“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” -Exodus 9:16 (NIV)

This was the verse that God gave me as I sat in the weekly gathering of pastors, prayer warriors, and marketplace leaders that we know as Together-in-Christ. Formerly the Sonoma County Pastors Prayer and Ministry Alliance, the group meets every Wednesday morning to pray for each other and for the churches on Santa Rosa as well as for the city and county.

This past Wednesday, we were invited to take a little time to listen to the voice of God. We were also instructed that if God impressed anything on our hearts to share with the group, we could come up to the white board and write it down–whether it was a couple of words or more. There was some worship music playing in the background and everyone seemed to be deep in prayer.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I usually hear a request like this, I am usually the Doubting Thomas, the skeptic who thinks, “How do we know that was really God who was speaking,” and “Why did God pick that guy and not me?”

But, I did not want to play the role of party pooper, so I opened my Bible and began to read. This says alot about me, because when someone tells me to hear what God is saying, I’m not one of those who will sit and wait for some audible voice to come booming out of the sky. However, I do believe that God speaks to us through Scripture; that the Word of God really is living and active, and so that’s where I turn when I want to hear from God.

Now, here is where the story gets interesting! Last week, I felt led by the Spirit to begin reading intentionally through the Bible beginning in the Book of Genesis with the goal of reading from beginning to end in one year. It had been awhile since I had done this…although I do confess that I had started to do this a few times in the last couple of years, but my goal went the way of most New Year’s resolutions.

However, this time, there seemed to be a difference. I would get to the end of my reading for the day and find that I could not put the Bible down. I would read on. My average of four chapters a day turned to six. I walked into the Together-in-Christ meeting and opened my Bible to Exodus 8 – right where I left off before I went to sleep the night before. And, that brought me to Exodus 9:16. I tried to read on, but I felt like I was being prompted to go back to the verse. And, then I felt prompted to go and write it on the board!

“No, not me,” I thought to myself, although I looked around to make sure I was not talking out loud and making a spectacle of myself. I tried to argue with God; I tried to ignore Him, but I finally made a deal with God: “If someone else goes up to write something on the board, then I will follow. That’s when someone rose and went to the board, and so with an inaudible sigh, I followed.

Finally, the person who was leading the meeting asked us to stop and listen. He was not one of the usual pastors who leads the group. In fact, he was not a pastor at all, although as I have come to know him, I believe he could be. He is a marketplace leader, a businessman, and he had invited a number of marketplace leaders to come and give testimony that day.

Four other people spoke. First, there was a man who was with his father and uncle and another co-worker-all employed by the same family owned business. He gave an awesome testimony of how they almost lost their business but God came through after a season of prayer and they were continuing to be a light to the grace of God. Then there was the man who told about how God led him to start a Hard-rock Christian music station targeted to young adults (ages 18-25). The testimony of how God opened and closed doors just in the nick of time was just that – a testimony to God’s sovereignty. Then came the owner of the Christian Newspaper that just started up, and finally the amazing testimony of a man who owned his own plumbing business and how he was able to pray for someone who was 100% disabled and see the man released from his pain-ridden body and begin to walk without the use of a cane or crutch or walker.

All of the speakers talked about how God had met them in their despair and then revealed Himself and His mighty power. And, that is when the man who was leading the group turned and saw what I had been directed to write. Even I was amazed.

How do you listen for the voice of God? How does He give you confirmation that what you heard was really Him?