I spent this past weekend in Ft. Wayne, Indiana with my sisters, mom, and Aunt, along with 5,000 other beautiful women of God. We gathered for the Priscilla Shirer Live conference (learn more about her ministry here). It was a powerful time of prayer, worship, and teaching… It was like a big Bible Study with women of all backgrounds. Sweet Olivia came along (baby’s first Bible Conference, yay!) and my sister and I got all sentimental over the thought of bringing our daughters when they grow up to conferences like we do with our Mom.
I sat outside in the hall with Olivia during one of the sessions since she was getting a little fussy. Despite the surroundings, it still managed to prick my heart.
It occurred to me as I was sitting on a dirty arena hallway floor, people chatting, sounds of toilets flushing from the bathroom nearby, my sweet girl cooing and talking to me, while i was trying to catch everything Priscilla shared: Sometimes the setting you’re in is less than glamorous.
But don’t let that serve as an excuse to posture your heart to be soft to the Holy Spirit’s working.
There will always be distractions. It takes purposeful intentionality to keep your mind present and open to receive God’s teaching.
I digress though…
What I really want to share is what Priscilla calls “The P’s of Hearing God through the Bible”. Sometimes we need to get back to the basics in order to be refreshed and inspired to really dig in to the Word (or perhaps the basics were never taught to you!). Disclaimer: all of this comes from Priscilla Shirer, I’m just giving a quick recap because it’s worth sharing:
1. Position Yourself to hear from God
Position yourself spiritually:
Set an expectation to hear from God. Be open to the Holy Spirit’s work in your heart.
“The one who does not expect God to speak will discount every single time when God does speak.” AW Tozer
David exemplifies this heart of expectation:
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13-14, emphasis added)
Position yourself physically:
It’s easier to quiet your heart and mind to hear from God in an undistracted environment. If possible, seek out silence and solitude when you go to meet with the Lord.
2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points.
Mull it over. Press your mind upon it. Settle in to it. Take the rest of the day to meditate on it.
This is where I can really struggle. I tend to scan a passage and then call it good. I oftentimes don’t think about it much for the rest of the day.
The point here is not about quantity- it’s about quality.
Maybe you’re in a season of life where you can’t sit for a collective hour at a time and study the word. Take a verse or two to focus on. Consider posting it around the house– near the diaper changing station, on the fridge, in your car dash, and meditate on it as you go about your day.
3. Pull out the spiritual principles
What does this say to me? is there a promise? a directive? a need for adjusting a behavior or attitude?
When the passage doesn’t necessarily seem relevant, you can ask, “what does this teach me about God and the kind of ways God works?”
4. Pose the question
Rephrase the spiritual principles that you pulled in to personally directed questions.
This is where the Holy Spirit really starts to sanctify. Just remember:
The Holy Spirit convicts, but never condemns.
There is such a difference.
Condemnation says, “You are wrong”
Conviction says, “you have something wrong, but God’s grace and mercy can fix it, redeem it, change it and make it new.”
Conviction has hope. Condemnation is hopeless. When you sense conviction, God is waiting to bring you back into intimacy with Him.
5. Plan obedience, and pin down the date
We plan every tiny detail of our lives. Why don’t we strategize our spiritual life?
Come up with a plan of action and ask for accountability in it.
God doesn’t speak to be heard, but to be obeyed.
And on the other side of obedience to God is freedom. It’s not restriction, it’s His best for us.
So there it is, darling. I hope this method of Bible Study will encourage you to dig in to the Word. It’s certainly renewed my enthusiasm for studying the Scriptures!