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LARGE PARTS OF THIS TEACHING SERIES ARE EXTRACTED FROM THE BOOK:
How To Hear The Voice Of God In A Noisy World, by Teresa Seputis ISBN 0-88419-7557,
published by Charisma House Publishers, 1-800-451-4598
Internal promptings are when you strongly feel you are to do (or not do) something. You can't explain why you feel that way, but it is in you. Sometimes the intensity inside just keeps building until you do it. Other times, you just happen to do something that very much turns out to be precisely the right thing. You can't explain why you did it, but somehow you knew to do it.
The Holy Spirit frequently leads us this way. Many times we do not realize that God is speaking and we are responding. We may think we are being intuitive. Or we may think it was just a coincidence.
Let me share some simple examples. One time I was part of a leadership team that was having a potluck team meeting. I had already purchased something for the potluck. But as I was driving to our meeting, I noticed a bakery I had never seen before. I felt strongly impressed to stop at the bakery and check it out. I was running a few minutes late, but the urge was so strong I stopped anyhow. When I went in, I suddenly "just knew" I had to get a German chocolate cake. I had no idea why I knew that, but I just knew it. So I asked the lady behind the counter and sure enough they happened to have one. I bought it and took it to the potluck. It was in the back yard, so I let myself in through the side gate. As I rounded the curve to where the people were, they had just begun singing "Happy Birthday." It turned out that it was the pastor's wife's birthday. She had kept it a secret and it had just slipped out moments before I arrived. That is why they were singing when I arrived. Then I walked up, carrying a cake box. So I chirped in, "Well, I brought the birthday cake."
"I will know it was the Lord," the birthday woman replied, "if it is a German chocolate cake. We had a family tradition when I was growing up, before I stopped celebrating my birthday. Every year for my birthday my mother would bake me a German chocolate cake." I opened the box and showed everyone the German chocolate cake. She was so excited and blessed that God had provided her with the traditional birthday cake!
Here is another example: The intercessors at my church meet every Sunday morning at 5 to pray together. I do not normally meet with them. One Sunday morning I woke up early and began my daily routine. About 5 a.m., I suddenly felt strongly prompted to go to the intercessors' meeting. I tried to talk myself out of it, since church was a 20-minute drive away and the meeting had already started. But the prompting was so strong that I quickly got dressed, jumped in the car, and drove over there. I had no clue why I was supposed to be at that prayer meeting, I just knew I needed to be there. I arrived and walked into the room. One of the women in the group became very excited when I arrived. She was thrilled. I did not figure out why until I got the story. They had just gone around the group, each person sharing what the Lord was putting on his hearts to pray about that morning. This woman had just shared that the Lord wanted them to pray for me and my ministry. Someone had commented, "Wouldn't it be neat if God sent Teresa here to us today so we could lay hands on her when we pray for her." A few minutes later, the door opened and in I walked! God had prompted me to be there.
One last example: I was staying as someone's house guest on a ministry trip. I arrived at their house just after the evening service. The wife had sent her husband to the corner market for a loaf of fresh bread immediately after I arrived. She wanted to have some toast available in case I wanted a late-night snack. I was hungry and did want a snack, but what I really wanted was my favorite -- some Ritz Crackers. I did not mention it to them. He came back 10 minutes later with two items in tow -- the requested loaf of bread and a box of Ritz Crackers. His wife asked him why he got the crackers since neither of them had ever eaten anything like that before. He replied that he had no idea; he saw them and it "felt right" so he bought them. Then I explained that this was the Lord prompting him, because I had really been hankering for some Ritz Crackers and the Lord knew it. Boy, did I enjoy those crackers!
Look back on those times where you just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Or when you just happened to feel prompted to do the right thing. You may very well have been lead by the Holy Spirit, followed His directions and did His will without even realizing it!
We see God communicate to His servants via internal promptings in the Bible. For instance, God used internal promptings to communicate incredibly strategic directions to Nehemiah in Nehemiah 6:2-3 and again in Nehemiah 6:10-13. Here is the background for this story: God commissioned Nehemiah to rebuild the wall for Jerusalem, as one of the steps toward allowing the Israelites to return from captivity. This project was met with a lot of resistance from some of the politicians in the region. First they tried to use force to intimidate the workers and get them to quit. But Nehemiah armed the workers, and he had half of them stand guard on each shift while the other half worked on the wall. So Nehemiah's enemies tried to switch tactics to deception and trickery. They set an ambush for Nehemiah, inviting him to a political gathering in one of the villages. But God used internal promptings to warn Nehemiah that this was a trap. When that failed, they got someone to pose as a "friend" and warn Nehemiah of a "plot" to assassinate him, trying to get him to run for his life so that he would be discredited with the Jews he was leading. God caused Nehemiah to "just know" that this was a scheme to discredit him so he did not fall into that trap.
We see another example of internal promptings in Jonah's life. You know the story: God told Jonah to go prophesy to Nineveh and Jonah did not want to do that. So he got on a boat headed the other direction and God sent a big storm that almost sank the boat. The sailors asked Jonah what to get God to end the storm. God used internal promptings to give Jonah the answer. We do not see an angel appearing to Jonah; we do not see God speaking to him. But he "just knew" that they had to throw him overboard to get the storm to end. And in fact, Jonah was correct, because when they threw him overboard, the storm did indeed end. God had used internal promptings to communicate life/death instructions to these sailors through Jonah. You can read the account in Jonah 1:3-17.