One of the questions that frequently appeared in the survey for Climbing Prayer Mountain was “How do I know God is really speaking to me in prayer and I’m not making it up?” This is a great question which I believe everyone that seeks the will of God in prayer asks at some point.
In response to this question I’d like to give an example from my own life. Recently I was in Lesotho, Africa and a pastor friend of mine asked me to preach at his church. The problem was, I didn’t get the request until Saturday night and I lacked adequate time to prepare a new message. So, right away my mind wandered back to which previous one I may be able to reuse. But I struggled to retrieve a “tried and true message” I thought was appropriate. I had no direction or peace, so I started to pray in my spirit, “Lord what do you want me to preach?” Then Psalm 27:4: “One thing I have asked of the Lord ….to gaze on the beauty of the LORD” popped into my mind.
Why did I know this was from the Spirit of the LORD?
- A repeated impression: During the week Psalm 27:4 came up 3 times in unexpected ways. First of all a woman who I had a conversation with while waiting for an appointment brought it up. Second, that same night I received a text from a friend in Michigan with a picture of a license plate reading PSALM27:4. Third, on Saturday afternoon Mike Verkaik showed me a picture that he had taken at an orphanage he was visiting in the mountains, any guess what the picture was of? You’re right Psalm 27:4.
- “Be still and know that I am God:” To hear God’s voice it is vital that you spend time being still in His presence (Psalm 46:10). Saturday I was able to spend an extended time praying, journaling, and being quiet before the Father as I stayed back from a trip to the mountains with a sick team member. My heart had been receptive to listening to the Spirit because of time dwelling in His presence.
- The Living Word: Being still is important, but so is continuing to dwell in the Scriptures. The Bible comes alive through the Holy Spirit and our God uses His Word to direct our paths (Psalm 119:105). When Abba speaks it will always be in agreement with His written Word.
- Perfect Peace: When the Holy Spirit speaks an overwhelming peace follows (Col. 3:15). As I thought about preaching from Psalm 27:4 a peace came over me, despite the fact I had little time to prepare. I went to bed that night with peace that God would give me a word. The crazy thing was that night I had a dream that I was preaching Psalm 27:4 and key points were given in the dream that I remembered when I woke up Sunday morning.
- When two or three agree: Before I went to bed that night I told my friend Mike that I sensed the Holy Spirit was directing me to preach on Psalm 27:4 and I told him why, he smiled and affirmed my impressions. God has given us the “body of Christ” to help us discern the voice of God and follow it in obedience (Matthew 18:19-20).
- Will it bring glory to God: I have learned over the years that if God is speaking to me and calling me to follow His voice it will be about His glory and not mine (I Cor. 10:31). When the Father speaks He will call me to do things I can’t do in my strength but “His power will be made perfect in my weakness!” (2 Cor. 12:9).
As I opened my mouth that Sunday morning in Lesotho, the Father filled it with His powerful words from His heart to His children. I once again stood in awe of the mighty Voice of the Father. His faithfulness is the result when we follow it in obedience. I pray that these six points will encourage you and help you hear and follow your Father’s life-changing voice that is daily speaking to you.