Hearing the Voice of God Through Journaling
1 Chronicles 28:19 “All this,” said David, “the Lord made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans.”
One of the first things that I taught my children when they were old enough was how to have a conversation. Now, you would think that this is something natural to us humans, but actually I discovered that it wasn’t.
A child is not born knowing how to have a good conversation with somebody. In fact, usually kids are very one-sided in their conversation. They are more like, “Look at me” and they talk about everything they did.
And so especially being in active ministry and being involved with a lot of people, I had to teach them the social skill of having a conversation. As a mother I taught them to say things like, “How are you?”
“You look lovely today!”
“How many children do you have?”
I realized that it really was an art. I only saw the fruit of this when they were a little older and I met somebody who had met the kids before me.
The lady said, “I was so amazed. Your kids showed an interest in the kind of person I was. I never met children like that before. They came into my home and said, ‘Wow, you’ve got such a lovely home. How long have you lived here?’”
She said, “They asked questions that children just never ask and it was such a pleasure just to have a conversation with them.”
It made me quite the proud mom!
The Art of Journaling
You know, these skills are developed - they are not something that we are born with. We learn how to develop conversation and as we come to the subject of journaling, it is very much the same.
A good definition of journaling is this – a written conversation with the Lord.
It is a written dialog between you and the Lord where you approach Him with your thoughts and ideas and write back what He tells you.
He might speak to you in visions or you might hear a still small voice. It is much like operating in utterance or prophecy – you simply write down what you would ordinarily say out loud.
What It Looks Like
Journaling looks like this,
“Lord, I am having another bad day. I did not get any sleep last night because the kids kept me up and I still have not done my laundry. I do not feel like getting out of bed today, Lord.”
The Secret to Hearing
Then you give the Lord a chance to talk. That is one of the secrets to hearing His voice. You have to be real with Him. Say it like it is. Come to Him as you are. As you come and journal and write down all your pitiful woes, how sad you are and whatever else, then you quiet your spirit.
Now, a picture will come to you, a memory will come to you or a scripture will come to mind, and all you need to do is start writing it down. The secret in writing it down is to not write in third person, but to write it as if it is coming directly from the Lord.
So, after I have written my part, I close my eyes and say, “Okay Lord, what do you have to tell me?” Then I see a picture of a river meandering through an open field that is lush, green and beautiful. How do I vocalize that?
It would look a little like this,
“It is time to come into my rest, my child. Come and sit by the water and rest in the river because you have been in so much chaos. It is time to put your problems aside and to just come into my presence and sit by the stream for a little while.”
You are journaling! It takes a little bit of practice and for the first while, it will probably be straight from your mind. Relax. It is okay. It is not like you have committed the unpardonable sin by hearing from your mind and not from God.
It Is OK to Mess Up
It does not have to be perfect from the start. Have you ever heard a child learning to speak? My son, Michael, couldn’t say “Denise” when he was three years old. He said, “Neese” instead. He could not speak full sentences. He said, “I come with” and “hot tea, please” or more like “hot tea, pwease.”
He could not pronounce the letter “l” correctly at first, but after a while, he got the words right. When he first started going “ma ma” or “da da”, I did not say, “Would you please say, mother, father, sister, brother and can I hear you quote the books of the Bible please?”
No, give the guy a break. He is just learning to speak! He will get there in time. Just like a baby needs time to learn to speak, we need time to learn to hear His voice correctly. Yes, some of what you write down will be your thoughts and ideas.
However, the more you do it, the better you will get. Then you will look over older journals and see the parts that were God and the parts that were you. The more you get used to hearing His voice, the more you will recognize where you are getting off track.
It is a process. It is a relationship. Even in marriage relationships, it takes a while to understand what the other person is “really” saying. It takes time to get to know one another. It is the same with the Lord.
Upbringing Conditions You
Unfortunately, there are a lot of preconceived ideas that you have from growing up in the Church. Most of the skills we have in getting along with people come from the home.
Depending on the kind of relationship you had with your parents and siblings will determine how well you can have a conversation.
So you come to the Lord, ready to share your heart and hear His voice and find yourself in a bind.
The problem is that you have so many ideas in your mind about how you should be approaching God and how you should be talking to Him that it starts to hinder your ability to journal.
What is journaling? Simply put it is a method of conversation via writing where you present your thoughts to the Lord and then you write down His answer.
Now learning how to journal is quite simple and it is a subject that I have already taught on extensively, so I am not going to re-hash that here. Rather I am going to assume that you know what journaling is and that you have already attempted it.
If you want to get more instruction on how to journal please read, The Way of Dreams and Visions, Practical Prophetic Ministry or Called to the Ministry.
Dos and Don’ts of Journaling
So in this chapter I just want to take a very quick look at the dos and don’ts for journaling. They are very practical so I really want you to pick up pen and paper or underline them in the book.
You know what should be done, but why be satisfied with what you have? There is always place to go deeper!
Take time to hear what God has to say. You might be thinking, “That’s a no brainer - it is journaling after all!” but you would be surprised how many people are so busy talking to the Lord about their problems that they never stop to hear what He has to say.
Remember how I shared how I taught my children to ask questions and to listen to other people? That is such a vital part of journaling. Listen to what He wants to say. Don’t get too self-absorbed.
It could be that the Lord wants to talk about something completely different. He wants to answer your question in a way you do not expect. I have experienced this many times in my own journals.
Listen to what God has to say. Really listen. Don’t get so wrapped up in your ideas that you do not listen and He is literally shouting to you through the journal, but you keep trying to pull Him back to your point. Don’t do it!
2. Make Your Request Clear
The next point is: Make your request clear. When you come to the Lord come with a clear idea of what you are journaling for. This helps to give you a tremendous direction for your journal.
If you just want to hear His voice then say “Lord, what do you have to say to me today? What is your direction for me today?”
Come with an idea of what you are going to say because it is a conversation. Say to the Lord, “Lord, this is my need and care” or “Hey, how are you doing? I just want to hear what you have to say.”
By doing this, it gives you a clear track to run on – a direction for your journal. It is always nice when having a conversation with someone to “get it rolling.” Then it can develop from there.
3. Be Real and Honest
When I am with a good friend, I don’t say, “It would please me to have you accompany me to the nearest coffee shop, so that we might share a tasty beverage. Would you extend me the grace by accepting my eager invitation?”
My friends would look at me pretty strangely if I spoke like that! So it stands to reason that I don’t talk in theatrical language and religious speech.
I just say, “Hey, how is it going? You want to come around for a cup of coffee?”
Well, Jesus is your best friend and you should be real and honest with Him, more so than you can be with any other person in this world.
There is no such thing as having to approach the Lord in a formatted, formal way.
Yes, by all means, have a healthy fear of the Father. It is important to have reverence, because He is God.
However, the kind of relationship that I am talking about here is an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus.
The exciting thing is, when you are real and honest with Him, He is very real and honest back.
Are you looking for a straight answer to something? Then ask Him a straight question. Don’t word your question in a way that sounds nicer than the reality - because He knows what’s in your heart anyway!
Say it like it is. Say it how you feel it. Say what you are really thinking. Spit it out.
If you feel embarrassed about how it really is, delete the journal afterwards, okay? (If that makes you feel any better.)
This is a very good starting point to make your journals come alive and making the Lord feel more real. You get in touch with Him and you will start to hear some honest answers back.
4. Do not Paste in Tons of Scriptures
Under no circumstance should you paste in hundreds of scriptures. What’s the point?
That is like having a conversation with a friend where you are trying to back up every statement you make with a scripture.
I hate to break it to you, but the Lord already knows what He said in the Word. He is the one that originated it. He doesn’t need to quote it back at Himself.
I see this so often with the prophets. They are journaling and then they paste the scripture reference there just to back up what the Lord said.
In fact, the speech of the Word should be natural.
The Language of God
You will find that as the Lord speaks to you in your journals He is going to say things like, “My child, I have called you to be the head and not the tail, above and not beneath.”
He does not give the disclaimer though, “Please go to Deuteronomy 28:44…” He doesn’t do it because He knows where it’s found. He spoke it. He originated it. He doesn’t need to repeat it and He doesn’t need to back Himself up.
Try to get away from it and I will tell you why. If you get into the “I have to go look up all the scriptures” mode, you cut the flow of your spirit and you get into your mind. That is when you start walking a delicate line that can even lead to deception.
By taking your mind off what God is saying and over analyzing it, you give the enemy the opening he needs to get his ideas in there.
If you are unsure about the content of your journal, then journal first and afterwards look up the scriptures.
5. Do Not Use High Spiritual Language
From what I have seen over the years I got the idea that many believers think that the Lord speaks in King James English.
Here is a newsflash... He doesn’t! In fact, you will find that when Jesus walked the earth, He was rather ordinary. So much so that the Pharisees needed Judas to identify Him. He was ordinary looking and ordinary in the language of the day He used.
Of course, the authority with which He spoke was something else all together! There was surely nothing very ordinary with the power that those words were spoken with!
He spoke in such a way that the uneducated beggars understood Him. Prostitutes understood Him..
When He went to Nicodemus He had to say, “For somebody that is so educated, you are pretty stupid.” He was talking so plainly that Nicodemus in his high spiritual understanding could not understand the plainness and the simplicity of His message.
He Talks My Language!
When you come into an intimate relationship with Jesus you will realize that He talks your language. He speaks like you speak.
If you speak French, He speaks French. If you speak English, He speaks English. He speaks to you in a way that you will understand Him.
The Lord doesn’t speak in high-toned spiritual language all the time and He certainly does not speak in King James English. He speaks a language that you can understand. He speaks in pictures, types and shadows.
6. Do not Use Jargon and Spiritual Buzzwords
I realize that there are so many “Christian buzzwords” floating around in the Church. There are things that we have grown up with through the years, things that we have received from other ministries.
And so you just take them. You just say, “Oh, okay, I just take that. That’s how it is.” You don’t stop to look in the Scriptures for yourself. These buzzwords end up becoming a doctrine in themselves because no one took the time to look them up.
So watch out for these little terms, especially those common terms that are out there that are not based on the Word.
Now you do not need to get paranoid - sure, there are some good ones that are based on the Word and the Lord will use them to illustrate His point. He will talk about named principles that you have studied to make a point.
Where Did It Originate?
That is just one of my little personal things and you can either take it with a pinch of salt or you could really take it as a challenge and say, “Yes, that’s a good point. Why do I always say that? Where did I get that buzzword from?”
Perhaps you have a few ideas that come to your mind, but there are a few that I hear often.
“New level, new devil.”
“Name it and claim it brother!”
“If it’s His will, it’s His bill!”
“Too blessed to be stressed”
“God is good all the time. All the time, God is good!”
If you want to journal like you never have before and come into an intimate relationship with the Lord, you need to cut through all the rubbish.
You will need to cut through the religious mindsets. Cut out the fancy language and misconceptions and you will find your relationship with the Lord becoming real, alive and evolving into something wonderful.
Here is a tip to help identify a buzzword – would you use that in a normal conversation? Remember, I was sharing how conversation is an art.
So what are you going to do? Are you going to take up the challenge or are you going to say, “No, my journals are great. I have got it all together. I think it is pretty perfect.“
Is it? Have you developed the art of conversation with the Lord to the point where you are so comfortable with talking to Him and with hearing what He has to say?
Are your journals still in point form, or do they look like a conversation? They should look as if somebody took the conversation and transcribed it.
It takes time to get it right, but I know that as you apply yourself, that you will soon come to the place where Jesus and you are talking face-to-face!
(This article is taken from the book How to Hear the Voice of God)
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