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Updated: Oct 13, 2023


I have friends who can make time disappear. Whenever we meet we have endless topics to discuss and often, due to the call of nature (by which I mean children), we come to a reluctant pause, with the words, "I'm sure there was something else I was going to tell you about." I also have other friends who are like a comfy shoe. You just walk or sit with them and feel good. No need to explain. No need to do anything. Just enjoy being together.

Wouldn't it be funny if we recorded those conversations? Of course, we have plenty of social media platforms that store all of our messages flying across the stratosphere, (I confess I am fond of expressing myself through gifs), but sometimes I wish I'd pressed 'record' on my voice ap when eavesdropping on my kid's elaborate role-plays. Oh, the volume of comedic material I would harvest for future 21st's or weddings (or if necessary, winning a parental battle).

I have a few friends that are verbal processors but I find as an introvert I have a non-stop internal muse, so I process life through written words. I have boxes of journals where I have added snippets of thoughts and ideas shared with those friends mentioned above, but also what I have sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to me personally. Some of those words have been spoken during times of prayer with others (for example prophecies), but invariably they are the result of conversations with God during time spent with Him reading the Scriptures.

Capturing those conversations has proven to be a helpful way to trace the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life as He encourages, challenges, rebukes, comforts, and strengthens me (often in that order).

Brace Yourself

This to-ing and fro-ing chit-chats between God and man have always fascinated me. In biblical narratives, they not only appear to be a common experience but rather understated (it seems to me, the most extreme reaction to God speaking to man was not when they heard from Him, but when they saw his glory with their own eyes; e.g. Ezekiel 3:22-23, Isaiah 6:5, Genesis 17).

We find examples of these conversations throughout the Scriptures where mere mortals ask questions, offer excuses, voice complaints, make requests, compose praises, and even negotiate with God.

Some call Him names (albeit mostly honorific titles) but God doesn't seem perplexed by this, in fact most of the time He started it. Here are just a few examples (I didn't bother to include all the prophets):

Adam: Genesis 3:8-13

Cain: Genesis 4:5-16

Abram: Genesis chpt 15, chpt 17, 18:20-33, chpt 22

Moses: Exodus chpt 3, chpt 4, 5:22 - 6:2

Saul: Acts 9:1-6

Peter: Acts 10:9-16

I'm not quite sure of the technological tools at the time, but somehow the Bible includes a whole book which is effectively a long conversation between a desperate man named Job, his friends, and God. Perhaps someone had a spare scroll handy but in any case, the details were duly noted and used by future rabbis as a cautionary tale. (It is the equivalent of someone downloading all your email threads and posting them on Wikipedia for all to see).

It is quite an interesting example of a fly-on-the-wall account in which, when God responds to all the questions and allegations, He flips the script and delivers quite a shocking line.

"Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them." - Job 38:3 & Job 40:7 (NIV)

Wait! What? This sounds a lot like me asking my husband to look at the plans for our kitchen reno.

This comment shows that God expects people to engage in conversations with Him, and it's not a one-way ticket. We don't get hog the line and ask all the questions. In fact, Jesus demonstrated a fondness for this type of dialogue. Does this sound familiar?

"Then he asked them (the disciples), “But who do you say I am?” - Matthew 16:15 (NIV)

"But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?” - Matthew 17:25 (NIV)

"Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” - Mark 4:40 (NIV)

And probably my favourite of them all:

"Still they (the disciples) stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” - Luke 24:41 (NIV)

Just Jesus keeping it real.

Re-writing the script

What could these conversations look like for you or me in the here and now? Since Jesus returned to heaven, our primary way of communing with the Father is now through the Holy Spirit. Prayer offers up praise, thanks, requests, and questions about life's great mysteries, and faith awaits an answer. The Holy Spirit might respond by impressing God's thoughts on our mind, imparting wisdom to our hearts, or sharing a vision (Colossians 1:9). He might bring alive a song (Ephesians 5:19) or a scripture (John 14:26). A conversation happens when we reciprocate with more praise, thanks, requests, or questions, and so it goes on.

I offer you this excerpt from my journal, not as an exact how-to but as an example of how these conversations often take place between myself and God. Often I find myself drifting from scripture to questions to verses to prayers to faith -- and back again. The following is what I wrote one morning as I spent time with the Lord (be thankful I typed it so you don't have to interpret my handwriting!):


"My Achiever doesn't want to waste the next few weeks of holiday -- so many thoughts move to what to pray, do, produce -- yet when I sat today to breathe and be with the Lord, I found my heart simply saying..."

I'll stand with arms wide-open and heart abandoned,

in awe, of the One who made it all.

All I am, is yours.

(based on the song 'The Stand' by Hillsong United)

"Reflecting again on [Scripture] Isaiah 52: "Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength!" (vs1), I prayed..."

Clothe me with your strength

Clothe me with your grace

Clothe me with your power

-- so that all I do glorifies you

"I love how the Scriptures drift in and out of my peripheral vision because this next [verse] was relevant and encouraging for me today. God's response to my prayer:"

"For I am the Lord your God,

who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar —

(true story at the beach by my house today)

the Lord Almighty is his name.

I have put my words in your mouth

(which I need if I am to write anything helpful for hint.holler)

and covered you with the shadow of my hand—

I who set the heavens in place,

who laid the foundations of the earth,

(i.e the One who made it all!)

and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

(Isaiah 51:15-16, NIV)

"To which I replied: (referencing Isaiah 52:7 which has been a reoccurring theme of late)

Then whatever words you give me

let your Spirit cause them to take effect in the hearts of those that hear them.

-- that they proclaim peace

-- that they cheer the heart

-- that salvation occurs

-- that they come to know that you, God reign!


Just for the record, I am not in the habit of revealing my journal entries to anyone, let alone my prayers, and I am not doing so to reveal any piety on my account, (I assure you there are plentiful pages of self-pitying to be found) but I hope to somehow demonstrate how the Holy Spirit discerns both your heart and God's heart and brings alive the Scriptures to speak prophetically to you in the moment. In the example above, it began with me expressing my current frame of mind. Then the Holy Spirit brought a song to mind which helped me pray words that expressed the deeper desire of my own spirit (Romans 8:26-27). From there He reminded me of Scriptures I had already been meditating on earlier that week (John 14:26), so I put in a personal request after seeing the value in what it offered. He responded by drawing my attention to a new passage, which resonated with my current situation (John 16:13). Feeling encouraged by this little chat, I finally agreed to His proposal - if He did all the heavy lifting of course.

Adding Context

When we ask the Holy Spirit to speak to us, we need to trust that He will. I didn't need to take every word literally, but I can appreciate the metaphors and keywords that are relevant to my situation, and that's because conversations are best understood in context.

If your prayer life is only evident when you lose your car keys, you might eventually find them in the first place you looked for them, but you will struggle to discern the hints and hollers from the Holy Spirit that comes from familiarity with him.

If, on the other hand, you regularly converse and listen, then you will have a deeper understanding of the heart and mind of the Spirit as He speaks to you. This is why Job could make such assertive claims about the character of God and how his situation was uncharacteristic of the just, merciful God He knew Him to be. He was so passionate about this he wanted to discuss it in person;

Job knew God was open to a discussion. The difference for us is that we know where to find Him! He dwells in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and that means He's always got time to talk (John 14:16--21).

Let's talk about it

Is it possible you have complicated your conversations with God? Have they become a series of quick-fire questions that seek information but not intimacy? Have they become fear-filled predictions rather than faith-filled proclamations? Or are they immersed in wonder and discovery? Are they the reflections of deep communion and eternal possibilities? Are they the result of a relationship with God that embraces and enjoys what it means to be fully known and yet still fully loved?

You don't need to fill journals with words, you simply need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and let Him write His words upon your heart (Jeremiah 31:33). Go walk and talk with the Lord your God and enjoy the conversation.

I bet He does.



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