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The Still Small Voice by Robert Weston


chapter eight


The Still Small Voice  by Robert Weston
Strategic Listening

Serve only the Lord your God and fear Him alone. Obey his commands, listen to His voice, and cling to Him. (Deuteronomy 13:4)

From the vantage point of Mount Hermon, the Lord Jesus was able to look down over both Israel and Syria. In spirit, His gaze travelled still further, right out across the whole world. He knew that His disciples were shortly to embark on the greatest mission of transformation that world has ever seen. He knew that they would come face to face with many extreme needs, and encounter such intense opposition, that they would need to listen carefully to the Still Small Voice.

If strategy is the key to success in business and military circles, why should it be any less so in the realm of listening to the Lord? The Still Small Voice reveals a portion of the Commander’s plan, so that we can play our full part in the work of the Kingdom. If we do not learn to think strategically, then, like a ship that never ventures far from shore, our listening is likely to default to matters close to home and heart.

Harnessing the power of God

God has committed some work to me, which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. (John Newman)

Every time we meet with other Christians, whether on the phone or face to face, we discuss people and issues that are ‘prayer-worthy.’ So much the better if we get into the habit of going the extra mile and commit matters to the Lord in prayer . Preferably right there and then! Just as countries rich in water harness its immense force to make hydro-electricity, so we are able to ‘tap’ into the power of God through prayer.

It is when we turn from information-sharing and reflect the news, the needs and the nations that He has been laying on our hearts back to the Lord in prayer that meetings become encounters. The key is as simple as saying, ‘Let’s pray together!’

Derek Prince relates how the Lord told him back in the 1950’s to warn the Kenyan Christians not to make the same mistake Pentecostals have so often made, squandering His presence and His power in spiritual self-indulgence. As he called a large conference to pray for their nation, a man had a vision of a great evil advancing towards their country that was turned away at the last minute as the result of their prayers.

It is good to experiment with different ways of praying. At times we may find it most appropriate to adopt the model widely used in South Korea, with everyone raising their voice and crying out to the Lord at the same time. This must have been very much what the apostles did in Acts 4. At other times we will benefit more by developing the Quaker emphasis of waiting quietly for the Spirit to lead and direct us.

May the Lord help us to remember people and places we usually contrive to forget. Brother Andrew was leading a prayer meeting once in his home town, for prisoners behind the Iron Curtain. In the middle of it, news was brought to them that a girl who everyone present knew was seriously ill. The level of intensity shot up as people poured out their hearts in prayer.

The Lord restored the young lady, but He did so in a way that expanded everyone’s confidence that their prayers really were touching God’s throne.

‘You are concerned about this girl because you know her,’ the Lord said, ‘but I am equally as concerned for the people you are praying about in these other countries, whom you have never met.’

If we can dare to ‘analyze’ what it was that made this time of prayer so special, I would suggest two key characteristics.

Firstly, God honoured the fact that people were prepared to look beyond themselves, and identify with people who are deeply scored on God’s heart.

Secondly, the friendship between the members of the group made it easy for Him to answer prayer. We usually pray and listen best when we trust the people we are with, and when we are not thinking about whether we are sounding too judgmental or political – or getting our grammar wrong!

For Reflection and Prayer

Gordon MacDonald claims that one draft horse can pull two tones of weight, but that two can pull more than twenty! Take this extraordinary example of exponential increase to heart. I liken it to Jesus’ teaching that where two of three come together in agreement, He is right there in our midst. What an encouragement to find ways to harness our friendships for the Lord in prayer, as well as in other forms of service.


Father, right now we agree that
as Your Still Small Voice prompts,
we will overcome our fear and reluctance,
go the extra mile and say ‘Let’s pray together.’



Authority in prayer

The Transfiguration shows us that the ultimate seat of authority resides on the courts of Heaven. But Scripture also reminds us to pray for the seats of power around the world, imperfect though they are.

It is no coincidence that so many of the prayers in the New Testament take the form of commands.

Early in Jesus’ ministry, He promised the disciples that they would see ‘still greater things.’ When He stilled the storm with a word of command, and raised Lazarus from the dead, we see these words coming true.

In John 14:12, Jesus looks forward to the day when His disciples would exercise the same authority. Heeding the Still Small Voice, and moving in the power of His Spirit they would cast out spirits of divination, restore the dead to life and heal the sick – just as Jesus Himself had done.

The powers of darkness understand the power of prayer much better than most Christians do. After all, they have had centuries of being defeated by praying saints. That is why they do all they can to prevent us using the authority that is rightly ours in Christ Jesus .

Have you experienced the sort of authority Suzanne Pillans exemplified in the passage we shared in the opening chapter when she was praying for the sick in Africa? Many years ago, at a meeting in the Cotswolds, I felt the Lord warning me that the IRA were planning to detonate a bomb. As everyone cried out to God together, the Lord gave me one prayer above the hubbub: ‘Lord, defuse bombs tonight!’ Some hours later an IRA bomb was discovered in London and defused safely.

It is so important we do not dismiss such stirrings of the Spirit within us as coincidence. The Lord uses the prayers of His servants in such ways to lessen – though necessarily to avert entirely – many judgments and disasters. Two weeks before the Twin Towers were destroyed, the Lord told David Wilkerson to stop all activities in his church in Times Square, New York, and to focus exclusively on prayer. We will never know how many more people might have lost their lives had the congregation not interceded.

More recently, following the terrorist bombs in London on 7/7/05, Ros felt a nudge to pray that other bombs would be found intact. It sounded a tall order, but four deadly devices were safely dismantled just two weeks later in the London Underground and on a bus. All the government could do was to declare that we had been extremely “lucky!!”

As we have been hinting, the Lord wants us to be as concerned for nations as we are for individuals, and to be equally at home in praying for either. What impressed David Watson most when he met Corrie Ten Boom was the natural way in which she turned to the Lord, lifting everything from missing car keys to international crises to Him.

Such authority works at every level. From time to time I experience in my own body some unusual symptom as I am praying with someone, in order to point me in the direction where they are hurting. I was praying on the phone the other day for someone who had been plagued by a sore throat for several months. Suddenly, it felt as though I had a kilo of sand in my own throat. Such sensations have a wonder way of making us pray full-on. It lifted as I prayed, and my friend’s throat was completely healed as well.

There are times when simply committing something to the Lord does not appear to be enough. We need to exercise the spiritual authority the Lord has given us.

A few months ago, I injured my back lifting a box that was too heavy for me. I was in extreme pain, so much so that it was taking me five minutes to lower myself into bed, and considerably longer to get out again. We were due to go away for the weekend, but there was no way that I was going anywhere unless the Lord did a miracle.

If ever there was a time to exercise authority in prayer this was it. Ros took that authority, and, within minutes, eighty percent of the pain had disappeared. The Lord developed such important relationships that weekend that I shudder to think of all that would have been missed had she not done so.

For Reflection and Prayer

As we considered on before, there is a fine line between exercising genuine spiritual authority, and straying wide of the mark into presumption. We will by no means always get the balance right – but nether should we allow our fear of overstepping the mark to hold us back from praying with the authority the Lord gives.


Lord, may Your Still Small Voice lead and direct our prayers. Keep us from presumption, and release Your authentic power into may situations – starting with the ones I bring to You right now . . .



Bearing burdens in the Spirit

The world scoffs at the thought of a man weeping for his neighbour’s sins as if for his own, or even more than for his own, for it seems contrary to nature. But the love which brings it about is not of this world. (Angela of Foligno)

The Still Small Voice can ‘activate’ anything we hear, read of see, and call us to pray about it. This, in essence, is burden-bearing. It is a high calling because it originates with the Holy Spirit prompting us to intercede (as opposed to us going to God with our own concerns). As Angela points out in our starting quote, it requires both generosity of spirit and unwavering love to persist in this way of living.

As we cultivate the silence we spoke of earlier, people’s needs stand before us with clarity and vividness. The more sensitive we are, the more likely we are to pick up the hurts and tensions that people are carrying – even the ones that they themselves are unaware of. This puts a double burden on us: the prayer burden itself, plus the fact that the person is blind to it.

There is always a danger that something that starts out as a genuine burden from the Lord can end up becoming ‘soulish’ and weighing us down. If heavy burdens do not flow through us to the Cross, they can become attached to our soul – much as sticks in a stream can get snagged along the way. Soul ties and psychological transference can also occur, greatly confusing the burden-bearing process. Certain other emotions may feel profoundly ‘spiritual’ at the time, but prove later to have been based infused with something entirely different.

Another tendency that some of us may be particularly prone to is to internalize the tensions our spirit is picking up, and to assume that we must be in some way responsible for them. Although in some cases there may be elements of truth in this, more often than not the real source of the tension lies elsewhere. But unless we realize this, we can paralyze ourselves with condemnation instead of discerning clearly releasing faith into situations.

Shortly after we were married, Rosalind and I experienced an occasion when we became extremely tense and irritated with each other. It crossed my mind that the Lord might be using our experience to highlight the intense spiritual warfare that is being directed against Christian marriages.

I heard later that that the exact moment of our explosion, a man in our congregation had burst out in violence, and told his wife that he was leaving her. Mercifully he thought better of it. I wish I could say that we only get uptight with each other when we are identifying with other people’s problems!

To take another rather extreme example, we had just visited a woman in a psychiatric hospital who was displaying most unusual symptoms. Some hours later Ros began to manifest similar symptoms herself. We had forgotten to set ourselves prayerfully free after our visit. It took a several minutes of intensive spiritual warfare before Ros felt released.

On other occasions when we have been involved in spiritual warfare and have forgotten to ‘cut ourselves off,’ we have experienced disturbing dreams. It is right to be alert, but not fearful. God gives us the ability to take authority over all such things – but discernment helps us to pinpoint the source of the issue.

What we cannot do is to assume that we can ‘magic’ problems away from people who are not prepared to seek the Lord for themselves. ‘Burden bearing’ can lift off a percentage of people’s problems, but only to the point where they are sufficiently detached from whatever it is that has been weighing them down that they can choose from themselves how they will respond.

The more we identify with the people we are praying for, the more fruit we will bear – so long as we do not start making ‘substitutionary’ prayers. To put that more simply, this means not praying something like, ‘Let me take this person’s illness so that they can go free.’ Since Jesus died to set us free, it is not right (and can actually bring us into bondage) to interpose ourselves as mediators in such ways.

Neither should we underestimate the toll that burden-bearing takes on us. It is serious work, and so we need to deliberately take time away from the ‘soul’ face. The very same sensitivity that enables us to pick up on people’s hurts and needs becomes a liability when we start to feel overly responsible for their welfare.

Given the sheer amount of information that comes our way, we have no choice but to set up mental and practical boundaries and barriers. Information-overload, along with compassion fatigue, are all part of the devil’s attempts to exhaust us with burdens we were never meant to take up.

Apart from anything else, it is important for us not to derive too great a percentage of our self-worth from what the Lord does through us on behalf of others. God loves us for who we are – not only for the times when His Spirit soars and sighs through us in mountain-moving intercession.

Genuine fun and simple pleasures are likewise powerful weapons against the enemy. Even a smile can make such a difference.

As the Lord once reminded me, ‘When I made children with an instinct for play, I was putting something of My own nature in them. You are out of balance, My children, if you do not play!’

For Reflection and Prayer

‘Who is weak and I do not feel weak?’ asked Paul. ‘Who is led into sin and I do not inwardly burn?’ (2 Corinthians 11:29, cf Romans 8:26-27)

The Lord calls us to pray for some people, professions, communities and nations on a regular basis, but to lift others to Him as and when they come to mind. who or what has He most strongly placed on your heart?


Lord, grant me the ability to carry burdens for You.
Free me from any hurts guilts or transferences
that would hinder me from being able to do so safely.
Disentangle genuine burdens from emotions that have choked the flow of your Spirit. Reignite and reposition them;
and leave our spirits free to embrace new assignments.
help me to carry them in the Spirit
until they are prayed through to completion,
or You release me from them.
In Jesus’name, Amen.



Prayers of mourning and identification

‘But please, please, won’t you – can’t you give me something that will cure mother?’ Up till then [Digory] had been looking at the Lion’s great feet . . . now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. The tawny face was bent down near his own and great shining tears shone in the lion’s eyes . . . For a moment he felt as if the lion must really be sorrier about his mother than he was himself!

God does not despair over the state of the world but He does mourn over it. This is a profoundly spiritual response, as opposed to mere hand-wringing that accomplishes precisely nothing.

Listening prepares us for our ultimate calling, which is to be partners with the Lord in this world and the next. We do not seek to hear the Still Small Voice out of curiosity, but rather so that we may experience more of His compassion.

Remember all the times the Lord Jesus was ‘moved with compassion?’ The Greek word used here is a very strong one. (It is the one used to describe movements of the bowels!)

When Jesus felt such intense emotion, just look at what happened. Remarkable miracles followed hard on the heels of Him responding to the crowds who had no food, to those who were without sight and afflicted, or to the widow at Nain whose son had died.

When we feel particularly moved by the expression on someone’s face – or the plight they find themselves in – pray in the Spirit for them. Even when we are travelling, or about our daily business, we may find intense longings – groans that words cannot express stirring within us – as we see the emptiness in people’s lives.

There are times when we must come to the Lord kneeling not standing, crying not laughing. ‘Tears are the highest form of prayer,’ the Jewish Rabbis declared. The touch and release our hardened emotions and can overcome all things.

There is no greater pain than that of love which is rejected, as the parents of any wayward child know only too well. The more secure we are in the love of God, the more we can respond to the grief the Lord feels over the state of the world. If Jesus does not despair, then neither must we. It is precisely because we have such a sure and certain hope that we can allow the Still Small Voice to lead us along pathways of mourning in spirit and burden-bearing in prayer.

I tried to share this concept with a lively worship leader once. ‘Just as surely as high praise and affirmation are appropriate in one context,’ I suggested ‘so tears and mourning are in another.’ I proceeded to show him a verse that means a lot to me: ‘The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning.’ It provoked a surprisingly strong negative reaction in him. ‘I’d like to see that verse torn out of the Bible!’ he shouted.

To me, however, it encapsulates an awareness that should be embedded in the heart of all who seek to heed the Still Small Voice. Our tears are like the bass notes that complement and complete the treble ones of our praise and worship. On its own, the treble clef might become shrill, making our worship self-indulgent. The bass clef on its own might become melancholic, morbid even, without a spring of living praise flowing through our hearts. It is when the two are in balance that we reflect the Lord’s heart best.

Do you remember how ‘deeply moved and troubled in spirit’ Jesus was when he heard about Lazarus’ death?

In the centre of old fashioned twin tub washing machines lay an ‘agitator,’ that thrashed and beat the clothes clean. Many of us know only too much about being ‘agitated’ in such ways. The secret is to turn this inner turmoil into prayer, crying out to the Lord for Him to turn whatever it is that is troubling us into a blessing.

So long as it does not degenerate into soulish melancholia, such mourning can be an extremely important way of expressing the Lord’s compassion. As members of the one family, God wants us to share in what our brothers and sisters are suffering in the Middle East, in Africa, China, North Korea and other countries where persecution is rife. God honours our willingness to look wider than our own immediate circumstances. Scripture urges us to ‘Remember those who are in prison as if you were fellow prisoners and those who are ill-treated as if you yourselves were suffering.’

When judgment fell in Ezekiel’s day, the Lord sovereignly spared all who grieved over the detestable sins of those around them. Jeremiah likewise longed so strongly for his people to return to God that he cried out, ‘Oh, that my head were a spring of water, my eyes a fountain of tears.’

John Knox knelt and prayed in the snow, pleading for mercy for Scotland, and the Lord heard his heartfelt prayers and moved across the nation. When James Fraser went to minister amongst the Lisu tribe, he found the going so hard that he deliberately set out to round up the saints back home. He urged them to play as full a part in the spiritual battle as he himself was doing. Months of persistent persevering prayer led to the power of God breaking through – spectacularly!

Most traditional church activities contain little allusion to the realities of this spiritual warfare – yet every day millions are raped, abused, aborted or led astray. It is when we seek the Lord with all our heart that we find Him. Such urgency is essential if we are to advance beyond the superficial in our prayer and listening.

For Reflection and Prayer


I asked the Lord once to show me how I was doing as a burden-bearer. By way of a reply, He showed me a picture of an eastern lady carrying a pitcher on her head with no apparent effort. When I tried to do the same, the pitcher slipped from my head to my shoulders, with the result that I was staggering along, bent almost double.

‘Ok Lord,’ I said, ‘what’s the trick?’

‘The secret of carrying burdens,’ the Lord revealed (and he was not talking about pitchers of water) ‘lies in poise, posture and practice.’ May He develop more of these qualities in us.



Identificational Repentance

Revivals must often start with an apology. God will not work strongly where His people are divided. Rapid spiritual growth will never come in a community with lingering resentment or bitterness . . . That’s why we need Reconciliation. (James Rutz)

Identificational Repentance (or I.R. as it is sometimes known) is increasingly being recognized as a powerful way to break certain types of spiritual blockages – perhaps, in some cases, the only way. At its simplest, it consists of asking forgiveness both of God and of other people (especially people groups) for sins that have been committed in the past.

This is no sentimental or deluded attempt to parcel out our personal or national blame or sense of shame: it is an entirely biblical way of tapping into the power of God to heal. In the process, strongholds that the enemy may have set in place generations ago will be challenged.

Nothing could better reflect the ways of the Kingdom, or take us further away from the self-serving spirit that characterizes the person who at heart is set on building his own empire.

Many have been inspired to go further along the intercessory road as a result of reading the testimony of Rees Howells. God called this Welsh miner to a narrow pathway of prayerful identification on behalf of the suffering and afflicted. He and his team of intercessors at the Bible College of Wales waged a spiritual battle alongside the physical conflict throughout the Second World War.

The story of the radical prayers that God led Rees Howells to pray is all but essential reading for those who desire to let develop a deeper discernment in interceding for wider matters. I will refrain from sharing more of his testimony here. Suffice it to say that they had a major impact on the outcome of the Second World War. Get hold of a copy of the book!

In all this, we are following in the footsteps of our Master. When the Spirit came strongly on the Lord Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, He responded with ‘loud cries and tears,’ The Greek expression used here, krauge, is a very strong one. As William Barclay glosses it, it speaks of a cry which is wrung from someone in the stress of some tremendous tension or searing pain – such as torture.

This is burden-bearing at its most intense – and these are the times when breakthroughs occur in the Heavenly places. When we read in Luke 22:44 that Jesus ‘prayed more earnestly’ the NIV translation barely hints at what was really going on: the word literally means ‘more stretched-outedly.’ As the pressure intensified and bore down on Him, Jesus was at the very limit of His ability to endure, but His crying out to God produced eternal results.

It is only when we consider all that emerged from this intense agonizing in spirit that we begin to appreciate more fully the power of intercession. One important thing to notice: in our quest to be shaping history rather than just participating in it, we will scale much greater heights if we are linked with people who have a similar heart and spirit. It is together that we can make a real difference.

For Reflection and Prayer


Lord, make our hearts as soft as Yours,
so that we can experience more of Your compassion,
and cry out in prayer
until the power of Heaven breaks through.



Heavenly music

The voices were many, for all in the tent seemed to be worshipping; the sound was one, the co-mingled sound of many waters. No drilled choir could have kept in such harmony and unity, with sweetest melody. The bandmaster was evidently the Holy Spirit. He can render music without rehearsals on a company of yielded instruments. Glory!
(Maria Woodworth-Etter)

Heaven is full of music! During the face-to-face encounter I described earlier, I was intensely aware of the exquisitely beautiful songs that were being sung there.

Because music touches a different hemisphere of the brain, it impacts us in ways that words alone cannot. It has been central in almost every revival and helps us to identify with the people and places the Lord is laying on our heart.

‘The devil flees before the sound of music faster than from anything except the Word of God,’ Martin Luther declared – in which case, let us seek out ways of putting music and the Word together to take us deeper in the flow of the Lord’s leading.

One of the most lovely things the Lord is doing in our time is to raise up modern day psalmists. As they express the beauty of the Lord in songs of adoration, and His heart through music that releases His power, we may suddenly find that we are, as it were, able to overhear the plans and conversations that are being carried on in the council of the Lord.

We experienced a striking example of this when one of our lead singers was given a beautiful prophetic song, ‘To those who seek His face, I will reveal My heart.’ Moments later we were crying out to the Lord on behalf of children who had been abused. The Lord then gave the worship group what I can only describe as a ‘wall of sound,’ into which were woven the screams and cries of the children. This led us as perhaps nothing else could ever have done into sharing more fully in how the Lord feels about this most grievous of sins.

The Lord then gave another anointed singer a powerful lament in an Arabic-sounding tongue. It was a perfect imitation of the music that is commonly intoned from minaret towers. Coming from a Christian, it was nothing less than the call of the Lord to the women of Islam to know Him as He really is.

The Lord has a wonderful sense of occasion. Dates and anniversaries matter to Him as well as to us. I was privileged to minister at a special service in Dresden on the 50th anniversary of the bombing of the city at the hour when the first wave of bombers dropped their lethal load that set the city ablaze and killed so many thousands of the parents and grandparents of our dear friends, shofars (rams-horns) sounded their extraordinary wail. We lifted up our hearts and voices and prayed for forgiveness to flow between Britain, America and Germany – and for angels to come where bombs had once fallen. It was one of God’s special reconciliation moments.

At a meeting in Wales, we physically divided the conference into those who were English, and those who were authentically Welsh. When the English repented of all the pain that we have inflicted on the Welsh over the centuries, the Welsh people present responded by praying that the resentment they fell as a nation as a result of this suffering be taken from them. We then moved across the divide to embrace each other. It was a precious and powerful symbol of a much-needed reconciliation. May the tide of prayer that is rising rapidly for Wales overcome the power and anger that fuels so much of Welsh nationalism through the love and power of Christ. God is hearing these prayers!

Something similar happened during a day of prayer at a YWAM base for Scotland. The Lord gave us a powerful flow on intercession for the nation, in which we were able to express our repentance for the many hurts that we, the English, have inflicted through the centuries. We felt the Lord’s grief at all the creativity the country had been robbed of, and thrilled to the exquisite music the Spirit inspired: music that captured the very essence of all the Lord intends Scotland to be.

This is by no means a new phenomenon. Back in 657, a farm labourer in the north of England used to dread the long winter evenings because his fellow workers passed them singing and creating ballads, but he himself was so profoundly tone deaf that whenever he saw his turn approaching he disappeared into one of the stables.

One night, an angel met him in his stable and told him to sing. Caedmon protested that he was no good at it, but the angel overrode his objections and ordered him to sing. So Caedmon opened his mouth and began to sing, and out came the most wondrous account of Creation. The words and music were so powerful that the moment the Abbess Hilda heard them she promptly took him with her to her monastery at Whitby in order to develop the gift the Lord had given him. Caedmon became known throughout Northumbria for his stirring songs, by means of which he taught people the ways of God.

Once, when I was speaking on the theme of spiritual warfare, and finding the going tough, my two fellow leaders slipped out to telephone home of prayer support of ‘Wives Net.’ Within seconds the atmosphere began to lift.

God can do extraordinary things through music. At the end of that meeting, as we were worshipping, several people commented on how beautiful the flute playing was. One specified that it was a wooden flute. Nothing unusual about that – except that there was no flautist present! But nearly a hundred miles away, one of our leader’s wives had begun to intercede for us while playing a wooden flute!

The Lord wants us to move far beyond the traditional pattern of the worship group, the intercessor and the teacher, all remaining as separate ministries in their own self-contained slots. The Church is not a roll-on roll-off ferry that needs such watertight compartments. It is so much more exciting if we are able to weave praise, worship, prayer and teaching together as a ‘seamless garment,’ the one fueling and inspiring the other.

All this is so different from any idea of a few packaged songs ‘before the preacher gets on with the real work.’ May the Lord raise up more and more singers and musicians to make full use of this precious means of communicating the heart of God with us!

More than fifty years ago, C.S. Lewis declared that if Europe is to be touched again by God, then it will be through a revival of music and the performing arts. We read in books such as Samuel, Chronicles and the Psalms of musicians doing things that we are only now beginning to see them doing again. Look at David playing the harp to ward off a demonic spirit that was plaguing the reigning king – or Elisha sending for a lutist in a desperate military crisis, and receiving a prophetic word that saved the combined armies of Israel and Judah.

These examples are more than just special one-offs that God did in the distant past: they have direct relevance to what He wants to do in our own situation today. May the Lord anoint us to be infinitely creative, strategic and courageous in understanding these ways and setting out to put them into practice!

For Reflection and Prayer


Lord, as we weave music, worship and intercession,
may Your Presence draw near.
May Your Still Small Voice speak to Your people
and the glory of Jesus be known
through all who sing and make music for You.
Release power and wisdom
through the preachers, writers,
artists and producers
whom You are raising up.
Direct their attention to themes
that reflect Your heart.
Let the touch of Heaven be
on all that is spoken,
written or created in Your name.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.



Further on and Further in

And there lay a little old woman . . . She was at death’s door, but when she opened her eyes and saw the bright, hairy head of the lion staring into her face, she did not scream or faint. She said, ‘Oh Aslan! . . . I’ve been waiting for this all my life. Have you come to take me away?’ ‘Yes, Dearest,’ said Aslan. ‘But not the long journey yet.’

I love Aslan’s words in the concluding Chronicle of Narnia: ‘Further on and further in!’ However much we may have experienced already, the Lord has more in store for us.

As we advance along the path the Lord has laid out for us, we find that He has gone ahead, to anoint us for fresh endeavours, and to reward us for assignments faithfully accomplished

It is no sign of second best, however, if we are only able to discern the Lord’s leading when we look back on something in retrospect.

Neither should we consider ourselves ‘second rate’ if we do not hear the Lord in the ways I have set out in this book. With the Lord it is never a matter of ‘either or’ but rather of ‘both and . . .’

In many contexts just to show love and kindness to others is every bit as important as ‘hearing’ a word from the Lord for them. Neither can we perpetuate or preserve the Still Small Voice, any more than Peter could prolong the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, or Mary could keep hold of the Lord Jesus in the garden after the Resurrection. What we can and must do is to continue to abide in Him whatever pressures and distractions are directed our away by the ever vigilant and hostile powers of darkness.

We were never meant to rely on our own unaided efforts and resources. ‘Do not throw away your confidence,’ the Scriptures urges us; ‘it will be rewarded.’ The Lord will not fail to find surprising ways to accomplish all that He has promised. As he neared his homecoming, the Lord spoke to David Watson. ‘All your writing and all your preaching are as nothing compared with your relationship with Me.’

This is a fitting emphasis on which to draw this book to a close. On a Parisian Metro station, back in the mid 1970’s, I had just said goodbye to a fellowship that had meant a great deal to me. I was feeling an almost overwhelming feeling of loss and was singing under my breath, ‘O Jesus I have promised, to serve Thee to the end.’ Suddenly, I was engulfed in a profound sense of the Lord’s presence. For a prolonged moment the presence of Heaven drew close, and it was as though I heard an astonishing echo: ‘And I have promised to serve you to the end.’

How great He is, that He stoops down to serve His children. Therefore we can rest in the love that has supported us all the days of our life, and embark with confidence on all that He has called us to be and to do.

May you always have the courage to step out with what you believe God is saying to you. Despite the risks and the potential embarrassment, He honours those who honour Him!

For Reflection and Prayer


High King of Heaven,
You release that which is deadlocked,
and raise the dead to life.
May there never be a day when we fail to seek Your face
or do something to advance Your Kingdom,
as we commit ourselves to the adventure
of following Your Still Small Voice.

Draw the sting of every hurt we have sustained,
every disappointment that weighs us down,
every situation that remains unresolved,
and turn them round for Your glory.
Let no residue of bitterness cloud our minds
as we push in Your name through every obstacle
until what You have promised comes to pass.

Immerse us now in the depths of Your love.
Quiet our minds from care and worry,
ward off danger and keep us from evil
As we soak in the life that is really life,
may Your angels guard and guide
each day that we live for You,
and cleanse the stream of our thoughts.

Lord of Glory,
Put fears and fancies to flight.
Settle our spirits in the Peace of all Peace,
in the full awareness of the host of Heaven.
In the name of the Father, who calls and sustains us,
The Prince of Peace, who gives life to our souls, and
The Spirit of Power, who directs our days.

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