Nothing assures the believing heart like knowing it is in the centre of the will of God. The safety of the Chief Shepherd’s care, the guarantee of rest and refreshing, the certainty of provision and more than anything else, the blessedness of His abiding presence are reasons why our hearts desire to be just where He wants us to be.
Scriptures are replete with examples of supernatural and spectacular ways that God spoke to and led His children. His voice thundered from the heavens, His angels appeared to some, dreadful dreams, trances and visions, prophetic ministry and human voices were employed at different times. Our natural expectations are that one of these spectacular means will be used to guide us on a daily basis.
However, our experiences are most often different. While we desire incontrovertible guidance like the spectacular examples of scripture, we have found that such is a rarity for most of us. Yours truly has never experienced them in about 35 years of consistent pursuit of God’s Will for my life. There have been times of long prayer and times of self denial in desperation. If it pleases the Lord, He leads some in such manners but many of us like me are not endowed with such grace regardless of the price we pay or the efforts deployed in search of them.
One certainty for every child of God is that the scriptures are full of God’s promises to lead us and to guide us. A few of such are Psalm 25:11, 32:8, 48:14. Isaiah 58:11, Jeremiah 33:3, John 10:4. The Lord spoke to my heart long ago, “I will have you develop your faith for my guidance as you developed it for healing”. God wants His children to develop confidence in His love for them and in His faithfulness to lead and guide them through life as they learn to put their trust in Him(Proverbs 3.5-6).
Over the years, I have learnt a simple method that was more clearly articulated by Mark Virkler who has taught extensively on this subject. I observed as I sought the Lord for a confirmation of His calling upon my life that He flooded my heart with images of my future and invaded my thoughts with words that became a part of my own thoughts. Because they were not spectacular, I thought they emanated from me but I had to eventually admit they were divinely inspired partly because of their resilience in my heart and mind and also because of the anointing that they imparted to me. The more I prayed and sought the Lord, the stronger these images captivated my heart and those words captured my thoughts. No doubt, I became a slave to those imaginations and thoughts, submitting to the fact that through them, the heavens had apprehended my soul. Then, my pastor played a VHS video in what He called “Video School of Ministry” then. With a passion to train people in ministry, he employed every means to do so, including an informal training school (Young Ministers Teaching School), a formal one(Word of Victory Bible Training Institute) and then the “Video School Of Ministry” through which he shared his rich library of video resources.
One of the videos was that of Mark Virkler who out of Habakuk 1-3 taught four simple keys of hearing the voice of God. The four keys are simply the following:
Habakuk decided to find Himself a quiet place of prayer which shouldn’t be a monologue but a dialogue. In quietness, he then fixed his spiritual gaze upon the Lord, observes the spontaneous thoughts and pictures on his heart and writes them down. This simple process practised with time can become a great tool to finding direction, clearing doubts and resting in God’s adding presence everyday of our lives. In the coming weeks, I will touch on all four points in greater details.