How To Prophesy
In this article, we will cover the essential steps of how to prophesy.
In a moment, we will look at four principles of giving prophetic words.
When I was a child, my Mom would often remind me, “It is not only what you say but how you say it.” I love this saying because it encapsulates a truth that beautifully instructs us concerning how to prophesy.
Prophecy is not abstract; it deals with the nitty-gritty of everyday life.
After all, spiritual gifts are only gifts if they bless a person.
We must understand how to interact with other people if we are going to learn how to prophesy.
Unfortunately, this is a point of massive breakdown. Many times, a person will have a genuine prophetic gift, but they are both frustrated and frustrating because they do not understand how to prophesy.
See, it is a beautiful thing if the Holy Spirit communicates something to you. But if you do not know how to prophesy in the right spirit, in the right way, and at the right time, it doesn’t ultimately matter.
To give a prophetic word, we must not only share something that contains accurate insight, but we must also understand the proper protocol of delivering prophetic words.
To accomplish this, let’s look at a four fundamental principles of how to prophesy.
1) Discern The Origination And Motivation Of The Prophecy.
Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said (1 Cor. 14:29).
The context of the passage above refers to the testing and discernment that must be done in public gatherings. But undoubtedly, before you publically give a prophetic word, it is essential to discern privately in your own heart. Here are two good questions to ask:
— How did this revelation come to my mind?
— What is my motivation for giving this word?
The way you answer these two questions will reveal a lot about the origin of the prophetic word.
If you can answer that the revelation was spontaneous (i.e., it was not conjured up by your imagination) and that a selfish motivation does not drive it, you are on the right track.
2) Give the Prophetic Word With Love And Humility.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ (Eph. 4:15).
According to 1 Corinthians 14:3, the purpose of prophecy is to strengthen, encourage, and comfort the body of Christ. This is vital to remember when sharing prophetic words, even if you happen to sense something “dark” in someone’s life (ex. addiction, insecurity, past hurt, or even sin).
Keep this simple principle in mind: you do not cast out the darkness with darkness; you turn on the lights. I have heard numerous stories of people giving “prophetic words” that expose a problem in someone’s life, all the while offering no tangible hope.
Prophecy is not intended to function as a magnifying glass of embarrassment, intensifying the pain by putting it on the spot. If you do see something negative, be sure to the point that person to the solution in Christ. This is what Jesus did with the Woman at the well in John 4.
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he” (Jn. 4:16-26).
After Jesus told her about her current situation (“You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband.”), he points to the solution (“I who speak to you am he”). Notice in this text that Jesus refers to six different men that she had been with.
Jesus stands before her as the seventh man—the perfect man that offers her freedom and salvation. This is the pattern that we are to follow when we perceive something wrong in a person’s life.
And this is one of the key factors that separates Christian prophecy from other “psychic” voices in this world. A genuine prophetic word releases God’s perspective by announcing the freedom and power that can only be found in Christ.
3) Deliver Prophetic Words On A Level Similar To The Way You Received It.
Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give (Prov. 5:14).
Much of the confusion surrounding the gift of prophecy stems from believers not grasping the importance of communicating prophetic words on a level similar to how they receive them.
In other words, there is no reason to scream out “Thus sayeth the Lord” at the top of your lungs in the middle of service if all you feel is an impression in your heart to share something.
4) Discern The Timing Of The Prophetic Word
If you receive a prophetic word that you feel you ought to share, the issue of timing is critical. Here are two questions to ask when you believe you have received something from the Lord to share.
First, we should ask, Is this a personal word for me, or is this for the corporate body?
In 1 Corinthians 14:26, the apostle Paul tells us that when the people of God gather together, it is conceivable that everybody senses that they have a personal revelation that they feel like they need to share.
Take a look at the passage:
What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God (1 Cor. 14:26-28).
In gatherings of corporate worship, the Holy Spirit is ministering to every person’s hearts and minds in the church. As a result of the Spirit’s presence in the corporate context, people will sense very specific things from the Lord. Because of this dynamic, we must ask ourselves if what we perceive should be shared with the corporate body or if it is something that God is personally ministering to our hearts.
Second, we ought to consider, Did the Lord show me this to pray or to say?
Not everything that the Holy Spirit communicates to us is for a public declaration when we receive it. Often, the Lord will reveal something to us for prayer and intercession, not for sharing with the crowd. After some time in prayer, the Lord may release you to speak what you have received, but keep in mind that prayer affects more than we will ever know or see.
In conclusion, when learning how to prophesy, it is essential not to start swinging for the fences. Instead, use these four guiding principles to help you discern the prophetic word. If this blog was helpful, check out some more articles on the prophetic, and be sure to take our free spiritual gifts test.
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