Listening Exercise 5 - Journalling:
- Find a quiet place. Sit quietly for a few moments. Thank the Lord he is with you and wants to speak to you. If you are troubled by thoughts or burdens consciously lift them up to God and leave them with him.
- Say hello to God. Write it down. Tell him you love him. Write it down. Ask him to talk with you. Write it down.
- Begin to read a few verses of a favourite Bible passage - 1 John 3:1-3 would be a good choice. Read it slowly. (You can journal about anything, not just a Bible passage, but we suggest you begin with a passage today.)
- Write the first verse down.
- Say something to God about the verse you are reading, perhaps ask him a question about how it applies to you or ask him what he wants to tell you about it. Write down what you say.
- Write down anything he says, or anything you 'see' or feel, or any thoughts that come into your mind.
- Do not try to analyse what you write - just write it!
- If a conversation seems to develop, continue it. Don't worry if you think you are making it up.
- Continue to do this for the whole passage, or until you think God is finished. But don't worry if you do not finish the passage, or if the conversation goes on to other things.
- Then read over what you wrote and see whether any of it might be thoughts that were not your own.
Do this daily. Talk to and listen to God about what is happening in your day, what he wants you to do, your daily Bible study, your feelings, joys and fears - anything you would discuss with a friend.
At the end of each week you might like to review all of your journalling to see if a pattern is developing. Look for a dialogue. If it all seems to be you, then you need to talk less and listen more.
Don't give up - it may take some weeks before you realise that God is speaking to you, but he will if you ask him to.
It is best to have a special notebook that you use only for this purpose - your journal - rather than odd scraps of paper. You will want to date each entry so that you can more easily review your progress. Years later these early conversations with God can be very precious memories, especially as you teach others how to listen to God.
A time will come when you are able to hear God clearly without needing to write, because you have learned whathis voice 'sounds like'. It is still good to journal as a devotional exercise. While you may hear God during your daily duties, it is in the quietness of your time alone with him that he will give you the thoughts, poems or songs that you will want to record.