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Personal prophecy: the now word of the Lord
Jun 15

Personal Prophecy: The “Now” Word Of The Lord

By Tim Bader | Prophecy

The bible is God’s word for our whole lives. Personal prophecy is God’s word for now.

Personal prophecy - the now word of the Lord

What is the relationship between personal prophecy and the bible?

I believe that the bible speaks into the whole of our lives. Whereas prophecy and in particular, personal prophecy, usually speaks into today.

This goes against the grain of how we usually view prophecy. Typically, our perception of prophecy is that it’s exclusively about the future.

A specific prophecy may well have its focus in the future, but it always has an application for the present. This is prophecy for today, what I like to call, “the ‘now’ word of the Lord”.

Personal Prophecy Story

A couple of months ago, I was feeling a bit depressed. I’d been going through a real rollercoaster of emotions related to my calling.

I fervently believe that God has called me to teach people how to hear his voice and how to prophesy. He has called me to “raise up a prophetic generation”, as my website home page has it. It’s just that sometimes, that calling seems impossible!

I’ve heard before that God’s call on our lives needs to seem impossible, because that means you have to rely on him. After all, if we only did the things that were easy, we’d have no need for God, would we?

However, sometimes things seem so impossible that they feel totally out of reach, even with the Lord’s help. And this was one of those days.

Of course, the Lord has a way of stepping into these situations, just when we need it. And this proved to be the case.

A Very Personal Prophecy

A mission team from Eastgate church in Kent was coming to help us reach out to our town.

One of the events was a prophecy clinic, where the team would pray for people and share personal prophecy with them.

I jumped at the chance to do what I love best. I booked my place with the team, so I could help pray for people. And I also made sure to get my own “turn”, so I could both give and receive.

On the evening, I was first to be prayed for, and the team were absolutely spot on. In just a few minutes, three people I had never met before shared words, pictures and bible verses with me.

Several of these words were exactly what God has spoken directly to me, over many years. One or two of those words were so personal to my relationship with the Lord that I have never told anyone else about them.

My spirits were lifted and I was empowered to pray for others that evening. Beyond that, several of those words have been consolidated in my mind since then. Consequently, I have begun to see new growth in areas that felt dead before.

Little did I know that I was about to be made redundant from my job (still an ongoing process, at the time of this post). I now believe this is part of the Lord’s intervention, commissioning me into my calling!

This is what I mean by the “now” word of the Lord, and it’s an important concept to grasp. Let me explain.

Personal Prophecy: Sword Of The Spirit Or Belt Of Truth?

In the famous passage on “the armour of God” in Ephesians 6:13, reference is made to the “sword of the spirit” and the “belt of truth”.

Here’s a shortened version:

“Therefore put on the full armor of God… Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist… Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17, NIV, bold italics my emphasis)

In the past, I always thought that both these expressions referred to God’s word, as it is contained in the bible. I reasoned that they were simply showing us different ways in which the written word of the bible speaks to, and through us.

There is an element of truth to that, but I have come to understand that the Lord has more for us to discover here.

Both expressions refer to God’s word, but I now believe that:

  • the “belt of truth” represents the bible
  • the “sword of the spirit” represents prophecy

Personal Prophecy In All Its Forms

Here I refer to prophecy in all its forms. I also include the overlapping spiritual gifts, such as words of knowledge and words of wisdom.

In a broader sense, the sword of the spirit is the direct working and intervention of Holy Spirit himself.

For my purposes here, the belt of truth is the objective eternal word of God, while prophecy is the present day application. As we’ll see shortly, the two are intimately related.

“The bible is the objective word of God. Prophecy is the present day application.”

Prophecy gives us hope for the future. But it also gives us focus, revelation and understanding for the here and now.

I believe this is true for prophecy in general. I also think it is particularly relevant for personal prophecy.

Personal prophecy: the now word of the Lord

Understanding Personal Prophecy As The Now Word

This Now word of God has several characteristics:

  1. Personal prophecy aligns with the bible
  2. It’s not necessarily about the future
  3. Personal prophecy is not about the past
  4. God himself is present

Thus:

1. Personal prophecy aligns with the bible

Prophecy must align with the bible to be worthy of consideration.

Every prophecy should be tested and the first port of call should always be the bible itself.

We may trust our thoughts and feelings about a given prophecy, and the wisdom of others. But unless the prophecy makes sense in the light of biblical revelation, then in truth, it makes no sense whatsoever.

We have to ask the questions:

  • Does this prophetic word line up with the truth taught in the bible?
  • Do the values and expectations of this word match up with those in God’s written word?

If the prophecy directly references a bible verse as justification for itself, then we can also ask this question:

  • Is this how the Lord intends that verse to be interpreted?

Once we are happy that a given prophecy does indeed align with the bible, we can think about the other characteristics.

2. Personal prophecy is not necessarily about the future

This is such a crucial point, that I think it bears repeating.

The first thing most people would say about prophecy, is that it’s about the future. However, as we have seen, that’s not necessarily the case.

It’s true that prophecy often contains a future element, or a promise. The promise gives us something to look forward to, work towards, and pray into.

But if you take away only one thing from this post, it should be this: the most important aspect of a prophecy is how it affects us today.

The Lord tests our hearts. He looks to see if we will seek him for the outworking of prophecy, with the eyes of faith. We must not assume that destiny foretold will automatically be destiny realised.

“Destiny foretold is not automatically destiny realised.”

If the Lord makes a promise to you about your future, how will you react to it?

Will you just assume that it will happen “if it’s God’s will”, or will you follow hard after him? Will you pray into that word and find out how you can play your part in cooperating with him?

3. Personal prophecy is not about the past

On first glance, it may seem self evident to say that prophecy is not about the past.

However, many prophecies reference the past in some way or another. They often allude to previous situations that we have experienced, perhaps in our youth or childhood.

There is a biblical pattern here. Many prophecies given to the Israelites spoke of past, present and future, in the same breath.

Conceptually, many prophecies in the bible were along the lines of:

  1. “The Lord did this for us [past]
  2. But we have fallen away from him [present].
  3. Therefore, obey God now [present]
  4. …and he will make things better [future]”

When he gave the law to the Israelites, Moses warned them about the future and told them he had “set before you life and death, blessings and curses”. They had a choice to obey the Lord, or not. They would reap the consequences, whichever way they went.

Here are Moses’ words:

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19, italics mine)

However, God’s people often spent too much time thinking about “the good old days” back in Egypt. They consequently missed much of the Lord’s destiny for them.

It’s the same for us. We live in an age of God’s grace, but we run the same risks. So, the past may be our reference point, but it is not the focus.

We must be careful not to get too hung up on our history. Otherwise, we may place barriers in the way of the future the Lord wants to bring to us.

4. God’s presence is in every personal prophecy

The Lord himself is present in every true prophecy.

Like every gift of the Spirit, prophecy involves Holy Spirit as the active agent. We cooperate with him and this results in an experience of God.

In a sense, the true purpose of prophecy is to lead others into an encounter with the Lord. This may be true for the prophet, as well as the person prayed for.

As I said in my post Learn How To Prophesy:

“God is the originator, the destination and the active agent of any prophetic message.”

Personal Prophecy: The Power Of The Now Word

When these four characteristics come together in the Now word, personal prophecy becomes truly powerful.

There is an immediacy to the prophecy, which has an impact in the here and now.

Barriers to progress are torn down, everyone involved is encouraged, and lives are changed.

There’s nothing quite like receiving (or giving) such a word. This is where prophecy truly is a gift to the church. Let’s seek the Lord for more!

Learn How To Prophesy
May 26

Prophecy: What It Is, Why You Should Practice, And How To Do It, In Just 4 Steps (Learn How To Prophesy, Definitive Guide)

By Tim Bader | Prophecy

Want to learn how to prophesy? Learning to prophesy doesn’t need to be difficult or complicated. All you need is to practice the 4 Ts: Talk, Tune in, Translate, and Tell.

Today, I’m going to share with you the definitive guide to help you learn how to prophesy. I’ll talk about what the gift of prophecy is, why you would want to operate in that gift, and how you can go about it.

And at the end, I have a special bonus waiting for you: a summary of this article for you to download in PDF form.

(Stop press: There’s a lot here, so if you want to take it away with you now, to read later or crib from, download your free copy via this link.)

Some images in this post are copyright Disney Corporation, others are courtesy of Pixabay.

Learn How To Prophesy

Learning how to prophesy may seem daunting, but it comes down to a few simple principles. I’ll refer to them here as the “4 Ts”

Not everyone is a prophet and not everyone has a ministry in prophecy. But we can all learn to prophesy, even if we only do so occasionally.

As I mentioned above, there’s a lot here, so here’s an outline you can use to jump to the relevant section:

Learn How To Prophesy: What Is Prophecy?

Prophecy is so much more than foretelling the future (although it is that, as well).

There are many definitions of the word prophecy. If you look it up online, you’ll find something like this (from dictionary.com):

  1. the foretelling or prediction of what is to come.
  2. something that is declared by a prophet, especially a divinely inspired prediction, instruction, or exhortation.
  3. a divinely inspired utterance or revelation
  4. the action, function, or faculty of a prophet.

However, I don’t think that any of those possibilities really captures the full experience of prophecy. To learn how to prophesy or operate in the gift of prophecy, involves cooperation with the Holy Spirit at every stage.

Prophecy Is Cooperation

This cooperation sets up a three-way spiritual connection between God, the prophet (the person who listens to God and shares the prophecy), and the person (or people) prayed for.

Amazingly, that connection and interaction can sometimes change the prophet as much as the shared word changes the one to whom they prophesy.

Here’s my definition (more a paraphrase really), which attempts to capture something of the cooperative nature of prophecy:

“Prophecy is a message from God, spoken through one person, and shared with another. This message points both people – the speaker and the listener – back to God”

That statement distils prophecy down to its most basic constituents. However, I still feel it somehow misses the wonderful interplay and connection with God that is at the heart of prophecy.

As you learn how to prophesy, I think it’s something that just has to be experienced to be truly understood – so perhaps that’s a good thing.

What I haven’t mentioned yet, is the timeliness of any given prophetic message.

Prophecy: God’s Word For Now

When you learn how to prophesy, one of the very first things you should understand is this: Prophecy is very much God’s word for now. It is the “sword of the spirit” in Ephesians 6:17 that speaks into today, or not at all.

In the same passage, the bible itself could be described as the “belt of truth”. However, the bible is the general, universal, or eternal word of God.

Learn How To Prophesy: God's Word For Now

The belt of truth

While there are biblical principles that always apply to our lives, the relevance of a specific bible verse to you or me, right now, depends on many factors.

A given prophecy may utilise the words of the bible, but always applies it in the moment.

The prophetic message may be shared in any format, being spoken, written, drawn, or even acted out. But it will always reveal something about God.

The message may well disclose something about the person on the receiving end, but it will leave no doubt that it was from the Lord, not from any earthly source.

It’s all about God’s presence.

What I mean by that is that God himself is present in every true prophecy, through his Spirit, in the here and now. He is the originator, the destination and the active agent of any prophetic message.

“God is the originator, the destination and the active agent of any prophetic message”

If you takeaway nothing else from this article, then learn how to prophesy with God’s presence fully in mind.

Learn How To Prophesy: Why Prophesy?

Why would you want to learn how to prophesy?

There are a host of reasons why you would want to prophesy, but to my thinking, the main ones are these:

1. Jesus prophesied

Jesus is seen as a great teacher or Rabbi, and a healer, even today. But in his time on earth, he was mostly known as a prophet.

When he asked his disciples who people said he was, they replied that many thought he was a prophet, or that Elijah had returned.

Jesus certainly prophesied, most notably about himself, but many of his actions indicate that being a prophet is greater than simply exercising that gift in speaking God’s word for today.

The fact that people thought he was Elijah points to the many miracles he performed. This is particularly true of those on a large scale, such as the feeding of the 5000. This mirrored the giving of manna in the desert by Moses who, in the eyes of the Jewish people, was the greatest prophet of all.

In a sense, Jesus was the last in a line of great prophets …and the beginning of a completely new line of prophets, formed through the new covenant.

2. Jesus’ disciples prophesied

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he gave his disciples the great commission, to go forth and make other disciples. They were to use the authority he delegated to them, to heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons.

All they had to do to get ready was “…stay in the city [Jerusalem] until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). When Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost, the disciples began to do and say, just as Jesus had done.

While Jesus did not specifically mention the gift of prophecy, it was certainly a part of how the disciples went about their mission, even if they didn’t always get it right!

Learn how to prophesy - not always right

What did Jesus think when they didn’t get it right?

The gift of prophecy can unlock healing and miracles.

Peter’s presence became a prophetic symbol in Jerusalem. People sought to place the sick in his shadow, so they would be healed. It was as though Peter’s shadow was speaking to them in these words: “the presence and power of God is here”!

Somehow, faith increased in those around him, which in turn unlocked healing.

The reverse may also be true: where the healing or miracle itself becomes a prophetic act. An example of this is when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and thereby foreshadowed his own resurrection.

3. The early church prophesied

In Acts 13:1-2, Saul and Barnabus were set apart by Holy Spirit to “the work to which I have called them”.

The verses are clear that it was the Holy Spirit who spoke these words. However, this is mentioned in almost the same breath as the earlier verses, which say that there were “prophets and teachers” present at Antioch.

The implication is that Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets that were present. It also implies that to the disciples there was no distinction between the voice of the prophets and that of the Holy Spirit himself.

The laying on of hands then sealed the deal and sent Paul and Barnabus on their way.

Phillip And Peter

In another example, Phillip was sent by the same Holy Spirit to run alongside the chariot of an Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:29-39).

Here, Phillip doesn’t specifically speak a “prophetic word”, but he hears from God very clearly. His cooperation and obedience results in the Ethiopian becoming a believer, who is then promptly baptised.

Or take the example of Peter who the Lord sent to visit Cornelius through a vision (Acts 10:44-48).

Through Peter’s obedience, he speaks the word of the Lord to Cornelius’ family. The words become a prophetic outpouring, as the Holy Spirit falls on the whole family and they too begin to prophesy.

Later (in Acts 11), Peter has to explain himself to the church in Jerusalem, which had the same prejudice against gentiles as he had previously held. He gives them the whole story and finally says “if God did this, who was I to decide otherwise?”

They have no further objections because they see that the Spirit of God is at work: once again, Peter’s words and actions become a prophetic word for the whole church and indeed, change the direction of the church’s mission forever.

4. Prophecy is a gift to the church and part of the fivefold ministry

In Ephesians 4:11 we are told that, “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and the teachers, to equip his people for works of service…” These are God’s gifts to the church.

Learn how to prophesy - gift to the church

Prophecy: God’s gift to the church

Prophets and hence, prophecy, is clearly stated as part of the ministry of church leaders, alongside that of apostles. The gift of prophecy is also found in the 1 Corinthians 12 list of Holy Spirit gifts, alongside faith, healing and miracles.

For us in the modern world, prophecy is still one of the major ways God uses to speak to us (the bible being the first).

Please note that I am not advocating that prophecy replaces the bible, far from it. Prophecy must be measured against the truth of the bible and if found wanting, should be ignored.

That said, there are times (such as with Peter and Cornelius, already cited above) where the Lord uses prophecy to challenge our understanding of the bible. But that’s a topic for another day!

Prophecy: How God Speaks Today

The gift of prophecy operates on different levels, speaking to nations, individuals and everything in between.

God speaks:

  • through the bible
  • through prophetic words
  • in dreams and visions
  • directly to individuals (through his “still small voice”)
  • through other Christians*

*God may speak in a general sense through people who are full of his wisdom. However, what I am referring to here is not just about wisdom, but the specific Holy Spirit-inspired word for the moment.

In fact, God speaks in many different ways. You can find five of them here.

Many people share their faith with others, not realising that God is speaking through them, prophetically.

That’s not to say that prophecy is in operation every time you share your faith. But whenever the Holy Spirit gives you a special word for someone, a word they know could only have come from the Lord – that’s prophecy!

Before we get further into the details of how to learn to prophesy, there’s one more thing we need to have in place, and that’s related to how we use our time.

Learn How To Prophesy: Find Time To Be With God

To start your journey of learning how to prophesy, there is one pre-requisite you need: find time to be alone with God.

In order to prophesy in a prayer ministry situation, you have to be ready to listen to God at a moment’s notice. To do this well:

  • You want to be sure it is him speaking and not just your own mind or imagination.
  • You also want to keep in step with what he wants you to do with what you hear from him (I’ll touch more on this later).

This means you need to get used to hearing God’s voice. And the best way to do that is to practice in prayer …which takes time.

It is certainly possible to hear the Lord while in the company of others. However, you’ll find it much easier to be away from other people when you’re learning, particularly in the beginning. But how do you find this alone time, in our modern world, with all its distractions?

In my previous post 6 ways to spend more time with God, I talk about tackling you schedule (amongst other things) in order to get into God’s presence. You can read more about it here.

But it goes even deeper…

Learn How To Prophesy: Lifestyle Of Listening

If you want to learn how to prophesy, you need to understand that listening to God isn’t a one-off experience.

Listening to God is a lifestyle that has to be cultivated. Through regular, repeated contact and communication with your Lord Jesus, you can learn to discern his voice from all the other voices that bombard you each day.

That way, when God shares a revelation for another person, you will be well prepared to share it effectively and with confidence.

There are three main keys to living this lifestyle which I have written about before:

  1. Seek a deeper desire for God
  2. Create good habits
  3. Listen to God constantly

Time with God is also something I major on, in my book How To Hear God’s Voice. If you’re struggling to find time with the Lord, I’d recommend it as a good first step. Inside, you’ll find out how Jacob’s struggle with the angel of God is a blueprint for a prophetic lifestyle, how to use your brain’s “down” time to get close to God, and more. You can grab your copy here.

Learn How To Prophesy For Someone Else

Now we’re getting into the nitty gritty detail! While every prophecy is unique, there is a general pattern to how the gift of prophecy works out in practice.

As you practice praying prophetically for others and listening to God for them, you can use the following outline as a guide, to help you understand the process:

  1. Talk with God
  2. Tune in to the Spirit
  3. Translate what God says
  4. Tell someone else

In a moment, I’ll break down what these steps mean in more detail, but first, I want to make an important point about them: I am being careful to use the words “outline”, “pattern” or “guidelines”, and not “rules” or “formulas”.

Learn How To Prophesy - Guidelines

This may seem like semantics, but for me, words like “pattern” and “outline” imply flexibility, whereas formulas tend to be set in stone. While I share specific steps to take, both here and in the 4 Steps Prophecy School, not all of them may be appropriate for every situation.

For example, a simple bible verse may have little need for interpretation, but a complex vision may require further prayer to fully understand what the Lord is saying.

The most important thing is to be sensitive to Holy Spirit and stay in the flow of what he is doing.

Now let’s take a closer look.

Learn How To Prophesy: Talk With God

The first step is very simple: ask God to speak to you.

This may seem obvious, but it’s such a basic, fundamental thing that it’s easy to overlook.

We may be so preoccupied with asking God for things and situations (either for ourselves or a person we are ministering to) that we forget to ask for the intangible: a deeper relationship with the Lord, the ability to hear his voice, and for him to speak to us, right now.

When you get close – and stay close – to God, it becomes that much easier to hear him (hint: the best place to start is in worship.

Through an encounter with his presence, the troubles of life are brought into heaven’s perspective, so you will be better prepared to understand what the Lord is saying, free of your own pre-conceived ideas.

Learn How To Prophesy: Tune In To The Spirit

When you ask God to speak, don’t forget to tune in to the Spirit and listen for the answer!

There are two aspects to this: hearing the answer or message itself, and understanding the way the Lord wants to speak to and bless the person you are praying for.

Listen for the message

First, you need to listen for the message God wants to bring. Sometimes, you may need to pause, or even cease praying altogether, in order to listen effectively. So, when praying for someone else, don’t be afraid to close your eyes or stop speaking.

A good practical way of doing this, which keeps your subject informed and involved, is to pray out loud asking God to speak. Then let the person you’re praying for know that you are going to listen for a minute. You can encourage them to listen too.

Pray about the meaning

Second, when you think you have heard something (or, in the case of a picture, seen it in your mind’s eye), you can begin to pray about its meaning and the best way to share it.

In the same way as we all respond to different methods of learning, so we will respond to different kinds of prophecy. One message may be logical in nature, where God appeals to the recipient’s reason, while another might speak more to the heart.

This isn’t just about personality. Only the Lord knows where a person is in their walk with him, at any given time, so trust him that he knows what he’s doing.

Prayer is two way

Remember also that prayer is a two way conversation. It’s not just us speaking and the Lord listening! We must give time and space for him to speak.

I’m sure that none of us would talk over the top of a friend or family member when they are speaking. Let’s treat the Lord with at least the same respect.

These practical steps are just a part of how you can “tune in” to the Spirit. To go deeper, ask the Lord further questions about the prophetic word, as it begins to form. And that leads us into the next “T”.

Learn How To Prophesy: Translate What God Says

When you hear something from God, you must decide what to do with it. You need to translate, or interpret, the prophetic word, so it can be understood.

Ask the Lord what the word means and how (or if) it should be shared.

Consider how he wants to work in this situation and how he wants to encourage and love the person you are praying for. What is the essential heart of the message he wants you to bring to them?

This may be a relatively easy task, if you receive a bible verse. However, it could be more complex if you get a picture from the Lord.

Remembering that cooperation with Holy Spirit is the main key to understanding prophecy, it is possible to learn how to interpret words more effectively. I teach more on this in the 4 Steps Prophecy School, but here are some pointers. Specifically, we can learn to Ask, Meditate and Wait:

1. Ask

To start, you can ask further, more detailed questions about the prophetic message. This is particularly appropriate in the case of a picture or vision.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, remember that this is a two way conversation with God.

Ask the Lord about the specifics of the picture or word. For example:

  • What does each part of the picture mean?
  • Are there different symbolic elements in the picture?
  • How does it relate to the bible and biblical principles?

By breaking the picture down in this way, and seeking God for each part, it’s possible to build up a clearer idea about the overall message and get more specific details from it.

2. Meditate

You may need to spend some time, just soaking in the word or picture, before asking the above questions. Or it may be that you receive a partial answer, but you feel there are more details that you can’t quite make sense of yet.

When you are practising, you may also find it helpful at this stage, to begin to write it down. This will help with sharing the word with the person you are praying for.

Not only that, but you also get a psychological and spiritual boost when you see the words on a page, compared to just thinking about or hearing them.

3. Wait

You may need another pause, to reflect on the word and the answers you have received, so far.

Don’t worry about stopping and waiting for the Lord to speak. This keeps us humble before God and honest with each other.

Another aspect to this, is to test the prophecy. You must work out if it really is from God, and if so, if there are any areas where your own mind or thinking may be interfering.

If you genuinely can’t get anything more from the word, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know”.

Our goal is to share “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. We want to ensure that we don’t embellish the word with our own pre-conceived ideas, even if they are borne from a desire to help and encourage the recipient.

Integrity is important at all stages of learning to prophesy. It’s better to leave a word or picture with the recipient, so they can pray over it for themselves, than to make something up out of the fear of looking foolish!

Learn How To Prophesy: Tell Someone

When you hear a prophetic word from God, you need to share what you got.

When you come to share a word or picture with someone else, pray about the best way to do that. Stay in tune with the Spirit so you’ll be able to bring the greatest blessing into their life.

Learn How To Prophesy: Tell Someone

There are two sides to this: How and When.

How to share a prophecy

Ask God whether it should be spoken or written down (or both). I have seen people draw a prophetic picture on paper and on some occasions, the Lord has asked me to act out a word, instead.

If in doubt about whether you heard God correctly, share it with a trusted friend or leader first. Ideally, this should be someone you know is Spirit filled and sympathetic to the gift of prophecy.

When to share a prophecy

Ask the Lord if now is the right time to share the word. Would it be more appropriate at a later date?

If praying for someone in a one-to-one ministry situation, God is gracious and usually gives words that can be shared immediately.

However, I have experienced times where the Lord has revealed something to me about a person across the room from me, but then told me not to share it with them at that point.

Sometimes, this has become a prompt to pray for that person separately. At other times, I have shared the word with them days, or even weeks later.

The Golden Rule Of Learning How To Prophesy

These are my guidelines to help you go deeper with your prophetic gifting. They’re the exact steps I teach in the 4 Steps Prophecy School, but in a lot more detail than I have space for here.

Remember though, that these steps are guidelines: a pattern or outline, not rules or formulas.

Learn How To Prophesy: Golden Rule

The Golden Rule that trumps all the guidelines is this:

“Keep prophecy positive, particularly while you’re learning.”

Yes, it’s true that sometimes the Lord used his prophets of old to speak judgement on people or nations. However, that was in very specific circumstances. It was also through people who were already well established and recognised in the prophetic ministry.

As you are learning, encourage people and show them that they are loved. It’s difficult to go wrong with this, even if you manage to miss what the Lord is trying to say to them.

4 Steps To Learn How To Prophesy

Once you’re familiar with listening to God, you’re ready to use the method I teach in the 4 Steps Prophecy School to learn how to prophesy. It’s designed to accelerate your growth and help hone your prophetic skills.

Surprise! We’ve been looking at these steps already in this post, but there’s much more I’d like to share with you.

I cover them in a lot more detail in the school, but to recap, the essentials are wrapped up in the “4 Ts”:

  1. Talk with God
  2. Tune in to the Spirit
  3. Translate what he says
  4. Tell someone else

They are all summed up in the Most Important Thing:

“Stay close to, and in tune with Holy Spirit, so you can ‘do what the father does’, just like Jesus did”

And One More Thing

Finally, there’s one additional “T” I haven’t discussed yet. I talk about it in the School (come on now, I can’t give away all my secrets, can I? 😉 ).

To get a free summary of this entire post and to find out more, click here.

*******STOP PRESS*****

The 4 Steps Prophecy School is out now!

To find out more and register for the School, go here.

 

Psst! Liked this post? Don’t forget to share it using the buttons below!

 

Listen to God constantly
Feb 01

Listen To God Constantly – Lifestyle Of Listening To God Part 3

By Tim Bader | Prophecy

Listen to God constantly. That’s how Jesus lived his life and for you and me, it’s the third key to opening up a lifestyle of listening to God.

Listen to God constantly

How do you listen to God constantly? That’s what I want to share with you today, in our quest to establish a lifestyle of listening to God.

Now, I want to build on that message and lead you into the next step: listen to God constantly.

Listen To God Constantly: Do What The Father Does

There are many scriptures that have had an impact on my life, but in recent years, there is one that has influenced me more than any other:

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does (John 5:19).

I don’t quite know when I first took hold of those words. Ever since then, they have become my obsession, although I fall far short of the ideal that Jesus expressed.

However, those simple words remind me that everything starts in relationship with my heavenly father and leads me into a place of worship.

Worship always brings me back into his presence, and closeness to my Lord brings fresh perspective and a clearer understanding of what he is saying.

Let me explain…

Listen To God Constantly To Do The Greater Works

Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12).

I want to do the works Jesus did, including the “greater things” he talked about. But I also remember that Jesus said, “I only do what I see the father doing”. Taken together, I believe these two statements have profound implications.

As far as I can tell, Jesus did the works he did through being obedient to his father, all the time. In other words, in every moment of every day.

Logically, since Jesus only did what he saw the father doing, he must also have been watching and listening all the time – continually, as it were. So, if I want to do what Jesus did, then I too need to follow the pattern he established:

I need to watch what my heavenly father is doing and listen to him, all the time, so that I can be obedient to him and do the same works.

Listen To God Constantly: Two Types Of Listening

To take this a step further, I think scripture implies 2 kinds of listening in the life of Jesus:

  • conscious listening
  • unconscious listening

Conscious Listening

The bible records moments when Jesus spent dedicated time focused on his father, listening to him in an intentional, conscious way.

For example, he once spent a whole night praying before he chose the twelve apostles from among his disciples (Luke 6:12). Here, conscious listening helped him to make one of the most important decisions of his life.

Unconscious Listening

On the other hand, there are examples where it seems that Jesus heard his father in an unconscious manner.

One such time was during his conversation with a Samaritan woman who came to the nearby well to draw water (John 4:4-26). Jesus started off simply enough, by asking her for a drink.

But it was a leading question. He wanted to take her deeper into an understanding of who he really was and the living water that only he could provide.

When she asked him for some of that water, he told her to go and get her husband, to which she replied that she had no husband. Jesus’ response must have shocked her to her very core:

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:17)

The woman received a revelation then and there, realising that he must be a prophet. However, my point is this: Jesus was so in tune with his father that he told this stranger about her life, without even pausing for breath.

If it had been me, I would have had to stop the conversation and go into some sort of “holy huddle”, to seek the Spirit and get hold of what the Lord wanted to say to her!

Listen To God Constantly: Consistent Communion

We must recognise that we need both forms of listening; both conscious and unconscious. However, with time and practice, I believe we can move deeper into the unconscious form, and more frequently.

Jesus himself still needed those times of conscious listening, particularly for important decisions. His prayers in the garden of gethsemane are a poignant reminder to us of that truth. But it seems clear to me that he lived the majority of his life in consistent communion and communication with his father.

I want us to follow in his footsteps and learn to live just as he did, but of course, you and I have to start somewhere. If you can first learn to listen consciously, you can practice until it becomes second nature and transition into the unconscious – the supernatural then becomes natural.

How To Listen To God Constantly

So, to listen to God constantly, you need to practice: practice, practice, and practice again!

Practice listening. Practice talking with your Lord …above all, practice the presence of God (I think there might be a book in that…). Get as close to God as you can and learn to stay in that place, even in the busy-ness of life.

If listening to God becomes your lifestyle, then you can follow in Jesus’ footsteps, in obedience to God. And your continued obedience will in turn, lead you into the signs, wonders and miracles so many of us long for.

To summarise, use all the possibilities we have discussed in this series to:

  1. Seek a deeper desire for God, so you will be motivated out of love, not guilt.
  2. Create habits to enable time to be with God, to get closer to him and listen to his voice.
  3. Listen to God constantly, so you only do what you see the Father doing.

Using these strategies you will create your new lifestyle of listening to God. Eventually you will hear him unconsciously, just as Jesus did.

Listening to God - create good habits
Nov 02

How To Establish A Lifestyle Of Listening To God – Create Good Habits

By Tim Bader | Prophecy

Feel stuck finding time for listening to God? Get unstuck right here and create good habits.

We all know that listening to God involves spending time with him. But if you’re reading this you’re probably thinking, “How do I spend more time with God, when there’s just so much to do?”.

Listening to God - create good habits

A great way forward is to create good habits. Making a few simple lifestyle tweaks will help you move listening to God away from being an effort, and turn it into a habit.

Trust me, listening to God doesn’t have to feel like you have a mountain to climb; it can be as easy as a stroll through a meadow!

Change Your Lifestyle: Change Your Habits

I believe there are 3 keys to help us establish a lifestyle of listening to God.

Last time we discussed the first key: to seek a deeper desire for God. That’s because, when our heart’s desire changes, our mind begins to follow.

Over the next two posts, we’ll look at 2 more keys, which relate to each other and interlock with the first. Today we’ll discuss something that should be easy, but isn’t: how to create good habits.

Me And My Habits

When it comes to creating good habits, I’m erratic. In some areas of life I can be very disciplined, but in others, terrible.

Yes, I get up in the morning, I have my breakfast and brush my teeth like the rest of us. But that’s just what I learned to do when I was a child. They are all tasks that are so routine, so rote, that they’re fully assimilated into my life – a part of me and who I am.

But that gives me some questions:

  • What happens when, as an adult, I want to establish something new?
  • How can I set up the routines I need to stay focused on the things that matter most?

I find myself asking those questions more frequently as I get older. And being a bit of a “productivity nut”, I’m always looking for ways to enable me to do more in less time.

The Habit Of Listening To God

For me, these questions become even more important when it comes to spending time with God and listening to him.

If I can create truly integrated habits in a similar manner to those learned in my childhood, then getting into the Lord’s presence can become the path of least resistance. Listening to God translates into a simple joy, rather than something I have to expend huge amounts of energy on every day.

Of course, there’s a place for sacrifice and loving the Lord “with all your strength” (Luke 10:27), particularly when we don’t really feel up to it. But that’s not expected to be our daily reality.

The normal Christian life is not about “screwing our courage to the sticking place”, as Lady Macbeth might have it, but about being – and staying – intimate with our loving Father.

Create Good Habits For Listening To God

What kind of habits could I create that will help me to listen to God?

One example is a prayer I learnt a few years ago, which likens my body, soul and spirit to the different parts of God’s temple and offers them to him “as a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1).

The details and theology of this prayer are outside of the scope of this article, but I’ve prayed it consistently, pretty much every day, ever since I heard about it. It has changed me and it helps align my attitudes and purposes with the Lord every day.

Here are a few more examples you may find helpful. Some may be obvious, others perhaps less so:

  • Pray or read the bible every morning, before heading off to work or college
  • Regularly acknowledge God and his presence in the “now”
  • Remind yourself of who he is
  • Ask for him to speak and listen for the answer, in a spare moment
  • Find places and times where you can be open to him

I’m sure you can think of others. For further inspiration you may like to read my FREE book How To Hear God’s Voice.

Of course, all the above are good and laudable ways that might help us get close to God, but we have a problem:

How do we take each of those actions and make it into a habit?

How To Create Good Habits For Listening To God

Others have done a much better job of explaining how to form new habits than I could (see 5 Strategies For Changing Bad Habits and Lifehacker for more).

However, this will serve as a summary of what I have found helpful in my journey into God:

  • Pick just one
    Create one new habit at a time!
    You can’t create multiple habits at once. Seriously, we’re just not made that way.
    However, it is possible to focus on one thing for a period of time and turn that into a habit.
    Once you’ve done that and you’re satisfied that it really is a habit, you can move on to the next.

  • Start!
    Don’t spend hours (or days) procrastinating over which habit you want to set up first, or trying to plan things out in copious detail.
    Planning can be useful but often turns into an excuse not to do anything.
    Once you’ve decided what you want to do, just do it!

  • Set your expectations
    There’s a tradition that it takes 21 days to create a new habit.
    Modern research seems to indicate that it could take a lot longer: anything from 4 – 6 weeks (see Michael Hyatt’s post Make A New Habit Stick).
    You need to be realistic: it’s likely to be tough after the initial buzz.
    In the first 3-5 days you’ll probably feel good about starting out on a new adventure. Later on, the power of inertia kicks in and it can become a real struggle – another reason to tackle one habit at a time.
    I’ve heard the process likened to the launch of a space rocket. Your natural tendency is to slip back backwards through “habit gravity”, as follows:

  1. The first stage involves a massive injection of power to get off the ground, but the “feel good” aspect of a new thing starts you off well.
  2. The next part gets harder: the initial excitement wanes, but the same level of power is needed to continue the climb.
  3. The effort continues until you eventually reach escape velocity. In this stage, you may even find yourself looking back to the ground and thinking you were better off back there.
  4. Finally, you enter orbit where the habit is formed. The task becomes easy, requiring only minor course corrections to stay on track.
  • Make it a “no-brainer”
    Prepare for tasks in advance, to make things easy for yourself.
    You want to make it more difficult to not do the task, than to do it.
    For example, if you want to read your bible every morning, put it out with your clothes so you have to pick it up, in order to get dressed.
    If you want to remember to pray when you get in the car, then stick a post-it note on your rear view mirror or steering wheel.

  • Track your progress
    While you’re going through this process, you need as much encouragement as you can get.
    Keep a running tally of how many days you’ve been going so far.
    Some people find the best way to do this is to make a few lines (or one long line) of boxes on a piece of paper, that you can tick off each day.
    Your objective is simple: don’t break the line!
    The longer the line gets, the better the visual indicator of your progress and the easier it is to keep going.

So, we’ve covered two of our keys to establish a lifestyle of listening to God.
Tune in next time to find out what the third key is!

In the meantime, let me know what you think:
What are your favourite routines that help you listen to God and how did you turn them into habits?

Leave a comment below.

Listening to God lifestyle heroic
Aug 18

How To Establish A Lifestyle Of Listening To God Part 1 – A Deeper Desire

By Tim Bader | Prophecy

Three keys are needed to establish a lifestyle of listening to God. Seeking a deeper desire for God is the first.

Lifestyle of listening to God - heroic

I wrote last time about why it’s important to establish a lifestyle of listening to God. But how exactly do we do that? I believe that we need just three keys to set us in the right direction. The first is a deeper desire for God.

A Lifestyle Of Listening To God Is A Lifestyle Of Honesty

I don’t know how it happened, but fairly early on in my Christian life, I learned to be brutally honest with God.

I think it may have been due to the realisation that he was brutally honest with me. My conversion experience brought me to my knees in prayer, with the understanding that I was a dirty rotten sinner. Listening to God would be difficult in that state.

It wasn’t that I was a terrible person (at least, not by the world’s standards), but the Lord made it abundantly clear that his standards were so much higher than I could ever imagine.

Regardless, that experience somehow gave me the grace to be completely honest with him. I understood for example, that it’s ok to be angry at God, as long as I talk to him about it.

Even before I encountered Jesus, I had learned that bottling up my fears and failures would only lead to unforgiveness and bitterness. But I soon discovered that sharing those same feelings with the Lord could lead to unexpected breakthroughs.

Some of my healthiest prayers have included shouting my frustrations directly at God, usually in the safety of my car! …But that’s a story for another day.

Moving swiftly on, the point I want to make is this:

I believe that the Lord loves us to be transparent with him. And that includes being completely honest about our hopes, dreams and desires, as well as our current thoughts and feelings.

I’ll be open with you. There have been many times in my life where I have had no desire whatsoever for any of the following:

  • Getting close to God
  • Listening to God
  • Spending more time with him
  • Wanting God’s kingdom to come
  • Having more of God’s Spirit or his gifts

Perhaps you feel like that too, sometimes?

Lifestyle Of Listening To God Blocked By False Expectations

There’s an unspoken (and false) expectation in many of us that “because I’m a Christian, I should be completely at peace, totally happy or [insert name of desired state here]”.

There seems to be something within us that expects to be bigger, bolder, greater in our faith/love/hope – all the time and in ever increasing measure.

The positive side of this perception may just be the exercise of a healthy faith, but if we’re not in that place of growth, then there’s a tendency to think we’ve failed somehow. All of these issues can create a barrier between us and listening to God.

However, Christ died for you and me, not so much that we could be perfect Christians all the time, but so that we always have the opportunity to get back into his presence, right here, right now.

To be sure, Jesus left us the Holy Spirit so we can be transformed “from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor 3:18). His intention is that we spend more and more of our lives experiencing our true status as sons and daughters of the King, just as he called us.

This means if we don’t feel full of desire for God, we don’t have to feel guilty about it. More importantly, we don’t have to hype ourselves up in order to change.

All we have to do is ask.

Asking For More

For that reason, I am not embarrassed to pray like this:

“Father I don’t really feel like it right now, but Lord give me a desire for you, a hunger and a thirst for you, deep in my heart”.

It’s such a simple prayer, but it’s one that our heavenly father loves to answer.

And the best thing is this: once that desire flickers to life and we have tasted of his Holy Spirit working within us, we won’t want to go back. God is the most pleasant person in the world to be with and a deep desire for him will bring us back into relationship, again and again.

Praying and talking with the Lord (and hence, listening to God) is meant to be our natural state. Then we’ll be receptive to hearing his voice and we’ll easily create new habits that will lead us even closer to him.

The More You Get, The More You Want

Trust me, the more you get of God’s presence, the more you want. Spending time in his presence can be addictive in the best possible way!

Lest you feel I’m being irreverent here, let me share one more thing with you. When I was baptised, twelve of us were immersed. Amongst our number was a newly reformed alcoholic.

Indicating some of the others in the line who were awaiting their turn, his testimony was this:

“When I saw what was happening to these people, I thought I’ve got to have some of that!”

He continued by saying he wanted to know what drug they were on and found out it was the Holy Spirit.

That story expresses what Jesus foreshadowed when he said “Ask and it will be given to you …how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13, NIV)

It’s God’s Spirit operating within us that opens up the way for us to operate in the Spirit. More than anything else, his Spirit, his living presence, enables and empowers us to hear his voice.

“It’s God’s Spirit operating within us that opens up the way for us to operate in the Spirit.”

So the first key to listening to God is simply to ask that he gives you the desire and opens up your spiritual ears.

At this point, you may be asking how this works out practically.
Next time, I’ll talk about the other keys to this lifestyle of listening to God, starting with creating good habits. Stay tuned!

Listening to God Lifestyle - why you need it
Jul 19

Lifestyle Of Listening To God: Why YOU Need It

By Tim Bader | Prophecy

Can’t hear God’s voice in times of trouble? A lifestyle of listening to God is the answer.

“Why can’t I hear God’s voice, at a time when I most need him?”
“How come I feel so overwhelmed with emotion?”
“Why does God feel so distant?”

These are all common questions about the listening to God lifestyle. And they’re often asked by Christians who are already struggling in the midst of the trials and difficulties of this life.

Listening to God Lifestyle - why you need a lifestyle of listening to God

As Christians, we sometimes feel like we should be able to overcome or avoid troubles more easily than anyone else. After all, God is on our side, isn’t he (or more accurately, we’re on his)?

However, many of us feel overwhelmed when trouble comes our way. Emotions run high and that makes it difficult to hear God – but there is a way out. It’s about the kind of lifestyle that we cultivate when times are good.

Listening To Each Other – Listening To God

As part of the marriage preparation I went through with my then bride to be, we were told one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard. The couple we met with suggested that we view our relationship a bit like a bank account.

At any given time, we:

  • could be in a credit or debit state with each other
  • want to stay in credit as much as possible
  • want to avoid going overdrawn (or extra fees can creep in!)
  • may invest in our account and generate interest, or spend it all in one go

The key thing with a bank account is that you control how far in credit you are, by investing more money in it than you spend. That way, when bad times come, you have more of a buffer to help prevent you slipping into the red.

We took that advice to heart for our marriage and one simple way our “weekly budget” worked out, was to make Friday nights our night.

To this day, every Friday night is our space to put all other thoughts away, pack the kids off up to their rooms (a little easier or harder, depending on their age), and concentrate on each other. No chores, a good meal, a bit of telly, just the two of us.

Looking back through the eyes of experience, I say it works. Keeping a positive balance in our marriage has helped us to get through some incredibly tough times: everything from tight finances and work difficulties, to health troubles.

A Lifestyle Of Listening To God

Importantly, I’ve found that this principle works for any relationship. And in particular, it works for my relationship with God.

I can be carried by others, if I am “out of credit” with the Lord. It’s great to be part of a community of believers. Even better, I know that when my faith is all prayed out, then your faith can intercede on my behalf.

But wouldn’t it be better if I could stay in credit in the first place?

If I can build up interest in my heavenly account when times are good, I can develop a greater capacity to deal with difficulties when they arise. And the way to do that is to establish a lifestyle of listening to God.

Let me say that again: What you and I need is a lifestyle of listening to God.

What Is A Lifestyle Of Listening To God?

A lifestyle of listening to God is one where we aim to spend all our time in relationship with the Lord.

Jesus is our model for this. He lived perfectly at ease with his Father, sometimes spending long periods of time alone with him, but always living, speaking and acting in reference to his Father. As Jesus himself said, “I only do what I see the Father doing” (John 5:19).

The point bears repeating once more: By learning to seek the Lord in every circumstance, when life is good, we make it easier to hear from him when times are bad. If we view listening to God as a task, our tendency may be to procrastinate. However, when we develop listening as a lifestyle, we create habits that become the path of least resistance.

We then become used to experiencing the presence of God, so that his throne room becomes our natural habitat. As others have said before me, we end up living lives that are “naturally supernatural”.

How To Establish A Lifestyle Of Listening To God

Of course, you may be reading this and feel that it sounds too far out of reach. What was easy for Jesus may not be for us.

Jesus had a lot of advantages over us. He was sinless and he started listening to his Father very early on in his life (Luke 2:49).

However, he called himself “the son of man” for a reason: to show us that he did what he did, not because he was the son of God, but because he was a human being, filled with God’s power – the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ lifestyle is available for you and me, because we are also human and he has promised us the same Holy Spirit. All we have to do is take hold of it.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but I am determined to move from where I am, to say with Jesus, “I only do what I see the Father doing”.

How we do that, how we establish this lifestyle, will be the subject of my next post.

Will you come with me on this journey? To live a life so in tune with God, that you and I can become “naturally supernatural”, whatever our circumstances?

We may not get there in one day, but it’s a lifestyle that is possible and it’s surely one that is worthwhile.

If you want to learn more about hearing God’s voice and how you can have a lifestyle of listening to him, download your FREE eBook, How To Hear God’s Voice. Enter your email below to get your copy.

Hearing God's Voice
Jun 16

How Can You Be Sure Your Prophecy Is From God? – Test With These 4 Questions

By Tim Bader | Prophecy

Did you receive a prophetic word from God or was it all just in your mind? Here’s how to tell.

When I hear from God, how do I know it’s not just my imagination? That’s the question I was asked recently, as we started my new training course on learning to prophesy.

Hearing God's Voice

In the introductory session I asked the group for their top 2 questions about hearing or listening to God. I gave them some time to think about it and a few days later the questions started rolling in.

It gave me lots to think about (they were good questions!), but one of the main themes was around how we can be sure that we really did hear God. Here’s my partial answer, where I’ll share one of the main keys I believe can unlock your journey into the prophetic.

Did I Hear A Prophetic Word From God In The Car?

I once drove to visit my sister when she was living in the middle of London. I found her place easily and managed to find a nearby parking space. We had a good catch up and later when I was about to leave, she warned me that there were plenty of one way streets around: I should go this way, then take that turning, etc, and I would be on my way.

I listened very carefully (as one does in such situations), and said my goodbyes. I headed off and tried to go the way she said. However, it soon became apparent that somehow I had messed up. What was supposed to be a simple “go straight on to get to the main road”, turned into a dead end junction with two choices: left or right.

Neither way looked promising and all I could see was residential areas, with small alleys on either side. A vision of being lost in one-way systems began to rise in my mind and my heart beat went a little faster.

In an effort to quell the sense of panic before it started, I naturally turned to the Lord. “Father, which way should I go?”, was my simple plea, perhaps edged with just a hint of desperation …and I clearly heard the word “left”.

Whether or not the word was truly audible is something I debated with myself for some time after the event. However, in the moment I simply obeyed, and with great results: I turned left, drove to the end of the road and there was a sign pointing to my home town!

Hearing Prophetic Words With Faith

When we listen to God, we can never be 100% certain that we heard him, or that we got it all right. There’s always an element of faith involved. And that’s a good thing.

When we listen with the ears – and watch with the eyes – of faith, we are putting our trust in God. We believe that he will come through and give us what we need.

Trust me, there’s nothing better than sharing a prophetic word with someone and hearing the feedback “that was spot on!”. It grows the faith that you have and can help you move up a level in your gifting.

My driving story is a simple example of a technique we can all use to grow in the prophetic. Let’s have a look at that now.

How To Be More Confident You Heard God

When you first start to prophesy, you may feel only 10-20% sure that it really is God you are hearing. However, there is a key you can use as you learn that will help unlock your gift, so you can increase your confidence in your abilities: ask the right questions.

Prophecy, just like any spiritual gift, is about cooperating with the Holy Spirit. That means that you can ask him questions as you listen to him. You can also ask yourself questions, as you continue to pray. It’s a good habit to get into, whenever you are giving or receiving a prophetic word.

Here are 4 examples:

1. Is this prophecy biblical?
This is the first and most obvious guide to understanding a prophetic word.
If that word doesn’t line up with scripture in some way, either with specific bible verses, or relating to a biblical theme, then it may not be from God.

2. Is there a witness of the Holy Spirit that this is true?
Sometimes, we just “know” that a word is from God.
If you’re like most people, you probably feel this kind of understanding happens only infrequently. The secret to experiencing it more often, is to practice listening to God all the time: engaging in a lifestyle of listening. The more you practice, the easier it becomes.

3. Is this prophetic word confirming what is already heard or known?
If a word is something completely new and unexpected to the recipient, then it may not be from the Lord.
Many prophetic words, but (importantly) not all, confirm something the Lord has already been saying. There are exceptions to this, but I don’t have space to expand on it here (let me know if you’d like to hear more about this subject).

4. Do I feel any sense of unease about this message?
This question can be a powerful indicator.
Sometimes, the answers to most, or even all of the other questions may seem to be a “yes”, but there’s something about the message that doesn’t sit quite right with you, in your spirit. This may be an indication that it’s wrong, but it can also mean that there are certain aspects or details of the message that are incomplete.

We can continue to ask these and other questions as we pray. In general, the more questions we ask, the more we can receive from Holy Spirit and the more we learn to be clearer and more confident in sharing prophetic words.

For me, gaining confidence in my ability to hear God is an important part of growing my prophetic gift. It’s about moving from a feeling of “I don’t know what I’m doing”, to the point where, like Jesus, “I only do what I see the Father doing” (John 5:19).

Discussion Question: What is your top question about hearing God’s voice? – and what do you think the answer may be?

Busy Day - No Time For God
May 19

6 Ways To Spend More Time With God

By Tim Bader | Prophecy

Busy lives lead to less opportunity to be alone with God. Here’s 6 ways to help you make space for spending time with God.

The trouble with busy lives is that the busier we become, the greater the tendency for God to be blocked out. For me, the traditional quiet time just doesn’t cut it anymore.

 

Of course, most of us intend to spend more time with God. It’s just that life tends to take over: all the getting to work, dropping the kids at school, sorting the house out, and so on, can get on top of you and wear you out.

Sound familiar? I experienced it myself a few years back…

No Time With God

I was snowed under. Not literally, but figuratively. Think of every cliché to do with being over-burdened and that’s how I felt.

I was up to my eyeballs with work, drowning in hospital appointments and I was racked with guilt every day, when I tried to get home on time to help my wife with our young kids.

I believed what I was doing at work was important, so I tried to stick with it, but I found out (too late) that it wasn’t nearly as crucial as I thought. I was permanently stressed, exhausted and anxious.

It took its toll on my physical health and on my family. I seemed to catch every little bug or virus going round and each one knocked me down much harder than it should. And the consequence of all of this, was that I spent even less time with God than I wanted to.

That’s why being made redundant came as a blessed relief.

I learned the hard way, that the truly important thing in life isn’t what I do, but the relationships I have, especially the one I have with the Lord. Without realising, I had become part of a living parable. Like the seed that fell among thorns (Luke 8:14), the “troubles of this life” had strangled my walk with God and crushed my very soul.

Avoid The Drift So You Can Spend Time With God

And it’s not just in the extremes that it happens.

Earlier in the year, I finished Michael Hyatt’s book on life planning, Living Forward. Inside, he talks about a time when he went snorkeling with his wife while they were on holiday. They got so absorbed in what they were looking at, that when they looked up they realised that they had drifted right out to sea. They then faced the difficult task of swimming back to shore – against the current.

Michael uses that illustration to make the point that if we want to stop the drift, we need to be intentional about where we are headed. After all, as he argues in the book, many of us spend more time planning a holiday than we do planning our lives!

I agree with him …and I feel the same way about my relationship with God. As I said in my own recently published book How To Hear God’s Voice, if we want to hear the Lord then we need to be intentional about spending time with him.

“If we want to hear the Lord then we need to be intentional about spending time with him.”

6 Ways To Spend Time With God

So how do you find more time to spend with God, while still juggling all of your other commitments? I talk about it in more detail in the book, but here’s 6 ways to help you do just that:

1. Schedule It In

We have to be intentional if we want to spend time with God. And one of the best ways of being intentional is to put aside time for it in your diary. Add an appointment in at the right time/day and make a point of keeping to it.

2. Get Up Earlier

If you have young kids and really need your sleep, you may think this is the last thing you would want to do. However, young kids are likely to wake you up early anyway. By setting an alarm just a bit before their ETC (Estimated Time of Chaos 😉 ), you can use the opportunity and get some space with God before they grab all your attention – and your energy.

3. Find A Place At Work, School Or College

Look for a place where you can go, preferably a green space. Try to get there either as a break from work or study during the day, or on the way to or from school or college. Natural surroundings work best, but even a quiet corner somewhere like a library can help.

4. Get Time With God In The Car

If you drive to work then why not use the time to pray? – With your eyes open, of course! You can pray, sing, worship and even shout to the Lord (depending on where you are), without fear of anyone else knowing what you’re up to. Since I started doing this a few years ago, it’s transformed my daily commute.

5. Take A Break

When you’re at work, you have to focus on, well, work. But you can’t focus on one thing, 100%, all day. By taking regular breaks, you not only refresh your mind and become more productive, you can also use the opportunity to pray and listen to God.

6. Pray Silently Before Picking Up The Phone

Are you in a job where you are on the phone all day? Pray before you pick up each call. Ask God what he wants to do with that conversation.

So that’s just a few ways you can use to spend more time with God throughout your day.

If you’d like to learn more about spending more time with God in a meaningful way, you may like my book How To Hear God’s Voice.

 

Before you go I have a question for you:

Discussion question: How do you find time for God during your busy day?

How To Hear God's Voice Cover
Apr 15

How To Hear God’s Voice Today

By Tim Bader | Prophecy

I’m really excited because I just released my new eBook, How To Hear God’s Voice. Inside, I’ll walk you through eight simple, practical steps to help you get closer to God, so that you can learn to hear his voice with confidence.

You can hear God’s voice – today!

Get your copy here.

How To Hear God's Voice Cover

An Experience Of God’s Voice

I first became a Christian when I was 21 (hint: a long time ago!). It happened while I was a student living in halls. Some of my friends persuaded me to go along to an event at the local Civic Hall, as it was then known.

I found out that the Civic Hall was being linked up with other venues around the country and that this was going to be a national event. The speaker was Billy Graham.

As you might expect, he talked about Jesus and the cross. I thought I’d heard the message before, but something happened to me when he called people forward for prayer: I met with God.

“Something happened to me …I met with God.”

In fact, I didn’t get out of my seat. I just sat in my chair, feeling unsure of myself. I wanted to take part in what was going on, but I didn’t understand it. My hands were shaking and I wondered what on earth was happening.

But God met me where I was and I had a very real encounter with him. It was only later that I understood it was God’s voice that was prompting me to go forward.

How To Hear God’s Voice: A Passion For God’s Presence

That initial encounter with God was to be the first of many. Since then, it has become my passion to know God’s presence and to help others to have the same experience.

I wrote How To Hear God’s Voice to help you do just that: to get close to God, so you can hear him too.

Prayer isn’t just a one-way thing. We miss out on so much if we only ever pray with a list of “stuff” that we want God to sort out, but never ask him for his opinion.

On the other hand, it’s all too easy for space or time for God to get squeezed out, if busy lives get the better of us.

“It’s easy for space or time for God to get squeezed out of busy lives.”

In a recent survey of my readers, 55% said that hearing God’s voice was important to them, but 44% said this was something they struggled with.

Perhaps you feel the same?

How To Hear God’s Voice Made Easy

I wrote How To Hear God’s Voice to reverse that trend. And the good news is that hearing the Lord isn’t as difficult as it may seem.

How To Hear God’s Voice will help you:

  • discover places and times that make it easy to hear the Lord.
  • establish a regular encounter with God, without it becoming a burden.
  • uncover the next steps in your spiritual journey.
  • kick-start your spiritual gift to share prophetic words with others.

My prayer is that this book will help you hear the Lord more clearly, whether you’ve never heard the Lord speak before or are already confident in listening to his voice.

So, what are you waiting for?

Get your copy of How To Hear God’s Voice here.

Clouds
Mar 27

3 Reasons Why We Need To Listen To God

By Tim Bader | Prophecy

God is speaking all the time. Here’s why we need to listen to God.

I’ve almost finished my new eBook, How To Hear God’s Voice (available very soon!), so it’s a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot.

Listening to God has many benefits, not all of which are obvious on first glance. Here I’ll discuss three of them, which give us three good reasons why we should listen to him.

Listen to God - Listening to God

A Lifestyle Of Listening To God

Over the years, I’ve cultivated a lifestyle of listening to God. It’s something that has helped me at every stage of my Christian life. And it’s a habit I think every Christian should practice.

He speaks to me in different ways for different situations.

Sometimes he:

  • speaks to me about other people so I can share prophetic words with them.
  • shows me situations in the world that he wants me to pray for.
  • brings me a fresh revelation of his character through the bible.
  • tells me what I need to do next.

If I don’t listen to him regularly then I could miss all kinds of opportunities, not only to help others, but also for my personal development.

We Can All Hear God’s Voice

The fact is, that while we’re not all prophets, we can all hear God’s voice.

However, it’s important that we move beyond mere hearing, and practice listening. When we listen intently, we recognise his voice more easily, get to know him better and can truly understand what he is saying.

“It’s important that we move beyond mere hearing, and practice listening to God.”

Here’s just three of the benefits of listening to God (there are many more):

1. Listen To God To Stay Close To Him

I have long understood that if I want to listen to God, I need to get close to him first, in prayer or worship. Getting close to the Lord certainly helps me to hear his voice, but I have discovered that the opposite is also true.

When I intentionally spend time listening for God’s voice, then not only do I hear him, but he draws me closer to himself. Through our encounter, the Lord brings me right into his throne room.

By spending time enjoying God’s presence, we also receive from him in other ways. When we focus on him, we avert our gaze from the troubles of the day and we gain new perspective and internal peace.

2. Listen To God To Follow His Will For Your Life

When the bible says God has a plan for our lives, that includes you and me.

Most Christians I know wouldn’t argue with that statement, but it’s no good having a plan if we don’t follow it. Our actions betray our intentions. Sometimes our choices follow our own desires, rather than God’s.

We have many choices to make, each and every day. If we don’t listen actively to the Lord at each stage, then we can go in a different direction to him and end up far from where we expected.

This may start out innocently enough, but only a one degree tangent from the path can create an issue, if pursued for long enough. Thankfully, the Lord is gracious and forgiving and is able to get us back on track, no matter how far down the road we have gone.

3. Listen To God To Capture His Ideas

I want to live a life of eternal significance. Maybe you feel the same? Jesus made it clear that the best way to live is to “store up treasure in heaven” (Matthew 6:20), not on earth.

“The best way to live is to store up treasure in heaven”

The way I interpret this is that I don’t want to do anything that is just my own idea. In everything, I want to involve the Lord’s input in some way or other.

A wonderful truth I have discovered is that God is interested in my ideas, as much as I am interested in his. However, I also realise he may take my designs in different – and better – directions than I might expect.

When I listen to the Lord and discuss my intentions with him, it’s then that I find they take shape and have real impact.

Now You Know Why We Should Listen To God – Find Out How!

The above are just three reasons why we should listen to God. In reality there are many more.

The trouble is, many people struggle to hear God’s voice in the first place. In fact, some of my readers tell me that they share that same struggle. That’s why I have written a book on the subject, How To Hear God’s Voice.

In How To Hear God’s Voice, I go into more depth on why we need to listen to God and share some keys to unlock your relationship with him. I then show you eight simple practical steps you can begin to action immediately, to help you learn to hear his voice more effectively.

I think this is important. So important that I think every Christian should be able to listen to God every day.

You can get your copy here.

Blessings,
Tim

P.S. If you’re not ready to purchase your copy, you can get a FREE sneak peek here.

 

Discussion Question: How important is listening to God in your life?

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