What Is Prophecy and Who Can Prophesy
First and foremost, I know there are many scholars, theologians and charismatic leaders who have delved into the subject of the prophetic with great understanding and insight. They have probably forgotten more than I will ever know.
With that said, I will endeavor to bring the prophetic down to simple every day terms and hopefully help the average Joe like me reading this translate the prophetic into everyday life. After all, the everyday trials and joys of life is where we interact with family, co-workers and friends and it is in these places we need the prophetic the most.
The prophetic has garnered a lot of attention over the years; some good and some bad. It seems the bad is more often remembered and causes fear in the body of Christ. I hope to help eliminate this fear by first discussing what prophecy is.
If you look it up in the dictionary prophecy can mean to tell of a future event in order to reveal the will of a deity or be seen as a prediction, a foretelling, foresight or insight. The act of predicting or foretelling is most often what scares or at the very least concerns many believers. Either they discard the value and legitimacy of prophecy or leave it up to someone more qualified or gifted.
Prophecy is often looked at as something the so called â€śnational or local church leadersâ€ť engage in and can be seen as something reserved for a select gifted few. It can be seen as something operating on a grand scale in regard to nations and/or governments with little relation to everyday life and experiences. Prophecy is also seen as something a Prophet visiting a local church or conference might engage in. This is indeed true, but prophecy is much more than that.
Now if we break down the word prophecy to a more acceptable term like â€śhearing Godâ€ť which we will discuss in detail, it becomes more palatableâ€¦it becomes less mysterious.
There is an expectation for our pastors, worship leaders, Sunday school teachers and so on to hear God. Yet for the most part we do not see this as prophetic. I beg to differ. Understanding this will enable you to move more freely in the prophetic than you might have previously thought.
Every time a pastor preaches a message, a worship leader leads the congregation in worship, or a Sunday school teacher teaches a lesson they are hearing God. The preacher may study but thoughts of other scriptures pop into his mindâ€¦his spirit and gives clarification to the subject at hand. Things he has learned over the years come to his remembrance as the Holy Spirit speaks to him or her.
The worship leader may have a program but sometimes other songs begin to ring in his heart and things change. The Sunday school teacher gets ideas about how to bring a lesson down to a practical level while studying. They can then help others to understand through example or by using visual aids.
In all these examples the testimony of Jesus is proclaimed and I guarantee you someone one listening receives the Word in such a way they are changed. According to the Word the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).
How simple is that? Though simple, it is just the beginning of an exciting adventure consisting of the grand to the sublime and all in between. We must become aware of our Spirit inspired ideas, thoughts or insights and not go on idly unaware of Godâ€™s still small voice urging us, speaking to us or encouraging us according to what is on His heart.
Prophecy is a gift to the body of Christ at every level and for every situation and circumstance. One level is no more important than any other. In fact the Word is clear when Paul says all should desire to prophesy, all should hear God (1 Corinthians 14:5, 14:24, and 14:31). The key word is all not some or a select few. The result of such obedience in speaking out what you hear will cause all to benefit (1 Corinthians 14:31 in the NET Bible(r)" rel="external">1 Corinthians 14:31).Prophecy or hearing God is to be a lifestyle available to all who are born again…a lifestyle of living, moving and having oneâ€™s being in Himâ€¦a lifestyle of being a hearer and then a doer.
Itâ€™s Just That Simple
Letâ€™s simplify prophecy a bit, and for the moment, ignore the dictionary definitions I mentioned earlier. I will define prophecy according to the Word and explore its purposes in daily life. Not only will we define and explore, we will use a new way to simplify prophecy all together; Hearing God. In other words; prophecy is simply hearing God and doing as He says.
Hearing God? Yes! It is just that simple. For the most part, hearing God is something we believers do every day. The sad part is how many people I have encountered as I have taught on this subject who believe they do not hear God. I believe many times they are unaware and thereby miss out on the Good Shepherdâ€™s voice and the fruit thereof.
As soon as I define hearing God in more simplistic terms many are often astonished at how many times they have actually heard and how many times they have prophesied without even knowing it. They are pleased to find prophesying is not some mystical or grand thing they cannot attain or something they should fear. Instead, it is a byproduct of relationship with the Lover of oneâ€™s soul.
The very real experiences others have had such as feeling led to call a person and share a scripture or pray with them, feeling compelled to share a testimony with someone, the desire to sing a song of praise in tough circumstances, or how sharing their insight into a Scripture with someone releases the testimony the Lordâ€™s love and grace changes their whole perspective and opens their hearts.
Once they realize how all these encounters are results of hearing the still small voice of God the prophetic is demystified. In turn, faith to step out on behalf of the Lord grows. Many times the simple release of telling someone the Lord wants them to know He loves them has the power to break down barriers and change their life. In releasing the simple things we hear God prompting our hearts with will enable us to grow in faith and courage to share on a broader and grander scale when the time comes. Experiencing the release of such a simple spoken faith extinguishes fear and releases the heart of prophecy; to edify, exhort and console (1 Corinthians 14:3).
You see, using the word â€śhearing Godâ€ť is much friendlier and is indeed more approachable to the Church at large. Hopefully, it is more acceptable to all reading this and not too basic of an approach to the more seasoned in this area. It never hurts to be reminded of basic principles in any area and prophecy is no exception.
Remember, pastors and such are just like us in respect to being created in the image of God. We, like them, are temples of the Holy Spirit, and according to 1 Corinthians 2:16, we hold the thoughts and intents of the Lordâ€™s heart. Since we hold His thoughts and intents then we are capable of having those thoughts become real to us in a way that can bring life to those around us.
Hearing God or the testimony of Jesus is not meant for an exclusive few. In fact the body will be edified and walk in the light according to the Lordâ€™s fullest desire if all of His children participate. This way the earth can be filled with His glory. Know this, God shows no partiality. But He is partial to all His sons and daughters, including you. He is a â€śwhom so ever will kindâ€ť of God. Are you a â€śwhom so ever willâ€ť person? I hope so.
According to Revelation 19:10, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. What is the testimony of Jesus? Too big of a subject for this article but letâ€™s confine the testimony of Jesus to â€śhearing Godâ€ť for now and how said testimony relates to the Word. Simply put, Jesus only did what He heard and saw the Father saying and doing. Therefore, everything He did was a testimony. Everything He did was prophetic. We must follow in His footsteps. We must hear and see what He is doing and then share it until all are edified, exhorted and consoled.
We, who are born again, are like Jesus and we are all prophetic beings or ones who hear God. Therefore, we must spend time with Him in all possible ways and choose to agree with Him that we hear His voice and do not follow another. In doing this, His abundant life is released and many are saved, healed and delivered.
Now that we have established the simplicity of what prophecy is and who can prophesy, I pray you will open your heart to hearing His voice on a more consistent basisâ€¦journaling what He speaks to you. You could be like me and find yourself writing a book filled with a collection of thoughts from the Fatherâ€™s heart.
Take some time to contemplate all the times you have ministered to someoneâ€¦how you did it and what benefit resulted from your obedience. Be sure to join me in my next article as we discuss the beautiful gift of prophecy or hearing God in more detail.