I leaned in and whispered I love you to my boys as I hugged them goodbye. They were leaving to go up north with their dad to see their grandparents for Christmas earlier this week. There is something intimate about a whisper.
Listen to this quote from Mark Batterson’s new book, “When someone speaks in a whisper, you have to get very close to hear. In fact, you have to put your ear near the person’s mouth. We lean toward a whisper, and that’s what God wants. The goal of hearing the heavenly Father’s voice isn’t just hearing His voice; it’s intimacy with Him. That’s why He speaks in a whisper. He wants to be as close to us as is divinely possible. He loves us, likes us, that much.”
Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God by Mark Batterson is my book recommendation for January. This book is full of amazing truth and practical ways to listen and hear God. This book is the counterpart to his Circle Maker book on prayer (my July Book recommendation). Mark says, “Prayer is the difference between the best we can do and the best God can do. But there is something even more important and powerful than talking to God. What is it? Listening to God. It turns a monologue into a dialogue, which is exactly what He wants.”
In this book, Mark talks about “discovering your whisper spot- the place you go to hear God’s whisper, the place where His voice echoes loudest and longest, the place where He speaks via healing and revealing, convicting and creating.” He shares his many whisper spots over the years like the balcony of a chapel in college or standing by a white pillar in Union Station. Now, he goes on top of the roof of a coffee shop. I loved the idea of trying to find a place where I can consistently go to be still and listen to God. For me, the beach truly brings me peace and clarity and I love when I go down there to read and just be still. The problem for me is consistency, finding time to get there regularly. So I am still trying to find a second place either at my home or near it where I can be more consistent. Mark says, “Finding a whispering spot takes time and patience. It takes effort and intentionality.” Do you have a whispering spot? Do you have a place where you go to be still? I encourage you to find that special whispering spot.
Mark gives us 7 ways God speaks to us in his book. He says, “God speaks through His Word. That’s our starting point. He whispers to us through doors, dreams and desires. He converses with us through promptings, pain and other people.” He goes into detail on each one of these languages. However, there is one thing we need to in order to understand these languages; “we desperately need the gift of discernment. “
“It takes discernment to spot closed doors and open doors.
It takes discernment to recognize God-given dreams.
It takes discernment to know which desires are from God.
It takes discernment to obey the promptings of God.
It takes discernment to put pain into perspective.
It takes discernment to read people.”
Wow- discernment is very important. I think we all need to be praying for the gift of discernment over our loved ones and even ourselves!
Honestly, I loved all of the 7 ways God speaks to us but I want to focus today on promptings. Has God ever put someone’s name on your heart and you felt like He wanted you to reach out to that person? Have you ever felt God prompting you to do something? Most of the time our lives are so busy that we either miss these promptings all together or don’t have the time to follow through on them. But what if we slowed down. Mark says, “Discerning the voice of God requires an internal clock that perceives His promptings. And it’s our reaction time to those promptings that leads to supernatural synchronicities: being in the right place at the right time with the right people.”
I like to call these divine appointments. Some people call them coincidences but I am a firm believer that God orchestrates all the details for His perfect timing. The key is that we have to be in tune to God to hear him prompting us. Listen to what Mark says:
“When God prompts you to pray, pray.
When God prompts you to serve, serve
When God prompts you to give, give.
God is setting you up but you have to obey the prompting. And your obedience- whether it’s praying, serving, or giving- might just be somebody else’s miracle.”
How exciting to think that we are the answer to someone else’s miracle! I don’t know about you but I don’t want to miss the miracles that God has planned because I am too busy to hear his promptings. So as we get ready for another new years, my prayer for all of us including me is that we will purposely and intentionally listen to God more this year than ever before. We will listen to Him through people, promptings and even our pain. We will listen to Him through our desires, our God sized dreams and open/closed doors. But, most importantly, we will listen to God through his Word to us. In fact, Mark points out in his book, “God will never lead us to do something that is contrary to His good, pleasing and perfect will as revealed in Scriptures.” The Word of God is our final test and authority; we need to take every prompting, piece of advice from friends, our desires and dreams and make sure we are following God’s will based on what is says in the Bible.
I don’t know about you but I get excited to think that we can hear the voice of God! I love that He whispers so that we will move in close to hear. His desire is connection and a relationship with us. The God of the Universe wants to whisper to each of us! It does not get any better than that!
At the end of his book, Mark asks this question, “Is God the loudest voice in your life?” He continues to say, “That’s the question. The answer will determine your destiny!”