Sunday, August 26, 2018

Day 14: A 14-Day Journey to Hearing from God


It's our last day together, so I wanted to close out the journey talking about the very last item on our list of ways we hear from God.

How Do We Hear from God ?
  1. spoken word from preachers and teachers of the Word / church
  2. reading and studying God's Word
  3. talking to God and quieting ourselves to let Him talk to us (prayer)
  4. convictions (the tugging at our hearts, the push and pull in our spirits)
  5. fellowship with other believers
  6. warning and foresight, spoken directly to our spirits 
Essentially, in many cases, warning and foresight end up going hand in hand, and to be clear, before we move on, let's define warning and foresight. Dictionary.com defines the two this way:

warning - something that serves to give notice or caution
foresight - knowledge or insight gained by or as by looking forward; a view of the future

Keeping those definitions in mind, let's open up this installment with a story from the Bible. Read Genesis 40.

You don't have to write the answers to the following questions in your journal, but before we move on, think through each of the questions to make sure you understand what we just read. 
  1. Who had the dream?
  2. Who interpreted the dream?
  3. Was the dream a warning? A foretelling? Both?
  4. What, specifically, did Joseph say in verse 8 about interpretations of dreams?
God gave warnings and foresight through dreams in Bible days, and He's still doing it today. I know because I'm a dreamer, and God has been VERY clear with me in most of the interpretations of those dreams. Sometimes I know the moment I wake up what He's saying to me, and other times, it takes time for it to be revealed. One thing is for sure though: When He gives me the dream and I earnestly pray and seek Him for its meaning, He reveals.



Just as Joseph said in the text, all interpretation is from God. When God sends a dream, He's the interpreter. He's the giver of the dream, so He'll be the giver of its meaning. There are stories upon stories in the Bible of God speaking to His people through dreams, and there are stories upon stories of people today who are hearing from the Lord through dreams. And this, in my eyes, is one of the coolest ways God speaks to our hearts. He has our full attention when we're asleep because we're not engaged in the hustle and bustle of our days. And sometimes, because we are so busy with the hustle and bustle, God has to speak to us this way because He is determined to have us hear what He wants to say to our hearts. (If that's not love, I don't know what is!)

I learned a lot (and am learning a lot) about dreams and the way God gives warning and foresight through dreams from Dr. Joe Ibojie. If you're a dreamer and your dreams tell stories in a sense, meaning you can recall the events rather clearly, no matter how weird those events are or how fragmented they may be, 9 times out a 10, those dreams came from the Lord. (I've been in a flying bus before that landed on water and everyone who was on the bus had to swim out into the water that was a wall leading up to the sky kind of like an aquarium, but with no walls. CRAZY! But the Lord was speaking a VERY CLEAR message.)

Dr. Ibojie helped me understand the symbolism that God uses when He speaks through dreams because God still speaks in parables and illustrations like He did through Jesus in Bible days. When I take the dreams to the Lord with a clearer understanding of how He speaks through the symbols and illustrations, I can pray a little more boldly and thoughtfully for Him to show me what He's saying.

God can send a warning or give foresight directly to your spirit too. It doesn't have to come through a dream. When we are in constant communication with the Lord through prayer and the reading and studying of His word, He speaks to us in the quiet of our spirits.

I was in college and I had been saved maybe a year. I was in God's face for hours at a time every day because I was hungry to learn of Him. I remember one day having to leave my quiet time with the Lord to go and have my car serviced. If I didn't get up and go soon, I would miss the window of time for them to take my car that day. If I missed that window of time, I would have to wait until the next day, but the next day I would be leaving town, so I had to get up. On my way to the Wal-Mart Auto Department, I remember getting words in my thoughts to tell a man if he asked me if I was dating anyone. It was the weirdest thing because it literally came out of nowhere. I had a rundown of what to say if I was asked and what to say if his response to my answer was "this", or if his response to my answer was "that". I didn't think anything of it. I just kept it in my "back pocket". 

While my car was being serviced, I walked the Wal-Mart aisles to pick up a few things, and while on one aisle, I was approached by a guy. He made small talk about what I had picked up from one of the shelves, and in almost the same breath, he asked me if I was dating anyone. I was cool, calm and collected on the outside, but on the inside I was about to die of shock! This was one of the first times I had received foresight from the Lord spoken directly to my spirit! He had literally prepared me, minutes prior, for that encounter. He had told me what would be asked of me and He told me how to respond. Y'all, it literally blew my mind!

I had another instance not long after that one when the Lord told me I would be getting a check in the mail. I didn't know who it would be from or that it would be for $1,000 to go toward the tuition for my post-graduate intern studies, but everything in me knew when I was walking to that mailbox that there was a check in there for me. I wasn't even expecting anyone to send me anything because I was already done with gathering all of my funds for the internship and had already determined with my parents what we would have left to pay since all of the contributions had already come in. I was so sure that there was a check in the mail that day that I was already in tears by the time I made it to the mailbox. He had made me so sure of it and told me to expect it. I was more in awe of His foresight than I was the check. He had blown my mind yet again! 

God can give you a warning or give you foresight through a dream, or He can speak directly to your spirit. The same way you "heard" God through the push and pull of conviction in your spirit is the same way you'll "hear" from God when He wants to warn you or give you foresight of something to come. Don't ignore it. It's so important that you hear what He has to say. If you have dreams, write them down. When you go back to look at the patterns of how God speaks to you in dreams, that can help with interpretation down the line. It has certainly helped me. 

The Assignment
  1. Grab and date your journal.
  2. Answer the following questions, knowing that it's God who's asking you. When you respond, respond like you're talking to God.
    • After doing today's installment, do you believe I've ever spoken to you in a dream?
    • If so, what was one of those dreams? Write it down.
    • Do you remember a time when I sent you a warning or foresight directly to your spirit?
    • If so, give me an example.
    • Now, stop writing and let's talk. Do you desire for me to speak to you in dreams and/or more clearly directly to your spirit? You're no different from Joseph or Iantha or anyone else I speak to in these ways. If this is what you desire, ask me, and I will do it. If you desire to hear my voice, learn of me (in prayer and through my word), and you will learn my voice. I'm always talking. I'm looking forward to having your ear. 
I know this is our final installment, but I will have one last word for you all tomorrow just to kinda close things up. It's been quite a journey!

I'm praying for you.

-Iantha




Saturday, August 25, 2018

Day 13: A 14-Day Journey to Hearing from God

Today is the last day we will use this format to practice what we've learned on the journey. Tomorrow, our last day together, we will look at the final item on our list of ways we hear from God: warning and foresight, spoken directly to our spirits. Like I said yesterday, I pray you've enjoyed the journey, and I pray you've been tuned in to God's voice. He's always speaking through His Word. Always! And the more we talk back to him (i.e. prayer, journaling), the more our ears get tuned to His voice. 



The Assignment
  1. Grab your Bible and a computer or phone. Date your journal.
  2. Pray and ask God to open your spiritual eyes to see His Word like you've never seen it before. Ask Him to illuminate your understanding. Thank Him for living in you and speaking to you. Thank Him for this time that's dedicated to just you and Him, and thank Him for being completely tuned into you.
  3. Take this time to pray about what's on your heart. Just talk to the Lord like you would talk to your husband or wife or a friend. Let it all out. 
  4. Then, go to www.biblegateway.com. Do a topical search for scriptures on something that you are facing right now in your life, or on something that you just want to know more about. Look to your Bible and go to the scriptures that are suggested to you. Allow these scriptures to be your study for today. God wants to speak to those areas that concern you and/or lay heavy on your heart.
  5. You can follow the SOAP method today or not, but either way, you will need to write in your journal to interact with God's Word. You will need to "talk back" to the Lord about what you read and how it speaks to your heart for YOUR life. This is you TALKING to Him. You're in conversation with Him when you're responding to His Word.
  6. Now pray and talk to the Lord about today's installment. Then, set a timer for 7 minutes, and sit in silence, but keep your mind focused on what you just studied. Keep your journal open. Should anything come to you, write it down. 
I'm praying for you.

-Iantha

Friday, August 24, 2018

Day 12: A 14-Day Journey to Hearing from God

I pray you're enjoying this one on one time with the Lord. I pray you've been hearing His voice through His word. I pray He's been speaking directly to your heart. Let's continue digging in.


The Assignment
  1. Grab your Bible. Date your journal.
  2. Pray and ask God to open your spiritual eyes to see His Word like you've never seen it before. Ask Him to illuminate your understanding. Thank Him for living in you and speaking to you. Thank Him for this time that's dedicated to just you and Him, and thank Him for being completely tuned into you.
  3. Take this time to pray about what's on your heart. Just talk to the Lord like you would talk to your husband or wife or a friend. Let it all out. 
  4. Then, read Colossians 3:1-17.
  5. You can follow the SOAP method today or not, but either way, you will need to write in your journal to interact with God's Word. You will need to "talk back" to the Lord about what you read and how it speaks to your heart for YOUR life. This is you TALKING to Him. You're in conversation with Him when you're responding to His Word.
  6. Now pray and talk to the Lord about today's installment. Then, set a timer for 7 minutes, and sit in silence, but keep your mind focused on what you just studied. Keep your journal open. Should anything come to you, write it down. 
I'm praying for you.

-Iantha

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Day 11: A 14-Day Journey to Hearing from God

Today, and for the next few days, we are simply putting into practice the things we learned throughout the journey. 

The Assignment
  1. Grab your Bible. Date your journal.
  2. Pray and ask God to open your spiritual eyes to see His Word like you've never seen it before. Ask Him to illuminate your understanding. Thank Him for living in you and speaking to you. Thank Him for this time that's dedicated to just you and Him, and thank Him for being completely tuned into you.
  3. Take this time to pray about what's on your heart. Just talk to the Lord like you would talk to your husband or wife or a friend. Let it all out. 
  4. Then, read James 3:1-12.
  5. You can follow the SOAP method (see yesterday's blog) today or not, but either way, you will need to write in your journal to interact with God's Word. You will need to "talk back" to the Lord about what you read and how it speaks to your heart for YOUR life. This is you TALKING to Him. You're in conversation with Him when you're responding to His Word.
  6. Now pray and talk to the Lord about today's installment. Then, set a timer for 7 minutes, and sit in silence, but keep your mind focused on what you just studied. Keep your journal open. Should anything come to you, write it down. 
I'm praying for you.

-Iantha

Day 10: A 14-Day Journey to Hearing from God

Today's plan was to cover the last item on our list of ways we hear from God: warning and foresight, spoken directly to our spirits, but when we walk by the Spirit, plans change. The Lord has moved us in a different direction. The new plan is to close the journey on Day 14 with warnings and foresight, and today through Day 13, is for me to simply give you the assignment for the day. 

Go back in your mind to the day that you saw the post for this journey, or the moment someone invited you to join the journey. Revisit that place in your heart and mind and remind yourself WHY you wanted to be here. Have you gotten what you wanted? Did you do your part to get it?

We've been talking for 9 days about the blessing that's ours as a result of being in relationship with Jesus. We get to hear directly from God by way of the Holy Spirit. We've talked about the different ways we hear from God, and we've even seen some practical ways to tune our ears to His voice, so now, I'm going to stop talking. We're going to practice applying what we've learned. The journey was designed for you to hear His voice, so now you have to MAKE the time and put yourself in the position, when it's seriously just you and Him, so He can speak to your heart.

The Assignment
  1. Grab your Bible. Date your journal.
  2. Pray and ask God to open your spiritual eyes to see His Word like you've never seen it before. Ask Him to illuminate your understanding. Thank Him for living in you and speaking to you. Thank Him for this time that's dedicated to just you and Him, and thank Him for being completely tuned into you.
  3. Take this time to pray about what's on your heart. Just talk to the Lord like you would talk to your husband or wife or a friend. Let it all out. 
  4. Then, read Proverbs 10:4, 12:24, 12:27, 18:9, and  6:6-11(use verses 10 and 11 for the 'S' in SOAP).
  5. Follow the SOAP method to interact with God's Word today. This is you TALKING to Him. You're in conversation with Him when you're responding to His Word.
  6. After you've prayed (the 'P' in SOAP), set a timer for 7 minutes, and sit in silence, but keep your mind focused on what you just studied. Keep your journal open. Should anything come to you, write it down. 

I'm praying for you.

-Iantha

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Day 9: A 14-Day Journey to Hearing from God

How Do We Hear from God ?
  1. spoken word from preachers and teachers of the Word / church
  2. reading and studying God's Word
  3. talking to God and quieting ourselves to let Him talk to us (prayer)
  4. convictions (the tugging at our hearts, the push and pull in our spirits)
  5. fellowship with other believers
  6. warning and foresight, spoken directly to our spirits 


I will be the first to admit that I hear from God least in fellowship, and it's not because He doesn't speak when I'm in fellowship with other believers. He DEFINITELY does. But I don't hear from Him because I don't fellowship with other believers as often as I probably could, or as often as I should. It's an area that the Lord has recently been showing me needs to change. He's been showing me how vital relationships are and how necessary community is. He wants to challenge me in my Godly relationships so I can grow, and I'm convinced that no matter where you stand with your comfort level in close Godly relationships and Godly community, you can definitely still grow.

God reminds me, often, of the early church in the book of Acts (we visited this last week). He has shown me, on many occasions how powerful it is when we have others to lean on and when we can learn from each other's strengths and weaknesses. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17)

And when He speaks as clearly to me about fellowship and community as He has been over the past few months, He always reminds me of Hebrews 10:25. It reads, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching."


Many think that that only means meeting together at church to get instruction and to grow in our knowledge of God's Word, but it doesn't. It means gathering together with believers, period. Whenever we can get together to encourage one another or to simply just hang out and love on one another, that is the "meeting together" this verse implies.  And we all need it.

God has shown me how much we miss out on when we don't fellowship with believers. I know when I'm just hanging out with my sisters, they make me want to be better. I see them walking it out for the Lord and it makes me want to walk stronger. I hear their stories of how they've overcome challenges and obstacles and it reminds me that I can overcome. God uses fellowship with other believers to speak to us and build us, so don't forsake it. We need each other. We really, really do.

You've probably heard the saying, "No man is an island (entire of itself)." It's true. We hurt ourselves when we try to live outside of community. When we are in relationship with others, we become mirrors to one another. They can sometimes see things that we don't see until we "look into them". They're God's agents to help us, and you're His agent to help them. Close, Godly relationships and Godly community are NECESSARY.

This is an area that I feel least qualified to speak on, but I want to share with you who has helped me better understand Godly relationships and community, and who has challenged me like nobody's business to step up my game in making myself more present in my community (close Godly relationships).

The Assignment
  1. Grab your Bible. Date your journal.
  2. Watch this message: The Roller Coaster of Godly Relationships
  3. Take notes while you watch.
  4. Talk back to the Lord in your journal. What is the Lord saying to you and your heart about fellowship and community?

Some Practical Ways to Build Relationships / Foster Community
  1. Push yourself to invite one of your friends out to do something that neither of you has done. This way you have a memory of a new experience to share.
  2. If you have a church home that has cell groups, small groups, or an equivalent, GET INVOLVED and intentionally get to know people who you've never talked to.
  3. If you have a church home that has women's fellowship activities or men's fellowship activities, commit to attending at least one a month. While at the events, strike up conversation with someone you don't know well.
  4. Invite a friend over to your home for dinner.
  5. Invite a friend on a day trip to do something you both will enjoy.
Just yesterday, I was planning to go to dinner alone because honestly, that's how I like to roll. I enjoy my quiet. I was planning to bring some papers to grade and just relax at one of the restaurant's outside tables. And the Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks with that plan. He told me to invite some of my sisters to join me.

I'm in a group chat with about 10 of my sisters from church, and can I tell you that, generally, I abhor group texts! OH MY GOD! I don't even know who put me in the group, and at first, I almost asked whoever included me to remove me, but I decided to stay. And I thank God I did! Without going into too much detail, I'll just say that I needed it, and every day, I'm grateful to be in communication with them.

I listened to the Holy Spirit and offered to have dinner with anyone in the group chat who could come. Only one was able to come (and another one met us at the very end of the dinner), but God knew just what He was doing. It was time well spent that opened up the door to a girls' trip later this year. 


More relational opportunities will blossom from the times you spend with the people you were intentional about engaging, and before you know it, you will have people in your life who will be there consistently enough to be the iron that sharpens your iron, and vice versa. And that's what the Lord desires. 

We NEED fellowship with other believers.
We NEED fellowship with other believers.
We NEED fellowship with other believers.
We NEED fellowship with other believers.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Day 8: A 14-Day Journey to Hearing from God

I pray you're staying committed to not only checking in on the blog every day of the journey, but to completing your assignments as well. Consistency is key! The Lord created the assignments with you in mind and wants to meet you at the desire of your heart (the desire HE placed in your heart) to hear from Him. How will you receive what He has for you if you're not "showing up"? Don't miss what He has for you on the journey. Push past your feelings. Fight to get to that secret place every day, and MAKE the time to sit at His feet. He really, really wants to meet you there. 

Let's continue dissecting the ways we hear from God.

How Do We Hear from God ?
  1. spoken word from preachers and teachers of the Word / church
  2. reading and studying God's Word
  3. talking to God and quieting ourselves to let Him talk to us (prayer)
  4. convictions (the tugging at our hearts, the push and pull in our spirits)
  5. fellowship with other believers
  6. warning and foresight, spoken directly to our spirits 

Today's focus will be convictions.

When I was preparing for today's installment I asked the Lord to give me a clear explanation of what a conviction is, and He said, "When our flesh wants what our spirit does not agree with, then we have what's called conviction in our hearts." This is that push and pull in our spirits that the speaker explained in the video on our first day of the journey. It's that tug of war we experience when our flesh wants to do what we know doesn't please God.


Paul explains it well in Romans 7, and before we move on, we need to give that passage a look.


Assignment, Part 1
  1. Grab your Bible. Date your journal.
  2. Read Romans 7:15-25.
  3. In your own words, summarize what Paul is saying in this passage.
  4. Explain the most recent time you experienced what Paul is describing. Did your flesh win, or did your spirit win?
All Believers Experience Conviction
When we did our personal inventories on the first day of the journey, 100% of you said that you've experienced the push and pull in your spirit, which is evidence of the Holy Spirit living on the inside of you (not to be confused with your conscience). Anyone who is in relationship with Jesus Christ has the awesome privilege of having God speak to our hearts through conviction. His convictions warn us that we're about to enter into something that does not line up with His Word (that doesn't always happen with our conscience). We ALL (Spirit-filled believers) experience the battle that Paul described, and as long as we're living, we will. Every one of us.

Those times when we're feeling convicted, we really want to do the right thing because the spirit on the inside of us is perfect. The spirit on the inside of us is THE Holy Spirit, so He wants to do what God wants to do, but then our flesh wants to do something else because our flesh is not in relationship with Jesus. Our flesh never gave its life to the Lord; our spirit gave itself to the Lord. Our flesh is not saved, so it will constantly be in battle with the Holy Spirit. When you're feeling conviction, know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this is God speaking to you.


How is that so?

You have knowledge of His Word hidden in your heart (no matter how little or how much; you will experience conviction based on what you know of His word). You have knowledge of Him and His ways from the teaching you've been sitting under. God's Word has been made known to you, and so now, when that Word/knowledge of Him is being challenged, or when you face opposing situations where it's time to put that Word into action, God will speak to you through that tug in your heart and tell you to stand on His word. That tug in your heart is God telling you to silence the flesh and obey His Spirit (His Word).


When God Speaks to You Through Convictions...
Go in the opposite direction of the flesh! Go in the way of the Spirit! And you know what's flesh and what's spirit when you feel it. Every time I have gone the way of the flesh, I have been disappointed in myself because I know I hurt the heart of God. I've cried. I've lost money. I've lost time. I've lost sanity. Every time I have gone the way of the flesh, I have suffered some type of loss. His convictions do not lie! God wouldn't waste time tugging at your heart; He's talking to you for your own good. Don't waste time, don't lose money, don't give yourself an unnecessary headache for giving into your flesh. God is speaking to protect you. He is speaking to warn you. He is speaking to reward you. If you follow the flesh, you will regret it EVERY TIME. Heed the conviction, and be grateful that the Lord loves you enough to speak to your heart with that tug. He ain't speakin' to everybody. #blessed

Assignment, Part 2
  1. Continuing in your journal entry for today, read Romans 8:5-14.
  2. In your own words, summarize what this passage is saying. 
  3. Then, "talk back to the Lord" and tell Him what you believe this passage AND the Romans 7 passage are saying to you for YOUR life.
Assignment, Part 3
On Saturday, Nicole gave us a very practical way to practice hearing from God in silence. I've found that I hear more from Him in the silence after I've studied the Word. So, since you have spent time in Romans 7 and 8 today and you've talked back to the Lord in your journal, now is the time to lift up a final prayer, maybe about today's lesson, or whatever may be on your heart. Then, set a timer for 7 minutes and sit in silence to have Him talk back to you. 

I'm praying for you.

-Iantha

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Day 7: A 14-Day Journey to Hearing from God

Today, Sunday (although this is being posted on Saturday night), marks the halfway point on our journey! It's been 7 days already! Lord knows I hope you've been receiving from the Holy Spirit since you've been walking with us this past week, and I pray you'll receive even more this week.

On Thursday, I gave the first part of today's assignment, and that is to simply go to church. Here are the detailed instructions:

The Assignment, Part 1
Go with expectancy for the Lord to speak to you. Listen to what the pastor/teacher says, and take good notes, but go in with prayer, to hear what the Lord is saying "behind" the message directly to your heart.

Some of us take notes already and may have a notebook that we use, but this week, please make an exception and take notes in your 14-Day Journal. You will need your notes from church for Part 2 of today's assignment.

If you have a church home already and you really enjoy your church, GREAT! If you don't have a church that you call home, but you have a church you attend sometimes, maybe go there. If you haven't been to church in a while, this is a great time to maybe consider going back. God wants to speak to you there. If you don't have anywhere to go and you're in the Augusta area, I'd love for you to join me at my church. I KNOW my pastor sits before the Lord to get God's Word for us. Send me a message and I'll give you the details!

The Assignment, Part 2


Take your notes from today's church service and revisit each of the scriptures that the pastor/teacher gave in the message. Reread them. If you need to read the entire passage where the scripture came from, do that, so you'll have a good understanding of what the scripture is saying in context.
  1. Pray and ask God to show you specific ways to help you live out what you were taught today.
  2. In your journal, write what you believe the Lord is saying to your heart for YOUR life from today's message.
  3. Pray and ask God to show you how to use what you learned today to encourage others. (You may decide to divide today's message into sections so you can spread it out over a few days so you'll have set studies for the week.)
  4. Share a snippet from today's message on all of your social media outlets. You can package it in one phrase that summarizes the overall message, in bullets, or with a meme or illustrative word picture. Just share it. 
This is you spending time with the Word that the Lord spoke to you today, and when you're spending time with His word, you're spending time with Him. Let Him speak to your heart through His word.

Didn't Go To Church?
If for some reason you couldn't make it to church, you can watch this message: Hearing the Voice of God. Remember the snippet we watched on our first day together? This video is the full message. Use this message for your assignment today.

Extras
If you're interested, here are some tools that can help you with structuring your study of God's Word. 






I'm praying for you.

-Iantha

Day 6: A 14-Day Journey to Hearing from God

If you're just joining us on the journey, "Welcome!" I'm so glad you're here, and I'm praying that God will speak to you like never before while on this 14-Day walk with Him.

For the next few installments, we will be talking about ways to hear from God. I want to provide you  as much practicality as I can to show you how to tune your ear to His voice. We've learned that we hear from God through...
  1. spoken (taught) word from preachers and teachers of the Word / church
  2. reading and studying God's Word
  3. talking to God and quieting ourselves to let Him talk to us (prayer)
  4. convictions (the tugging at our hearts, the push and pull in our spirits)
  5. fellowship with other believers
  6. warning and foresight, spoken directly to our spirits 

Today's focus will be talking to God and quieting ourselves to let Him talk to us.
This is PRAYER.



In yesterday's post, I shared a couple devotionals that I use in my quiet time. When I shared Drawing Close to God: 365 Days of Daily Devotionals & Prayer by my sister-friend, Nicole Atkinson, immediately, God told me to ask her to be our special guest blogger today to talk about prayer. I didn't hesitate! My sister prays! And I know her. I know she sits before the Lord. I know He speaks to her and through her. And I trust her to hear from Him to share with us today.

Help me welcome Nicole!

My, my, my! I could say so much about prayer because I just love it so! Our big brother Jesus tells us “my temple will be called a house of prayer” (Mark 11:17). We are the temple of God. Therefore, we should be a house of prayer, meaning prayer should be a natural part of our daily routine. I often say prayer is the gateway to heaven.  It gives us direct access to God. We have to think about the original intent God had for mankind. When God thought to create the earth and place humans in the earth, He did it in a manner where we would have open access to Him. Just like with any human relationship, without communication there is no relationship.

The very first thing God taught me to do as a young Christian was to PRAY. He literally would tell me to turn off the radio every time I was in the car and He would say, “Open your mouth and speak to me.” Of course, I obeyed, and what a benefit it has been even until this day.

Prayer is a gift from God.

Just think about it like this: God knows every day of our lives before any of them appear. He has predestined us for greatness. How, then, are we supposed to know what is on the heart of God if we don’t commune with Him? I'm so happy you asked. The bible commands that we pray. My pastor says all the time, "God is not going to waste His time in telling us to do something that is not beneficial." (God doesn’t waste time).

There are benefits in prayer, like I stated before. God isolated me and literally taught me how to pray. There is something special about getting quiet before God. You’re going to have to set aside time to just sit and talk with God.


SILENCE is key.

I know, I know... We are all busy, but as the saying goes, “We make time for what we want.” So ask yourself, "Do I want what God has for me, which yields kingdom purpose, or do I want what my flesh wants, which yields vain things?" Prayer will have to become a choice that you make on a daily basis. I believe you want to know how to pray and to pray effectively, hence the journey you are taking to hear from God.

To begin your journey in hearing more clearly from God through prayer is to follow the example Jesus gave in the Bible. 


Did you know that Jesus' disciples asked Him many questions but they only asked Him to teach them one thing, and that was how to PRAY?

I believe they saw the power associated with prayer and wanted to be like Jesus, and so they asked. When Jesus walked the earth He prayed at times for 40 days straight, all night and in seclusion.  (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 6:12; Luke 5:16).

When Jesus would come out of prayer, miracles would take place. He stated, Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19). Jesus was so focused on kingdom business, and He knew apart from talking to God on a consistent basis, He could not fulfill His kingdom purpose. This is the call for each of us, to commune with God for our kingdom purpose.



Here’s how Jesus taught His disciples to pray: 
Matthew 6:9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

(v9) Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
·         Always open your prayer with honor and thanksgiving to God as our Father and ruler of the universe. This shows reverence (respect) and it acknowledges Him as Supreme ruler of all things (keeps us humble).
(v10) Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
·        God’s will is perfect for our lives. He tells us to pray daily at all times (1 Thessalonians 5:17). When we ask Him for His will to be done in the earth as it is in heaven, we are saying “God, do what you have already planned for my life this day.” That’s a perfect place to be, as we know His plans for us are for our good. We are dying to ourselves and allowing God to have full control and use us for His glory (our reason for living).
(v11) Give us this day our daily bread.
·         We are asking God to prepare us for the day ahead. Spending time in God’s presence through prayer will allow God to reveal things to us that will equip us for the day. For instance, God knows the challenges we’ll face day to day. So, if on a particular day He knows we are going to get fired from our job, He will have us to study and read about faith. When we receive news of being fired we are anchored in the Lord because we would have spent time with God. Through our communion, He revealed to us that our faith is in Him and the blow of being fired is not devastating. Our faith will sustain us. He loads us daily with benefits (Psalm 68:19.) If we don’t ask, we miss out.  (DON’T MISS OUT!!)
(v12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
·        This keeps us humble before the throne of grace. None of use are perfect in the sense that we will never make a mistake. God is loving, kind, and patient and willing and waiting to forgive us of all of our sins. It is imperative that we come and ask Him for forgiveness and to give us the will power to forgive others.
(v13a) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
·         We know evil is all around us. We need God to keep us from the evil one. He will do it as we seek Him and put on His entire armor daily (Ephesians 6:11-18). The devil looks for opportunities to trick God’s people, and one of the ways he has easy access is in the lives of believers who don’t commune with God. God has delivered us from the snares of the enemy. We have to accept it and talk with God daily to know what lies ahead, and we must use our spiritual weapons to combat the enemy's tactics. One of these weapons is prayer. 
(13b) For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
·         We close out the prayer believing God has all power, and we receive what we ask in prayer.  God created us for His glory and made a covenant with us which includes over 6,000 promises in the bible (not to mention the things He reveals to us during our secret time with Him.) He intends for us to walk out our purpose in life and we do this through believing and receiving His divine Word.
Amen by definition means “So be it.”

The Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, is a guide for praying and hearing from God. Everything we will ever pray can be summed up in the manner in which Jesus teaches us to pray:
1.      Give Honor to God.
2.      Seek His will. (LISTEN TO HIS VOICE)
3.      Ask for provision, supplication, make requests.
4.      Ask for forgiveness/forgive others.
5.      Pray for protection to be kept from evil/ preparation for the day.
6.      Believe God’s will, will be done/ Receive what you have asked for.

God has answered EVERY prayer I have ever prayed. This is not because I have some kind of special power. I follow the commands and principles taught in the Bible. God wants to commune with us. Just as in any relationship without communication, the relationship will lack tremendously. We have to spend time with God.  As I was learning to pray and hear from God, I would attend every prayer service there was at my local church. This taught me how much God loved me and wanted to hear from me. The more I prayed, the more God revealed Himself to me, and I found delight in being in His presence.

Some Practical Was to Hear from God in Prayer

1.      Pray the Word in faith.
God’s Word will never return to Him void (Isaiah 55:10-11). There is a scripture for every situation we will ever encounter in life. We live in the age of Google. If I am dealing with a challenge in finances I will Google scriptures for finances and pray those scriptures. openbibleinfo.com and biblegateway.com are great resources for topic-based scriptural references. Have faith that what you pray for God will provide according to His will.

2.      Listen to the Spirit.
The Spirit sounds like your voice. When you hear that pull on your heart that something is out of balance, it's time to talk to God. It doesn’t matter if it's 2 seconds or 2 hours! Open your mouth and pour your heart out to God. Jeremiah 12:1 tells us that God is righteous when we plead our cause to Him. It doesn’t matter how big or minute the concern may be, God is available to listen and will provide insight.

3.      Study the life of Jesus.
When Jesus prayed, He got results. Countless miracles took place. He was determined and consistent in prayer. He went to God and received God’s plan and then walked it out in the earth. We are no different. There are things God wants to get us to do in this earth and the only way to know what those plans are requires us to talk to God through prayer. Prayer is a lifestyle. Just think about it, you are praying to the God who created all things. What a privilege and honor! There is nothing too hard for Him.

4.      Incline Your ear to hear.
Isaiah 55:3 says,  "Incline your ear, come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." Isaiah 55 talks about the blessing that is promised for those who seek God.  Incline in Hebrew means to listen, or pay attention. That means as we listen and pay attention to the voice of God, we will be blessed. This requires us to sit before God in silence and listen to what He is pouring out. (There is something so special about silence.)



5. Talk to God like the Friend He Is.
For me, I talk to God in a personal manner. For instance, if I’m having a bad day I’ll say, “ God I need you right now. This person is getting on my nerves,” or I tell God exactly how I am feeling. No formalities, just open communication. When we cultivate this type of relationship, prayer becomes natural. God is not looking for formality; He is looking for intimacy. We must be open and honest. The great thing about this is God does not condemn us. He listens with care and then responds with the best possible guidance to help us in every one of our cares.

Communicating openly with God (talking to Him and expecting Him to respond) gives you a new perspective. For example, one time I was faced with an issue with someone who I felt disrespected me and I was completely in my feelings and ready to do things that were unholy. I’m not talking about years ago, but recently. Thank God I knew how to pray. Instead of responding in my flesh, I kneeled down and said, “God you see this situation. I am about to react in my flesh. I am hurt and I want to act out of character.” Immediately He lead me to a specific scripture in Jeremiah 12:5 NIV. "If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?" 

In that moment, God was saying, “Nicole, you are tripping.” Hahahaha!! I immediately felt His peace. This scripture was telling me that if the insignificant things in life overwhelm me, how would I be able to handle the real issues of life? I was focused on something minute when there is more to life than worrying. We have power!! Jesus died so we can have victory over our emotions. Giving our cares to God in prayer helps us deal with life’s challenges with a God perspective.

The Assignment
  1. For 5 days, set aside 7 minutes of uninterrupted time to spend in silence listening for the voice of God. You can maybe use the first or last 7 minutes of the time you set aside each day for this 14-Day Journey to Hearing from God. Literally set your stopwatch for seven minutes and sit in complete silence. Listen for the voice of God to tell you what to do. This will help you learn how to listen for the prompting of the Holy Spirit. He’ll show you what to do next.
  2. After 5 days, increase your time adding in time for prayer and watch God move.
This intentional time set aside to hear from God will be so beneficial that it will become natural for you to spend more time with God in prayer, where you listen to His prompting. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear anything at first. Just wait. God is perfect and supreme. I know for me, if I don’t hear from God right away, He’ll show Himself through nature or through other forms of revelations throughout the day. God is near and He desires to speak to each of us DAILY.

Lastly this is how important prayer is to God. Before we even form our lips to pray God has an answer. Isaiah 65:24 Even before they finish praying to me, I will answer their prayers. WOW!!! How awesome is that? Now image all of the things God has stored up for His children who are too busy to pray or who make excuses. God wants to bless us and it comes through relationship. We cannot have intimacy with God without prayer. Prayer requires that we listen and obey His commands. God has you on His mind. Seek Him daily. I promise you will not be disappointed.

Iantha is praying for you. I'm praying for you too.

-Nicole