Seasons

rainbowIt is the beginning of winter in Melbourne, Australia and you can feel the difference. Mornings seem to be icy cold and there is a reluctance to leave the warm bed covers for the cold room.

As I went out for my morning walk this morning, I was pondering the seasons and how we can be assured that a new season is just around the corner. I love every season. Summer with the days at the beach and being certain that the washing will dry every day. Autumn with the cooler days and nights and the beautiful colours in the changing leaves. Winter with the snuggling up inside, enjoying reading and playing board games as a family. Spring with evidence of new life and the fresh expectancy of what is to come.

There are also seasons in our life. Seasons of busyness, seasons of dryness, seasons of beauty, seasons of barrenness. The list goes on. They are individual seasons though and our seasons don’t generally marry up with others and their own individual seasons. Just as I look at our ornamental pear trees in the front yard and can bemoan they are not losing their leaves as quickly as the ornamental pear trees up the road which are ten years older and planted at a different time of the year, I also can’t look at others and judge or bemoan where I am at and covet where they are at.

We are all called to lead our own life, in community, but to walk our walk. We are not called to walk our life as another person. God has us in different seasons at different times.

I was pondering this morning that one of the hardest times seems to be when we feel that God seems to have abandoned us or we can’t hear His voice. As I pondered that further, I wondered, is that just because we can’t hear what we are wanting to hear or we just don’t hear about the issue we want to hear about. Usually in those times, we can still see evidence of God around us. He just seems to be communicating with us differently. I then remembered back to a season that was particularly painful for me. Looking back, I can clearly see evidence of God’s hand upon me. I just couldn’t hear Him during that time. I can remember though, when I made the conscious choice to deliberately look for something each day that showed me something about God’s character, He came through each and every day. They were the highlights as I discovered new attributes and new things about God during that time and how He was making Himself known to me during those times. It may have only been a beautifully coloured bird as it swooped down but the colours were startling. It may have been the beauty in a flower. It may have been a Bible verse that stood out. Once I turned my affection to thanking God for the tiny things in that desert season, things began to shift. I also began to realise that I was hearing God, it was just not on the issue I was so desperate to hear Him on, an issue that was extremely painful for me. God was quiet on that issue but loud on several others. Once I turned my heart to thanking Him and worshiping Him no matter what, it changed my whole perspective.

I have a number of friends who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression. It is a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in winter months when they are exposed to a lesser amount of sunlight. My friends have realised that holidaying in a warm sunny climate for a few weeks during the winter months makes a huge difference to how they handle the rest of the dreary winter time. They deliberately position themselves to get what they need to be able to handle the rest of the winter season. I wonder, is it about time those of us who are feeling like God isn’t hearing them, those who are in a season of ‘coldness from God’, perhaps need to deliberately reposition themselves and look at how they can reach out and change things completely for a short time in order to hear God clearly again. Some actions that may help may be finding new worship music, a different soaking style, a new method of reading the Bible or listening to an audio version of the Bible, deliberately placing yourself around children or new christians with an insatiable appetite for God that is infectious. Just a thought.

I actually find it interesting that no matter what season (summer, autumn, winter, spring) we are in at the time, we can usually find evidence of other seasons as well. There is not a purity in the season. For example, although it is winter, there are several trees budding at the moment and the gardenias and camellias are flowering beautifully, whilst some trees with leaves are still changing colours and are still to drop their leaves. The same is apparent in our life. Even though we may believe we are in a barren season, we can usually still find evidence of God working in and through our life. It may just be a bit harder to realise.

I encourage you, no matter what season you appear to be in at the moment, to specifically look for the little things God is using to show you He cares.

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy!

Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3)

1. Children / Families Activation: Select a person for each child/family member to draw a picture for. Look out a window and ask God to highlight something in the environment outside that speaks about this person. Draw this for the person.

2. Group Activation: Have people pair up. Spend a few minutes asking God to highlight the favourite part of this current weather season you are in for this person. Ask Him to then show you more about how that favourite part of the season relates to that persons life and character and journey. Share with your partner.

3. Beginner Activation: Ask God to show or tell you about a person you know and what season they are about to go into. Ask God to elaborate on the picture you see or words you hear and ask Him for a key for that person for that season. Share encouragingly with that person.

4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to show you what season you are in at the moment and what you still need to learn or realise before you enter into the next season. Ask God to reveal to you what He has for you in the next season or a key for that season. Journal God’s and your responses.

5. Advanced Activation: Spend 5-10 minutes with God asking Him to show you where you will be in 3 years time or some geographic area you will go to in that time. Ask God to ‘fill in’ the picture or elaborate on the words. Press in for a clarity about it. Journal what you see, hear, feel.

Which voice is louder?

Out on my morning walk, I was chatting with God as I rounded a corner. I glanced ahead and saw the “lollypop” man’s car up ahead. (This is the person who stops traffic for the school children to cross the main road. He holds a stop sign like a huge lollypop.) I glanced backwards and noticed him across the other side of the main road. I hadn’t seen him as I had walked up the footpath. I immediately felt a sensation within me to go across the road to speak to him. I chose to ignore this feeling and walked ahead, justifying my action by saying to myself, what would I say or do as nothing stood out to me. I glanced backwards again and noticed him observing me. I also noticed that he didn’t appear to be injured so he probably had no need of healing prayer. I walked forward again. One voice inside my head was saying “Keep going. You’re past him now. You can’t go back. You will look foolish. Besides, you don’t know what to say or do.” I immediately recognised this voice as not from God. It wasn’t encouraging. It was full of doubt and feeding insecurity. It didn’t appear to be benefiting anyone.

The feeling of needing to cross the road to speak to him persisted. By this time I had walked on another 30 or more steps. I turned. I could not let go of that feeling that urged me to cross the road to speak to him. I knew that feeling was God. It definitely wasn’t me. I wanted to finish my walk and I was enjoying chatting with God. That was my priority – chatting with God, not stopping to share God’s love with a relative stranger. I needed to get home where my two kids were both sick with colds but enjoying spending some extra time in bed reading and sleeping.

I crossed the road. I realised that even though I had been assisted by this man to cross the road at least 25 times, I didn’t know his name. I introduced myself and asked his name. I shared a number of encouraging words with him that I really felt were true – about his faithfulness, diligence, trustworthiness, etc. None of these words were startling. Anyone in his position could be similarly described. I didn’t mention God or pray for him but what happened next was gold. This man started pouring out his heart. He shared deep things with me about himself. This man actually smiled at the end of our conversation and I realised that I had rarely ever seen him smile. It was as though he felt valued and encouraged.

I re-crossed the road, with his help, and went on my way. I am glad that I didn’t miss that opportunity that God prompted me to share in.

How often do you stop and go with the God prompts or rationalise away the feeling by allowing the ‘voices’ and thoughts in your head to be louder?

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy!

Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3)

1. Children / Families Activation: Write the names of every member of the family on individual pieces of paper and put them all in a hat. Every family member then gets to pull out a piece of paper and ask God for a picture or word for that person based around a beach scene. Draw the scene and where that person is, what they are doing and why. Ask them to see where God, Holy Spirit or Jesus is in the picture. Try and draw out of the children more of what they see. Share with each other.

2. Group Activation: Have people pair up. Get people to imagine they are at a busy harbour/port with an open sea ahead of them and a river feeding into the harbour. Get people to ask God where their partner would be in the picture and why. Spend a few minutes asking God to show them more of the scene and what exactly their partner is doing. Then share it with their partner.

3. Beginner Activation: Ask God to show you what type of water vessel (eg boat) He sees you as and why, whereabouts, where going etc. Press in deep with God and ask God heaps of questions, listening for the answers. Journal the responses.

4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to show you who He would like you to give a prophetic word to. Ask God to show you them in a scene with water. Try and visualise/imagine with God more of the picture and what type of water, whereabouts, what they are doing, where is God/Jesus/Holy Spirit in the picture etc. Deliver this to the person in an encouraging and edifying manner whether spoken or written word or in a picture.

5. Advanced Activation: Spend time with God asking Him to show you what sort of water vessel your church or group you are part of is and why, what is ahead of them, etc. Flesh it out with God, asking Him questions to clarify and seek more of the picture. Write it out, making sure it is encouraging, edifying and comforting. Ask God which leader you should pass this on to and follow your group or church’s accountability guidelines.

Intimacy with God

Young Boy Hugging his fatherWhenever anyone asks me for advice on how they can develop in the prophetic, the first thing that comes to mind, apart from practice, practice, practice is to just spend time with God. Intimacy with God. The prophetic gifting, praying for healing for people, any evidence of supernatural gifts comes out of our relationship with God.

I must share here firstly how there is not a 100% formula for God ie here is an example where the use of a supernatural gift did not come out of a relationship and intimacy with God. Before my dad became a Christian, he was with my mum at my Aunty and Uncle’s baptism in a Pentecostal church. During the service, someone stood up and gave a word in tongues. Not realising what was going on, Mum leaned over to dad and said, “I wish they would talk in English.” A few minutes later, whilst the second person had stood up and was speaking, dad whispered to mum, “Why on earth is that man repeating exactly what that last lady said.” Dad had no concept of the gift of interpreting tongues!! He wasn’t yet a Christian and it blew my mind that he would be able to interpret tongues without being a Christian. God tends to blow my preconceived notions and ‘rules’. God is amazing and doesn’t stick to rules.

From experience, intimacy with Father God is what it is all about. I am more interested in connecting with Father God than using my prophetic gifting. Becoming intimate and closer with Father God, Holy Spirit and Jesus is my aim.

Just recently I realised that I had an issue with calling God ‘daddy God’. I cannot remember ever calling my earthly father ‘daddy’. I called him ‘dad’ and most likely called him ‘daddy’ when I was younger but it wasn’t something I could remember. I hear other people praying and addressing God as ‘Daddy God’ but it has never felt natural for me to use that term. Thus, I decided I would try and change that. One morning during a walk, I chatted with God about my relationship with my earthly father, forgave my dad for some stuff, confessed some of my stuff and renounced any lies that God would be the same. I then started addressing God as ‘Daddy God’ and really pushed into. I imagined myself being cuddled by Daddy God. I pushed into focussing my thoughts and attention and heart on daddy God. Before long I was crying and feeling new feelings and experiencing new positive thoughts towards Daddy God. I had broken into a new area of intimacy with God. Since that morning, I address Father God as Daddy God most days and wait for a reaction from both Him and me. I am enjoying the new emotions that come with this new revelation of Father God as my daddy.

I find it is out of my intimacy and relationship with God that fresh revelation comes. It is then not hard to ask God for His thoughts about another person and move into communicating to that person God’s heart for them – a prophetic word from God.

What area this week would you like to experience breakthrough in relation to your relationship with Father God, Holy Spirit or Jesus? What is something you could do now to move towards that?

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy!

Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3)

1. Children / Families Activation: Encourage each child to draw a picture of what animal God would like to be for their dad, or another family member, at the moment and why.

2. Group Activation: Have people pair up. Give everyone a few minutes to ask God who He would like to be at the moment for their partner. Encourage group members to flesh it out with God, asking for more of the picture or word. Then share it with their partner.

3. Beginner Activation: Spend time with God asking Him to give you a picture or image of who God wants to be for you at the moment. Press deeper with God and spend time just sitting with that picture, image or word, repeating it and really savoring what it means for you and your relationship with God.

4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to show you a person and spend time with God asking Him to reveal something new about Himself that He would like that person to be absolutely sure of. Share with that person.

5. Advanced Activation: Spend time with God asking Him what characteristics and assurance a prominent government official needs to gently be aware of about God and how He sees them. Write an encouraging letter to this person, sharing this in a sensitive manner.

What to do with a prophetic word

iStock_000001483815SmallThis past weekend our family was ministering to some families who were part of a small group wanting to help themselves and their children hear from God. During this last week, I had asked our children to draw a prophetic picture for each person who was going to be present. Our children had basically asked God what He wanted to say to that person and had then drawn a picture representing that, and then told me what it was and I wrote at the bottom of the picture what they had said. My 9 year old son had drawn a picture for one lady and had then told me “She is a missionary in jail.” At the time, I thought – wow – that is very specific. Half the time, the pictures tend to be specific, the rest are general about their relationship with God and having fun with God, being able to trust God, their identity etc. This lady later shared how when my son gave her this picture, she immediately thought it was wrong. She couldn’t see how it was right as she wasn’t in jail, had no desire to help prisoners or volunteer in jail and could only think of the Andrew Chan case in Indonesia at the moment and how she wasn’t like that. Sure, my son could be wrong but I encouraged her to not dismiss the picture but to pray about it and see what God says. Also, to feel free to put it aside and return to it in 12 months time and see if it resonates at all then. I also encouraged her to look at how being a ‘missionary in jail’ is about bringing freedom to those who are locked up or bound up or imprisoned by fear etc and how it may not be a ‘real’ jail.

Several things came out of this. Firstly, how we give prophetic words and secondly, what you do with a prophetic word. Today, I would like to address the “What do I do with a prophetic word?” question. Another way of looking at it is “How can I make the most of any prophetic words given to me?”

Biblical precedence: In 1 Timothy 1:18, it says, “Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them, you may fight the battle well”. Paul is remembering the prophesies given beforehand to Timothy. He considered them significant, he brought them to mind and he gave further instruction in line with them.

1. Record it at the time, if at all possible. If you can’t record it at the time, or the recording didn’t work, don’t despair. Your spirit will still take in what is relevant. As soon as you can, write down what you do remember, asking God to bring to mind the specific content that He wants you to know.

2. Accuracy: 

  • Does it resonate with you and what you already know and feel (like an inner witness in your spirit)?
  • Does it align with God’s Word?
  • Does it line up with the nature of God?
  • Will responding to it bear good fruit in my life?
  • We sometimes talk about ‘weighing it up’. Weigh it up. Test it. (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 “Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all, hold on to what is good.”)

3. Write it out fully so that you have a ‘hard’ copy and can ‘see’ it. (Habakkuk 2:2-3 “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time.”). Use it as a working document. Underline specific phrases and words that appear significant.

4. Acceptance – Do you want to embrace / accept this?

5. Timing – Is it a ‘now’ word, is it something for the future, or is it something I will put up on the shelf and review in 6-12 months time?

6. Pray – If you are ready to embrace it and step into it, I encourage you to pray about it daily for at least the next month or two.

  • Read it through each day.
  • Pray through it.
  • Underline key words and phrases.
  • After several weeks of praying it through daily, change the sentences into decrees and declarations. Eg “I see you as a mountain climber in the prophetic” I would change to “I decree and declare that I am a mountain climber in the prophetic”. Continue praying and declaring it daily. (Isaiah 55:11 “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

7. Clarify with God – Throughout the month, be asking God:

  • “Who do I need to become for this to come true?
  • What character traits do I need to grow and develop in?”
  • “What is the timing in relation to this?”
  • “What action do I need to be taking now?”
  • “How do I need to align how I see my identity with how God sees it according to this prophesy?”

8. Accountability – We are called to do our life in community with others. Ask a friend, a family member, a mentor, a leader for advice on your prophetic word. Does it resonate with what they know of you? When leadership are aware of prophesies over your life, they can hold you accountable, but more importantly, they can also help nurture the gift and call of God on your life, just as Paul did with Timothy. When we returned from Mozambique 3 ½ years ago where we had received one of our family’s first significant prophetic words, I met weekly with a friend and we agreed to pray daily through our prophetic words for two months. At the end of two months, we both knew our prophetic words off by heart. During this time, my friend asked for a copy of our family’s prophetic word. There was a sentence in it that I had paraphrased inaccurately. It was not quite correct. My friend challenged me on this. I needed this correction as it influenced the outcome and what I was declaring.

9. Allow the prophesy to enlarge your vision and stretch your perspective of who you are and who you were created to be. Sometimes it may not be evident immediately. Wait on God. Explore your true identity with God. Remain intimate with God. Allow Him to show you the bigger picture. Our prophetic words are really to help us get a bigger picture of how heaven sees us and are really contingent on our deepening relationship with Father God, Holy Spirit and Jesus.

10. Keep all your prophetic words together and look for the common theme running through them. Regularly read them through and review what is happening in your life in relation to the prophetic words. Ask God for an update on them. Review how you are going in relation to your character and who you are becoming. Enjoy reflecting on them.

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them.

Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3)

1. Children / Families Activation: Have blank pieces of paper and coloured pencils/textas handy. Get everyone to ask God for something for the person sitting on their right. Draw what God showed/told/gave them for that person. Write a sentence or two at the bottom that explains the picture. Then give it to the person.

2. Group Activation: Gather a selection of items eg balloon, feather, candle, piece of string, stickers, toy car, chocolate bar, pen etc. Place them in the middle of the group where everyone can see them. Take it in turn going around the group having each member select an item and giving it to another person, at the same time prophesying over that person about the relevance of that item to that person and his/her situation.

3. Beginner Activation: Imagine God giving another person a gift. Who is the person? What is the gift? Prophesy about this person receiving the gift from God and the outworking of this gift in that person’s life.

4. Intermediate Activation: Sometime this week when you are at the supermarket, walk down the confectionary aisle. Ask God to highlight a particular item eg chocolate bar, bag of lollies, chewing gum, box of chocolates etc. Ask God to show you who you are to buy it for and why? Before you give it to this person, keep asking God for more details about the item and the application to this person’s life. As you give the item to the person, share with them what God has shown/told you.

5. Advanced Activation: Ask God to identify a particular neighbour to you. Ask God to then show you how He sees them and feels for them. Write a note to this neighbour, outlining what God has revealed to you in an encouraging manner without using any ‘Christian/churchy’ language. Drop the note into their letterbox.

Sleep, dreams and deepening your relationship with God

iStock_000003625833Large (1)iStock_000003625833Large (1)If I was to share with you a way to have an extra 6-8 hours per day on deepening your relationship with God and with very little effort, you would be interested. Right. Well there is a way.

We sleep ~ 6-8 hours per night. It is mainly ‘wasted’ time for productivity except for refreshing the body and it being essential for normal body functioning. Imagine finding ways where we can use that time to communicate with God and deepen our relationship with Him.

I truly believe that we haven’t yet fully understood all the ways that God wants to communicate with us and our spirit connecting with His Spirit. Dreams are one of the ways that God uses to communicate with us, but I am sure that there are more.

When you are dreaming, you are quiet. You are not distracted. You are not trying to figure out in your head whether this is really God, although that may well occur when you awake from a dream.

The Bible has a bit to say about sleep:

  • Genesis 15:12-16 Abraham fell into a deep sleep…God gave a promise to him.
  • Job 33:15-16 “When deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds, He opens the ears of men and then seals their instruction…”
  • Psalm 4:8 David says, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety”. Thus prepare with positive habits in your preparation and a clear conscience. Relax into God’s arms.
  • Psalm 17:3 “He visited me in the night.”
  • Psalm 91:9 “Angels have been given charge over me whilst I sleep”.
  • Psalm 127:2 “For He grants sleep to those He loves.”
  • Proverbs 3:24 “When you lie down, your sleep will be pleasant/sweet.”
  • Jeremiah 31:26 “At this I awoke and looked around. My sleep had been pleasant to me.”
  • God speaks in dreams and visions – see Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17, Daniel 7:1. Dreams occur whilst asleep. Visions are vivid images whilst praying and awake.

Practices to implement for hearing God overnight:

  • Be expectant. Expect God to speak to you.
  • Pray as you lie down to go to sleep.
  • Confess any known sin.
  • Worship Him and focus your thoughts on Him.
  • Ask God to show Himself to you throughout the night.
  • Ask God to communicate with you through new ways, how He wants to, whilst you are asleep.
  • Ask God to give you new strategies for problems you are facing in the daytime, strategies to save you time the next day.
  • Ask God to romance your soul and spirit overnight with His love, His goodness and His mercy.
  • As soon as you awaken, record any dreams, thoughts, new ideas.
  • Focus on God, not on the dreams.
  • Take note of the words you say about your sleep. Isaiah 55:11 says that your words will not return empty. Therefore, if you are saying, “I don’t sleep well”, “I have trouble sleeping”, “I don’t dream”, then that will come true. Change your words to a positive declaration about how great a sleep you have and how God speaks to you at night.

Dreams:

Dreams & visions may reveal direction & guidance, future ministry & destiny, protection & promises, information, unresolved issues in our heart, or carry a warning of sin or trouble to be aware of. God can make us aware by bringing such matters to our mind when our defences are down, especially in relation to hurts and suppressed issues, so that the healing process can begin and/or continue. Whilst asleep, our conscious mind can’t get in the way. We can build walls around areas of emotional pain to shield us from more perceived hurt but God can use dreams to bypass those walls. Promises revealed in dreams give us the determination to push through difficult circumstances so that we will continue until we see the promises fulfilled.

Repeated dreams may be God really wanting to get your attention or it may indicate an unhealthy soul tie that you have towards another person/place/object.

Interpreting dreams:

There is no one formula for interpreting dreams. There are some keys that do help though.

  • Focus on a healthy relationship with the Holy Spirit who is the author and interpreter of dreams.
  • Seek Godly counsel from experienced interpreters of dreams.
  • Pay attention to how you feel when you first wake up, and the time.
  • Record your dream but don’t write too much detail. Just the main points and any significant people in your dream.
  • Go on a journey of discovering what the symbols in your dream mean. A great book to consult is “The Divinity Code” by Adam F. Thompson and Adrian Beale. John Paul Jackson’s website (www.streamsministry.com) has a fantastic dream course you can do to understand dreams and dream language.

Remember our focus is on God and what He wants to communicate to us, not our dreams. Enjoy the journey of discovering the more of God each night as you spend 6-8 hours resting comfortably and safely in the arms of your Father God, the lover of your soul.

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them.

Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3)

1. Children / Families Activation: Everyone chooses a person to partner with. Ask God to show you a colour that represents something about that person. Then ask God what He thinks about that colour and why He showed you that colour for that person. (God loves being asked questions so encourage your children to ask questions of God.)

2. Group Activation: Find a creative way of getting into pairs. Once in pairs, each person asks God for a book title for their partner. It may be an actual book title or a made up title that God wants to give to that person to highlight something about them. Capture the first thought that goes through your mind and go with that, as long as it is encouraging, strengthening, comforting. Keep asking God questions about the book – fact or fiction, children or adult, what the title means, what you would find in the book etc.

3. Beginner Activation: Ask God to reveal to you an aspect of nature and what He would like you to know about Him through that nature scene.

4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to show you a vivid nature scene with some aspect of it moving. Focus on the object that is moving and ask God to show you what it is He wants you to know about it and how it applies to you. Ask God to highlight to you the colours, sounds, smells, taste, feel and what it means at this time. You could also do this activation asking God who the picture is for and then sharing it with that person.

5. Advanced Activation: Ask God to identify a particular person to you who is struggling with an issue. Ask God to then reveal to you the key that will unlock the answer to the issue that person is struggling with. Share the key with this person at the appropriate time.

Hearing God

iStock_000000519933XSmallTwenty years ago, hubby and I were in Israel on a work party painting a hospital in Nazareth. Whilst there, we also toured around and since it was part of a subject for our theological degrees, we had lots of biblical input from various people. Unfortunately I don’t remember it all but the thing I most remember is walking down the hill from the place where Jesus may have given his sermon on the mount to the Sea of Galilee. As our group chatted away, we passed an old arab shepherd and his small flock of about ten sheep. Due to our noise, we fightened the sheep and they ran off in all directions. The shepherd quietly uttered a couple of arabic words and the entire flock of sheep immediately stopped and ran back to him. I was flabberghasted. I had been brought up on a dairy farm in Tasmania and we had some sheep from time to time (mainly for the freezer). Sheep in Tasmania never obeyed your voice. These sheep did. As I pondered this, I realised the main difference was the shepherd was sitting with these sheep all day. They knew they were safe with him. They knew his voice. It made the passage in John 10 come alive for me that day “My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

Basically, to hear God’s voice, it requires us to be intimate with Him. To spend time with Him. To recognise His methods of communicating with us, His love languages, His voice, His nuances, His tone. I don’t know about you, but I want to hear clearly from God, to be able to instantly recognise Him.

There are basically 3 different voices we can listen to:

  • God’s voice which is encouraging, safe, peaceful, comforting, bringing life and sounding like the fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23) – love, joy, peace, patient, kind, gentle,etc.
  • Our own self – reasons with human logic & what is already known, justifies, can be self seeking, tries to be logical and doesn’t usually contain any new information, speaks what is best for us & our expectations, can go around in circles,
  • Satan which is full of accusations, half truths, discouraging, condemning, killing hope, and sounding like His fruit (Galations 5:20-21) – angry, intimidating, jealous, bringing shame and fear,

There are some different ways we can hear God:

  • Auditory – loud voice, still small voice, songs, sounds
  • Visual – pictures, colours, symbols, vision, dreams, angels
  • Emotions/physical sensations
  • Other senses eg smell, taste,
  • Through reading the Bible
  • Impressions / ‘gut’ feeling
  • Other – nature, music, numbers, and more

How to hear God clearer: positioning ourself to hear more from God

  • Be intentional – desire to be more intimate with Father God, Holy Spirit, Jesus
  • Confess known sin
  • Worship Him
  • Quieten yourself down and get rid of distractions
  • Soak – play some quiet worship music that allows you to sit / lie in God’s presence and meditate on Him.
  • Be open-minded – God doesn’t always work the same way. He loves trying new things and methods. God is creative. He wants to romance you with the unexpected.

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them.

Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3)

1. Children / families: Everyone choose a person to give a prophetic picture to eg in a family, the person sitting on their left. If a big group of children, pairs might be easier and quicker. Ask God to show everyone how God wants to dress/clothe their partner. Ask God why those particular clothes/outfit. Then share with each other. If you are doing this as a family, you may all enjoy asking God for a picture of how He sees them dressed for everyone in the family.

2. Group activation: Everyone grab a paper and pen and sit in a circle. Everyone will write a prophetic word without knowing who they will give it to. Ask God how He sees that person, what His heart is for that person, how He feels for that person. Write it down. After 5 minutes, have everyone pass their paper to the 3rd person on their left. Everyone then reads what is on the paper in their hand.

3. Beginner Activation: Grab a journal and a pen and spend some time just with God. Ask God “What do you think/feel when you look at me?” Write down everything that comes to you, every thought, feeling, picture, impression. Everything no matter how seemingly small or insignificant. Later, spend some time reading over the list and taking in everything positive and encouraging that you wrote down.

4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to show you who to give a prophetic word to. Then spend some time asking God to show you a Bible character for that person. Continue asking God questions to ‘flesh’ it out more eg why that character, what specifically about that character, what character qualities is that person known for, what impact did that character have on their world and what impact are you seeing this person have on their world, etc. Then give that prophetic word to that person.

5. Advanced Activation: Ask God to show you a specific person you could sing a prophetic song over. If you are unsure, practice at home whilst you have a specific person in mind. Ask God to give you a new melody / tune and words that speak to that person’s spirit and ask if you can release it over them.

Practice, practice, practice

iStock_000032521038Large women chattingRecently our daughter, who is 11 years old, was invited to have afternoon tea with the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott. One of our first reactions as a family, after agreeing that we would do everything possible for her to attend, was to agree to draw (for the children) and write (for hubby and I) a prophetic word each for him. It was just natural to think that way, almost ‘second nature’.

Several weeks later, I was amazed at the number of Christians who had commented to me that they would never have thought to write or draw a prophetic word / picture for him. (Our children find it easier to express what they are hearing / seeing from God for a person by drawing a picture for them and writing a sentence or two of explanation.) This shocked me. Why wouldn’t you take the opportunity in person to do that. We didn’t include any Christian language. We were encouraging and strengthening in what we wrote and drew. We purely asked God, “how do you see him and what would you like to say to him?” and then we listened for God’s reply.

Reflecting on this later, I realised that several years ago, we would never have thought to do it either. The journey we have been on over the last three years has prepared us for this. We have specifically tried to take every opportunity that we can to write, draw, speak prophetic words over people. We have incorporated it into our daily lives so that it is part of us. We have grown considerably in our gifting because we have practiced. I encourage you to practice and take every opportunity you can.

We have stuck to the basics of it being encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting. We have tried not to use Christian language but begin by saying, “I sense that…” and not using “God says…”. We he never spoken or drawn negative things. If we ever did get anything negative, we would change it to the opposite and speak the positive, thereby giving life to what we said and to the other person.

We have looked for ways to practice. My first year at this, I used to write 3-5 birthday cards per week. At that time, I was involved in a group to help people who were struggling with life issues and I would write encouragement cards and birthday cards for these folk, as well as cards for friends and family. On the left hand side of the card, I would ask God what to write, listen to what I felt Him saying and then write it down. At the time, I was busy with young kids and would set aside the 30 minutes during the kids swimming lesson to do this, putting myself under pressure to finish them in this time.

Every time I went to the shops or had a coffee at a coffee shop, I would make a concerted effort to give the cashier or waitress a prophetic encouraging word. It was during this time that I noticed my gifting developing so much. I believe that it was due to my practicing and developing it.

Even last week, my daughter and I were getting our nails painted for free at the local shopping centre. The young lady doing my nails was an immigrant to Australia with her family when she was four years old. She shared some family stuff with me and then I had the opportunity to speak into her life about her dreams for the future and the effect that I sensed she would have on other people through her art (she had just completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts). Tears came to this young lady’s eyes and she came alive as I spoke encouraging words to her that resonated with her spirit and gave her hope. She was transformed. She thanked me profusely for what I said. What a privilege it was to witness this. As I later reflected back on it, I realised that it hadn’t cost me anything. I was sitting there for 15 minutes. What an amazing way to fill in the time and change someone’s life at the same time.

I encourage you this week to look for ways to practice. Look for the hidden ‘gold’ inside a certain person and try to bring it to the surface by asking God to show you how He views them and what they need encouragement in. Then speak it kindly and gently to them in an encouraging and uplifting way. Remember to only speak words that are encouraging, uplifting and comforting, not negative at all. Use plain, everyday English. A great way to start the sentence is to say, “I sense…” or “I have a feeling that….” or “You are a … person who…..”

  • Whilst in line at the supermarket, ask God to give you a few words to say to the cashier that will encourage and speak into their situation.
  • Ask God for people’s names and then write an encouragement card/email to them.
  • Leave a card with a prophetic word on it for the postman.
  • Drop an encouraging prophetic letter into your neighbour’s letterbox.
  • Every phone conversation you have this week, determine to pause and ask God what He wants you to release to the caller.
  • Find creative ways of writing and drawing prophetic words for your family / housemates. Leave them where they can discover them and be encouraged.

Go for it. Make it a part of your lifestyle. Enjoy!!

Prophetic Activations / exercises to incorporate into your week:

1. Children / families: Around the dinner table, or in small groups of 4-5 people, ask God to show or tell you what kind of animal could represent each person and why? Look for special characteristics of that animal that match the people. Give everyone a couple of minutes to hear or see from God and then share with each other.

2. Group activation: Play the game, duck, duck, goose. People sit in a circle with their eyes closed. Walk around the outside of the group and tap one person on the shoulder. That person is receiving the prophetic word. People are to ask God what to say and then give a prophetic word to the person, not knowing who the actual person is. Reveal the person who was receiving the words at the end and have them feed back to the group how accurate the words were, how they made the person feel etc.

3. Beginner activation: Ask God to highlight a person to you. Ask God  to show or tell you what sort of vehicle that person would be if they were a vehicle and why. Tell the person, encouraging the person with the why part.

4. Intermediate activation: Determine that whoever you hand money over to this week, you will give them an encouraging word at the same time. In a queue, ask God for a specific more indepth prophetic picture or word to share with the person.

5. Advanced activation: Write a prophetic card to the Duchess of Cambridge for her unborn baby who is due to be born this month. Then send the card/letter to : Duchess of Cambridge, Clarence House, London, England SW1A 1BA.