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?
- They can have friendship with God (the most important thing!)
- God can help them make decisions (imagine if kids could avoid the mistakes YOU made!)
- They can be led by God to minister to others (the supernatural, including hearing God, is for demonstrating God’s power in the world. For children to move in a pure, undiluted gospel of power, they must learn 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.
- Does it agree with the Word?
- What do others say about it? God especially speaks through parents.
- Do we feel peace about it?
- Does it glorify God?
- Would it bring the fruit of Holy Spirit?
How to Identify Who is Speaking:
- God’s voice – kind, peaceful, truthful, sweet, it always lines up with His Word
- My voice – selfish, self-centered, self-protecting, self-serving
- The enemy’s voice – condemning, manipulative, persuasive, deceiving, threatening, accusing.
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
Private or group Coaching: www.merriellen.com