What does worship have to do with hearing His voice? If we believe the scriptures, and the experience of multitudes of believers down through the centuries, worship has a great deal to do with hearing His voice. Music, in particular worship, does something inside of us that enables us to more easily discern His voice. Part of what helps us to hear is that true worship pushes back the darkness. The clearest example of darkness being pushed back is in 1 Samuel.
23 And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him. 1 Samuel 16:23 (NKJV)
A verse that has frequently been on my heart over the years that further supports this is below (see also Ps. 140 and 150 and reflect on the spiritual application).
7 You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah Psalm 32:7 (NKJV)
I have had the privilege of helping lead a small group for a number of years with a gifted worship leader who regularly pushes back the darkness with her worship leading. This type of worship creates an atmosphere that welcomes His presence and opens our spirits to hear His voice.
We like David need to understand that worship and warfare are intertwined. David understood this and because of that most of the Psalms flowed from the continual worship he established before the Ark of the Covenant when he set it up in Jerusalem for the last 33 years of his reign. Interestingly something else in scripture lasted for 33 years, Jesus time walking on earth.
Another example of hearing His voice is the prophetic release that Elisha knew would come through worship.
14 And Elisha said, “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, surely were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look at you, nor see you. 15 But now bring me a musician.” Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. 2 Kings 3:14-15 (NKJV)
When worship took place Elisha heard from the Lord. Lest we think this is only an Old Testament practice see the verses below.
26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1 Corinthians 14:26 (NKJV) 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, Ephesians 5:19 (NKJV) 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)
In the verses above numerous things are connected to worship. I believe the context of 1 Corinthians 14 is that of each person having ‘a psalm’ on their hearts because of the revelatory gifting this church body functioned in even in spite of their failings and errors. Of note, if we look at the New Testament and the abuse of spiritual gifts in Corinth how would we respond? Would we suggest limiting or banning the exercise of these charismatic gifts until other issues were addressed in the congregation? How did Paul respond in his role of apostolic oversight? He exhorted them.
1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 1 Corinthians 14:1 (NKJV)
Paul exhorted this body of believers to pursue an attitude of love while asking the Holy Spirit for a greater release of charismatic gifts. Why this approach? True prophetic words would bring correction and focus. Given that these gifts are enhanced through worship I think Paul envisioned a great deal of worship taking place in Corinth.
When we move forward from the New Testament we can see in church history that the release of new worship has always accompanied revival/renewal movements. It is still the same today.
In my own journey to hearing His voice two scriptures have been important to me.
10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10 (NKJV) 15 For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not, Isaiah 30:15 (NKJV)
I personally find that I need worship that stirs without overwhelming. When worship enables me to become internally quiet I hear His voice and receive direction. When I can physically dial down in an atmosphere that promotes an internal stillness and rest through intimate worship He comes near to my heart.
May we worship Him in spirit and truth and clearly hear His heart.