1. Make Yourself Available. Let the Lord know you are trusting Him to make Himself known in the supernatural and/or physical realm any way He chooses, and that you will pursue and take this training seriously as a way to learn to know Him and His ways.
2. Attention! The Lord will likely begin to interrupt your plans to draw attention to Himself. Say you’re washing the dishes, mowing the lawn, driving, or even reading this text. You become aware of a change in your thought patterns, or a gentle or abrupt change in mood or ability to concentrate.
3. Ask! “Lord, is that you?” Once confirmed (more on that later) that it is indeed the Lord drawing you, respond with something like, “Lord, I’m Here for You! What can I do for you?” If it is not the Lord, determine its source and deal with it accordingly.
4. Listen! You may find that a word, specific thought, song, scripture, image or idea may be forefront in your thoughts. It is just as likely that no specific communication will be evident (your mind, emotions, etc. may be “blank”). If you’re getting a blank, simply rest in that quietness until it lifts.
5. Engage! Sometimes the Lord will give us a specific task to do, whether it’s for us or on behalf of someone else. But often He simply wants us to “stand at attention,” waiting with Him, for Him and on Him, for as long as He chooses. One of the hardest things to accept is that patient, silent waiting in His presence—felt or not—is the highest form of spiritual activity. There is so much going on beyond our senses; being quiet keeps our soulical and physical attributes from interfering with His work.
6. Respond! If He gives you something to do right then—DO IT! If the task is to simply respond for that moment, DO IT!
7. Respect & Follow-through! Sometimes during these times the Lord will give us direction, instruction, or birth in us a desire or new purpose. As He does so, our enemies (the world, the flesh and the devil), are all right there waiting to steal that seed. Be diligent to take these things seriously and respectfully begin to nurture it with the time and attention it deserves. This is where clear direction from the Lord so often quickly turns into questions. At first we KNOW we’ve received something from the Lord, but because we do not have the established habit to follow through, do the research, work and planning necessary, the most convenient doubt is that maybe it wasn’t the Lord after all.
8. Back to business! Return to what you were doing. Remember the Lord is under no obligation to explain His timing or direction to us, though as we become reliable and instantaneous in our response, He will likely keep your name high on His list of those He can trust. Over time you will find it likely that He will begin to share His purposes and plans, what He is doing through you, not so that you can take on the work, but so you can rejoice with Him as He does the work to and through you.
Regarding His Personal Presence
Protecting the Presence
In line with respecting and highly valuing these training opportunities, we will also need to learn how to protect His Presence when we can’t immediately give Him our undivided attention. As you are engaged at work, in a conversation, involved in a complex task that must be completed (driving a car, performing brain surgery or landing an airplane, for example), simply acknowledge His Presence and put a “tent” of protection over it. Draw back from conversation as much as possible, and be ready to make plans to accommodate His Presence. By doing so you honor His Presence, rather than ignoring or pushing it away, as well as planning for giving it attention at a later time. It is crucial that this commitment be honored; at the earliest possible opportunity follow the steps above to give the Lord your full attention and engage in the Lord’s purposes for that time.
For situations less critical, but where your actions may be misinterpreted or offensive (say you’re at your boss’s home for dinner and the Lord draws your attention to Himself), protect His Presence by drawing back from your conversation as much as possible; don’t put everything you’ve got into the conversation; reserve some of yourself to protect His presence. Then as soon as you get in your car, follow the above outline.
Unexpected Reaction to Situation or Person
The Lord doesn’t just work with us supernaturally when we are alone. Another manifestation of the supernatural is an unexpected reaction to a situation or person. This reaction can be either negatively- or positively-oriented, alarming or assuring, or even neutral, just getting your attention to His drawing regarding the situation. For instance, say you are in a meeting at work, and you find yourself somehow separate from what is being said (besides falling asleep and/or daydreaming). Or talking on the phone, or in a class, or pulling up to a red light. The Lord draws your attention to the student on your right, or the classroom itself, or the traffic in front of you. How do you respond? The same way as above. You don’t need to include everyone involved; this too is a matter to inquire of the Lord. The training here is to learn to be aware of the possibility of His showing up on His terms at any time, in any way. Our response is always to go to Him for direction, and not rely on past experiences, scriptural examples, others’ teaching or our own intellect to figure out what He wants.
These “8 Steps” are general guidelines to help get you started, in practical and objective terms, in approaching the simple reality of living in a constant awareness of the Presence of God in the supernatural realm. This is where you will experience the results of the sharpening of your senses during the waiting periods. The more you wait, the more your senses are fine-tuned, and the more you will find yourself interacting with full awareness to what the Lord is already doing in your life in the supernatural realm.
Adapted from Knowing God by Dianne Thomas