What’s Your Experience with God?

What’s Your Experience with God?

Jun 24, 2013

What’s Your Experience with God?

by Ralph Mackintosh


When I laid out the challenge for Seventh Day Baptists this year, there were four phases: read Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby, spend time in prayer seeking where God was already working, join Him in His work, and share with your fellow SDBs your experience.

Some of you will have finished your reading and study while others may have already discovered where God wants you to be serving and may have taken steps in that direction. As I’ve travelled the country over the last 10 months I’ve heard stories of people’s lives being changed, new insights being discovered and a refreshing spirit of enthusiasm for listening to God’s voice and answering His call.

Wherever you are in the process I’d like to hear about your experience. If you have been impacted by your study, prayer and experiencing God this year, I want to share those stories at Conference. If you’re going to be in Colorado Springs for Conference 2013 (and you all should be) there will be opportunity to share with the whole gathering. If you can’t come, please send me an e-mail or write your experience down and send it with someone who is attending.

I’ve been doing some more reading and I’d like to recommend another Blackaby book called Hearing God’s Voice. The Blackabys wrote this to answer some questions that people had raised, with specific emphasis on the issue of how and when God speaks to His people today.

I believe God still speaks to His people—not through some single formulaic ritual process but in the same immensely varied ways He spoke in biblical times: burning bushes, writing on the wall, fleeces, wind, fire, still small voice, trumpets, a donkey (okay, maybe only once), circumstances, preachers, angels, dreams, visions, wise counsel, prophets, miracles, the Holy Spirit, Scripture, etc. The fact that He speaks in so many different ways means that we have to put our faith in Him and not in a method.

The question most of us ask is, “Why don’t I hear God speak more often directly to me?” I’m discovering that the problem is not that God isn’t speaking, but that I’m such a bad listener. Consider the conversation we are supposed to be having at regular intervals with God called PRAYER. To hear God’s voice we need to spend a lot more time in prayer.

When I read of history’s great leaders of the Church, a common theme seems to be the hours they spent on their knees. Do many of us do that today? Do we literally spend hour after hour seeking God’s presence, or does God just hear from us for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at night and 30 seconds at mealtime?

Secondly it may be how we pray. What God has to say to us is infinitely more important than what we have to say to Him, yet we all so often dominate the conversation. God already knows everything we are telling Him yet we keep right on yacking instead of listening for Him to tell us things we don’t know.

Prayer is a two-way communication. It is not reciting a wish list to the “cosmic Santa” or a means of tapping into a supernatural power source. It’s not the recitation of a ritual formula that will mysteriously make us healthy and rich, and it’s certainly not an equal exchange of ideas. Maybe our Quaker friends have it right when they sit in silence during their worship services contemplating and listening.

I yearn to be like the person depicted in Isaiah 50:4. “He wakens morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears.”

I hope to see many of you in Colorado Springs. My e-mail is ralph.mackintosh@hoag.org

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