Showing Process

Showing Process

She was young...

She was young…

Joan of Arc “experienced her first vision around 1424 at the age of 12, in her ‘father’s garden.’ (She) saw visions of figures she identified as Saint Michael, Saint Catherine, and Saint Margaret, who told her to drive out the English and bring the Dauphin (the rightful king) to Reims for his coronation. She cried when they left, as they were so beautiful.”[i]


He was old…

Brother Lawrence, a Carmelite monk in the 1600s, enjoyed the presence of God while doing ordinary tasks in the monastery kitchen. He said, “I have abandoned all particular forms of devotion, all prayer techniques. My only prayer practice is attention. I carry on a habitual, secret, silent conversation with God that fills me with joy overwhelming.”[ii]

Christian author John Piper tells about a certain morning—March 19, 2007—in a remote area of Northern Minnesota, when God spoke to him in phrases that entered his mind one at a time. He noted: “There is no doubt that it was God. I heard the words in my head just as clearly as when a memory of a conversation passes across your consciousness. The words were in English, but they had about them an absolutely self-authenticating ring of truth. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God still speaks today.”[iii] Read the whole story.

imagesWhen I think of notable spiritual people, I want to ask—how did you come to know God’s presence and hear His voice…what was your process? Did you grow in awareness gradually? Did you pray for hours first? Or what about fasting? Were you young or old? Had you just discovered your faith or were you a long way into the journey?

As you can see from the few examples above, there isn’t any formula. Still, we can learn from others if they are willing to show their process.

photo 1Twenty years ago, a pastor suggested that God might be saying something biblical to me, when I repeatedly saw the same sequence of numbers. “Search it out and see,” he suggested. “You’ll know if it’s pertinent or random.”

At the time, it was a fantastic thought! Of course the Bible contains history, parables, and principles which are relevant and “speak” to us today. But to say that The God of The Universe would use ancient verses to speak to me—right then and there—felt wildly exciting! Wasn’t He talking to Israel or some prophet of old? Can God use the same holy text to communicate directly with you and me?

Yes and yes!

Something dynamic happens because of the Holy Spirit

Something dynamic happens because of the Holy Spirit

God speaks in the foundational language of Scripture, but builds on that bedrock. He takes the truth in the Word and reiterates it to our circumstances in ways that are fresh, poignant, timely and meaningful.

James Ryle, pastor and co-founder of Promise Keepers, a men’s movement in the 1990s, tells how God spoke to him as a young incarcerated man. God used certain Scriptures to give him hope and show him his future. Listen to his story. (6 minutes)

Here’s an example from my life. Years ago, someone I care about was making poor choices. My thoughts wrestled. Should I say something? On one hand, if I said nothing, would terrible consequences result? On the other hand, who did I think I was? Would I seem judgmental? I did not want the job of bringing truth.

Still, when God puts someone in that role the results can bring a watershed moment. Think of the German Friar Martin Luther up against the church with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517.[iv] Or how about Martin Luther King Jr., confronting racism in the 1960s? In the Bible, God used Nathan the prophet to confront King David, and raised up Esther to challenge Haman’s plot against the Jewish race.

So unexpected and specific!

So unexpected and specific!

In my situation, I didn’t know what to do. Then one morning, I happened to be reading Ezekiel 33. Verse 7 jumped off the page. I gasped:

“Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me.”

I couldn’t believe my eyes! I knew God was speaking to me. I went out on a limb and said something to my friend.

Six months later, I ended up in another situation! Good grief! Why me, God? Several people I loved were poised to make some very grave mistakes. Another man who knew about it contacted me to pray. He emailed me to see if we could meet at 7:33 p.m.! Later, he said “7:33” was a typo. He meant to type 7:30, but the Lord told him to leave it. I mentioned Ezekiel 33:7 and how God used that verse for confidence in another instance. We both felt the green light from God.

Just because God confirmed two situations with Ezekiel 33:7, it didn’t give me carte blanche. We must listen for God’s fresh voice in each circumstance.

Tell me an example in your process of learning to hear God…



[ii] The Practice of The Presence Of God, Brother Lawrence


[iv] http://en.widipedia.or/wiki/Martin_Luther


  1. This is your life work Susan…helping people hear God. Thank you for this. I can relate to hearing from God about warning someone…and how difficult that can be. It takes a lot of courage and being motivated by love to respond. Ahhhh, but knowing that God is good and it’s His kindness that leads to repentance – brings confidence. However in the end…obedience is what it really boils down to. Every time I obey that still small voice, I learn more how to hear Him speak. I always love your heart and writing Susan!

    • I love to hear your stories… it is a treasure hunt and it doesn’t involve “stepping out” in obedience. Great insights!

  2. I have has scripture pop off the page similar to your experience, and I have had numbers show up on radios that I have an impression to look at certain scripture. I have had dreams of things I do not normally do or think about like the statement there is strength on the leeward side and a picture of a boat in my minds eye. Most of the time God makes me look for the meaning in his word, or the word is illuminated in my heart. Every time I am astonished, that He would talk to me, and sometimes I doubt that I am hearing right. But time and time again He assures me that it is He. Amazing that He comes, and speaks.

  3. it wasn’t until years had passed after i was “born again” that god imparted words to my mind. when i first heard from him, he started using a single word at a time and how can anyone explain it? how can you describe the “knowing” that it is him and not you? i only know that HE HAS THE ABILITY to give that assurance. early on he began using nicknames, calling me by a nickname that could only have been from him, names he knew only i would “get”. as time has gone by i’ve heard sentences and had two way conversations which stop me in my tracks. I can’t know when it will happen, but it certainly takes my settling in. that is my part, because after all it takes two to tango, right?!

    • Suzee–so true. I love how you explain it in your own experience. There is a “knowing” in our knowing place. And yes, I think we have to slow down and settle in as you say. Easy to miss in a world of constant distraction.