It's Time To Prophesy
It's Time To Prophesy!
"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy:" (Acts 2:16-18, which is a fulfillment of Joel 2:28-29).
The word "prophesy" here (from Joel 2:28) means "to announce, to show, to deliver an oracle from God, to speak as God’s ambassador; to foretell future events; to sing songs or hymns: each implying divine inspiration" (Wilson’s).
"Worship ("do obeisance, reverence") God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (the exercising of the gift) (Revelation 19:10).
A fuller meaning of the word "worship" as used in the above verse is: "to crouch, crawl, or fawn, like a dog at his master’s feet; hence, to prostrate one’s self, after the eastern custom, to do reverence or homage to any one, by kneeling or prostrating one’s self before him . . . used therefore of the act of worship" (Bullinger’s).
Our worship, therefore, must be to God Himself! Ministry comes out of worship! It is in the attitude and atmosphere of worship that an environment is created to release the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially the Gift of Prophecy.
Quote from the book "Developing The Prophetic Ministry" by Frank Damazio (USA):
"The word ‘prophecy’ in Hebrew is ‘naba’ which means ‘to flow, boil up or over; bubble or pour forth words, to gush.’
"The Old Testament word for ‘prophet’ means ‘a spokesman or speaker who is a special agent to deliver a message.’
"In the New Testament the words ‘prophecy, prophesy, prophesied and prophets’ are used approximately 186 times and mean ‘to speak, say; declare or make known.’ Thus the subject is given an important place in the New Testament for the Church."
"When man would prophesy, whether in the Old or New Testament, the Spirit of God would inspire their speech and cause His own words to bubble forth. The same is true in the Church today. Men and women can utter words from the Lord as He inspires them to speak, for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of the entire Body" (end of quote).
WHAT IS THE GIFT OF PROPHECY?
Prophecy is one of the nine gifts (manifestations) of the Holy Spirit that we read about in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. The other eight are The Word of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge, Faith, The Gifts of Healing, The Working of Miracles, The Discerning of Spirits, Various Kinds of (unknown) Tongues(AMP.) and The Interpretation of Tongues (those unknown tongues that are spoken). These gifts should always be exercised under the guidance of the Holy Spirit – they are His gifts anyway.
Prophecy is the bringing forth of an anointed word under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – or – a prophetic declaration while under divine influence. It is a revelation of the mind of God TO an individual Christian FOR the assembled believers.
"It is a Spirit-birthed word, supernatural in its origin and inspiration, but presented using the normal language of the individual who is speaking" (Pastor Trevor Chandler, Australia).
"The Gift of Prophecy is the special ability that God gives to members of the Body of Christ to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His gathered people, a group among them or any one of His people individually, through a divinely anointed utterance" (David Pytches in his book, "Come Holy Spirit").
"It is sharing God's heart, desires and intent" (Bill Haman).
"Prophecy is attacking, stimulating and provoking. It is designed to put a sharp edge onto our relationship with God, in terms of how we live our lives and handle truth" (Graham Cooke in his book,"Developing Your Prophetic Gifting").
CULTIVATE A DESIRE:
In 1 Corinthians 12:31, the Bible exhorts us to:
"Covet earnestly the best gifts" (KJV);
"Eagerly desire the greater gifts" (NIV);
"Earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best — the higher [gifts] and the choicest [graces]" (AMP.).
" . . . try your best to have the more important of these gifts" (TLB).
Let’s break these word meanings down a little more:
"Covet earnestly" (Greek: "Zeloo"):
"to be zealous towards, to be eager for" (Bullinger’s);
"to have warmth of feeling for . . . affect, covet (earnestly), (have) desire, (move with) envy, be jealous over,(be) zealous (-ly affect)" (Strong’s);
"to be zealous for" (Young’s);
To be "earnest" means to be "
The words used in 1 Corinthians 12:31 show that we – the Spirit-filled believers — must have a strong desire to cultivate the gifts in our lives; to be eager to see them working through us to bless others.
We cannot be passive towards the gifts and expect them to work through us. We must give ourselves to them in earnest . . . with a strong desire to exercise them!
1 Corinthians 14:39 tells us to "be eager to prophesy" (NIV); "eager" meaning "characterized by or feeling expectancy or great desire" (Collins).
Why Specifically Prophecy?
Because it is a "doorway" gift into the other Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
DESIRE TO PROPHESY:
To "covet earnestly the best gifts" and to "covet to prophesy" means we must cultivate a desire in our own heart to want to prophesy. Biblically, the words "covet" and "desire" mean "to be zealous for." The word "zealous" is literally "a zealot" which means "an uncompromising partisan ("devotee to a cause"); an immoderate, fanatical, or extremely zealous adherent to a cause, especially a religious one" (Collins).
To minister effectively in the Gift of Prophecy (and all the other gifts too), the Bible says we should "covet earnestly." We are not to be casual in our attitude and seeking, nor apathetic, but to cultivate the desire to prophesy because we see by the Word that the gifts are important for the building up of the Body. "DESIRE spiritual gifts" (1 Corinthians 14:1).
"Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy" (1 Corinthians 14:1, NIV).
Why do we have to "eagerly desire" to prophesy?
If we do not have a strong desire to move out into the operation of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, then we will find all kinds of excuses "to hide behind," so we will not need to step out publicly in the exercising of them. Our desire must become stronger than our excuses!
Excuses such as:
God responds to our desire! To minister the Gifts of the Holy Spirit we must first "eagerly desire"them. And that desire has to become stronger than any and every negative excuse we have "justified" ourselves with up to this point.
"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart" (Psalm 37:4, AMP.).
Jesus said: "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them" (Mark 11:24, KJV).
LOVE IS VITAL!
In our desiring to prophesy we should always remember that LOVE is the ultimate motivating power of God, and LOVE should always have the pre-eminence, or first place. The Gift of Prophecy must be born, cultivated and expressed out of LOVE and in LOVE. LOVE is the very character of God (1 John 4:7-8).
It is possible to have or do the above things without love!
The King James Bible uses the word "charity" for love. It comes from the Greek word "agape" (noun)and "agapao" (verb), which means "Love, love that is self-denying and compassionately devoted to its object; love in its fullest conceivable form . . . towards God, the brethren and all" (Bullinger’s). For the marks of love see 1 Corinthians 13:4-13.
The Gift of Prophecy without love makes us nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2). This does not mean that we seek love at the expense of the Gift of Prophecy, for 1 Corinthians 14:1 tells us: "Follow after LOVE, and DESIRE ("to be zealous of, to wish or long for; crave; ask for" – Collins) spiritual gifts, BUT RATHER THAT YOU MAY PROPHESY" (emphasis mine).
THE EXERCISING OF THE GIFTS BUILDS UP THE CHURCH:
"Even so you, forasmuch as you are zealous ("to have warmth for, covet earnestly, have desire") of spiritual gifts, seek (Greek: "zeteo" meaning "to seek or endeavour in a way that worships God") that you may excel ("to superabound – in quantity or quality – make abound, have, have more abundant, exceed, increase" – Strong’s) to the edifying ("building up") of the church" (1 Corinthians 14:12, KJV).
" . . . since you are so eager and ambitious to possess spiritual endowments and manifestations of the (Holy) Spirit, [concentrate on] striving to excel and to abound [in them] in ways that will build up the church" (1 Corinthians 14:12, AMP.).
In our desire to exercise Spiritual Gifts we should always seek to excel in building up the people of God He has placed us amongst. The gifts are for the building up of the Body of Christ.
Seek, strive to excel!
The matter of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in general and, in particular the Gift of Prophecy, is not to be approached with a half-hearted attitude. We have to cultivate a strong desire to build up the Body of Christ through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Because we so love the Body that we want to be used (by God) to do the utmost good to it, and we now see that the best way to build the Body is through a genuine outworking of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit from our own life. We need to learn to excel, super abound, at doing this. In love!
GUIDELINES FOR PROPHESYING
The main function and purpose of the Gift of Prophecy is for the:
Our attitude towards the Gifts of the Holy Spirit will determine how much we benefit from the Word of Prophecy given in a meeting. The true Gift of Prophecy is God-ordained and God-inspired! It will always come within the guidelines of edification, exhortation and comfort.
THINGS THAT CAN HINDER THE FLOW OF PROPHECY:
It is important to note that prophesying in church should be with the approval of the Leaders of that church.
KNOWING THE SOURCE OF PROPHECY:
I believe we can know the source of a Prophetic Word we are to share before we even open our mouth. There are three sources from which prophecy can come. They are:
1. GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT: True, general prophecy will always come in the framework of edification, exhortation and comfort. It is given in the spirit of love and seeks to build up rather than condemn or knock down. One needs to ask oneself before prophesying: "Does this message build the people up according to the Scriptural guidelines? Does it glorify Jesus Christ?" If you can answer "yes" to those questions, then your word is of God. Bring it forth in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
2. THE SPIRIT OF MAN: Prophecy that is "inspired" by the spirit of man does not edify, exhort or comfort. It is negative and critical, often presented with an Old Testament style threat of judgment if the hearers don’t obey. We have every right to reject that kind of prophecy.
3. SATANIC: Satanically-inspired prophecy is subtle, deceptive, manipulative, domineering and the opposite to the character and nature of God. It does not edify, exhort or comfort the believer to get closer to Jesus Christ, but can manipulate people to make major decisions hastily, thus causing wrong decisions that take us out of the will of God. It can be "cold, heavy and condemnatory," but also like"an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14). Satan will try and hide his true nature in the delivery of such. We need to use the Gift of Discerning of Spirits so we can not only reject such prophecies but also warn others against them when they come.
WHO CAN PROPHESY?
That means you too! Cultivate that desire – now!
HOW DO WE PROPHESY?
We now accept the fact that the Gift of Prophecy is for all Spirit-filled Christians to exercise. You may prophesy! So, having accepted the truth of God’s Word — and cultivating a desire to prophesy to bless, encourage, exhort and comfort the Body of Christ where you belong because of your love for them — you make yourself available to God to be used as a willing vessel to bring an anointed Word. When that Word of Prophecy comes, it first comes into our spirit; then very quickly to our mind where we understand the content of the message (the theme, words, etc.). The anointing confirms we have "a word" to bring and therefore we look for the right opportunity to share it publicly with the assembled people.
"Do not quench ("put out , extinguish, as a light or fire; to damp, hinder, repress" — Bullinger’s ) the Spirit" (1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Corinthians 14:31-32).
Some interesting words are used by other translations:
The message is clear. We are to work in co-operation with the Holy Spirit, rather than "to hold off" and criticize. Are you one who can positively give yourself to the Holy Spirit to do what He wants done?
Don’t try to prophesy out of an empty heart. Prepare yourself for the meetings by praying in tongues, loving and worshipping the Lord. The key is to be "filled with the Spirit" to the point of overflowing(John 7:37-39; Ephesians 5:18; Jude 20-21).
3. By Impartation: ("to spiritually bestow upon").
In the Old Testament the Lord took of the Spirit that was on Moses and gave Him unto the 70 elders. The result was they all prophesied (Numbers 11:16-29). The majority prophesied "round about the tabernacle"; two "in the camp."
There was some concern about all the prophesying of the 70 elders, even as some are concerned about the Gift of Prophecy today. It was Joshua (and Joshua was a spiritual man!) who asked Moses to prevent the prophesying. Notice the answer Moses gave: "Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!" (Numbers 11:28-29, KJV).
Paul prayed for 12 men at Ephesus and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and prophesied. There was an Impartation as a result of the laying on of hands. (See 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6-7).
Paul said: "For I long to see you, that I may impart ("to give a share of" – Young’s) unto you some spiritual ("belonging to the Spirit, determined by, influenced by or proceeding from it" – Bullinger’s) gift, to the end you may be established ("to set, make fast, fix firmly")" (Romans 1:11).
"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10). The Knox Translation of Revelation 19:10 says: "It is the truth concerning Jesus which inspires all prophecy."
WHEN DO WE PROPHESY?
We must recognize God’s MESSAGE and God’s MOMENT. The Holy Spirit will "arrange" that particular moment for us to bring His message.
When these two areas "agree" – and the moment is right – then release your faith and prophesy!
The moment will present itself during "a hush" (quiet time) in worship and/or praise, or someone else flowing with the Holy Spirit will open the way up for you to move in God.
When you do prophesy, make sure you speak out loud enough for all to hear clearly. In a larger church you may need to submit your Prophetic Word to a Leader and/or even go forward to a microphone if that is what is required. Remember, the moment you receive the message is not always the moment you must give it. You may have to wait until later in the meeting – for the right opportunity – or even until another meeting (which would probably be because of a "lost" opportunity through hesitation, doubt, etc.).
In Ezekiel 37:1-14 we see that prophecy in obedience to the voice of God brings life, restorationand miraculous, creative healing to the Body of Christ. How the Church needs this gift!
BE WISE . . . AND TEACHABLE!
It should be noted that when you are not known in a church, it is normally neither wise, nor courteous to prophesy. People like to have confidence in receiving prophecy . . . and knowing the life of the person prophesying helps to give this confidence.
You should have a good relationship with the Leadership and people of the church where you prophesy so your gift can be developed into maturity through acceptance, nurture and correction as necessary.
Let the following Scripture minister to you:
"He that refuses ("dismisses") instruction ("correction and reform") despises ("refuses, rejects as vile and worthless") his own soul: but he that hears reproof ("a setting right from error") gets understanding ("to the heart is ascribed understanding, intelligence, wisdom" - Wilson’s)" (Proverbs 15:32, KJV).
In meetings, the Leader should be sensitive enough in the Holy Spirit to recognize the level of the anointing that is flowing at a particular time. For example, when the Spirit of Prophecy is evident, all need to be encouraged to "move with it in God" and prophesy "one by one" (1 Corinthians 14:31) as the Holy Spirit guides.
"And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you shall prophesy with them . . ." (1 Samuel 10:6).
Beware of private, personal prophecy. Prophecy should be given in the church (or church-approved meetings) where it can be judged. This is for your safety and protection.