|This article is authored by Dick Leggatt, President of Derek Prince Ministries – USA and comprises his June 2012 Newsletter.|
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Do you recall the last time the Lord spoke directly to you? What was it He said to you? Did you take steps to follow through on what He prompted you to do?
I’m not trying to put you on the spot by asking those questions. I’m asking myself as well. I want to simply use them to focus on a vital area of our lives — the regular, practical guidance we can receive by listening to the Spirit.
Responding to an Impression
Early one recent morning on my way to the office, I stopped for gas at a service station. Standing there at the pump, I glanced over my shoulder and saw that someone was walking toward me. Clearly, it can be an alarming experience whenever a stranger approaches, especially in the early hours of the morning. Although I would like to say that I was thinking charitable thoughts, I was actually starting to feel annoyed. In a matter of moments, a sickly, malnourished woman stepped beside the pump I was using and asked: “Clean your windshield for a dollar, mister?”
“You don’t have to clean my windshield, ma’am,” I said. “But I’ll give you a dollar anyway.” As I handed her the dollar, she thanked me and walked away. I continued pumping gas, casually watching where she was headed — directly toward a fast food restaurant, probably for a breakfast she obviously needed. Clear as a bell, these words came to my mind: “Give her some more money.”
Quickly, I finished at the pump, got in the van and drove towards where she was walking. “Excuse me, ma’am,” I said as I pulled up beside her, “I was supposed to give you some more money.” She looked at me with a smile as I handed her a larger bill, and she said, “You were listening to the Spirit, weren’t you?” Taken by surprise, I simply stammered, somewhat sheepishly, “Exactly!”
How Many Times?
Lots of thoughts flooded my mind as I drove away from this encounter. How many other times had I been too busy or distracted to hear that still, small voice I had just heard? Even worse, how many times had I brushed off those subtle promptings, dismissing them outright as silly or impractical?
Is it really practical to live and walk in a level of moment-to-moment guidance, or is that just too strange and weird? I must confess, over years of Christian experience, I have been puzzled by “unusual” people who sanctimoniously prefaced every step they took and every waking action with “The Lord told me….” I don’t think that kind of hyper-religious speech is necessarily what the Lord has in mind for the sensitive, Spirit-led, obedient living He desires for us.
I suppose it could be possible to over-apply this principle of listening to the Spirit moment by moment, obeying each impression He gives us. My next thought, however, is a challenging one: Why not give it a try and see how it works out?
“This Is the Way”
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Isaiah 30:21: “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left” (NKJV). That is a remarkably clear promise from the Word of God, and we have no reason to doubt it or dilute it. It is what it is. The Lord promises that we will hear His voice. Doesn’t it make sense that if we listen to the Spirit and do what He says, the results will be consistently positive?
I’m convinced this is the way Jesus lived and ministered — following the impressions that were being divinely “downloaded” to Him. I can almost imagine a running dialogue between Jesus and the Spirit of God, especially during instances like His encounter with the woman of Samaria in John 4.
“Why don’t You ask that Samaritan woman over there to give You a drink? She’ll be surprised.”
“OK, now ask her to go get her husband. That will be the key to reaching her.”
Wasn’t it in His minute-to-minute listening to the Spirit, as well as those all-night conversations with the Father, that Jesus was receiving information and direction to set the course for each step He took?
Can’t it be the same way for us?
Following the Spirit’s Lead
It’s clear from the way Derek Prince lived and ministered that he had a solid appreciation for listening to the Spirit. In many of his messages, Derek would pause at the prompting of the Holy Spirit and encourage those listening to respond immediately to the Lord. Or he would confess that the point he had just covered was not in his notes, but he felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to share it.
Those “digressions” are often the most meaningful parts of Derek’s messages, resulting in some of the most life-changing responses from his audiences. On a very deep level, Derek Prince understood how to listen to the Spirit, as evidenced in his following quote from “How to Be Led by the Holy Spirit”:
I suggested yesterday that in every kind of personal relationship, if it’s to be successful, there is one primary requirement, which is mutual sensitivity. The Holy Spirit, believe me, is very sensitive to us. But the relationship will not work unless we learn to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. And I want to tell you that, normally speaking, the Holy Spirit does not act like a drill sergeant. He doesn’t shout orders at us. He is very gentle. He is almost timid, in a way.
We read in the Old Testament about the prophet Elijah — the wind, an earthquake and a fire passed before him, but Scripture says the Lord was not in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire. All those great demonstrations of visible power, yet the Lord’s presence was not found. Then it says there came a still, small voice. One of the modern versions says a kind of a whisper. And the Lord was in the whisper. That’s like the Holy Spirit.
So, if you’re going to hear His whisper, if you’re going to feel His nudge — He’s not going to push you, He’s just going to nudge you gently or tap you on the arm to direct your attention to something. The key to success is sensitivity.
Time to Open Ourselves
Having read this insight from Derek, will you please take a moment now to ask yourself this question: Am I truly listening to the Spirit? Have I postured myself to hear regularly from the Lord? If your answers to those questions, like mine, could stand some improvement, let’s put this matter before the Lord right now. With the following prayer, let’s take a step together to enter into a new dimension of listening to the Spirit:
Lord Jesus, I want to follow in Your footsteps, especially in the area of daily, regular guidance. I confess that I have disregarded some of the promptings of the Holy Spirit which have come to me, and I repent for that insensitivity. Please forgive me for not listening, for not hearing, and sometimes for even refusing to obey that still, small voice when I have heard it. Thank You that I am forgiven for those errors through the blood You shed for me.
I want to take a fresh step into a new dimension of the Spirit. With this prayer, I pledge myself to listen more closely to the Holy Spirit. Please help me, Lord, to hear more clearly and to obey more faithfully.
Thank You for the promise of Your Word: that I will indeed hear a voice behind me telling me the way I should go. Thank You for this marvelous provision. I take a step of faith now, declaring to You that I will listen; I will hear; and I will obey what I hear. Amen.
Walking in a New Way
The commitment you have just made in prayer is intended to open up a whole new realm to you. We want to assist you as you move forward into that new dimension of walking in the Spirit. One of the best ways we can help is to provide you with reliable material from someone who truly knew how to walk in the Spirit. Let’s start that process with the free audio download we are offering with this letter, Derek’s message entitled, “The Holy Spirit as Guide.” It will help you navigate effectively in the realm of the Spirit, encouraging you to go further in your walk of faith, listening to the Spirit.
We are excited about the step you have taken today and we are very glad to be connected with you in your relationship with the Lord. Thank you so much for every contact you make with us, with special thanks for your generous financial support and your prayers for the work we are doing through this ministry.
Every day, new doors of opportunity are opening to extend the teaching legacy of Derek Prince to people who are hungry for solid biblical truths. Your involvement, both prayerfully and financially, is enabling us to step through those doors that are opening to us. As we respond to these new opportunities, we simply can’t thank you enough for your wonderful help.
Isn’t it exciting to be serving the Lord in these days? My sense is that the pressures in times ahead will make it mandatory for us to be extra sensitive to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. Let’s listen closely as He directs us, helps us and even warns us at critical moments. He will be faithful to speak to us, guiding and protecting us and our families.
We may face some difficult obstacles, and it will certainly not be any easier to follow the Lord from here on. But in spite of all obstacles, there will be tremendous testimonies of what God accomplishes in us and through us — as we obediently listen to the Spirit!