Here’s a glimpse of all that happened in Belize August 2022 when I was invited to speak at a camp for kids and teens. I sent the following out to my email list…
What God did in a few days blew us all away!
Here’s a glimpse of all that happened in Belize August 2022 when I was invited to speak at a camp for kids and teens. I sent the following out to my email list…
What God did in a few days blew us all away!
I found myself emotional on the 4 hour drive home. I was finished serving 1 week at a camp which included giving 10 messages on moving from mountains to miracles and moving from our problems to God’s promises. (Did you know there are over 8,000 promises recorded from God in the Bible?) However, I was confused as to why I was so emotional.
I asked God what was going on in my heart. I’m still processing and I think I have a few words to describe some of what happened to me. The week was full of campers asking the best questions and cabins inviting me to sit at their tables at meal times so they could ask me questions. During chapels and campfires the kids wonderfully put up their hands and asked me simple yet often profound questions so they could learn. Their hungry hearts were beautiful and so refreshing.
I had both staff and kids approach me throughout the week privately to ask me some deep heart questions. I found myself leading several to personally encounter Jesus and allow His Holy Spirit to speak to the depths of their hearts. They shared with me what they heard or saw with the eyes of their hearts.
Throughout the week, I explained how simply saying ‘thank you’ to God opens the gates to His presence. I led them through this simple exercise several times. Here’s one passage in the Bible that I referred to:
“Know this: God is God.
He made us; we didn’t make him.
We’re his people, his well-tended sheep.
Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.
For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.“
(Psalm 100:3-5 The Message version)
The kids often shared some of what they sensed and saw from the Lord when they would speak to Him and ask Him questions. It was absolutely beautiful.
One thing I had not expected was how many times kids and staff, guys and girls said, ‘thank you’ to me EACH DAY. Over and over. And over and over again.
Driving home, I realized that the many words of thanks were still weaving their way into my heart and healing a previous chapter in my life of being so often told how I was not doing enough, which led to burnout and I had to learn how to walk and talk again. Clearly, the Lord had more for me through the words of both young and old – both guys and girls.
*This note pictured below from a young lady on staff was the icing on the cake.
Saying ‘thank you’ to God not only heals your heart and brain (even science confirms this), but I am convinced more than ever that saying ‘thank you’ to your PEOPLE will heal THEIR hearts and minds.
Take a moment today and ask God:
“Who in my life are you inviting me to thank today?”
Ask Him how to do that? – Perhaps with a note, a hug, quality time, a gift, an act of service?
I’m quite sure that turning AWAY FROM criticism and TO SAYING ‘THANK YOU’ could change our families, our communities, our nations.
(Written to honour my 90 year old spiritual mentor, May 2022.)
The first time I met Edna, she came to my office door when I was first hired on as a pastor. I don’t believe she even said, “Hi, my name is Edna.” She came to the door and took up 1/10 of the door frame and out of her mouth came, “If you need someone to pray for you – I’m your woman.”
It was absolute seriousness. She meant business. She was ready to go to war alongside me. She knew better than me the fire I would later walk through as a leader.
So began years of prayer partnering together. She would listen to the Lord and at times share specific words and verses. I remember her giving me Psalm 27. “Wait patiently on the Lord.” It was timely. She had no idea the difficult decision I was trying to make when she sent it.
Edna helped me understand the spiritual realm.
She had served in Indonesia and Philippines where things were in your face including head hunting. Her stories were incredible. She was 43 years older than me and full of wisdom.
It was from her that I think I really learned how to effectively pray. She helped put language to the things I was experiencing and felt in the spiritual realm. We would prayer walk laps around the church building – every Monday morning. The front office staff would cheer us on and remark to us with wonder if the walls were going to fall down.
There was one season I remember deeply. The church was going through a difficult time. We sensed the Lord invite us to pray for repentance on behalf of the church; it’s people and it’s history.
I remember in one month; 13 people came forward to me personally, not knowing what we were doing. They confessed sin or shared deep wounds. I would pray with them and refer many of them to a local counsellor. It got such that the counsellor emailed me. “Who are you and what are you doing over there?”
We prayer walked for families. We prayed for the Kids Soccer Camps we ran and we saw incredible things happen.
She was my spiritual mom for years.
One day she asked me, “Do you know how to fight a bull?” Again, she said this in absolute seriousness. Her dad had a bull in the field growing up. She said to me: “When you come face to face with a bull, you take that ring in its nose and you twist.” At first, I thought she had lost her mind. But, I felt like the Lord said to me, “Take note of this.” I realize I have used that lesson so often, not in the natural but in the supernatural.
Today, I minister to missionaries, pastors, and various ministry leaders all over the world. They are often on the verge of burnout or in deep spiritual oppression. I enjoy walking with them to lead them through it and take the enemy to task.
Yes, Edna was probably the first person who effectively taught me about the spiritual realm. We are seated in the heavenlies. In Christ, we have authority over the evil one. But, we give away our authority when we live in fear.
Because of her, I have multiplied what she has taught me. Her impact is far reaching today as I coach people on the mission field, often in countries like she was once in.
Our friendship was such that we would often joke; if we had grown up together, we would have gotten in so much trouble.
Years ago, she was told she was dying already back then. The news hit me hard. I went to a local retreat centre and spent a day weeping. She asked me to do her funeral back then. She was always a huge supporter of me and my leadership.
We met and prayed and looked forward to riding a motorcycle together in the airstrip of heaven. In her earlier years she had often hopped on a motorcycle after her kids were in bed, and road it up and down the local airstrip for stress relief and prayer. She was my kind of woman. When I pastored, I rode a Honda Ruckus myself and found it great therapy.
Together, we prayed for Edna. Lo and behold, she was healed. The funeral plans were off.
Edna and I enjoyed years of visiting together after that. I would go to her home and ask her what the Lord was telling her and hear her reflections on the Word or her stories. When I would phone her and she’d answer, I would greet her with: “Hello, my friend!” Her response was always so life giving.
Edna passed quietly in her sleep at 90 years of age. She was singing about heaven in the weeks leading up to it. She knew she was getting ready for heaven. I write this having recently experienced her celebration of life. She was a woman ahead of her time. Stories of her life were shared of hiding fugitives in a dangerous country, chasing away thieves, guarding women in the local prison, leading women through 12 step recovery programs, preaching sermons in a day before women really did, hosting the local police for meals in order to minister to them, and speaking at the Bible Camp that I have spoken at for years myself. This is only some of what she did and reminds me why we hit it off.
I miss her deeply as I write this. I lost contact with her in the final years due to my own health crash in 2016-2017, then her Parkinson’s making it hard for long emotional visits and then Covid 19.
I hope we will be riding some kind of joy ride vehicle together up in heaven. I’m sure it’s going to be far beyond all of our dreams.
Edna has left a huge legacy and impact on my life and I can see how what I do in coaching ministry leaders is flavoured by her.
I pray that my life will impact at least 1/10 of what her life has on her family, friends, and those she cared for.
How do we help our kids navigate through a world where leaders are falling in sin like hotcakes, and churches are arguing over divisive topics?
We need two major things.
We need to know the Scriptures and rely on Holy Spirit.
As parents, we need to worship God in both Spirit and Truth and invite our kids to walk in this too. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is true freedom (2 Cor 3:17) – no matter what is happening in the news today.
Now more than ever, we truly need to have a relationship with God rather than merely rely on a doctrine, a church, or a human pastor.
Helping You and Your Kids Hear From God
Children hear the Lord easier than others. The most common block that children face is the unbelief of their parents and leaders. Our greatest responsibility as parents and leaders is to lead the children into an intimate friendship with God, which includes teaching children how to recognize and respond to the voice of God.
We CAN learn to hear God’s voice.
John 10:27 says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
The earlier you expect a child to sense God’s presence and voice, the less likely you are to shut down their spiritual eyes and ears. (Don’t be discouraged if you are late in the game to hearing God’s voice. God knows your kids and will lead you!)
Why Teach Kids to Hear God’s Voice?
How Does God Speak?
His Word, dreams, through others, through parents, a still small voice, spontaneous thoughts, impressions, feelings, inner-knowing, pictures, and circumstances.
Start Practicing Hearing God with Journaling
A “Hearing God Journal” is the best way to practice hearing God’s voice. Dr Mark Virkler taught me this from Scripture. In journaling, you simply ask God and question and then record what you sense God is saying to you. Then, you test it out according to God’s Word, His nature, His Holy Spirit and with others who know Him. Here are some steps for using a hearing God journal:
1. I Quiet Myself.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Our minds can be so busy and noisy that we can’t hear God’s gentle whisper. It’s impossible to empty our minds of racing thoughts. What we need to do is focus on Jesus. Express your love for Him – you can tell him with words, or more with feelings and desire and less with actual words. It’s like sitting quietly with your best friend. Just being together is enough. Listening to a worship playlist may be a great way for you to quiet your heart.
2. I Picture Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says “…Let us run the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus.” Imagine your heart is like a movie screen. Ask God to fill this screen with His words and pictures. Pray, “Lord, I give the eyes of my heart to you. Fill them with your pictures and good ideas from heaven.” Just as our physical eyes see into the natural world around us, our spirit sees into the supernatural world when we ask God to open them. Picturing ourselves with Jesus in a Bible story is a good way to “prime the pump.” In the beginning we may need to “prime the pump” with a little help from the ‘eyes of our heart’ (our imagination), but when we exercise faith, it quickly turns into a pure flow of the Spirit. The water we prime the pump with may be warm and stale, but it is followed by a fresh flow of pure water.
3. I tune to the words and pictures that gently light upon my heart.
John 7:38 says, “Rivers of Living Water will flow from the heart of anyone who believes in Me.” God’s voice is like a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:11-12). Usually it is not a whisper that we can hear with our ears, but the Holy Spirit speaks directly to our spirit through spontaneous thoughts. “Spontaneous” means that these thoughts seem to just appear in our hearts. They are not just something we were already thinking about. When God puts His thoughts in our heart, we often feel peace, or faith, or conviction, or a special excitement. God can put a thought, a word, an idea, a feeling, an impression, or even a vision in our heart.
4. I write down.
Revelation 1:11 says, “Write in a book what you see.” We call this ‘journaling’. In Habakkuk 2:2-3 God says, “Record the vision…for the vision is yet for the appointed time…though it tarries, wait for it…it will surely come.” Journaling is writing out our questions and God’s answers. Simply ask a question and then write down the spontaneous thoughts that come to your heart. Don’t try to figure out if your writing is God or not until AFTER you are done writing. Nothing stops the voice of God speaking to you more than doubt. After you are done writing you can go back and compare what you wrote with the Bible, ask your parents or pastor if they think it sounds like it’s from God. You can also write down what God speaks to you from the Bible and any other lessons God is teaching you.
Journaling through the New Testament is key to discerning God’s voice. *Don’t attempt to teach your children to hear God without Scriptural foundation. Simply walk through the Gospels to start with alongside your children. Teach them how to journal through Scripture. Read a passage. Ask Holy Spirit to highlight a word/phrase, then how He’s inviting you to apply it. Write out a dialogue with Him. Write out an Action Step from the Scriptures. Go and do it! This is powerful!
Is it God?
How to Test What you Hear:
A big question is whether we are really hearing from God. Explore these questions AFTER you are finished journaling.
How to Identify Who is Speaking:
To learn how to hear God and teach your kids, join us for one of our upcoming events!
Merri Ellen Giesbrecht, Life Coach & Spiritual Director
Women: Join us on Feb 12th!
Women, join our 5 DAY KICKSTART intensive for Women! (Back by request!)
I compile the BEST of a 5 week FOUNDATIONAL course that I began teaching several years ago that has been transforming women, marriages, workplaces, families, and communities!
Come join the movement of women encountering Jesus in the noise! This is open to all women – both to alumni of our previous courses (for a refresh) and newbies! I simply want to KICKSTART more women!
I will be once again teaching the foundational basics of hearing God according to Scripture, plus leading activations and interviewing some of our awesome students about their journeys in hearing God.
Come join us! If you can’t join us LIVE on Zoom, you can watch the recordings and jump into the community discussion in our private Facebook group!
Sign up TODAY!: https://www.merriellen.com/5days
Recently, we had over 80 women from Alaska to Texas, Canada, Britain, Australia, and Germany! We gathered together for 5 days back to back to kick start women in hearing Jesus in the midst of our current noise.
(Here’s one screenshot of one panel view! So much energy!)
One woman on my tech team had inner healing in front of all the women LIVE! She was thrilled!
One woman had breakthrough over something she’s been carrying for 30 years. Thank you Jesus!!!
I’m told we apparently broke online event records with engagement. Women weren’t wanting each day to end!
What happened in the private Facebook group between sessions was unreal! Women were so encouraging and vulnerable.
Oh man… more miracle stories were pouring in and we are seeing things fulfilled that were once spoken over us in this season. Jesus was having fun! 💕
The very next day women were asking for more! So, we are planning the next event!
Spread the News and
Invite Your Female Friends
for 5 MORE Unforgettable Days…
Sign up for the next one!
(Testimonials and stories are posted on the link above too!)
Mara De Los Reyes of Hope for a Healed Child interviewed me recently and this is how much fun we had.
Gotta love the screenshot that YouTube came up with!
Child healed from juvenile arthritis…plus 50 teens HEALED through prayer!
Learn more about the upcoming event for Women: Encounter Jesus in the Noise Event: https://www.merriellen.com/5days
Read the full story of the Summer of 70 healings (there were 20 more at another camp that same summer!)
I’ve been coaching a group now for many months and recently we have been focusing on radical prayer walking. Here’s a glimpse…
The format of church has been shifting for a very long time and 2020 put it into high gear. A bunch of us have gathered and scattered for prayer walking and gathering for Disciplemaking including over zoom. I recently gathered this week with 35 people all over the world. INTERACTIVELY that is.
*To me, online church is not watching some guy talk for 45 minutes. Church is family and interactive.
We’ve even enjoyed communion over zoom when we gather. And then, we scatter!
Back to prayer walking…
Just the other day, there were 10 moms with strollers going out through their neighborhood locally!
Radical Prayer Walking (Shifting Atmospheres)
What is prayer-walking?
One simple definition: “Praying on-site with insight.”
The purpose of prayer-walking is to seek God’s guidance, mercy, and transforming power—both for the community and for ourselves as God’s servants in the community.
The key to shifting atmospheres through prayer:
We must first invite Jesus to shift the atmosphere inside of us.
Example: “Search my heart God… Is there anything in my heart you’d like to heal?” (We did a teaching on this in one of my courses.)
When I call for prayer walking and deliverance buddies, I tell them: “Come prayed up, cleaned up, confessed up, and ready to go!”
When we attempt to shift atmospheres, this is key!
Once you have enjoyed time with Jesus – praising Him, thanking Him and then allowing Him to shift the atmosphere within you, you are ready to take His glory to the street!
Here’s another important key I’ve noticed in prayer walking: Do not engage in territorial spiritual warfare lightly. (Without seeking the Lord, it’s just asking for trouble on you and your family.)
Instead, repent for the sins committed in the area (yes – even if they were committed by others. Think of Nehemiah or to be more NT – you can pray: “Lord, have mercy! Forgive.”), and then pray a blessing of the fruit of Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
So, it could look like this…
1. Worship and Delight in the Lord, and Listen to Him…
2. Repentance (or pray: “Lord, have mercy! Forgive.”)
3. Blessing (of Holy Spirit)
These things have shifted atmospheres, neighbourhoods and families in a powerful way! Then, pray for anyone you run into! I have seen people healed of cancer, arthritis, kidney failure, etc. Jesus heals! (We will learn about praying for physical healing in an upcoming session.)
As you walk your neighbourhood or an assigned neighbourhood, you can Ask Jesus the questions we’ve learned to ask Him (week 3 of our foundational course).
“Jesus, what’s on your heart for this neighbourhood? Why?”
“Jesus, what’s the look on your face as you look at them? Why?”
“Jesus, how are you praying for them? Why?”
“Jesus, how are you inviting ME to pray for them? Why?”
“Jesus, what promise and Scripture do you have for them? Why?”
“Jesus, if they embraced this promise, what gift would you pour out for them? Why?”
“Jesus, is there anything blocking them from your presence that you’re willing to show me?” (And if He shows you sin, etc – ask Him how He’s inviting you to pray.)
Caution: This discipline of prayer walking is to be entered carefully and especially if you are a burden bearer. (Do not take home burdens. Remember, you are to release the burdens back to Jesus.)
4. ‘Wash off’ after you walk through a neighbourhood. You can simply pray: “Jesus, I pray your shed blood over me to wash me off of all things I’ve come into contact with. Father God, pour your love over me. Holy Spirit, rinse me clean, and fill me up to overflowing! I declare that nothing can come home with me that is not of you Almighty God!”
For more of the teaching and helps, visit: www.freedomcoachingcircle.com
Provided by Merri Ellen Giesbrecht, Certified Life Coach & Spiritual Director