Encountering God part 2

Often I come across people desperate for a prophetic word. These people chase after prophetic people and hang off every word uttered. When challenged, they say they can’t hear God for themselves, or have a decision to make and desperately need to have a prophetic word.

Unfortunately, these folks are cheating themselves.

They are cheating themselves out of a vibrant relationship with the Living Almighty God. It is almost like they are taking second best. Please hear me. I am not saying it is wrong to get a prophetic word. Prophetic words are invaluable. What I am saying is don’t go chasing a prophetic word from someone. Chase God instead. Going to someone inferior to God for a word from God with that word filtered through that person’s experience. 1 Corinthians 13:9 tells us that a prophetic word is not the complete picture from God – “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.”

Why encounter God for yourself?

The purpose of an encounter with God is intimacy with God. Pure intimacy. The outcome will be change within you and the presence of Kingdom values – peace, joy, freedom, healing, truth, etc.

Not going with feelings is crucial. If we have felt nothing, it doesn’t mean that we haven’t had an encounter with God. Be careful not to judge something based solely on your feelings. Sometimes we may not even realize we have changed, but others can testify that we seem more at peace, more kind, etc.

When we encounter God for ourselves, we experience a personal revelation from Him. We become aware of Him through our senses. We can see, hear, sense, feel, smell or taste God or the things of God.

Encountering God for ourselves is vital, as it is a method we hear from God for ourselves and others. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of hearing from God for other people, but we can struggle to hear Him when hearing for ourselves. We need to explore ways we can hear God for ourselves during all seasons.

Last blog post, we explored how there will always be good fruit from an encounter with Jesus.

What an encounter can look like:

Sometimes the language we use can be off-putting. The term ‘encounter’ is very Pentecostal. Initially, I struggled with the word because I falsely believed that I had to manifest physically by speaking in tongues, shaking, falling to the ground, groaning, etc. An encounter with the Heavenly Father is purely being aware of His Presence, His Power, His Person, His delight in us. It is a transaction of intimacy.

An encounter will be different for everyone. Some people may have a physical experience, others a quiet reflection. Others may sit quietly but feel that they have travelled spiritually to heaven or a place where they are with Jesus.

God is a personal God. Thus, everyone will have an individual experience. Don’t imitate anyone else.

One of the first times I allowed myself to imagine I was with Jesus was a time when we ended up (in my mind) on a wooden pier – laying down and peering through the holes in the slats at my life here on earth. I can remember asking Jesus about an issue I struggled with, and His answer was perfect. Many times since then, I have quietened myself and imagined Jesus and me lying on that wooden pier peering through the slats at issues in my life.

How do I have an encounter with Jesus?

Great question. Everyone is different, so what works for you may not work for me.

I find it easier for me if I quieten my heart first or if I am worshipping God. Thanking God and coming into His Presence. I then allow my cleansed imagination to join with my Heavenly Father or Jesus and let my thoughts flow.

There are several places in my home that I have stewarded to create ‘thin’ places. These places feel like there is no discernable difference between heaven and earth. They are places usually of beauty, refuge, safety, and sacredness. It is typically a location or moment treated with reverence and awe.

Spending time with God can steward a thin place. You may find a favourite comfy chair where you love reading the Bible or praying becomes a place where you hear God’s voice clearly. It may be a place you steward silence and reflection. Because I love praying to God regularly in the shower and when ironing, I find I hear God’s voice immediately as soon as I go to those places. The same as the beach. I love walking along the beach, especially in rough weather, as I hear and sense God. My husband loves the bush and finds it easy to encounter God there.

I encourage you to posture yourself, to steward a thin place for yourself.

Encountering God demands obedience

Last week, I covered several times in the Bible where people changed after an encounter with God.

In Genesis 32, we see Jacob wrestling all night with God. Jacob gained a new identity and confidence. Our identity comes from who we are in God, so whenever we encounter God or spend time with Him, we become more attuned to our true identity.

In Genesis 6, God encountered Noah and revealed His plans to Noah. The outcome was Noah’s obedience. Noah trusted God despite the culture and everyone else’s opinions and fulfilled what God has asked him to do.

In 1 Samuel 3, the young boy Samuel heard the voice of God four times. Eli discounted the first two. The third time, Eli realized a transaction was occurring. Our response is to believe and be quick to obey.

Types of encounters:

1. The waterfall

A common encounter people seem to love, but one which I find harder to experience God is the waterfall. Close your eyes. Quieten your heart and focus on God. Imagine yourself walking under a waterfall. Imagine yourself feeling the water washing over you, washing away your cares and concerns and everything that’s not from God. Imagine the water filling you up like the Holy Spirit. Take deep breaths of His infilling Presence. Enjoy a time of transaction with the Holy Spirit. When you are ready, imagine stepping out of the waterfall, carrying that which has filled you up.

2. The Gift giver

Jenny and Ken Hodge from Christalignment taught our Stairway Healing Rooms this simple encounter, and it is so effective.

Close your eyes. Imagine yourself in a safe place that you love. What does it feel like, look like, smell, taste like? Take a few moments to arouse your senses in that place. Imagine that Jesus walks into the scene. In His hands, He is holding a gift. What does the gift look like – the shape, the wrapping, the colour? Watch as Jesus comes towards you. How are you feeling? Imagine Jesus handing you the present. You take the present and unwrap it. What is it? Is there anything else about the present? Is there anything Jesus wants to share with you or tell you? Continue to explore the present and the meaning of the present with Jesus?

3. Memory stones / triggers

Intentionally place something that will remind you of God and a particular time or a miracle in a specific spot. Use that memory stone to remind you to pause, thank God and focus on Him for today. (I rarely use the word trigger as it can have negative connotations but several friends use the term to trigger them to pray and connect with the Father’s heart.)

4. Left and right hand

Stand up and close your eyes. Quieten your heart towards God. Think of an issue you need answers for. Imagine placing the issue in your left hand. Hold your left hand out, palm up. Allow space to be quiet and transact with God. Now, put your right hand up in the air. Ask God to show you the answer to the issue in your left hand. Ask God to put the answer in your right hand. Pull the answer down from heaven into your reality.

5. Other ways

Some people love journaling and writing out their prayers to God and listening to Him for His answers as they write. Others may find meditating on a single Bible verse, repeating the verse a several times and reflecting on the words a valuable method of encountering God. Worship, speaking in tongues, creative prayer, drawing, painting, and dancing to worship music are beneficial.

It is vital that you discover ways where you can hear God for yourself and have an encounter with Him and His goodness, His mercy, His love and freedom, peace and joy.

Next blog post, I will explore some methods we can use when finding it hard to hear God or encounter God.

Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:

Every blog post I list 5 prophetic activations/exercises under children/family, group, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The purpose of these exercises is to practice 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: Gather warm, fuzzy material or favourite blankets and give a piece of material/blanket to each person. Ask them to get in a comfortable position, whether sitting or lying, and wrap that material around them, imagining God’s arms around them giving them a hug. Have music playing softly and encourage them to ask God questions and listen to His response. Have paper and drawing materials available for children to draw/write their experiences.

2. Group Activation: Take the group outside and ask them to look for something that is unusual or captures their attention or a unique sound or smell. Partner up and prophesy over their partner using the object that caught their attention as the starting point.

3. Beginner Activation: Try the ‘Gift-giver’ activation from above. Close your eyes. Imagine yourself in a safe place that you love. What does it feel like, look like, smell, taste like? Take a few moments to arouse your senses in that place. Imagine that Jesus walks into the scene. In His hands, He is holding a gift. What does the gift look like – the shape, the wrapping, the colour? Watch as Jesus comes towards you. How are you feeling? Imagine Jesus handing you the present. You take the present and unwrap it. What is it? Is there anything else about the present? Is there anything Jesus wants to share with you or tell you? Continue to explore the present and the meaning of the present with Jesus?

4. Intermediate Activation: Ask Jesus to highlight to you a person who is desperate for an encounter with Him. Ask Jesus what He would love you to do about this and your part to play in this person receiving a touch from Jesus.

5. Advanced Activation: Carve out some time this week to go to a ‘thin’ place where you can spend extended time with God. Ask Him for a prophetic word for the US Supreme Court in relation to the Roe verse Wade ruling being deliberated. Decree and declare the response aloud. Ask God if there is anything further He would have you do.