Be sure to read the intro to this series, How God Speaks (To Me) – The “Feeling”
Many times I’ll be praying about something specific, asking God for direction, and find my mind fixated on a particular thought or image. It is in this way that He has given me guidance in a great many areas of life.
As in the times when God has given me a “feeling” for direction, it has taken time to be able to discern between the thoughts that are mine and the ones that are from Him, and I still have quite a bit of learning to do. There are also times when I have to exercise my faith, and trust both that God gave me a particular thought, and that I am correct in my hearing.
Recently I was asking God what I should do during my times with Him in the morning. I am not a morning person and would feel myself drifting off to sleep if I just tried to pray, nor was I reading anything in particular in the Bible at that point. While I was praying, I kept imagining the cover of one certain book I have, but which I had not read. I own a few hundred books, but this one especially was fixed in my mind at that moment. After I was done praying, I went and got it off my bookshelf, and I’ve begun reading it. It is excellent and pertains directly to things I’m going through at this time.
Here’s another example. A little over a year ago I planned a retreat for a group of twenty-somethings in our church. We stayed in a few cabins for the weekend and had a great time together. Before the retreat I was asking God what He wanted the theme of the weekend to be, and the thought that came to my mind was “breaking things off.” The meaning that came along with it was that of a gardener pruning a vine so that it may grow further¹. This was the central idea we planned our worship and prayer around for the retreat.
Though a thought such as “breaking things off” came to my mind, it did not originate with me, it was not my own idea. This is a fine distinction that can be hard to understand without experiencing it yourself. God planted it in my mind, spoke it to me, and in that way directed me in response to my prayers.
(1) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener… Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” – John 15:1-2
Photo by Dan Dickinson. Used under Creative Commons License.