Sometimes when I ask intercessors what the Lord is speaking to them, they respond by telling me what they have read in an intercessor newsletter, at a prophetic website, or in a Christian issues op-ed column. Maybe it’s what they’ve seen on Christian TV or YouTube. They sincerely think that what they are sharing is what God is speaking to them, but in reality, they are only regurgitating the ideas and opinions of others. Some are consistently unable to relate what God is showing them personally.
I wondered why that was, so I inquired of the Lord, and this is what I felt He was showing me: Continual bombardment of our mind through the eye and ear gates dulls our spirit’s ability to recognize God’s still small voice.
The people I am speaking of are usually passionate Christians who are eager to learn all that they can about the Lord and what He is saying or doing in the earth today. They get multiple intercessor newsletters because they have a heart to pray into big things, and they want to keep on top of current events from a Christian perspective. But their minds are in a constant swirl, forever trying to process and sort through the information overload being fed into them. And because their minds are constantly chewing on all the info they’ve consumed, it’s hard for them to slow down enough to hear what God is saying to them, deep down inside.
Now, I think most of us are prone to having difficulty with this. We’re smack-dab in the middle of the Information Revolution, after all. I’ve got an inquiring mind, and certainly want to learn all I can. And keeping up with what’s afoot in our world is important. But I find, for myself, that if I am going to hear God, I’ve got to discipline myself to severely limit the inflow from outside voices.
I’d much rather be able to hear from God firsthand than to hear it from someone else. Secondhand just isn’t quite as good. And, I’d much rather spend the majority of my intercession time following the Holy Spirit’s promptings than merely praying what somebody else tells thousands of people on their mailing list that we should all pray. (It isn’t wrong to pray directly from a newsletter; it just shouldn’t be the sum total of our intercessory prayer life.) We need one-on-one communication directly between our spirit and the Holy Spirit. It’s like the difference between fresh fruit and the canned stuff. Not the same. But if we only consume the canned version, we don’t even have a clue how good the fresh fruit is!
Shouldn’t we all listen to good teaching and preaching? Of course. Can’t God speak to us through prophets, preachers, intercessor leaders, and teachers? Yes. We need these wonderful people. I have a few really, really favorite teachers I love to listen to. I write books and this blog with the intention of helping people grow in their Christian life, especially in their prayer and prophetic understanding. I would be SAD if y’all quit reading what I’ve got for you! But I’d be even sadder to find out anyone was reading my materials in place of spending precious time personally with the Lord in prayer and reading the Bible. We need to spend time with Him, not only in reading or listening to what some fallible human has to say about Him.
So, how does one fix this and get into a place of hearing God firsthand? Start by slowing down and deliberately tuning out. Think of it as a detox. Maybe it’s going to mean deleting a few ministry e-mails without reading them. Maybe it will mean less time watching TBN or Daystar. Maybe it will mean setting aside a specific amount of time for watching/listening/reading every week and then not going over the predetermined limit.
Once you’ve got yourself slowed down by removing the brain circuitry overload, your spirit is going to be able to gradually take precedence over your mind. You can actually relax in prayer and take time to ask, “Lord what do You have to say today?” You can now fill those brain cells which used to be clogged up with thinking about all the stuff you read, saw, and heard with new thinking about something you read in the Bible, or God’s character, or just how beautiful Jesus really is. The new peace and quiet of mind makes it much easier for the Holy Spirit to be heard in your spirit, because you’ve removed the debris which has been getting in the way for so long.
That’s a good place to start, and from there, you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll start hearing God clearly for yourself on a regular basis.