Something we pay far to little attention to in my view is that of intentionally listening for the voice of God in our lives. My guess is that anyone who has followed Christ for any period of time can think of instances where God clearly spoke to them about a life issue.
God speaks through his word, through circumstances, and through others. But God often speaks to us personally as well - if we will listen, and understand ourselves well enough to know how he usually communicates with us.
When I was in the hospital a year and a half ago, hovering between life and death for long weeks, God clearly told my wife, "It will be close but T.J. will live." That promise was one she clung onto for the 35 days I was in the Intensive Care Unit moving from one crisis to another. This past January when I was in a similar situation in Thailand, God again spoke to her.
For most of us, those kinds of instances are rare. The question is, how does God speak to us and how can we sensitize our lives to his voice?
God normally speaks to me when I am quiet and thinking, or writing. Not with words like he did with Mary Ann but clear impressions or ideas that he drops in my mind. For Mary Ann it is normally when she is quiet with God doing her Scripture study. For a friend of mine who works with AIDS kids and women in Thailand God often speaks to her through the interactions she has with those she cares for.
I have another friend who sees pictures when he prays for people in "prophetic prayer" and God uses those pictures to encourage those he is praying for. For others it is a God given impression or prompting to do something that does not go away.
God speaks to each of us in unique ways just as he created us as unique individuals. The challenge is to recognize how he usually communicates with us and then ensure that we are tuned in to his voice. Since God normally speaks to me in times of thinking and solitude, I know that when I am over busy and tired that I may not hear him. My challenge is to orient my life so that I can hear if he wants to communicate.
I do believe that we underestimate the desire that God has to communicate to us regarding issues in our lives. Because of our busyness and the general media clutter that incessantly assaults our minds it takes intentionality to hear him. I for one want to hear his voice when he chooses to speak.