Jesus wants to be Lord of our times together. He is not the honored guest but the Master of Ceremonies. If we are to follow the Holy Spirit in a gathering, it is important to know how to hear him in a group context. How do you know what is the Holy Spirit and what is your own thoughts?
The best way we know of to do this is to participate fully in what is going on, making it your own vehicle of communication with the Lord. Then what comes spontaneously to mind (a flow of spontaneous thoughts) is likely to be the Holy Spirit communicating with you. So for example, if someone is giving a praise report or praising God in prayer, and a certain song comes to mind, that is likely to be the Holy Spirit. So you suggest that the group sings it (or if you have the confidence, start the song). Then maybe that song prompts someone else to bring a word of prophecy, or reminds them of a Scripture. As one and another trusts the Lord and speaks out as he prompts, the Holy Spirit leads.
What doesn't work so well is to sit there thinking, "I wonder if anyone is going to say anything. Maybe I'll lead out in prayer," or "Is there a song that would fit in with that Scripture?" These are not spontaneous thoughts, and although the Holy Spirit can lead in that way, he is much more likely to do so as we join in fully with what the Spirit is currently doing.
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6 replies on “How do you hear God in the context of a gathering?”
How well you have put the subtle difference between God directed and Man directed actions. It is nice to know just how to relax in a meeting with others knowing that God will show up to lead us!
Thanks for this, Felicity! This is what we do in our meetings, but we’ve never put it into words like this before. I linked to this article in our last church blog post. http://www.arkadelphiahousechurch.com
We gathered in the 80’s in a small group that waited on God to speak and responded to what He was saying. We knew that He was in us all and leading the meeting. Wonderful things came out that experience for 4 years that still spoils me for anything less.
We have just started out on a journey with God to incite gatherings of others who desire to meet with Him in our locale. I look forward to these posts as encouragement and affirmation that God is meeting us when we gather.
I think many of us have had experience of the Holy Spirit leading in the past, and it does spoil us for anything else. Can you think of any principles or practices that you naturally followed that allowed this? It’s not so much that we want to recapture the past, but we do want to see the Holy Spirit in control again.
There seemed to be a common knowledge and pattern in the places where I experienced The Spirit’s leading. There was a common knowledge amongst us when we gathered; that we were all born brothers/sisters, we are partakers in God’s nature and Kingdom, He dwells in & with us all and we have the mind of Christ. We trusted that God is always speaking and desires communion with us.
In that we settled and waited for Him to speak; in streams of impressions, pictures, words as we stilled. We encouraged one another to speak freely as He moved in us. More often than not, themes emerged as each brought a piece or thread to the conversation. It often incited spontaneous praise proclaiming and affirming His name.
At times Father would show us what He was up to and what He wanted us to do. One particular move occurred over three weeks with individuals sharing what God had impressed/said to them. It resulted in going out with money and groceries to find the place seen in an earlier picture to deliver them to a very perplexed, but grateful woman who was wondering how she would feed her family after a job loss.
We may long for the glories and moves of the past but God does not call us to build fortified cities in those past camps but to move on to new and greater things.
We can’t return to the little deferred hope in institutional life, nor the tents in camps past, the simplicity and mystery is challenging at times asking, watching and waiting for the new ways to clear as we let His Spirit rule in us all as we gather.
We are in a relatively new simple church gathering. However some of the old institutional expectations and forms still linger. Like in times past, there are obstacles to the Spirit having free reign amongst us. Most of us are still detoxing from bad experiences; unlearning and relearning, not quite trusting in the safety of Jesus in us and learning to trust living out of our new and good hearts.
I love how the Lord led you so clearly in the past. You’ve brought an important principle when you say that we must not camp in the past. If we are always looking back longing for what has been, we will miss what He is doing right now. It may not look the same as it has done in other times, but His leading will be just as clear.