SPIRITUAL HABITS | The Lord Speaks

SPIRITUAL HABITS | The Lord Speaks
Dan Wilt

The Lord speaks.

It’s another early morning. I woke up, this phrase sitting heavy in my heart.

The Lord speaks.

The memories began to flow, stories in which I had the joy of partnering with the Holy Spirit in hearing, and responding. The Lord wanted to remind me that He speaks, and speaks to me.

These stories are mine, but I hope they stir memories of your own, and help you want to hear God’s voice more often as you cultivate spiritual habits that heighten your own listening.

THERE WAS THE TIME

There was the time I was praying for a woman at a retreat. As we gathered around her, I immediately saw a ruby in my mind’s eye. A long prayer flowed from that image, and at the end, tears in her eyes and her spirit opened up, she said, “That’s my birth stone.”

The Lord speaks.

There was the time a hardened man sat beside me on the airplane in the back row; he was late and the seat beside me was the last available on the plane. Within minutes of taking off, the back of the plane become a confessional as he shared with me the deaths he had been responsible for in the military and how much he hated God for his little girl’s illness. As his agitation increased, our fellow passengers in the back rows were all beginning to turn around to see why he was so angry and so loud.

A thought entered my mind: “Ask him who Rebecca is, and what place she has in his life.” I asked, timidly, and he froze. “How do you know Rebecca?” he shot back, his eyes filling with liquid emotion. Rebecca was his girlfriend, and she was trying to get them to go back to church. She, and his little sick daughter, were both beginning to love God deeply, and Rebecca was looking for something she hadn’t found in their relationship. For 5 hours, we talked about how much Father God loved him. When we landed, he was a softer man. So was I.

The Lord speaks.

There was the time a street woman I knew from one of our food distribution centers, the outcast of the outcasts, who always smelled like a mix of alcohol, smoke, and heavy body odor, met me on the main street of our city. She demanded money for coffee. I smiled, and said I didn’t have any change on me. Then the Lord whispered in my heart, “Go, get the money.” I told her I needed to go for a minute; she barked as I left, “You won’t come back.” I ran back to my office a few blocks away. I found the exact change in my desk drawer. When I got back, sweaty and heaving, she was delighted. She kissed me on the cheek. From then on she always remembered my name, and I, hers.

The Lord speaks.

There was the man I felt a nudge to pray for at a conference. When I put my hand on his shoulder, I immediately saw a black stallion on the canvas of my mind. I shared the image, and he began to softly cry, with his head down, not saying anything. I continued to pray. For 20 minutes we prayed together from that image, and many metaphors from the scene of the movie, the Black Stallion, guided those prayers. At the end, he smiled a smile of freedom from some heavy burdens in his life. Then he said, “Do you know what I do for a living? I work with horses. Do you know what my favorite movie of all time is? The Black Stallion.”

The Lord speaks.

There was the time I was walking around the circle that framed our campus as a twenty-four year old husband and father, and the Lord said, “You will teach nations to worship.” 33 years and 90 countries later (many of those by email), worship is the one thing I still have to say.

The Lord speaks.

There was the time I knew I was to go to my neighbor’s front door, just to say hello and borrow a tool. He answered, and began to pour out his pain over his struggle to be a good husband. We walked and talked for a few hours.

The Lord speaks.

There was the time I was out jogging and my spirit felt heavy and sick. Halfway through, I stopped, and blurted out, “Remove this languid spirit from me!” Something broke in me. I didn’t know what “languid” meant, but I said it, and I felt free. I went home and looked it up. It was the perfect word. The Lord had spoken, and a cloud had parted on a dark season.

The Lord speaks.

There are the dreams, too many to count, where I’ve seen creatures I’m sure were angels, colors I never imagined, and heard music that was so beautiful I can’t speak of it. I’ve had dreams were I was filled to overflowing with an awareness of my belovedness to God, where I was lost and then found by Jesus, and where I saw images that set my intercession in motion for decades.

I’ve had dreams where I faced death, and discovered (to my own surprise) that I was ready.

The Lord speaks.

There are the hundreds of images, words, and Scriptures I’ve received for my children, scribbled in journals and prayed for decades.

The Lord speaks.

There are the hundreds of stories I may never write where the Lord spoke, and I learned to listen and obey. At least most times.

The Lord speaks.

I HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO

Every time the Lord speaks, I have “better” things to do. But today I am present to those stories, recounting all the lives that were touched because I stepped beyond my fear, said those words, prayed that prayer, wrote that email, and acted on that impression.

As followers of Jesus, we can hear God speaking. We hear God alone. We hear God in community. We hear God in our sleep. We hear God when we wake.

We may stop hearing God when the TV is on, when a social platform feeds us algorithms based on our last search and literally tells us what to see, read, focus on, and become over years, when our hearts fall out of love with hearing and fall in love with being heard.

So I flip it around. I have better things to do than be led around by the chain of a culture in upheaval, news stations feeding the negative neural pathways of the brain, and social networks who have hijacked my brain to work for them as I doom scroll in an echo chamber of someone else’s design—thinking I’m bettering myself. I have better things to do than be tired, angry, disillusioned, or unbelieving.

I have nothing better to do in this lifetime than to cultivate hearing my Lord speak, and living in love. That’s the Jesus way, and it’s the way I choose.

REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE THROUGH YOU

Now more memories are coming back, and I am recalling these signs, these wonders, these evidences that God is not just a belief for me; He is an inviting partner, by His own choosing, in the healing of hearts through listening people.

There are words to be heard, and lives to be lifted. Let’s get on with it, Jesus. I’m sorry for getting lost on the side trails again. I love that you love me, and that you speak. I embrace the seasons of silence, too. I know they come with the territory.

The Lord speaks.

Friend, you have your own hearing ahead, and I’m praying for you that you hear the Lord speak to you, in some way, every day.

Emmanuel. God with us. The Creator spoke to us in Jesus, once and for all time, the embodiment of his Word, and here we are—filled with His Spirit.

The Lord speaks,

Dan+

This Spiritual Habits & You online workshop is an experience—training participants in a range of spiritual habits for a lifetime of flourishing faith!

The 50% off coupon code, SpiritualHabits50, expires Dec. 31.

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Credits: Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

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RELEASES FEB. 8, 2022 | Brazos press

Sheltering Mercy helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms. Co-written with Ryan Whitaker Smith, Brazos Publishing.

Pre-Order below, and join my email list, to get author notes and updates about the book and events around it. If purchasing for Christmas gifts, soon you’ll be able to download a Christmas Gift Certificate PDF here so you have something for under the tree!).

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