God isn’t dead! He’s alive and well, and still ready, willing and able to speak to His children—and He wants to speak to you!
“How can that be?” you may ask. In order to comprehend the answer to that—how the great God and Creator of the universe could communicate directly with you, or why He would even want to—you must first understand how much God loves you. He loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for your sins so that you could be forgiven and receive God’s gift of eternal life in Heaven, simply by believing in Jesus and receiving Him as your Savior. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, but He would have died for you alone. He and His Father love you that much!
In His love, God also gave you the Bible, through which He tells you how to live in love and harmony with Him and others. God’s Words in the Bible are an inexhaustible source of faith, comfort, encouragement, instruction, wisdom and strength of spirit.
But God didn’t stop there. He loves you so much that He not only wants to communicate with you through His written Word, but directly! He takes a loving personal interest in you, and wants to be involved in your life. He knows that you have questions and problems, and He wants to give you the answers and solutions. He also wants to speak personal words of love and encouragement to you, to boost your faith and reassure you during those rough times. Most of all, He wants you to know how much He loves you personally. So He created a means of two—way communication, a channel between Him and you, so that you can talk to Him in prayer and in reply hear words He gives specially for you.
But what if you don’t consider yourself very “spiritual” or close to God? Well, you’ll be happy to know that God will speak to anyone who has a little childlike faith—and He wants to speak to you, to give you a chance to experience His infinite wisdom and boundless love. He wants to lead you step by step into a closer relationship with Him and a greater understanding of His will and ways.
God may speak to you in a number of ways: As you read the Bible, He may cause a particular passage to stand out to you and show you how it applies to your situation or how it answers a question you may have. He may not even use words—He may just give you an impression or inner conviction, a sort of intuitive knowledge about a particular situation. He may speak to you through vivid dreams or visions. He may speak through others—godly counselors, whose wisdom and experience you can benefit from. But of all the ways God is able to speak to you, perhaps none is more wonderful or of greater practical value than the gift of prophecy.
Did you know that the principle dictionary definition of the word “prophecy” is not “a prediction,” but rather “a divinely inspired utterance”? In other words, prophecy is receiving a message directly from God. Whenever you hear words in your mind that you believe are from God and you say them or write them down, you are prophesying.
You can hear from Heaven! Put God to the test! See if He will not open to you the windows of Heaven and pour out such blessings on you—the treasures of His Words for you personally—that you will not be able to contain them all!
Why is it when we talk to God we are said to be praying, and when God talks to us we’re said to be schizophrenic?
—actress Lily Tomlin
How Prophecy Works
Once you’re open to the idea that God can speak to you, what next? Here are the basic ground rules:
1. Have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you’ve received Jesus as your Savior, you’ve already met the first and most important requirement. When you opened your heart to Jesus, you began an intimate relationship with Him not only as your Savior, but also as your friend, teacher and counselor.
2. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples shortly before He was crucified that after He was gone, He would send the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, to teach them all things and guide them into all truth (John 16:7,13-14). He has promised to give the Holy Spirit to you too, if you ask for it (Luke 11:9-13).
3. Pray for the gift. The ability to receive messages directly from God—commonly referred to as the gift of prophecy—is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are explained in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. God is more than willing to give you this or whatever other gifts of the Spirit you ask for (Matthew 7:7-8). (See God’s Gifts, from the Get Activated! series, for more information on the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the spirit.)
4. Talk to Jesus. Prayer is not meant to be a religious ritual, but a living relationship. Jesus wants to speak to you as openly and freely as your best friend or spouse would, but it’s a two-way street. It may be awkward at first if you aren’t used to speaking to Him personally, but it gets easier once you begin to do it regularly. He understands and loves you as no other can. He wants you to tell Him your deepest thoughts, your innermost feelings, your secret dreams and longings.
5. Read God’s Word. In order to correctly apply the words that Jesus speaks to you personally in prophecy, you need a certain understanding of God’s already recorded Word. Knowing the Word also helps you to have faith that the message you are hearing is from the Lord. The Bible is your foundation. Read it, study it, memorize it; let it become a part of you.
6. Have faith. The Bible tells us that having faith is being certain that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it right now. How do you get faith? Simple! Faith comes from reading the Word of God (Romans 10:17). As you read the Word and commit significant passages to memory, your faith will grow.
7. Ask! This may seem pretty obvious, but in order to receive something in prophecy, you first have to ask the Lord to speak to you. “Call on Me, and I will show you great and mighty things which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). Place your telephone call, and get His reply!
8. Be humble. Your mindset, your attitude of heart, your motives—all this helps determine how clearly you will be able to hear from Heaven. You need to realize that you are weak in yourself, that you don’t have the answers and therefore need God’s answers. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels”—lowly clay pots—“that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
9. Ask God to override your own thoughts while hearing from Him, and to help you submit your will to His. To receive God’s messages, you need to have an open mind and heart. You need to be ready to accept whatever He gives, even if it’s not what you were expecting, not completely to your liking, or you don’t understand it fully. Your own ideas and desires may be good, but His will prove better.
10. Now you’re ready to begin. Start by finding a quiet place and taking a few minutes to talk to the Lord. Tell Him what’s on your heart. Thank Him for His blessings in your life.
If you have a specific question you’d like to ask Jesus, go ahead. Then be still and focus your mind on the Lord. Closing your eyes will help you shut out distractions around you.
Do your best to concentrate and patiently listen with your spirit. Then take in whatever comes to your heart, mind, ears, or eyes, and accept that as the Lord’s message for you. As you speak or write down the first bit you get, the Lord will give you more! When you’ve sincerely asked the Lord to speak, and your heart and mind are open to Him, He will!
(For more explanation of the gift of prophecy and how to use it and benefit from it, read Hearing from Heaven, a booklet in Aurora Production’s Get Activated! series.)
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