During my first year of school of supernatural ministry in Santa Maria, CA, we watched a session by Judy Franklin. Judy described the various encounters she had throughout her life and how they affected her. She then led the class on a few short encounters. I saw myself in the throne room, wearing a beautiful ball gown.
A week later I had a life-changing encounter. I was lying on the floor during a worship session. I saw myself back in the throne room, dressed in the same elaborate ball gown from the week before. I looked toward the throne, and the crowd parted to form an aisle. At the end of the aisle was Father God, standing in front of His throne. I started walking down the aisle, but I soon found myself running toward Him. By the time I got to Him, I was a three year old girl. He picked me up, spun me around, and then sat me on His lap. I snuggled against His chest, played with my fingers, and sung to myself. Meanwhile, He was kept conducting business, and every once in awhile, He’d give me a squeeze and a kiss on my head.
For months afterward, every encounter I had, every time I entered in worship, I was that three year old girl, playing with her Daddy. We’d go on adventures, play dress up, and just hang out. Even now, four years later, a majority of my encounters with God are of me as that three year old child.
In Matthew 18, Jesus said, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Kris Vallotton often says that as children we know we were meant to be great, but as we grow older, that belief is discouraged in us. Until we can become like children again, it will be extremely difficult to truly connect with our Father.
As sons and daughters of God, we develop our understanding of His love for us in our secret place, in encounters with Him. Our entire identity as sons and daughters comes from the understand of who we are and Whose we are. We often take time to study scripture and pray to learn more about this, but how often do we actually set aside time in our day to just encounter the Lord face to face?
Leading Your Students in An Encounter
We would like to share with you a resource many of the first year BSSM pastors use to lead students in impactful Daddy encounters with Father God. For this exercise, have your students get in a comfortable position and have them close their eyes. Then, play this playlist for them and allow them to encounter Father God.
This is a long playlist, so at the very least, we suggest you play Inheritance by Graham Cooke.
- Inheritance by Graham Cooke
- Out of Hiding by Steffany Gretzinger
- There Is No Striving by Matt Stinton & Steffany Gretzinger
- Abba by Jonathan & Melissa Helser
- Reckless Love by Steffany Gretzinger
- I Am No Victim by Kristene DiMarco
- Draw Near by Matt Stinton & Amanda Cook
- Jesus You’re Beautiful by Jeremy Riddle
- Endless Ocean by Jeremy Riddle
Exercise: Write It Down
After the playlist is over, there are several exercises you can go through with your students. Encourage your students to write down their experience so they can return to it in difficult times.
At the end, give your students a piece of paper and a pen and have them write a letter to themselves from Father God. You can let them keep it, or you can collect the letters and return them to your students at the end of the year.
Exercise: Share with Each Other
Take some time to have your students share, process, and pray with each other about their encounters. After each student shares, have the others in their group pray over the student who shared.
Exercise: Rehearse the Encounter
Have your students write out their encounter every day for 30 days. This solidifies it in their minds and memories, allowing them to pull on the encounter when their faith starts to waiver. Some students may not be comfortable with the exercise at first, concerned that they “don’t see.” There is no right way to see, and there is no wrong way to see. We have each been given unique insight into the Father, so however they encounter Him is right! In Victorious Emotions by Wendy Backlund, Wendy says,
When the will and imagination are in opposition, the imagination always wins. The human brain has more faith in what it can see than in what it wants to do… People usually only rehearse the past, but it is time to live out of your future… You need to start emotionally rehearsing your God encounters, testimonies, successes, and happy moments of your day in your mind until you have an emotional response. It is the repeated release of happy emotions with intentional thoughts that begins to build a new stronghold
Some students may have fallen asleep during their encounter. That’s okay! I often tell my students, “How many of you would be angry if your child fell asleep in your arms?” Make sure to break off and protect your students from any shame that may try to attach itself to them after their encounter time.
The goal of this exercise is to teach your students and train the brain that interacting with God is normal. We can have encounters with the Father throughout the day every day, even if at first it seems weird and awkward. Our prayer is that your students encounter the extreme love of the Father like never before.