Desire To Prophesy

ed-b

Have you ever desired to prophesy but weren’t confident that you could? Or, have you ever thought that prophecy was only for those weird ‘prophetic-type’ people, who always claim they heard from God? Or, have you been taught that prophecy is not even available today, so why bother pursuing something that is ‘spiritually-illegal’? Well, I want to encourage you, that not only is prophecy available today, but more importantly, that prophecy is part of your spiritual inheritance and something that YOU CAN DO!

 

When thinking about prophecy, you may imagine one of the prophets from the Old Testament—you know the scary looking dude that came to Israel with a gut-wrenching, negative assault on the way people were living at the time and with predictions of doom and destruction. Or, you may think of a contemporary prophetic person, like some high-profile conference speaker that talks about ‘seeing’ angels and things like that, and stuns audiences by calling individuals out by name and giving detailed information about their lives. While both of these examples can be accurate descriptions of prophecy or prophetic ministry, the truth is that there is a far more common expression of prophecy that has been made available to every believer in Jesus that neither uses the Old Testament prophets nor the super-gifted modern day prophet as the normal, day-to-day example of prophecy in a believer’s life.

 

When considering prophecy, what we’re really speaking of is ‘hearing’ from God—and by that I don’t mean some ‘audible voice’, but rather the small sensing within. But how can you prophesy if you haven’t heard what to say? This is critical for us to understand, so we can have healthy, biblical perspective concerning God’s desire to talk to us. Years ago, I used to imagine prophecy like the example above, with the super-gifted prophet as my standard for what ‘real’ prophecy looked like. In one way, I was greatly encouraged by the supernatural display of power, but in another way, I would get discouraged because when I looked at my history with God, I assumed because I didn’t have such awesome experiences that I wasn’t really ‘prophetic’—just someone hungry for things I probably wouldn’t receive. For me the issue that affected me the most was my lack of confidence, which caused me to play down much of what I was receiving from the Lord, believing that it probably wasn’t Him, so I would just forget it. Over time, however, I began to discern and value the way the Lord would speak to me and was surprised how often I was ‘hearing’ from Him.


We have to be careful when comparing our experiences with others, because this can end up causing more discouragement than good, especially when it comes to the issue of ‘hearing’ from God. This can quickly turn into the ‘have and have not’ divide among believers. This kind of tension creates unnecessary pain resulting in division and inflexible opinions justifying one’s experience—or lack of one.


Once again, God absolutely desires to speak to you, this is at the heart of being able to prophesy. When we become convinced that God not only speaks today, but that He will actually speak to us, this awakens hope and excites our faith to pursue prophecy confidently. In the book of Joel, God had given an amazing prophecy, concerning a future time when He would pour out His Spirit in such a way that those receiving the Holy Spirit would have ‘prophetic’ encounters with God, “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. 29 “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28–29).

 

I can imagine the prophet Joel being completely stunned to hear that the Spirit would be poured upon all flesh and that they would prophesy and have dreams and visions. Joel understood that prophecy was only given to those specially called to that function, yet the Lord said those filled with the Spirit would prophesy. This gives us a new understanding of God’s heart as it expresses His desire to intimately relate to us by graciously providing a way for us to supernaturally encounter Him.

 

The promise of Joel had its initial fulfillment on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2, where the Holy Spirit descended upon the 120 in a supernatural way that caused awe and wonder in those present. Peter said in Acts 2:16 that “this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel,” and quoted Joel 2:28–32. So, we see the outpouring of the Spirit connected to the event on Pentecost. This means that anyone who believes in Jesus has as an inheritance of prophecy, dreams, and visions. God made a way for all to know Him through His Son and to be filled with the Spirit.

 

The Spirit now living inside us communicates God’s heart to us. God wants all His children to know Him directly and be able to discern His voice—the ‘prophetic’ Spirit is in every believer, which is unrelated to a ministry calling. Paul spoke about this inclusiveness of prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14, “Now I wish that … You would prophesy… For you can all prophesy… (1 Corinthians 14:5, 31). Paul further encouraged us to earnestly desire prophecy because of its benefits to strengthen and encourage others (see 1 Corinthians 14:1, 3).

I want to encourage you to not only believe that God will speak to you, but for you to specifically pursue prophecy. The Holy Spirit lives in you and will speak to you! Be looking for part two of “You Can Prophesy” to see more practical tips on how to prophesy.

Ed Boasso, 4/4/2007
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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Desire To Prophesy

  1. God has been speaking to me concerning many things and have been ignoring him on the basis that God doesn’t speak all the time but he chooses special moments… what a mistake.

    My question is this… How will i differentiate my personal voice and desire and the voice of the holy.

  2. It is one thing for God to speak to us personally through his Word.

    It is another thing for us to claim he is giving us messages for others.

    From what I have seen so far, most people use their imagination and listen to their own human voice, maybe with good intentions, and give misguided messages and cause more delusion than insight.

    The “god is showing me this” syndrome is an epidemic in the church. They learn to “read” people. This is not God.

    A true prophet is rare. And just because Joel said this, does not grant every person who wants the gift of prophecy “words” for others, or even themselves.

    If you read Joel in context, he is speaking to the “children of Zion” (2:23) for the last days, when Jacob’s trouble starts (2:1). He is not talking about the church, although the church was blessed at Pentecost.

    verses 1-23 talk about an invasion, and that God will protect his people Israel with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. the enemy is defeated (v20), and Israel is restored (v25). This all occurs at the 6th seal of revelation (see v 31, which matches Rev

    Joe 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

    Rev 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

    So, Joel is not an excuse for everyone in the church to think they have the gift of prophecy.

    A gift is a gift, and it cannot be conjured up, by getting quiet and using our imaginations.

    Once you have been around a true prophet, not the nickel and dime variety we see now, you will be able to immediately see the difference.

  3. Marianne,

    I agree much abuse and error has occurred through those growing in the prophetic. However, I wouldn’t throw it out just because some of the oxen mess up the stalls. Whenever the prophetic is exercised, believers must remember the Biblical mandate for them to judge for themselves. Those excercising the gift should give a disclaimer, that we see in part, Paul said we look through a glass dimly. Also I see a clear distinction between an Old Testament office of the prophet who directed nations on God’s behalf and that a new testament believer operating in the gift of prophesy, to encourage, comfort, exhort, and edify fellow believers. 1:Cor 14:3 Finally, if we stay clear of directional words, dates, mates, and babies, much of the mess associated with people growing in the prophetic is minimized.

    If you think of your imagination as Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers…than you would miss entirely that fact that God uses the sanctified imagination it is a part of you spirit soul and body: If you are Trichotomist or Soul & Body if you are dichotomist. I am not sugesting that a person has the right to “make up” anything…simply explaining that the still small voice is more than you might imagine. That’s why it is easy to miss!

    Thanks for reading. I checked out your blog.

    • dear soulpants,

      I guess we have different views. I do not consider anyone who has to “grow in the prophetic” as prophetic at all.

      Prophecy is not a technique that is learned. It is a direct message from god, and no practice is required.

      If the person is practicing, or has to “grow,” then they are doing this on their own power, instead of allowing God to flow through them.

      it is just human effort, learning to speak its mental impressions.

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