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How to Hear from God

Notes & Resources

Week 5

GOING DEEPER

IMAGE GALLERY: "THE WIND & THE WHISPER"

You are invited to spend some time looking through “the wind and the whisper” gallery. We have posted several images in the link below. Spend a moment looking through these images and try to identify 3 things.

  • What image best represents an area where you would find it particularly challenging to hear from God?
  • What image best represents a place where you might expect to hear God’s voice, but rarely do?
  • What image best represents a space where God seems to speak to you?

When you return to your seat, spend a moment interacting with the image. Take a picture of the image on your phone at the wall if it would be helpful for you. Think about why. Why do the images represent what they represent to you?

RESOURCES

The Hidden Life of Prayer by David MacIntyre

Prayer by Philip Yancey

How to Hear God by Pete Greig

Week 4: Hearing God through Circumstances & Community

God speaks externally...

·      through the Bible

·      through our circumstances

·      through Christian community

GOING DEEPER

God is involved in every circumstance, always moving, always communicating Himself. That means our circumstances are another means of hearing from God. So, how do we evaluate our circumstances? How do we hear the voice of God out of what is happening to us?


  1. Evaluate your circumstances in light of God’s Word. He will never say something to you that is inconsistent with His commands or His character as it is revealed in the Bible.
  2. Evaluate your circumstances in light of His plan. He has a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11). There are good things for you to do (Ephesians 2:10). Have those things in mind as you think about your circumstances.
  3. Evaluate your circumstances in light of godly counsel. Objectively and wisely assessing our circumstances can be tricky, even dangerous. We must seek wise counsel (Proverbs 15:22). We must consult our community. It is a God-given safeguard.
  4. Evaluate your circumstances with emotional and spiritual objectivity. Let go of your own preferences as much as possible.
  5. Your circumstances may be clear. The interpretation is not. Look for corroboration and confirmation (from His Word, from counsel, from your own spirit).

 

Let’s evaluate our circumstances right now. Think of (1) a decision you need to make, (2) a relationship issue, or (3) a change that is happening or has just happened. What do the circumstances around you tell you?

  • Literally list the circumstances. What has happened? What is happening? Be detailed.
  • Now run those circumstances through the evaluation criteria above as best you can. Run the circumstances past your own heart and mind.
  • Make note of what thoughts emerge, especially new thoughts. Take those thoughts to God in prayer.

RESOURCES

  • Lifemodelworks.org
  • Praying with Paul by D. A. Carson
  • "Building Community" Gateway Group Study (This is a Gateway group study. Watch for a time to sign up for this.)
  • Prayer by O’Hallesby

Week 3: The Sabbath & Hearing from God through the Bible

GOING DEEPER

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy...” Do you hear the intentionality in this command? And we shouldn’t be surprised. It takes intentionality. So, let’s make a plan for observing Sabbath through the month of November. Thanksgiving and time with family may present surprising challenges; not to mention our regular schedule. But working at it will be worthwhile. If you have a Sabbath rhythm in your life, then let’s build on it this month. If you do not, then let’s experiment. You will not be sorry for the effort spent.

Here are some suggestions:


  • Pick the day that works for you. If you attend church regularly Sunday may work well for you, but it does not have to be Sunday. (If you can’t figure out a whole day, then find the half day that works for you.) I strongly recommend it be the same day every week.
  • ·Start and end the days with some kind of ritual. For example, light a candle at the beginning and end of the day. (Would this be helpful for you? Try it and see.)
  • Spend some concentrated time with God. Make a plan for how you will use this time. What will you study? Or what book will you be reading? Or how will you energize your prayer time?
  • Find something fun to do. Make a plan for this. Involve your family if that’s appropriate.
  • Find something to do where you can be active. Make a plan for this.
  • Finally, here are some “do not do’s”.
  • (1) Do not work.
  • (2) Do not engage with your habits if they waste time— habits like social media, video games, TV, etc. If these are truly sources of health and release for you, then by all means do them. If not, then disengage.
  • (3) Do not feel guilty if you don’t do this perfectly.


RESOURCES

  • practicingtheway.org (good exercise for developing a Sabbath rhythm)
  • Subversive Sabbath by AJ Swoboda
  • Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Timothy Keller
  • Lectio 365 app (an app that leads through lectio divina practices)
  • Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney

Week 2: Cultivating the Right Atmosphere

4 elements which promote an atmosphere of hearing from God:

·     An uncluttered atmosphere

·     An atmosphere of dependence

·     An atmosphere of deep desire

·     An atmosphere of rest

 

1 important life habit that promotes our dialogue-relationship with God: Sabbath-keeping

GOING DEEPER

CONFESSION EXERCISE

Get in a quiet place where you can be alone and uninterrupted for 20 minutes. Read Psalm 32:3-5. Spend a moment acknowledging the weight of your sin to yourself and to God.


Read Psalm 139:13-18, 23-24. Think through these questions related to this reading:

  • How does David show an awareness of his own limitations?
  • What does David ask God to do at the end of this Psalm?
  • What do you think happens in this process?
  • Why does David ask for this?
  • Where does David want to be led?


Name your sin before God as it comes to mind. You’re not making a list. You’re just identifying them, apologizing, and turning away from them.


What you have done that you shouldn’t have...

What you have left undone...

What you have thought about that was inappropriate...

What you’ve imagined...

What you’ve worried about...

The ways you have protected yourself...

Your alternate agendas...


When you finish naming your sin, take three deep breaths and receive God’s forgiveness. Try repeating 1 John 1:9 as you breathe:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”




SABBATH PLANNING

Begin considering how you (and your family) might take a weekly Sabbath through the month of November. We will spend some time on this next week.

RESOURCES

Hearing God: Developing A Conversational Relationship with God by Dallas Willard


A Praying Life by Paul Miller


Experiencing God workbook by Henry Blackaby


Soulshepherding.org


Week 1: Introduction

What does God’s voice sound like?


As an overarching principle, we should remember that God’s voice sounds like Jesus. He is the literal living word of God. That means “hearing His voice is not so much a skill we must master...as a master we must meet.” (Pete Greig)


Still, there are helpful markers in our pursuit of God’s voice. These markers give us some insight into the “sound” and character of His voice. Here are 5:


  • Surprise!
  • A gentle touch to the soul
  • Calm authority
  • Sweet reasonableness
  • Succinct yet very, very rich


“A biblical Christian is not just someone who holds certain beliefs about the Bible. He/she is also someone who leads the kind of life demonstrated in the Bible: a life of personal, intelligent interaction with God.” 

— Dallas Willard

GOING DEEPER

Go deeper by thinking about one of these prompts each day this week. See if any helpful thoughts emerge. Don’t force it. If nothing emerges, don’t worry. Try again the next day.


  • Imagine hearing from God to be like connecting your earbuds to your phone. What is the first thing you need to do to improve that connection?


  • What signs of beauty did you see yesterday (scenes, interactions with people...)? Look for signs of beauty today.


  • Have you had the experience of hearing from God? If not, ask God why? See if an answer emerges. If yes, remember back to the last thing you heard Him say.


  • Consider your motives for wanting to hear from God. (Is there some pressing decision? Do you want deeper intimacy? Do you want proof? Etc.) What does God think of your motives?


  • In Jeremiah 1:11f, God uses pictures to speak to Jeremiah. Think of your most pressing prayer concern. What pictures come to your mind as you think of it?

RESOURCES

How to Hear God by Pete Greig