Having a relationship with God is no different than having any other kind of relationship. When you are in a friendship, business partnership, marriage, etc, if that relationship is important to you and you wanna make it stronger and keep it alive you have to work at it and on it. You have to dedicate time to it. I believe that's what people meant when they used to ask, "Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?" Communication is key in any relationship also, and it's no different with God. Believe it or not, God speaks to people. The bible is scattered throughout with passages about God speaking to people. Growing up and knowing this, it was a hard concept for me to grasp. Just like being taught that you are supposed to fear God but also love him at the same time. It was confusing to me, but I suppose it's no different than loving and fearing a parent. For example, I loved my mother but I also feared the consequences that she could reign down on me if I did something to make her upset. Since God is our heavenly father it would be close to the same thing....right?
Well, I don't think my parents would cause me to be swallowed up by a whale, or strike me mute or blind as a punishment, so yes I did grasp the concept of fearing God very early because I did not want to upset someone who had that kind of power. I also did not want angels visiting me, and pillars and chariots of fire and shadowy apparitions. This was all in my adolescent mind and way of thinking.
Somewhere along the line, I must have conveniently forgotten about that seed of revering the Lord thy God because I was doing all kinds of things that I know greatly displeased God. I honestly cannot tell you what my train of thought was in those time frames, but I'm sure it varied between "I'm just having fun, God knows my heart," to maybe just not caring. The worst part of it all is I knew better, but it's much easier to just go along with the crowd and be worldly than it is to do what you know is right in God's eyes. At least it was for me during that time. I wanted to be accepted, not criticized. I wanted to be popular not persecuted.
I didn't know it then like I do now but I was telling God "No" without physically telling him "No." I didn't think I was hurting anything. It wasn't like God was telling me to go to Nineveh and I decided to do my own thing. (Jonah)
However, I can say that as I have made my relationship with God a priority, I can honestly say God has spoken to me and although it was not this booming, deep voice that came down from heaven that I had imagined it was as a kid, I knew it was God. Just like you learn people in a relationship, it's the same with God. He speaks in various ways: through other people, through the bible, your conscious, that little "something told me" voice, it's all him.
Even knowing all of this, and knowing his power and the consequences of disobedience, I have had times when God spoke to me and was directing me to do things and I just flat out didn't want to do it.
One time, I was up early getting ready for work, already in a mood because it was only Wednesday and I'm not a morning person anyway. A co-worker had asked me to make her a veggie pasta that I had made previously and shared with her. I made it the night before, enough for her to eat for lunch, take home, and enough for myself. Even after I had packed it up I still had plenty, and a voice in my head said "Pack some up and take it to ----" Now this other co-worker, I didn't particularly like, she could be a bit of a nightmare to deal with at times, and so I'm grumbling things like, "It's gonna make my bag heavier, I gotta find more Tupperware, all this extras stuff, she probably won't even eat it." This is going on while I am making my lunch, showering, doing my hair, it's a constant "pack up this food for ----," and me finding every excuse not to. Finally, I'm on my way out the door, I hear the voice one more time and I said "Fine!" I begrudgingly packed up the food, went to work and since she wasn't at her desk, I left it there and walked away.
Sometime later she returns to her desk and she goes "Somebody brought me lunch! Who did that?" Nobody really said anything and she says"Well good thing they did because I didn't bring anything and didn't have any money to buy anything." No, I was not jubilant at that moment, I felt like dirt. What if I had decided to just ignore the voice (God) and she didn't have food for lunch, I would have felt horrible! I continued to bring extra food to work in the event that someone didn't have lunch, and more times than not this co-worker didn't. She has recently gotten a promotion, moved to a different department and makes more money, and has become more of a terrorist than she was before her promotion. She looks down on us in the department she was working in struggling right along with the rest of us, but I did what God told me to do and that's what matters. I will let him deal with miss high and mighty.
This why I brought up Nineveh and Jonah because this moment in my life reminds me of it. I almost ignored God and I would have been swallowed up in guilt like Jonah was swallowed up in that whale, but he got a second chance, I don't know if I would have. But I was upset after this co-worker got promoted and was acting all brand new like Jonah was upset when God saved Nineveh. Jonah felt Nineveh was a waste of time and I felt I had wasted my time. Like why would you have me do this for her knowing she was going to act this way later? Because he is just as concerned and loving towards those who may not know him as he is for those who do. My job is to be obedient to his voice and direction and check my feelings at the door.
Not sure if God is prompting you or speaking to you? I can't answer that for you. For me, it took time and was a process. It wasn't that I didn't trust God, I didn't trust my own discernment. I do have a bit of advice that may help. I heard one Pastor put it like this, "Some people hear from God telling them to give something or do something to help someone and because of the sacrifice of it -time, money, resources- we say that's the devil. The devil is never going to prompt you to do something that is for the greater good or for the good of others." So if it's not the "devil" then who do you think it is?