“My sheep respond as they hear My voice; I know them intimately, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27 The VOICE)
As I grow in my faith, I have been blessed as I choose to be intentional about making time to hear God’s voice. There is a lovely spiritual discipline of two-way journaling. It’s something I would like to practice more regularly, so, as a reminder to myself, and an encouragement to you, I will share how I like to do this practice.
I make the most of a still moment by sitting down with a journal and after quieting my heart, I ask God to come and be with me and to speak to me. I know from his Word in John 10:27, that I can hear His voice because I belong to Him. I remind myself of this promise to build up my faith. Then I come into prayer with thanksgiving (“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise…” Psalm 100:4 NIV). I thank God for His love and favour in my life and His goodness and faithfulness. This helps me to focus my attention on Him. I might share something on my heart with the Lord and then ask him a question, or I might just begin to listen with my heart and pay attention to the spontaneous thoughts that come to mind. Then I write down what I hear and trust that if it doesn’t contradict the scriptures, it is very likely the voice of the Holy Spirit that I am hearing (If I’m not sure, I can take it to a mature believer and ask them to test it for confirmation. This is how I was taught by Mark Virkler of Communion With God Ministries).
I might ask God for a picture, or an image or scene might just come to mind. I could ask God what He means to communicate through that picture – is it a symbol? What atmosphere or feeling does it convey?
I have, for example, seen in my mind the imagery of my legs and the legs of my Lord, bare and dangling from a dock, dipping into the cool and refreshing water. This helps me sense Jesus’ closeness and reminds me that He is my dear friend, sitting with me and enjoying my company. I write this down. It solidifies the picture in my mind so I can call it into remembrance again—perhaps in a lonely time when I need the reminder of His presence with me.
No matter the method, hearing God’s voice is a great delight. A while back I had been inviting the Lord to speak to me more and I was two-way journaling in the evening before bedtime. In a cheeky way, I asked Him a question but closed my journal with a giggle before He could answer. I wanted to hear him another way. The next morning, I woke promptly after a vivid dream. In the dream I saw a monkey with what appeared to be a gold wired shape hung from his ear. I pondered the picture as I became more awake. My mind transitioned from its sleepy state to being more rational and I recognized the shape of the earring as the constellation of Leo. A quick google image search confirmed that I had seen the mirror image of the Leo shape. I picked up my journal again. “Lord, I just had a dream. In it, I saw a monkey with an earring that looked like the constellation of Leo,” I wrote. “Yes, and so too will you have a Lion in your ear,” was the spontaneous thought that came back. I laughed aloud. I didn’t realize God had such a great sense of humor.
Being intentional about hearing from God is important. Just as we make time to reconnect with our close friends, family and spouse, we need to make time to fellowship with God. When I recently made the intentional decision to use my time to listen and hear Him and journal my dreams, pictures and two-way conversations, I was somewhat surprised that He had so much to say. Rather than filling journals with my words to Him, I began to fill journals with His words to me. These words have been precious and have guided me very specifically in the last couple years. Though I am still growing in this ability to hear and recognize His voice, I believe the more time we spend intentionally listening, the easier it will be to become familiar with His voice and recognize when He is speaking or has something to say.
I invite you to join me in exploring this practice more. I can say with certainty that you will be blessed. He loves to speak to us.
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV)
“’You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you’, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14a NIV)
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.