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Pictures from God

Receiving pictures from God is a way in which many children are learning to receive from the Holy Spirit. Here is a step by step framework that is one way of experimenting with pictures from God with children.

1 Explanation

  • “If I asked you to imagine a house, you could make a picture of a house in your mind. That’s the sort of picture we are talking about, but not one that you decide to think about – rather, one that just appears in your mind when we ask the Holy Spirit.”

2 Ask for Pictures (Pray)

  • “Holy Spirit, please show us what it is like to be used in getting pictures. Please drop into our minds right now a picture that will be special for us.”
  • Alternatively, after reading Revelation 4:1, “Imagine a door. Let’s ask Jesus to open the door and let us see what is on the other side.”

3 Check What’s Happening

  • After a quiet time ask, “Who got something? A picture, or a bit of a picture?” It is very important to encourage children to acknowledge what they are receiving. They may be tempted not to say because they don’t know what it means, or it seems very ordinary, it is odd, or it is incomplete. (Read Jeremiah 1 to see how God encouraged Jeremiah to speak out his first picture, then spoke to him, and moved him on to another picture). If not much seems to be happening, you can pray again. Also, if there is a lack of pictures, check whether the Holy Spirit is doing something else! You could ask, “Did anyone get any words come into their minds? Did any of you feel anything special or different when you were asking the Holy Spirit?”

4 Share Pictures

  • Ask around the group in turn, “What did you get?” Don’t spend time on the meanings at this stage, let them just describe what they saw, or ask questions to clarify what they saw (not to clarify the meaning). For example, a child says, “I saw a bird.” Possible questions include, Was it a big bird or a little one? Was the bird flying or was it still? Did it seem friendly/ unfriendly/ neutral? Did you see its colour? Was there anything else in the picture?
  • Alternatively, give the children paper and coloured pens and ask them to draw what they received. Acknowledge that they may not be able to draw it exactly as they saw it, but ask them to draw enough to show what it was like. Then ask each child to tell you about their picture. They may include detail or explanation that are not obvious from what they have drawn.

5 What About the Child Who did not Appear to Receive Something?

  • This does not mean that there is something wrong with them, or that they are being left out! It usually means that the Holy Spirit wants to highlight them for special attention.
  • Some things to check – Did they want to receive something? Are they sure that they didn’t receive anything? When a child once said that she saw nothing, she was asked what sort of nothing she had seen. She said she had just seen darkness. But darkness isn’t nothing – it’s darkness, and when the child acknowledged that, the Holy Spirit gave another picture of light coming in. Also check – If they did not get a picture, was anything else happening?
  • If it is clear that they did not get anything, ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom on what to do! Assure them that the Holy Spirit has something special for them. There may be something for you to pray through with them, it may be that they are going to be particularly used in another Holy Spirit gift, it may be that they simply need to ask again.

6 Thinking About What the Pictures Mean

  • Point out that they can mean different things to different people. We are not to use our imagination on them, but rather to ask the Holy Spirit for what He wants to say through them.
  • Explain that a picture may be for the person who got it, or for someone else in the group, or for someone elsewhere, or for more than one person. It may be something special for now, or it may be for some time in the future and may only become clear then.

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