some many years I rose before the rest of the household and walked the neighborhood and had that sweet peaceful time with little interruption of thoughts by the usual needs of others in my life. It was helpful in facing the day of being needed and available to others with a little more composure and grace.

    I used to experience that time when it was easiest to shut out all else when I swam daily on my lunch break at the local college pool. With ear plugs and goggles on, swimming a mile alone…I sorted out many problems and opened my mind to new thoughts…hopefully from God.

    Suggestion: when entertaining the goal of being alone with God…ditch the cell phone!

  11. 4-8-2013

    Reminds me of the story about the man who asked God to save him from the flood. God sent numerous people to rescue him but he turned them all down because God was going to save him.

  12. 4-8-2013

    Funny how different our perceptions are. That story, Fred, was always perceived by me as a tale of how we don’t recognize all the ways God tries to answer our prayers for rescue…we keep looking for something more spectacular and miss the practical way God works in our lives.

  13. 4-8-2013

    I’m glad my little story has inspired this much discussion. Honestly, it began as an exercise of myself, thinking about how I expected God to speak to me… and thinking about “distractions” to that.


  14. 4-13-2013

    Hi Alan, I read your blogs everynow and then, and sometimes I get some very good insights about christian living in general. I would describe myself as an average christian. Born and raised in Kenya, Africa to a tradionalist family, later knew about christianity in school and converted to christianity in High school. later moved to the US for college studies. I struggle with the subject of communicating with God. How do I know when God is speaking to me. I hear so much about people talking to God, some goes as far as suggesting that God told them something and I wonder how do they know that it’s God talking to them. Would you kindly share some thoughts on how I can be sure I’m hearing from God and not my own thoughts. As I indicated, I read your blog everynow and then, so I’ll be able to see any posts you might share, however, you can also email me at:
    kind regards. – odero

  15. 4-14-2013

    Odero, if I may be so bold, I would suggest starting with Psalm 25 and John 17:7 to see the the preconditions for hearing from God: He is looking for humility and a willingness to obey His voice. Know that He loves and delights in you and desires to lead you in paths of righteousness to His glory. Aside from that, as Desmond Tutu said in reference to Dietrich Bonhoefer’s decision to participate in the plot to assassinate Hitler, we proceed by the skin of our teeth!

  16. 4-14-2013

    I find that Jesus speaks to me in sudden and unexpected ways through the course of my days. I liken it to Isaiah 30 where He says he wants to be the voice behind us saying, “This is the way, walk in it when you turn to the right or to the left.”

  17. 4-15-2013

    Woke up this am and realized I should have written John 7:17!

  18. 4-15-2013


    You’ve asked an excellent question! I usually recommend the following:

    1) Continue asking God to verify that you are hearing him correctly. He loves you, and he will let you know.

    2) Continue reading Scripture. This is a great way to learn to hear what God is saying to you as well as a great way to verify what God has said.

    3) Continue to speak with those brothers and sisters in Christ whom God has placed in your life. God can and will speak to you through them as well, and he can use them to discern what he is or is not telling you.

    Notice that I said “Continue” three times above. This assumes that you are doing those things. If not, then start… and continue.


  19. 4-15-2013

    Odero…in my experience, there is a blessed peace that comes with God’s voice to my heart. He doesn’t try to outshout the other voices. There is a knowing…whatever He is asking me to do or telling me…fits the situation. I know already, though I may not feel I have heard, and it resonates. When God asks me to do something, He gives me the grace, joy and peace that makes it quite easy to surrender and trust as it seems the right thing, the best thing and the desired thing…once I have surrendered to Him. Once I am truly convinced that His ways are higher than my ways, I am able to listen up for His instruction. But it does take time and exercise, trials and tribulations, joys and sorrows…to cultivate the sensitivity to hear Him. When you have experienced many times of learning that He really is trustworthy…it will be even easier to hear Him and you will be able to discern more readily. It is one of the most unique aspects of relationship with Him; tailor made for each one of us. There is no formula, it is all about relationship, the highs and lows. It is worth the struggle.

  20. 4-16-2013

    Thanks to all of you; Chris, Alan and Rita. Your sharing, comments and advice are of tremendous help. A while ago I read a book by Pastor Charles Stanley of intouch ministries, about listening to God, but I still have difficulties decerning if it is God or just me. Certainly your comments do point me to the right direction regarding this subject and also in my everyday christian living. Often times I find myself disillusioned when praying about a particular decision or seeking direction on some issue and praying to God to show me which way to follow or give me a sign and yet nothing happens. May be He does respond I just haven’t learned how to listen. So, thank you all again for taking your time to respond to my comment and share your thoughts and insights.

    Thanks Chris for the scripture references, those are helpful. Thanks Alan for the advice and counsel, I’m committed to studying the scriptures and speaking with believers, however, I’m not sure how I would verify God speaking to me. Perhaps if you have some time in the future you could help me understand that more. Thanks Rita for sharing your experiences, there have been times in my own life that I have experienced tremendous peace and calmness over something I prayed about even though nothing had changed yet. As it turned out the decisions I have peace about were often the right ones. Thanks for sharing.

    kind regards and blessings to you all.

  21. 4-20-2013

    God is Life and Love

    God’s word is Life and Love;
    It is always the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
    Life without love is vanity,
    There will have no hope nor eternity.
    Love cannot be true without life,
    This is the reason for the Son of God came to give men light.
    He is the way, the truth and the life
    No one can come to the Father except through Him.
    In Him life has its spring;
    Through His word man finds the way of life.
    Hope of life is given to those who persevere in His might.
    “Love one another as I have love you”
    That is His commandment for man to live through.
    Blessed are those who listen to His word and keep it in heart.
    Blessed are those who nurture love for life with all their strength and heart.

    Duc Minh Bui

  22. 4-22-2013

    Duc Minh Bui,

    It’s good to see you around here again. 🙂