The best advice my Christian mentor offered me about listening to God’s voice was, “Write it down.” Writing down an idea reinforces it in my mind, so I will more accurately remember it later. The practice of writing in a journal absolutely, unequivocally produced for me the desired success in hearing the voice of God and maintaining the integrity of His words. Additionally, journaling your conversations with God offers many excellent benefits, It help you:
- Differentiate your thoughts from God’s thoughts
- Return to your conversations with the Lord when you experience times of disconnect from Him
- Document the Scripture verses He leads you to
- Preserve the exact words from God’s mouth, so your enemy can’t twist them around, and use them against you later
The Holy Spirit of God reveals His thoughts to me, and I don’t want to miss one of them. Every time I meet with God, I write down our conversation. He already knows my thoughts and questions, but I usually write them down anyway in a notebook or on the computer. Then I wait to hear Him speak. While I’m waiting to hear His voice, I journal every thought popping into my head, no matter how unusual or unimportant it seems. Why? Recording all my thoughts offers me the best chance of discerning the still, small voice of God from the other voices in my head.
As I go back and read what I have written in my journal, I can see where my own thoughts end and God’s begin. While my thoughts lack confidence and certainty, His thoughts are authoritative and convicting. My expressions are timid and self-condemning, but God’s voice exudes strength and encouragement. My ways are naïve and simple, while His ways are wise and wonderful.
Since the Holy Spirit reminds us of God’s Word, you will know the Spirit speaks to you when you recognize a concept or verse from the Bible infused with the words you have written in your journal. You will recognize God’s voice in your notes as He speaks to you in a loving, encouraging, affirming manner. His voice will be apparent when you feel conviction of a sin and when He speaks the truth in love. Read God’s encouragement in this example from my own journal:
Journal Entry on 04/15/2014
My child, I have called you My own. You belong to Me. Do you cherish Me the same way I cherish you? You are everything to Me. I have engraved you on the palms of My hands. Your name is burned into My mind. You are always on My heart. I will never forget you. Try writing My name on your palms and do not forget Me.
Remember what I say to you. Write it down. Draw on it when times are tough. Refer back to it when it becomes difficult for you to hear Me. It will help you recall what I have said to you. I have written so many things on your heart. I have written so many things in My Word. You have My written Word to help you find your way; you have My Holy Spirit to remind you of what I have said. The words spoken by My Spirit within you will lead you back to My written Word. Write down the words I put in your mind and on your heart. Examine them again as needed.
Life gets crazy. A time may come when you do not hear Me. Then you will refer back to your journal and relive the words I have spoken to you. Cling tightly to the spoken and written words I have given you. You will cherish the time we spent together in the past and allow My voice to be heard in your mind and heart once more.
You are My beloved child. I have so much wisdom to send your way. Be diligent in recording the knowledge I impart. Do not take it lightly. It may save you some day. Record everything you hear, big or small. Sometimes the biggest blessings are wrapped in the smallest packages. Record every thought that presents itself in your head. When the words begin to flow more rapidly, you will recognize My hand in it. When you look at it again, you will be able to discern your own thoughts from My thoughts in your journal writings.
Anything worth anything is worth writing down. Write down anything and everything I say to you.
As God mentioned above, my journal becomes really useful when I experience times of spiritual drought—when I feel disconnect from God, when He doesn’t speak to me, or when I can’t hear Him. In reading it again, I’m able to reconnect with God and remember what it sounds like to hear from Him. It helps me remember His character and how He feels toward me. It’s a way to reconnect my spirit with the Spirit of God inside me.
Pausing to listen for His voice is vital. How can I hear Him speak if I don’t leave room in the conversation for Him? Write down your comments or questions to God, and then lift your pen off the paper for a few moments to wait for His response. You may write a paragraph or two, but leave Him space on the page to reply. Do not feel the need to fill the air with your own voice and thoughts all the time. Learn to become comfortable with the silence. Ecclesiastes states, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: …a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7).
Clear your mind of all the clutter and obstructions. If random thoughts enter your mind—like your grocery shopping list or your “to do” list for the day—quickly jot them down so you won’t forget them, and then return your focus to God. Concentrate on the topic of your discussion. Reiterate your questions or comments to Him. Then write down the next thoughts that enter your mind—all of them, no matter how common or strange they may seem. Sometimes you will find abundant meaning in the simplest expressions.
Documenting what you hear God say to you will be monumental in your quest for intimacy with Him. With all the distractions we have pulling us away from God, taking time to read through your journal of His messages to you will put you back on track in focusing your attention in His direction. The ability to read and reread His loving, encouraging words, specifically given to you, will build your confidence in your relationship with Him, just like reading His message of love for you in the Bible does.
Had the scribes not put their time and attention into writing down the inspired words of God, we would not have the Bible today. If you do not write down what He says to you, those words may get lost in your head, and you may not be able to recall them exactly as He gave them to you. Satan would love to twist and mix up the words God has given you to make you believe his version instead. Just as you use the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, to battle your enemy, you may also use the truth in God’s words you have written down in your journal to fight the one who opposes you. What God says to you will be reinforced by Scripture.
When you learn to distinguish God’s voice, or thoughts, as you are journaling your conversation with Him, write His voice in cursive or italics, and print your thoughts to distinguish the two voices on paper. When possible, date each conversation. Title your journal entry with a fitting name to identify the topic, so it’s easier to spot when you want to return to it later.
Maybe you love to blog or post on social media. When your conversations with God are not too personal, consider posting them in some form. You can tweak them to be more generic and allow others to enjoy a word from the Lord. If you don’t yet have a blog, you may set one up free on WordPress.org or WordPress.com. I maintain a blog on my website, www.sindynagel.com. The posts filed under the category titled “From God’s Heart to Yours” come from messages I hear from God and relay to you. Here’s a sample:
Life in the Son
Lord, I have been in a slump because of the dreary weather. Would You shine some light into my life? Does the sun, or the lack of it, really make that big of a difference in my life?
My child, if only you knew. Life in the Son makes a monumental difference. The sun I have placed in the sky may lift your spirits while it shines, but it does not provide constant light, as you know. Truly, My Son will shine His light into your darkness at all hours of the day and night. You never need to endure the storms of life alone. I am with you always. I will shine My light of life into every dark corner. I will light the way for you. I will lead you in the path of life.
My sweet daughter, life in the Son does make a big difference. Even on the darkest of days, you may have joy in your heart because you belong to Me. I am the true light that gives life. As you walk in the rain, My light will lead you on your way. Follow Me and you will never walk in darkness, because I am the light of life. (See John 8:12.) I have made My light shine in your heart to give you the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 4:6.)
My precious one, life in the Son does make a big difference. You may be downcast for a little while, but consider what I have done for you. I am light. I have given you My light. In Me there is no darkness. (See 1 John 1:5.) Never again will you remain in darkness, because you believe in Me, the light of the world.
Are you downcast? Look to Me for your happiness. Are your spirits low? I will lift you up on eagle’s wings. Are you depressed? I will remove your sackcloth and clothe you with joy. Are you stuck in a pit? I will pull you out and place you on solid ground. Are you caught in the middle of a storm? I will weather it with you and bring you to a place of rest. I am with you.
Seek Me, My child, and I will give you joy in your spirit and peace in your heart. My light will illuminate the darkest of days. Even as we speak, the skies are getting brighter. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me shall stay in darkness (John 12:46). Life in the Son does make a big difference. Choose the light of life.
The gift of the Holy Spirit and the ability to hear God’s voice are like having your own Bible, personalized just for you. At all times and in all places, you have access to God’s will and word through His Spirit inside you. The Holy Spirit takes the words of God and Jesus and makes them known to you. Listen to the inspired word of God inside you, and write it down. You’ll be thankful you have the opportunity to refer back to God’s personal words for you at a later date.
Each word He utters has value and may connect to other things He reveals to you later. The thoughts God gives you one day may make sense down the road a month or two later. You may ask God a question or pray a prayer He doesn’t answer for several days, weeks, months, even years. Recording your conversations will allow you to track and relate one to another, as God uncovers His will, plan, and purpose for your life.
Rejoice whether you hear one word, four sentences, or two paragraphs from the mouth of the Lord. Each and every word God speaks to you is precious and valuable. Sometimes the most priceless things God says are one-word expressions. Don’t compare how He speaks to you with how He speaks to your friend. He communicates with you exactly the way you can hear Him with exactly the word(s) you need to hear—no more, no less. Write down every word God says to you while you practice the art of listening to His voice. You’ll be really glad you did!