Helping my Children to hear from God part 2

In December last year, I blogged on part 1 of helping your child to hear from God. In fact, it is not just relevant to children but to adults as well. In the first blog, I looked at hearing God for yourself and learning to recognise what God’s voice is like.

Today – I would like to look at hearing God for someone else.

I find it helpful when we are learning things to practice them first. A great place to practice hearing God’s voice for others is in your own family. An ideal time is when you are having devotions or just after your evening meal when everyone is still seated at the table.

It tends to be easier to hear God’s voice to begin with if you have a starting place. With kids especially, a visual starting point is ideal. I like to use cards with animals on them or a number of matchbox cars etc. Objects that will capture their imagination. It doesn’t really matter what the objects are, just a variety. It could be a fruit platter.

Begin by recapping on what God’s voice sounds like. Ask your kids what God’s voice would sound like (peaceful, quiet, only good etc) and what it wouldn’t sound like (eg angry, fearful, pushy, demanding, etc). Also share how God sometimes shows or tells or we sense something from God ie we may hear, see or feel what God is saying or showing us.

Then ask them to each look at the objects in the centre of the table (eg fruit platter, matchbox cars, animal cards) and ask God which object best represents the person sitting on their left. Remind them to go with the first object that ‘pops’ into their mind or captures their attention the most. When they have that object, then ask God why that object best represents the person on their left.

When they have all received an answer, take it in turns to go around the table and share what object they felt God show, tell or impress on them about the person on their left and why.

Practice this using different objects several different times to get into the flow of hearing or seeing or sensing from God.

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

Every week I list 5 prophetic activations/exercises under children/family, group, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and see and sense God 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) and that it comes from a place of love.

1. Children / Families Activation: Make a fruit platter and all gather around. Ask everyone to stop for a moment and ask God which fruit best represents the person on their right. Then ask God why He says that that fruit best represents them. Then take turns sharing.

2. Group Activation: Prepare cut out fruit shapes with positive words on them eg fruit of the spirit, grace, joy, peace, thankfulness, contentment, confidence, self acceptance etc. Ask people to identify which one they need to grow in most. Spend some time alone with God chatting about this. Then pair up and select a ‘fruit’ for your partner. Prophecy over your partner about the growth of that ‘fruit’ in their life this year.

3. Beginner Activation: Find a blank card that you can write and/or draw in. Think about a significant event that is occurring to you this year eg birthday, wedding, graduation, new job, birth of a baby etc. Ask God to show you His heart for you for that special time. Write and /or draw what you sense God saying or showing you on the card.

4. Intermediate Activation: Spend some time with God going through your diary from the last month and for the coming month. Review how you have spent your time and how you are planning to spend your time this coming month. Wait on God and ask God for His input. If you have commenced something new this year, ask God what He would like you to cease to allow space, time, energy and thought space for this new activity. Ask God to show you what you are currently ‘doing’ that is of eternal significance. Spend time just being with God and hearing His perspective on your calendar and they way that you spend your time.

5. Advanced Activation: Spend time with God asking Him about His heart in regards to your country’s abortion policy. Ask God what part you are to play, pray and prophecy – where, when and to whom.

Helping my Children to Hear from God – part 1

Exasperated, I told my daughter rather harshly that God didn’t talk like that. We had had our morning devotion, we had then put on a Christian song to listen to quietly in the background. My kids had grabbed their journals and blank paper and pencils & crayons. I had then asked them to ask God what He wanted to say to them today. My daughter immediately said that God had told her that He was going to give her an apple device. This was the third day in a row that God had apparently told my daughter that. I retorted by saying, “That’s because you want an iPad or iMac. God doesn’t work like that.”

I now look back on that interaction at least five years ago and I am embarrassed. Embarrassed at my callousness and impatience and unkindness towards my daughter. Embarrassed by how I misrepresented God. Embarrassed by putting my frustrations over my relationship with her. Embarrassed that my daughter had a lot greater clarity of how God works than me. (For the record, within a few months God did miraculously give her the money for an iMac.)

I often get asked by parents to share with them how I taught my children to be prophetic. Yes, my children are prophetic but I don’t think I can take all the credit for ‘teaching’ them.

In fact, I really learnt heaps by helping out in their Sunday School class. (Parents – please, I implore you – help out regularly in their class and pick up strategies and tips for use at home.) I was sitting at a table with 4 & 5 year olds. My 5 year old son next to me. The children were all lined up opposite each other with a sheet of paper in front of them and crayons on the table. They were then simply asked to draw a picture from God for the child opposite them. Us adults then asked the children what they had drawn and wrote that on the sheet of paper. The children then gave the paper to the children opposite them and explained what they had drawn.

 

I was gobsmacked. Basically this was all there was to prophecy with children.

 

I went home and that week, I started to incorporate this every few days into our devotions.

I find that children hear, sense and see from God immediately. Children don’t seem to have the same ‘hang ups’ as adults do about what God would and wouldn’t do and say, so they find it easier to trust God. They just seem to automatically accept that the first thought through their mind is from God. They asked God and He answered them. Perhaps it is also that they don’t have all the years of experience of ‘not hearing from God’ or perhaps more correctly – not recognising that what we were hearing and sensing was actually from God.

So, when I start with people wanting to teach their children how to hear from God, I start with having them explain briefly the character of God to their children in a really basic manner of a couple of sentences. Get your children to brainstorm what God would sound like. He is a good God so He is not going to say anything mean. God is going to be encouraging, positive, kind.

Second step is to hear from God for yourself and feel God’s thoughts towards you (or your children to hear and sense from God for themselves). Once you can recognise God’s voice for yourself, or your children can recognise God’s voice for themselves, it is pretty straight forward from then on.

I have listed below two activations or practical exercises that you can do yourself or with your children to help you begin to hear, feel, sense or see what God is saying to you or your children. It can be helpful to provide a quiet place where you can all rest or lie down. It is also helpful to have sheets of paper and pencils /crayons /textas that people can use to draw what they feel God saying or showing to them.

First Activation:

  1. Find a quiet place to lie down and close your eyes.
  2. Ask God, “If you could play any game with me right now, what would it be?”
  3. Capture the first thought that goes through your mind, or the first thing you feel.
  4. If you are having trouble getting something, ask God to give you a feeling or to bring to mind your favourite game. Use that game in your imagination.
  5. Then ask God a question based on that, for example
    1. “God, why did you pick that game?”
    2. “What is special about that game?”
    3. “What do you want to teach me or show me through that game?”
  6. Draw a picture of what you say or felt or heard.
  7. Share with someone, your parent etc.

Second Activation:

  1. Ask God if He could have a special time with you anywhere in the world right now, where would He take you and why?
  2. Capture that first thought that goes through your mind, or the first thing you feel.
  3. Ask God some more questions about that place. Eg
    1. “God, why did you pick that place?”
    2. “What’s special about that place?”
    3. “God, what do you want to say to me here in this place you’ve chosen for me?”
  4. Draw a picture of what you felt, saw or heard.
  5. Share with someone, your parent etc.

Chat with your children about the fact that God loves chatting with us. He wants us to have a two way conversation with Him. Thus, He loves it when we ask Him questions and clarify what He said etc.

Next week’s blog post will be part 2 on helping your children hear from God for other people.

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

Every week I list 5 prophetic activations/exercises under children/family, group, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and see and sense God 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) and that it comes from a place of love.

1. Children / Families Activation: Have everyone close their eyes and ask God what supernatural clothes God wants to give to them to be dressed in. Share what you heard, saw or felt.

2. Group Activation: Play prophetic duck, duck, goose. Have everyone sit in a circle and ask them all to close their eyes. Walk around behind people and touch one person on their head or shoulder. Then ask everyone to open their eyes. Ask them to hear from God and prophesy over the person you touched (whom only you and that person know who it is). After a certain amount of prophetic words, ask the ‘receiver of the prophetic words’ to identify themself and share how the words resonated with them. Repeat with another person being the receiver.

3. Beginner Activation: Spend time with God asking Him where in the universe He would like to take you and why. Ask Him questions about what you would do there together, why that place is special etc.

4. Intermediate Activation: Write a prophetic word for your garbage collector this week. Buy a small present that relates prophetically to this and give them both to your garbage collector when he next collects your rubbish.

5. Advanced Activation: Write a prophetic word for the leader of your country. Remember to exude grace and love and kingdom values. Find a way of emailing or posting this to Him/Her.

Hearing God’s Voice for Others (Part 3)

  • “I’ve got nothing.”
  • “I can’t Hear God.”
  • “I’ve never heard God before.”
  • “What if it’s not God but my own thoughts?”

These are all comments I regularly hear when adults are beginning to prophesy. With children, I don’t hear the same. Children tend to just take it for granted that they will hear or see or sense something and that what ever that is, then it must be from God. Us adults can tend to highlight our own thoughts way too high and believe that what we are hearing or sensing is from ourselves, that no way would it be from God.

First Thought Principle:

I encourage people to grab the first thought that comes through your head when you are trying to hear or sense from God. This works well if you are in a great place emotionally and spiritually, but not so well if you are in the pits of despair or a spiritual barren place.

I find that the ‘first thought’ through my mind is from God. It comes so quick. Then a second thought follows soon after – “What if it is me and not God?” Grab that first thought and hold on to it and expand it with God. Don’t partner with the second thought of “What if it is from me?” Ask God questions to find out more information because He loves answering them.

Once you have started hearing God for yourself, you learn to recognise what God sounds like. Some people will see pictures or sense what God is saying. Once we can hear God or sense Him, it is easy to begin to hear God and what is on His heart for others. We can help others realise how God sees them.

When starting to hear God for others, it is always important to remember that you only ever communicate to another person the positive. 1 Corinthians 14:3 says “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for the strengthening, encouraging or comfort.” Thus, we only share that which will be encouraging, comforting and strengthening.

What if I am wrong?

I can remember when I was fairly new at hearing from God. I was matched up with another person and we were giving prophetic words to leaders in a prophetic presbytery at our church conference. This lady came in and sat down. I immediately received the words ‘Romanian orphanage’. I was aghast. I must have heard wrong. Fancy saying that to someone. What if I was terribly wrong? I couldn’t say that!

Take note that during these thoughts I had, I was giving myself and my thoughts far too much credit and not focusing on the magnificence of God. It became all about me and not about God.

I managed to say something to the lady but did not utter anything about Romania and orphanage. The lady politely sat there impassively, recording the conversation. At the end of five minutes, after repeated promptings of ‘Romanian orphanage’ in my mind, I finally blurted out, “I just keep getting a sense that you will have something to do with an Eastern European orphanage”. (I tried to be more general and not mention the exact word ‘Romania’ to be safer.) The lady immediately burst into tears and then preceded to share with us that only the evening before, her husband and her had agreed to lay the years of infertility treatment behind them and felt that God was calling them to adopt a baby/child from Romania. They had pleaded with God to confirm it within the next few days.

I am so glad that I finally got ‘over myself’ and the thoughts of it being from me or thoughts of ‘what if I was wrong’. It was so exciting to partner with God and see this lady receive an answered prayer. I decided then and there that I would always communicate exactly what I felt God was wanting to say through me.

This blog post is third in a series of 4 blogs. Last week, I blogged about Hearing God’s voice for yourself (Part 2). The first week of the series was Hearing from God (part 1)

For now, we are going to practice hearing or sensing from God for something for someone else. Encourage everyone that this is a safe place to learn to hear God for someone else. As long as it is encouraging, then that is great.

If you have more than one person with you, these two following exercises work well. If you are on your own, ask God to highlight to you a person whom you could use to follow these exercises.

First Activation: (For this activation you will need a number of matchbox vehicles)

  1. Put a number of different match box cars, trucks, planes, trains on the table.
  2. Partner up.
  3. Ask God to highlight one particular vehicle to you that represents your partner.
    1. Ask God why that particular vehicle.
    2. Ask Him what does that vehicle have about it that is similar to their partner.
  4. Pick up the vehicle.
  5. Explain to your partner what you felt God say or tell or show you.
  6. Ask if anyone wants to share in the bigger group or in front of every family member present what they felt, saw or heard from God for their partner.

Second Activation: (For this activation, you will need a number of pictures or patterned paper)

  1. Put a number of pictures or patterned paper on the floor.
  2. Partner up with someone different to your first partner.
  3. Get everyone to walk around and look at the pictures.
  4. Ask God to highlight to everyone a picture that says something of God’s heart for their partner. (Even just pick up a picture that gets your attention.)
  5. Pick up the picture.
  6. Give it to your partner, explaining what God showed, told or impressed on you about your partner and the picture.

I would love to hear how you are finding hearing from God. Please feel free to comment below. Next week I will blog in part 4 about how to grow in your ability to hear, sense and see from God.

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) and that it comes from a place of love.

1. Children / Families Activation: Sit in a circle and ask God to show, tell or give you a movie/tv character for the person on your right. Ask God why this particular tv or movie character and what is similar about the character and the person on your right. Share with the person on your right.

2. Group Activation: Play ‘prophetic tag’. Choose a person to be ‘the tagger’. They stand in the middle of the room and everyone goes to the other end. These people have to try to get to the other side of the room without being tagged by the person in the centre (the tagger). If someone is tagged, that person has to give ‘the tagger’ (the person who tagged them) a prophetic word. They then become ‘the tagger’ and the previous ‘tagger’ joins the rest of the group trying to cross the room without being tagged. If you have a large group, consider having several people in the middle being ‘taggers’.

3. Beginner Activation: Ask God to highlight a Psalm from the Bible to you. Read it through and meditate on it. Ask God to highlight whom you could share this Psalm with today and how it might minister to them.

4. Intermediate Activation: Select a very old person at church and spend time with God receiving what He has to say about this person. Communicate this to them in an appropriate manner.

5. Advanced Activation: Spend time with God asking Him for a prophetic word for the Seniors group in your church. If your church doesn’t have a Senior’s group, ask God which other Senior’s group it would be relevant for and deliver it to them appropriately.

Hearing God’s voice for yourself (Part 2)

As I asked God what He thought of me and how He saw me, I stood still and waited. Almost immediately an amazingly beautiful picture filled my mind of a me as a Princess. I was wearing this stunning pearl blue sparkling long gown with a stunning diamond tiara. But as I looked at this princess, I was most struck with ‘this is how God sees me, as a beautiful princess’. I had never believed I was pretty but it hadn’t been anything I had spent time thinking about. But looking at myself as a princess in this picture in my mind, I realised that God saw me as beautiful, as His princess. He was my daddy and I was His princess and that was all that mattered.

I was so excited. This was such a great picture and made me feel so great, that I couldn’t wait for the rest of the exercises or activations for that night. It was truly transforming for me.

That evening was one of the first times that I had actually heard God for myself about myself. I had heard His audible voice a number of times in relation to a directive for my life, but not like this. I was undertaking a year long course in inner healing and prayer ministry and we were looking at ‘Hearing God’s voice’. The first thing we had to do was ask God how He saw ourselves.

I believe that a great place to start when beginning to prophesy is to hear and feel God’s thoughts towards yourself. This process works really well with all age groups, particularly children. Children don’t seem to have the same ‘hang ups’ as adults do about what God would and wouldn’t do and say, so they find it easier to trust God. They just seem to automatically accept that the first thought through their mind is from God. They asked God and He answered them.

I have listed below three activations or practical exercises to help you begin to hear, feel, sense or see what God is saying to you. It is helpful to provide a quiet place where people can rest or lie down. It is also helpful to have sheets of paper and pencils/crayons/textas that people can use to draw what they feel God saying or showing to them.

First Activation:

  1. Find a quiet place to lie down and close your eyes.
  2. Ask God, “If you could play any game with me right now, what would it be?”
  3. Capture the first thought that goes through your mind, or the first thing you feel.
  4. If you are having trouble getting something, ask God to give you a feeling or to bring to mind your favourite game. Use that game in your imagination.
  5. Then ask God a question based on that, for example
    1. “God, why did you pick that game?”
    2. “What is special about that game?”
    3. “What do you want to teach me or show me through that game?”
  6. Share with someone what you felt or heard. Perhaps draw a picture of what you say or felt or heard. If you are alone, it is great to draw or write down what you felt, saw or heard God saying.

Second Activation:

  1. Ask God if He could have a special time with you anywhere in the world right now, where would He take you and why?
  2. Capture that first thought that goes through your mind, or the first thing you feel.
  3. Ask God some more questions about that place. Eg
    1. “God, why did you pick that place?”
    2. “What’s special about that place?”
    3. “God, what do you want to say to me here in this place you’ve chosen for me?”
  4. Share with someone what you felt God say. Perhaps draw a picture of what you felt, saw or heard.

Third Activation:

  1. Ask God how He sees you dressed. Ask God what sort of clothes you are wearing, what is on your head, what is on your feet, if there is anything you are carrying in your hand, etc. Ask God what sort of person and character He sees you as.
  2. Keep asking God more questions about this. Pay attention to anything you hear, feel, and see.
  3. Share with someone or write or draw it in on a sheet of paper.

Today’s blog is part 2 of a 4 part series. Next week I will be covering the practical steps of how to start to hear God for someone else.

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) and that it comes from a place of love.

1. Children / Families Activation: Get some large paper eg Butchers paper (Ikea has huge rolls of this) and textas. Place a long roll of paper on the floor that’s long enough for a person to lie completely on and ask a person to lie down on the paper. Trace around their body. Write that person’s name on the sheet of paper. Do this for every person. Then spend some time writing on the paper encouraging words about that individual. Ask God to show, tell or give you words that describe that person. Write it on that person’s piece of paper. Then get each person to read aloud what is written or drawn on their piece of paper.

2. Group Activation: Divide the group into equal teams. Select one person from each term to stand at one end of the room. These people are the team captains and will receive a prophetic word. The rest of the team stands at the other end in a line. One at a time, each team member has to race to the other end and give the team captain a prophetic word. Once they have done that, they return to the team and the next team member runs to their team captain and gives them a prophetic word. Keep going until every team member has given a prophetic word to their team captain. The team captain then reports back on what they received, the accuracy but more importantly the flow of the combined prophetic words from their team.

3. Beginner Activation: Quieten your heart before God and ask Him “What do you think of me?”

4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to help you activate a sense that you don’t use in the prophetic eg smelling or taste or seeing. Ask God to highlight this and spend time over a series of days practicing receiving from God using this sense.

5. Advanced Activation: Ask God to highlight an unreached people group to you. Spend time with God hearing from Him for this people group. Then decree and declare out aloud what God has told, shown or given you for this group.