Listening With Your Mind’s EyeOn December 14, 2017 by Amy Burgin
Close your eyes and imagine a glass.
What did you see?
I saw a tall, slender, clear glass filled with ice and a clear carbonated beverage, probably Sprite.
What I saw was formed in my mind’s eye, or my imagination.
The Lord may use our imagination to speak to us.
For me, receiving pictures from God has become a powerful way to hear from the Lord because pictures stick with me. I don’t forget a picture as easily as I forget words.
Furthermore, when a picture first comes, I don’t understand what it means. I have to ask the Lord to explain it. The answers are usually surprising and eye-opening, bringing fresh, unexpected revelation. With pictures, comes rich meaning.
When friends first introduced the idea of God speaking to me through pictures, I was hesitant. I mostly heard from God through scripture alone. Certainly, I had seen Jesus in my mind’s eye before, but that was the only picture I ever saw in our discussions. After being introduced to this idea, and specifically, after the Lord gave someone a picture of me that brought me tremendous amounts of freedom and joy, I began to ask God for pictures. Just like him, he answered! In praying for people and asking for pictures I saw things such as
a white dress with lace eyelets,
a sunflower turning toward the sun,
a black bug digging in the sand,
a prickly cactus full of nourishment and hydration,
a wall of rushing, powerful water,
a wind gently blowing on a field of colorful flowers.
Hearing from God in this manner was new and exciting for me and my heart was full of desire to give this gift to others. When given a chance to speak at a Women’s Bible Study, I knew I wanted to share this, but needed more scripture to back it up. I looked up verses where God asked the question, “What do you see?” and found it is totally Biblical for the Lord to show you a seemingly random picture and then provide significant meaning to match it. Pictures as random as a branch, a boiling pot, figs, a plumbline, a lampstand, or a flying scroll!
Jeremiah 1:11 NIV
“The word of the Lord came to me:
‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’
‘I see the branch of an almond tree,’ I replied.”
Then the Lord made known the meaning of the almond tree.
Jeremiah 1:13 NIV
“The word of the Lord came to me again:
‘What do you see?’
‘I see a pot that is boiling,‘ I answered. ‘It is tilting toward us from the north.'”
Then the Lord disclosed the significance of the boiling pot.
Jeremiah 24:3 NIV
“Then the Lord asked me,
‘What do you see Jeremiah?’
‘Figs,’ I answered. ‘The good ones are very good, but the bad ones are so bad they cannot be eaten.'”
Then the Lord provided the interpretation of the figs.
Amos 7:8 NIV
“And the Lord asked me,
‘What do you see, Amos?’
‘A plumbline,’ I replied.”
Then the Lord spelled out the purpose of the plumbline.
Amos 8:2 NIV
“‘What do you see, Amos?’ he asked.
‘A basket of ripe fruit,’ I answered.”
Then the Lord revealed the symbolism of the ripe fruit.
Zechariah 4:2-3 NIV
“He asked me, ‘What do you see?’
I answered, ‘I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Also, there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.'”
Then the Lord described the meaning behind the lampstand.
Zechariah 5:2 NIV
“He asked me, ‘What do you see?’
I answered, ‘I see a flying scroll, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.'”
Then the Lord explained the meaning of the scroll.
Not only might the Lord speak to us in pictures, he wants us to look and HE is the one who asks, “What do you see?”
Now, can our imaginations deceive us? You bet. Richard Foster touches on this in his book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home as does Neil T. Anderson in his book The Bondage Breaker. In the chapter “Meditative Prayer” Foster points out that like ALL our faculties, our imagination is untrustworthy, but also, like ALL our faculties, our imagination can be redeemed and used for God’s good purposes. Anderson nails our concern in his chapter, “The Danger of Deception” when he says, “Dreams must be in agreement with God’s Word – not the other way around.”
Lord, we desire all of our faculties to be under your authority and we desire to use them to work alongside you for the sake of your kingdom. Will you please help us exercise our imaginations? Will you please give us pictures to help illuminate your word and your will? Lord, will you show us a picture now to help us finish out this day rightly?
Close your eyes. What do you see?
As a side note, the imagination can be used as a powerful tool for those who have the gift of dyslexia. To learn more about this, check out the book The Gift of Dyslexia: Why Some of the Smartest People Can’t Read and How They Can Learn by Ronald D. Davis.