3 Ways to Hear Jesus Call You By Name

One of the first things I’m going to do when I reach Heaven — aside from worshiping Jesus, of course — is head straight for Mary Magdalene. I cannot wait to sit down with her and hear her account of being the first to see the resurrected Jesus.

The first night I took a deeper look into this ordinary woman with an extraordinary mission, I sat cross-legged in the cool grass of my university’s chapel lawn. The girls in my Bible study circled beside me, our noses buried in the passage of John 20. It was dark, and the soft light from the chapel door bathed us in a glow quite fitting for the words we read about Jesus’ resurrection.

We learned how a sobbing Mary accused Jesus, thinking Him the gardener, of taking the dead body of her Lord and hiding it.

I wanted to scream at her, “Mary! He’s right in front of you! He’s talking to you!”

That will be my second question for her: How on earth did you not recognize Him?!

But then something beautiful happened. Jesus didn’t walk away from Mary. Rather, “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means ‘Teacher’)” (John 20:14-16).

That is a scene worthy of grabbing some tissues and wiping away the tears that surely flow!

When I think about Mary — once demon-possessed, Jesus follower, faithful at the foot of the cross — I realize how alike we all are to her. We live ordinary lives, we love Jesus, and we serve Him. But sometimes we can become caught up in whatever is right in front of us. And we miss seeing Jesus.

Mary allowed her emotions to blind her view of reality. Even though she had remained faithful to Jesus, her fear of the unknown and her desire to fix things herself clouded her judgement. Have you ever experienced this clouding? This emotional response that hinders you from seeing and hearing Jesus?

We don’t need to allow those circumstances to prey on us. Let’s prepare ourselves to hear Jesus’ voice, so when He calls to us, we’ll be ready to answer.

1. Get Rid of Distraction

It can feel dejecting when we have prayed to God about something specific only to be answered with silence. Those times can leave us wondering if God heard us or if He even wants to answer.

Many times, though, we have allowed worldly distraction to hijack our prayers. Like Mary, we believe we know the right answer. She wanted to find Jesus’ body on her own before she even knew the whole truth. She pleaded with Jesus — before she knew who He was — to tell her where the body was so she could retrieve it herself.

Her desire to fix things on her own distracted her from hearing the truth. It distracted her from understanding the fact that Jesus stood before her very eyes.

If we want to hear Jesus’ voice calling us by name, we have to pray with our hearts desiring God’s will instead of praying to tell God our agendas. Let’s rid ourselves of the distractions of our own voices and instead ask for God’s desires to be our own.

2. Spend Time with Him

This might sound like a no-brainer, but too often we take our Bibles for granted. I am certainly guilty of reading through a few chapters just so I know I spent time in the pages of God’s Word that day.

But when we truly spend time with God, we’re doing more than reading words on a page. We’re consuming truth and familiarizing ourselves with the voice of God. As we read, we learn about God’s character and His promises. This helps us learn what God desires, and it will enable us to recognize His voice when He calls to us.

So yes, it does sound pretty simple. And that’s because, in some ways, it is. God has given us this incredible gift to get to know Him and learn the melodies of His voice. Let’s never again take that for granted.

3. Pray Through Scripture

We can do much more than simply read when we spend time with our Bibles. We can pray through Scripture as we read. The Psalms are a wonderful place to start with this. When we pray the words we read on the page, we’re praying God’s desires back to Him. We’re treasuring His own words in our hearts as we whisper them in offering.

Know it does not matter what you have done or experienced: Jesus calls you by name.

When Jesus calls us by name, He desires our ears and our hearts to recognize His voice and cry out in excitement just like Mary did. How much more will we do that when we hide His Word in our hearts through prayer!

We can learn so much more from Mary aside from listening for Jesus’ voice. We can learn how Jesus desires us to serve Him. How He frees us from our past of bondage and calls us to follow Him. And, of course, how He calls each of us by name.

Know it does not matter what you have done or experienced: Jesus calls you by name. You just have to be ready to listen and to answer.

Want to learn more about Mary’s story and grow in assurance that Jesus calls you by name and gives you purpose? Get your own copy of “He Calls Us by Name,” a 4-week Bible study designed to help you hear Jesus’ voice and know how He desires to use you each day! Check out the video below for a sneak peak!

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