A year or so ago I wrote an e-book entitled A Simple Guide to Hearing God. It’s designed to be a very practical look at how to hear God’s voice. However, I decided to take a different approach.
I have many friends who know how to hear God clearly–some of the stories they tell are remarkable. Armed with my iphone, I interviewed these people asking them how God speaks to them. (The videos I produced are amateur, but what the people I interviewed say is not!) How to hear God is also a subject I have studied and practiced for many years, and the text comes out of what I have learned.
The result is an enhanced e-book–a combination of video and writing. (It therefore has to be viewed on a computer rather than a kindle).
I would now like to give this e-book away. If you subscribe to my blog, you will receive a link to the free download.
The last few posts have described some times of a group gathering together with no other purpose than listening to God and obeying what he tells us to do.
We are on mission with God. Imagine what could happen if groups like this multiplied—each one being sent out on assignments for the Kingdom. Each one swearing allegiance to the King and to each other. Like in a regular army, we would not necessarily see the whole of the big picture, but under the command of the Lord, we would each be responsible for our part.
Here are some of the principles we have learned:
Principles/Guidelines for Listening Gatherings:
- Surrender the need for any agenda or any preconceived reason for gathering.
- Don’t bring your “name,” network, ministry or position to the gathering.
- Purify yourselves in preparation—Ps. 24: 3-4
- It is all an exercise in willingness, and don’t be surprised if there is a thinning down of people from your first gathering to your subsequent ones.
- Expect God to speak.
- Listen and then listen again. Wait on God. There will be rabbit trails, but just come back to listening.
- Resist the urge to strategize when listening to God. Save that for a later time. Direction is different than strategy. God will direct the time and purpose of the gathering.
- Sometimes God will create an opportunity for you to immediately act on this prophetic intelligence. Other times there may be several tasks that you must fulfill either individually or corporately as a result of your listening. Either way, God is very interested in your obedience.
- The key balance: everyone participating but no one dominating.
- God’s message will usually come from the sum of individual “hearings.” Most people will feel like what they are hearing is just for themselves and not the group. It may be for them, but it is most likely also for the group.
- Valuing everyone’s contribution is essential. Corporate listening relies on the principle that God will share something to the community that He would not share to just an individual. The reasons for this are that (1) it would be too much for one person or one like-minded group to hear and (2) God himself is in community.
- You may never know what are the full results of your listening and obeying as a gathering. It’s a mystery and based on faith.
- You can count on one thing though—you will be changed and become more like Christ. This is what it looks like to walk in spiritual authority—to have a pure heart, to surrender to the Lord, to listen and obey in community.
Here are a couple more stories from when our group gathered with no other purpose than listening to God:
A beautiful illustration comes from our gathering time in Basel, Switzerland. Our host had procured a bronze model of King Arthur and his knights surrounding the Round Table. The king and his knights had drawn their swords, laying them down and centering them at the middle of the Round Table. It was a picture of laying down their personal agendas and swearing allegiance to the king and to each other. This art piece spoke to us of the absolute necessity that each of us be willing to stand at the table with our king, shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters. We also learned that, even though we are ready to slay the dragon, we always need first to lay down our swords and be willing to listen for direction from our king.
Our time in Plano, Texas illustrates the value that each person plays in corporate listening to God. One of us had a picture of a scroll, which was torn in several pieces. Each of us had a piece of that scroll, and as we shared what God had spoken to us personally it formed a whole scroll, a complete word from God. From this experience, we are learning that God speaks to the whole community. Even the times when some of us felt like we had nothing of importance to share or nothing at all, each message was important and formed a beautiful tapestry—one message from God. And we needed each piece of the message. We needed each person to listen and obey. We needed to trust each other and God in each other.
The “listening group” attempts to meet together two to three times per year for two to three days at a time. The people involved have apostolic and/or prophetic gifting, many with a national or international calling on their lives. We have learned much during our times together. Here are some characteristics of what we have seen—in no order of priority:
- The location sometimes plays an important part in what happens when we come together—for example, Globe.
- We have prayed about national and international situations.
- God gives us spiritual intelligence that we are to act upon. Corporate obedience is key. Often we have been led to perform a prophetic act that symbolizes what we are praying about. Sometimes we have done this all together. For example, in Globe on the site of the medicine wheel, we formed a circle, facing outwards, and prayed blessing instead of curses over the land. Other times two or three people have been sent out from the group to perform that act.
- Angels have appeared to some in the group. God has given us instructions as to what to speak to them or ask them to do.
- We have often been made aware of demonic activity and shown how to deal with it.
- Dreams and visions play an important role in how God speaks to us.
- At all times, gathering to listen has been an exercise in willingness. For most of us, having the resources to get together (time, money and energy) has always been a challenge. Moreover, being willing to live in a place of surrender is a constant growth edge for us that spills over into our gathering times. We have all been dramatically changed by our times together.
Our gatherings have not always run smoothly. When we use human strategy to understand what God is saying and what we should do as a result, we find ourselves talking endlessly and getting nowhere—until someone suggests that we listen to the Lord again. Transparency in our dealings with each other is essential. Any conflicts have to be brought into the open and dealt with thoroughly at the foot of the cross.
Continuing the story of the group that gathers to listen:
Over the next few weeks, more information came out. The morning after we returned home, a leader from the Nav-Apache council visited D.B. at the coffee shop.
“Can you pray for one of our young men?” he asked. “He went insane over the weekend, and nothing is helping him. “
“Why would you ask me?” said D.B.
“You may wonder why we let our youth come to your café. The Apache believe that spirits can be transferred both by touch and by the preparation of food. And you are known to be a man of peace.”
D.B. explained that the Great Spirit of Peace, whose name is Jesus, heals people today, and prayed that the young man’s sanity would be restored. Within a few days he received news that from that moment, the young man was completely healed.
A few weeks later an extraordinary email was sent out to the group, with the information that the three-level house we had prayed over had, for a while, been the home of Anton LaVey, author of the Satanic Bible!
A year later, there was more good news. For one year, there were no murders or suicides in Globe. On top of that, the leadership of the city has dramatically changed. Other Arizona city councils continue to ask Globe, how they are able to accomplish so much change. We know the answer to that: we believe that our prayers are transforming the city!
What will happen if everywhere, groups of people go "on mission" with God, listening to him and carrying out the assignments he gives?
Continuing the story of the listening gatherings:
The next morning, we started to pray through the things D.B. had described. The first place we prayed was on a hilltop where the scene with the Native American man had taken place. We repented for what had been done to his people in that area and bound the effects of the curse on the city and reservation, proclaiming blessing instead on both regions.
The next place we went to was the school, which looked more like a prison than an educational center. We walked all round the school and prayed for the students, the faculty, and the administration. We sensed we were supposed to anoint the doors and had brought a bottle of oil for the purpose.
The strange three-level house was next on our agenda. It appeared from the outside like a normal, single story house—nothing unusual about it. Behind it was a gorge, spanned by a footbridge. As we stood on the bridge, praying about the picture, a lady came out of the house. D.B. approached her.
“I’m interested in old houses,” he said. “Can you tell me about yours?”
“It’s kind of unusual,” she replied. “It has two basements with a swimming pool in the lowest one.” She went on to describe the elevator down, the secret passage, as well as the identity of the owner during the era of the vision. And it was all in perfect alignment with what God had revealed.
We were astounded at the accuracy of the picture. Our praying took on urgency as we realized the reality of the vision.
We ended our prayer walk at city hall, where one of us envisioned a chain of corruption linking it to the police station and other government buildings. We prayed that God would break this chain and bring righteousness to these seats of power.
What were the effects of our prayers? See the next post