Book Review: How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People by Pete Greig

This is a review of How to Hear God, a simple guide for normal people, by Pete Greig. Published by Zondervan in 2022, this book carries praise from John Mark Comer, Matt Redman, Nicky Gumbel, Jon Tyson, Heidi Baker and other notable names. Through this book, Greig explores how to hear God and Pete carefully “explores the story of Christ’s playful, poignant conversation on the road to Emmaus and champions the ancient practice of lectio divina.”[1]

How to Hear God by Pete Greig
John Mark Comer points out in the forward of this book, that Pete and the book have been able to bridge, or gone beyond the boundaries of the “Christian tribalism of our day – charismatic/noncharismatic/Reformed/Weslyan/Angelican/Anabaptist/conservative/progressive/etc, etc.”[2] I’d agree with that comment from Comer, and I agree with Comer that Pete – through this book - is deeply rooting us in “something far more ancient.”[3] This book certainly covers the need for deepened spiritual formation, how to hear God, and it empowers the reader with practices and disciplines that will create a “real, conversational relationship with God.” [4]

As Pete points out, for followers of Jesus, “hearing [God’s] voice is therefore the most natural thing in the world…but whenever God’s word is confused, abused, or ignored, it can become one of the most perplexing and painful things too.”[5] For many, hearing God’s voice has become confused, abused, and at times even ignored. For this reason, far too often, we assume it is impossible for us to accomplish. This book reminds us that it is essential that we develop and commit to intentional practices and disciplines that help us to rediscover our connection to God the Father, the Creator and sustaining life-force of all of Creation. These practices and disciplines – as well as this book – are good reminders that God’s voice is often missed because it comes different than we want to expect; rather “when it comes, as it mostly does, [it is] in a voice hushed to a “gentle whisper.”[6]  Far too many followers of Jesus have never been discipled on or encouraged around how to discern the distinctive voice of God, and this book helps them commit intentionally to spiritual practices and disciplines to discern and respond to the voice of God. Sadly, as Pete points out, even those of us who these practices are not new for, can at times, too easily become “distracted psychologically, emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually” to hear “the voice of God.”[7] For us, the realignment of our spiritual lives is essential, through committing intentionally to spiritual disciplines and practices. This book is certainly an encouragement towards realignment.

As a book, this is a simple read, but this is not a negative on the book, but rather it corresponds well to readers who may be new to the faith, new to spiritual disciplines – or are emerging form foundational programs such as Alpha. In many ways, this book is an authoritative collective of the wisdom and works of some of the greats of the faith but it includes the insight, commentary and stories from Pete’s experiences and life. Fellow Author, Shane Claiborne, comments similarly, saying that “this book draws from the well of wisdom that has nourished the faithful for centuries.”[8] Though this is not some new deep academic and intellectual read on the desert fathers or the spiritual disciplines, it certainly could be seen as one of the best introductory looks at spiritual disciplines – and it’s well done. For this reason, I see it as a Spirit-focused and spirit-renewed version of Richard Foster’s classic, Celebration of Discipline. I suspect Pete Greig’s work in How to Hear God will now be the book I refer others to first in conversations around spiritual disciplines.

The book is broken up into two testaments, God’s Word and God’s Whisper. As Pete looks at God’s Word, he covers God’s Word in the Bible, in prayer and in prophecy. He includes stories from Augustine of Hippo, Ignatius of Loyola, and Heidi Baker.[9] The second part, God’s Whisper, looking at God’s whispers, including in dreams and visions, community, creation and culture – and more.[10] In this second half of the book, Greig explores stories of Nicolas Herman, Julian of Norwich, George Washington Carver and more.[11] Though I stated it is not an academic or intellectual read, this is essential for an introductory guide, but I will say it is not without its theological and academic research and findings. There are resources to explore at the end of every chapter, discussion/reflection points, and over fourteen pages of citations in the back. Simply put, Pete has done his homework – a characteristic missing from many authors today.

Author Peter Greig is perhaps best known his work in forming the 24-7 Prayer Movement. As a movement, they have developed many resources for prayer and started a wave of people who are increasingly committed to intercessory prayer. Additionally, Pete Grieg serves as the Senior Pastor of Emmaus Road Church in Guildford England. As an author, Greig has written several bestselling books – including God on Mute - and he cowrites for the Lectio 365 Daily Devotional.[12] This book, How to Hear God, is meant to follow How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People, but I will say that it also stands well unconnected and on its own.

I have recommended this book to several individuals and have already given quite a few copies away to those I meet with. Just this week, I ordered eight more copies to hand out. This is a book I will continue to recommend as I work with coaching individuals around spiritual disciplines and as I help them to discover practices to hear and know God’s voice. Each year, I host a few small groups in our homeless shelter, utilizing the Prayer Course and Unanswered Prayer Course video series put together by Pete Greig and 24-7 Prayer Movement. I have found this book to be resourceful – especially as a follow up for many individuals who are new to the faith and want to develop a more intimate walk with God – after completing the Prayer Course. In fact, the reason that I first read this book was because I committed to reading it alongside two other individuals that I am walking in a coaching relationship with. 

In closing, let me say that the question that I continue to find myself wrestling with, and repeating to others, after reading this book is “What if the thing you want God to say is not the thing you need God to say? Will you still hear and obey?”[13] Thanks for that challenge Pete.

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Quotes & Highlights


[1] Greig, Peter. How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), Back Cover.

[2] Greig, Peter. How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), xiv.

[3] Greig, Peter. How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), xiv.

[4] Greig, Peter. How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), XV.

[5] Greig, Peter. How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), XV.

[6] Greig, Peter. How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), XVII.

[7] Greig, Peter. How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), 156.

[8] Greig, Peter. How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), i.

[9] Greig, Peter. How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), Table of Contents.

[10] Greig, Peter. How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), Table of Contents.

[11] Greig, Peter. How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), Table of Contents.

[12] Greig, Peter. How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), Back Cover.

[13] Greig, Peter. How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), 199-200.


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