by Lyn Packer
In this article we are going to look at trances and extended periods of revelation. I was also going to cover protocols for entering the Throne Room and heavenly places but decided that it would be better handled in a separate article, so I'll look at that in the next one.
Things like trance visions and heavenly experiences are being talked about much more today than they ever have been. Are there more instances of these things happening or are people just feeling freer to talk about their experiences? I believe both to be the case. But with the increase in these things it becomes all the more important that people are taught how to understand and steward their visions and experiences. In the last article I looked at the different components of revelation – the revelation itself, the interpretation, the application, and whether what we are seeing is literal or symbolic. If you haven't read that article (or the previous ones in this series) please do so, as it is foundational to what we'll look at now in this article.
I want to talk about trances for a minute because of all the ways that God gives us revelation, they are the most prone to being called 'New Age'. We need to realize that nothing was created by the Devil. Everything was created by God (John 1:3; Col 1:16; Rev 4:11) and is a part of how His Kingdom functions, including the different ways people receive revelation. All the devil can do is twist and distort something that was created for God's purposes.
I think the aspect about trances that freaks people out is the state of being 'out of control'. As I said earlier, trances are happening more frequently and I know people who experience them often. For some of them the idea of 'not knowing what was happening to them' was freaky at first, but knowing that God was with them and that He was leading them was a great source of assurance and comfort. Yet not all trances have this component, as we'll see later.
This aspect of being 'out of control' doesn't seem proper or right to many of us. We believe that God is the ultimate gentleman who will only empower us, never overpower us. Yet when we look at scripture we find that in most trance states, some of peoples' natural faculties seemed unable to function - like physical movement or ability to see the natural realm. In other words God took them over to some degree or another. This also happens when a person gets 'the shakes' in the Holy Spirit - their body is taken over by the power of God. Some examples of this are as follows.
- Peter on the rooftop (Acts10:10) – one of the most well known trances in scripture. In this trance state Peter was able to interact by speech with God.
- Saul before he became King – he was changed into another man (1 Sam 10:6), although this is not officially a trance, as Saul was still conscious, this was an overtaking of Saul's person by God, according to Browns-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions.
- Paul in Acts 22:17 went into a trance where God communicated with him and told him to leave Jerusalem quickly because of danger.
- John in the book of Revelation Rev 1:17 "I fell at his feet as though dead", this is a trance like state – Thayers Greek Definitions says this means destitute of force or power, inactive, inoperative.
So what does a trance look like? To an observer it may seem like the person has 'spaced out' and is unresponsive. In trance vision states often the Lord and your spirit will supersede your body functions. You may be unaware that you are in this state, as you will be caught up into the vision or experience. Your body functions will often slow down or cease to be an issue during this time, especially in extended trance times. Hunger and thirst become non-issues and bodily functions relating to eating and drinking often don't happen. I know a lady who has had many trance visions. Her first one lasted approximately 24 hours, during which time she didn't move or even blink, let alone eat, drink or need a bathroom break. She was caught up into the heavenly realm, seeing visions and having experiences with the Lord there. This trance was witnessed by at least three others for this whole period of time.
Stewarding Trance Visions
How do we steward a trance vision?
- If it is happening to you then you will probably be unaware that it is even happening, so you won't be able to do much. Some people have a physical or Holy Spirit given warning that it is about to happen so that they can sit down somewhere comfortable first.
- If you observe it happening to someone else then, if possible, stay with the person and stop others from interfering, poking and prodding them etc. People try to do that to 'prove' whether the experience is real or not.
- Try and make them comfortable, maybe cover them with a blanket to keep them warm if the building is cold. If they need to be moved for safety sake then do so, otherwise disturb them as little as possible. Often they will be stiff as a board so laying them on the floor or a mattress is the safest thing to do. Pray for them during this time, covering them as they are experiencing this encounter.
- When the person comes out of it don't pepper them with hundreds of questions. Allow them space and time to come to terms with what just happened. Later on, get them to write down as much as they can remember of what they saw and heard. They will then be able to go back to it later and process it through with the Lord. If it has been an extended time then maybe offer them a drink and some light nourishment, as they may well need it.
Stewarding extended times of revelation
How do we steward extended periods of visitation – over weeks or even months?
When we are going through a season of visitation it's important to understand how we deal with that. The following are suggestions, not a formula. Most of them are intensely practical, but are still a part of stewarding wisely our revelations.
- Realize that if the Lord takes you into an extended period of revelation that He will look after you during this time. Don't be afraid to surrender yourself to Him. Many people pull back from going into revelation because of fears relating to the 'unknowns' involved.
- Don't tell everyone what is happening to you – it may not be God's time to reveal things; in fact you may never get to reveal some things. Some things will be shown to you so that you can simply cooperate in prayer with the Father over them. Pride can also become a factor here – remember your experiences say nothing about how spiritual or mature you are, they just say that you are being blessed with revelation at this point in time.
- Remember to ask the Lord for help in distinguishing between what is 'literal' and what's 'symbolic' in your visions and experiences. This is important, as it will all feel real. In the same vision there may be both literal and symbolic things. Asking for the interpretation and application is also important (See article 2 in this series for teaching on these).
- Have someone you are accountable to and can share with. We all only see partly (1 Cor 13:12) so it's good to have someone trustworthy that we can double check our experiences with who can help us measure them against scripture, God's nature, His character and His heart for mankind.
- Have trustworthy people who can support you in prayer during this time if possible.
- Have notebooks and pens ready and accessible – journaling what you see and experience is important for a variety of reasons. It is easy to forget details, especially when you are in extended times of visitation and seeing lots. Also it helps with accountability.
- Make sure that you look at rearranging your schedule if need be – drop non-necessary activities in order to free yourself up to spend the extra time in the Lord's presence. If that's not a possibility then stay in the place of faith for strength and staying power.
- Make sure that you are getting regular meals, plenty of water etc. Sometimes your body works hard during these times, especially if there are manifestations of shaking, burning etc.
- Realize that the Lord will look after you – physically, emotionally and spiritually during these times.
I hope this has given you a little more understanding on trance visions and extended times of visitation. We need to learn how to steward these as they are happening more frequently and may very well happen to you or someone you know in the days ahead.
Please fell free to pass this series of articles on to others to read, too, as the more who understand how to wisely steward their revelations the better.
The next article in this series will be the last and I am going to look at protocols for entering the Throne Room and other heavenly places. I hope that you'll join me again for that one.
Lyn is recognised as a Prophet within New Zealand and other nations she’s ministered in. Her ministry is revelatory and catalytic, propelling people into encounter with God. The governmental prophetic gift she carries is expressed through prophetic, revelatory insight and strategy, prophetic words (personal, corporate and national), teaching, art, and writing. Click here for more info...