Chapter 1 The Father’s Garden: My Child’s Safe Place I want you to be able to picture a place where you feel safe to meet with Jesus. It can be a real place where you often retreat to get away from everyone, or it may be an imaginary place you where you can experience the presence of Jesus. This is your sanctuary.
This place represents your opportunity to experience the safety and comfort of God as described in Psalm 91. For prayer purposes you can make up your own special “safe place” to meet with God. Or, you might prefer to remember a real place where you felt safe and peaceful.
Try creating your own setting: a beach, a garden or a field. For you, the beauty and life within nature recalls God’s presence.
For example, I might picture myself going out in a canoe to skim across a lake early in the morning. I might close my eyes and imagine what it would be like to float slowly across the surface of the water. I might imagine what the birds sound like in the treeline surrounding me. I might hear the sound of the water lapping against the boat. I might take a deep breath and smell the pine trees or feel the breeze against my face.
You might choose to imagine a place from your own memory, a place where you had your happiest childhood memories or felt safe, and at peace. In inner healing, these remembered or created places serve as our environment where we can experience peace, sense God’s presence, and be with, and talk to, Jesus.
Try to recall a time where you had a loving encounter with God. Picture the time, remember the sights and sounds of that encounter. Just by imagining yourself going there to be there with Jesus – to play with Him or to talk with Him – can help you experience His presence again. The Holy Spirit can fill these moments to provide us with the inner healing we desire. Our time with Jesus in these safe spaces nurtures our spirit and restores our soul.
The Children's Garden or “kindergarten” is a place real or imagined where we can come to Jesus as little children. He wants us to discover that we can feel safe in our Heavenly Father’s presence and that it’s okay to play, and to be ourselves, and to enjoy being with Him.
The original place God created for Adam and Eve was a garden where they could live forever in God’s presence, without any trace of shame or fear. Of course, some gardens will need strong walls to provide a safe space for children to play. If you feel the need picture a walled garden, then let your garden to have a wall.
Imagine what is in your special garden – your kindergarten – right now. Allow yourself to experience this garden where you can delight in God’s presence, where play is allowed and your Heavenly Father delights in your presence there with Him.
You may even want to invite God to help you create this garden. It may surprise you what He might want to put in this garden for you to enjoy together.
Imagine the ambient sounds of children playing and birds singing in the trees above you. What other sounds do you hear? Imagine how the sun might feel against your face. Feel the grass beneath your feet. Touch the softness of the moss that covers the rocks. Feel the breeze against your skin. Notice the colour of the sky. Listen for the sound of the leaves rustling overhead. Smell the flowers growing nearby.
What else do you notice? Are there the sounds of water flowing? Are there animals scurrying about? What other colours do you notice? What are the different textures you experience?
Now, what would you do if you were feeling a little adventurous? What if you wanted to relax? What would you do if you wanted to simply enjoy the beauty? Is there some place to lie in the sun? Is there a pond you could swim in? Is there anything around to play with?
Take another five minutes just to be in this garden. Just experience this place. Soak in God’s love. Enjoy the feeling of resting in His presence.
Allow yourself to experience these feelings. Does it speak to you a truth from God? Ask God to show you what this feeling means. Ask God what truth He has for you. How do you feel after experiencing God’s presence? Allow yourself to enjoy this feeling and listen closely to hear what God is saying to you.
Let’s examine our feelings after this experiment. Do you have a deep sadness? If so, allow Jesus, the risen Christ, to be there with you in that sadness. Allow Jesus to comfort you. Allow Him to sit with you. Take time to speak with Jesus about your sadness. Remember that He is patient with you, and that He is not offended by your sadness, or your emotions.
Are you experiencing joy, or happiness? If so, then ask the Lord to show you why. What is the source of your joy? What is it about this experience that brought you happiness? Was it simply being in His presence? Was it something you felt? Was it something the Father said to you? Or was it something that God communicated to you in a deeper place without words? Was it a profound truth you simply realized by spending time in this place with Jesus? Once you know what the source of your joy is, write it down in a journal, or on a slip of paper. Keep it with you as a reminder of these simple truths that bring you peace.
Are you experiencing other emotions? Are you angry, or disappointed, or upset? These feelings are normal. It’s not wrong to feel this way. God is not offended by your emotions.
Take a moment to ask God why these emotions were brought to the surface. Allow Jesus to gently reveal to you what memory this experience may relate to. Ask Him why your heart is upset and trust Him to show you what is causing this reaction. Allow Him to lead you towards a place of healing in this moment.
Now that you know the way to your garden, you may come here anytime you like. This secret place is yours to spend time in prayer, and to soak in the peace and presence of God. This practice can enable you to build a deeper trust with God. An inner healing prayer through listening should begin with this kind of experience.
This is why in my practice I encourage people to be still and to respond to God’s Spirit wherever they are. It’s very important to focus on something natural: clouds in the sky, waves on the lake, the sunset, a rainbow, a bird call, the feeling of rain, the sound of trees, the scent of flowers; etc. Be mindful in your focus on beauty; take pleasure in what is good, be thankful for God’s presence which surrounds you and is reaching you in so many ways.t you to be able to picture a place where you feel safe to meet with Jesus.
This may be an imagined place where you can find sanctuary. It represents a place of safety and comfort in God as described in Psalm 91.For prayer purposes you can make up your own special safe place to meet with God or remember a remembered real place where you felt safe and peaceful.
You may create your own setting: a beach, a garden or a field.For you the beauty and life of nature recalls God and God’s presence.
I might picture going out in the canoe early in the morning and slowly moving along the lake beside intriguing rocks and beautiful trees.
Some choose a place from their life where they did feel safe.In inner healing these remembered or created places serve as a good place to find peace, sense God’s presence or be with or talk to Jesus.
You may recall a time where you had a loving encounter with God’s love and life. Picture the time and place of your encounter.
Just imagining yourself going there to be there with Jesus, to play with Him or to talk with Him. The Spirit makes this into a great healing experience. Time with Jesus nurtures our spirit.
The Children's Garden Kindergarten means children's garden in German.Jesus tells us to come to our Father (or Jesus) as little children and find a place where we can be safe to play and enjoy him.The original place for Adam and Eve was a garden where they could live forever and without shame and fear. Some gardens need special walls to be safe for children.If you need a walled garden to feel safe then picture a walled garden. You may delight in imagining a beautiful place where play is allowed and God's presence in the garden can be felt. Picture what is in your special garden - your kindergarten. You may allow God to help create this garden and surprise you with what he puts in the Father's garden for children. Imagine the musical sounds of children playing, of birds singing.Are there other delightful sounds? Imagine how the sun has warmed the earth.The grass is dry.The moss is soft.The breeze feels warm on your skin.Notice the colour of the sky.How clear it is. What else do you notice?Are there the sounds of water flowing?Are there little animals scurrying about?What other colours are there?What are the different textures? What could you do if you were adventurous?What could you do if you wanted to relax?What could you do to enjoy beauty?Is there some place to lie in the sun?What is there to play with? Take five minutes or more just to be there in this garden.Just to be.Just to experience yourself and this place. Soak in God’s love in this place. What feeling does it bring to you? Allow yourself to experience that feeling.Does it speak to you a truth from God?Ask God what this feeling means.Ask God for His truth for you.What is His truth for you?How do you feel now?Allow yourself to experience that feeling and to hear what God is saying to you. If you are experiencing deep sadness then let Jesus, the risen Christ, be there with you, to listen to you, to understand you, to comfort you. If you are experiencing joy and happiness then find out what truth your heart has come to believe that is bringing you joy. If you are experiencing upsetting feelings then ask God what memory this relates to.Ask him what your heart believed that is causing this upset.Ask him what his truth for you is.What feelings come to you as you hear his truth for you? You may come here in prayer daily to soak in the peace and God’s presence.You can build in a heart felt trust of God in this way. An inner Healing prayer through listening prayer should begin with this kind of experience. The deepest healing possible is the nurture of the human core, the human spirit, so that we can grow strong in spirit. This is what happened during the Toronto Blessing prayer times. People rested in the Spirit and were nurtured by the Spirit of God deep within. It took time for us to mature. The Father knew it would take time and so he requested of John Arnott that he - the Heavenly Father - be allowed to play with his children. What grew out of these times was the concept of soaking prayer. People would take time in their own lives, in their own homes to lie still before the Lord and listen to gentle praise music. These ‘soaking times’ allow the Father to nurture and heal our souls.They allow the Father to draw us into His heart. This nurture of the spirit with the Father’s love is the deepest form of inner healing. Nurturing the spirit is deeper than healing of bad memories. So be still and respond to God’s Spirit wherever you are. Focus on something natural: clouds in the sky, waves on the lake, the sunset, a rainbow, a bird call, the feel of a shower, trees, the scent of flowers. All you need to do is be mindful in your focus on beauty; take pleasure in what is good, be thankful for God’s presence reaching you in so many ways.
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