The second workshop I’ll report on was Hearing the Voice of the Lord, taught by Charlotte Varble, from the Whole Person Preparedness Conference recently in Utah. FYI, I hear it will be in Idaho in May – here’s the LINK. The content was quite simple but the results for me were profound.
She taught two activities to bring us closer to God:
Write a letter to God and His imagined response back to you. Pour out your feelings to the Lord, your thoughts and your prayers. Write them down in letter format and sign it. Then write a letter back to yourself with what you think God would answer. Remember His perspective is different than ours:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Keep a Prayer Journal for 30 Days. This involves three steps:
- Write down your prayer requests each morning. I pray first and then write them down, as I’m often inspired what to ask during my prayers. Plus it makes the actual prayer more important than the writing and my own thoughts.
- Watch for impressions, answers, guidance, and comfort throughout the day. There are a number of ways we receive these:
* Direct Promptings of the Holy Spirit – a strong, recurring feeling or idea.
* “Strokes of Intelligence” – ideas that come swiftly and powerfully, bringing clarity.
* A “burning in the bosom” – goosebumps, a literal fiery feeling of enthusiasm.
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me
if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you;
therefore, you shall feel that it is right. (LDS Doctrine & Covenants (9:8)
* A “stupor of thought” is a No answer:
But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; . . . (Doctrine & Covenants 9:9)
* Dreams or waking visions – those compelling dreams may be answers.
* Peace that brings comfort even when other answers and solutions may not appear.
- Write down your answers and spiritual experiences each night, returning and reporting to the Lord. Keep either a handwritten notebook or use a computer, as I do. Just the act of writing makes me reflect more deeply.
In less than two weeks, I’ve had some powerful experiences:
- By focusing my spiritual attention on just this current day, I pulled back from an excessive focus on the future and on more nebulous ideas. I actually felt like I was shrinking within.
- On about the third day, I started feeling sad for a couple of hours, late afternoon. I think my focus on the future and more general topics was a shield protecting me from experiencing grief about how my adult life has unfolded and the effect it’s had on the people I love most. Each day this period intensified and lengthened into the evening. It culminated after about five days with a spell of anger towards God. How could He let all this happen? Am I so much less worthy and lovable than all the happy, successful people around me? After I “flushed my emotional toilet,” I felt better and I apologized to Him the next morning for my lack of faith. I felt no condemnation, only calm acceptance and love.
- Then I had an epiphany about the next three months of my life – how to reorganize, streamline, and then be ready for whatever might come this summer. I’ve rented a much larger storage unit and can fill it systematically as I sort and purge.
Wow – all this in less than two weeks – what a payday! I invite you all to try these ideas, although your answers and experiences will necessarily be different from mine, possibly very different. But it will unleash God’s love and power in your life, if you just let it flow.