Friday, March 1, 2013

God speaks

He placed a hand on my back and my chest and squeezed.

“You have a word, don’t you.”

I nodded.

“I want you to speak it.”

Hearing God’s voice inside my heart is the most exhilarating and tender connection to the Father. Scripture is full of God speaking to individuals. David expresses God’s voice intimately in the Psalms. Jesus said, “my sheep hear my voice.” As Christians, we’re called to listen, hear and speak.

We’ve learned a lot about prophesying here at Bethel. Prophesying is just hearing from God on behalf of others. It’s a crucial component of Christian life (1 Corinthians 14).

My pastor called me out on Wednesday morning. Sometimes I need a push and Josh knows me well and followed God’s prompting. A superintendent with the London, UK police force was in the center of a circle of 65 students, all members of our revival group at school. It looked like an NFL pre-game team meeting when the players pack into a tight circle to get one last pep talk from the coach, arms extended toward the middle, the circle almost vibrating with energy.

People were listening to God. There were powerful words spoken over this man whose job is to wade daily through the darkness and violence of sex trafficking, drugs and gang violence. He was obviously touched that God would speak words over him that mean something only to him -- hinting at secrets not known to the speaker but shared at a deep level between he and God.

I know how he felt. I’ve been at the center of the circle too, hearing things that no one else knows -- not enough that it means anything to the person prophesying but an ample amount to show me that God loves me, sees me, cares for me, and longs for more of me.

“I see a baton. But inside the holster it looks like a sword glinting with light...”

The words started to flow. I felt my voice getting stronger. People nodded, agreed, leaned in.

I stopped when I felt that to go on would be to pushing the limit of His leading. I didn’t know the power of the words I’d spoken but I’ve learned to be comfortable with the mystery. It’s about hearing from God, not hearing from Andrew.

A woman in front of me picked up the lyric that God wanted to sing over this man. She too had seen a sword and light. She spoke briefly, quietly, eyes welling up with tears as she felt her heart falling into rhythm with God’s. Someone else picked up where she stopped, shining the light further, bringing more hope and peace over this man’s soul.

Each of us were careful to measure our words. We prophesied things that would build up, cheer up, or drawn near, just as we’re commanded to do in 1 Corinthians 14. We prefaced our prayers saying “I feel God might be saying...” We’re human, after all, and don’t want to laden the listener with a spiritual trip in case we’re not hearing clearly.

Hearing God’s voice and speaking it for the edification of others is an ancient thing Christians have done. God trusts us. He’s always loved working through His children.

Anne has a powerful prophetic gift. I've heard her speak life over strangers serving us coffee, ministering to them at a deep, holy level. It’s amazing to watch them transform, sometimes forgetting why they came to the table.

It’s the 21st century so iPods and phones emerge to record prophetic words at church. Friends know how life-changing these words can be and they want to capture every note God’s singing because they’d want their friends to do the same for them.

I know what this cop will do. He’ll transcribe the recording and listen and pray over these words. He’ll make sure they align with scripture -- which they all did. He’ll ask other believers their opinion of any words he wonders about. And he’ll pray these words back to God. Nothing is more powerful than repeating God’s words back to Him in prayer, just like the Apostle Paul told Timothy to do.

The rest of us walked away renewed. God used us to minister. There’s not much that can bring as much light into one’s soul as when you get to place a piece of gold directly from God into someone else’s.

                                        - Andrew