What Is The Prophetic?


What Is The Prophetic?

What is the Prophetic? This article will cover a basic introduction to everything you need to know about prophetic and how you can begin to see the gift of prophecy work in your life.

At large, the evangelical church has no problem with individuals seeking God to hear him speak personally to them for strength, encouragement, and guidance in their daily lives. 

It is nearly an accepted truth in almost every Christian denomination that God can and does communicate to people. However, the frequency of this communication is an issue of varying opinions.

With that said, I want to show you that what the New Testament describes as the gift of prophecy is not actually a huge jump from this more commonly accepted view that God can communicate with people.

Prophecy is simply perceiving God communicating to you for the purpose of speaking to another person (or local church congregation) to strengthen and encourage them in their faith. 

Here is a more formal but helpful definition of prophecy:

The spiritual gift of prophecy is the supernatural ability to spontaneously receive previously unknown information from the Holy Spirit to relay to another person to build, encourage, and strengthen them in their faith.

With this definition, we see that prophecy is comprised of two essential components:

 1) The receiving of a revelation

 2) The giving of that revelation for someone’s encouragement

Before you are frightened by the word “revelation,” be sure to place it in its proper context. The word revelation is not the same thing as the book of Revelation. 

It simply means the illumination or uncovering of something previously unseen or unknown.

Again, prophecy is not as mystical as some people may think. It is purely hearing the Holy Spirit and communicating that revelation to encourage a person or local church.

Accordingly, people often use the word prophetic to mean anything that has to do with the spiritual gift of prophecy or the other “Power to Speak” sign gifts.

A Crazzzzzy Story…

Early one morning, as I was driving to school, I stopped by the Starbucks drive-through to order a caramel frappuccino. As I ordered my drink and began to pull up to the window, I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Tell her everything with Michael is going to be okay. I am in control.” As I pulled up to the window, my heart began to race. I didn’t want to make the woman at the drive-through feel uncomfortable, nor did I want to make myself look like a fool, but I knew the Holy Spirit had spoken to me. It felt like my heart was about to explode.

So as she handed me my drink, I told her that I was a Christian and that sometimes God speaks to me to encourage people. I told her that I felt I was supposed to tell her something: “Everything with Michael is going to be okay, and God is in control.” As I said these words, she looked at me with a surprised look, smiled, and said, “thank you.” I have to admit, as I pulled away, I was just thankful that she didn’t say, “I don’t know anyone named Michael! You are completely crazy!” So I drove away, celebrating a small victory. At least she knew someone named Michael, and I hoped that what I had said somehow applied to her situation (and that I didn’t look like a complete idiot!).

The next day as I got to class, a friend of mine ran up to me and eagerly asked me if I had told a woman at the drive-through that everything with Michael would be okay and that God was in control. I sheepishly said, “yes,” awaiting her response. She quickly interrupted and said, “I work at the same Starbucks and have been witnessing to this girl for the past few months!

Because of this prophetic word, she was now open to hearing about Jesus because she was so taken aback that God knew about the details of her life.

I was blown away.

Remember, I had no idea what I was saying to the woman at Starbucks.

I was simply obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit. Yet God had already been at work before I ever decided to get in line and order that drink. To think that such a small piece of information about someone’s life could make such an impact was simply amazing to me.

This story is one of the countless times that the Holy Spirit has spoken to me about a specific situation in someone’s life that I have no natural way of knowing. Yet when I share it with them, it greatly encourages them and brings them closer to Jesus Christ.

So the question is, what do we do when something supernatural happens? Is this a fluke or a random coincidence? 

I have come to see that there is little room for coincidence in a Christian’s life that is submitted to the will of God and seeking to be used by him. 

The Holy Spirit is always at work in our lives and the lives of the people around us. It is merely a matter of perceiving and participating in what he is already doing (Jn. 5:17). 

Unfortunately, many Christians do not recognize this truth. Unlike the story of creation, where God worked for six days and rested for one, today, Christians live as if God rests for six days and only works on Sunday mornings at church.

But God is not interested in interrupting your life; he is already at work awaiting your participation. 

How To Grow In The Prophetic

Just about every believer I know is “open” to being used by the Holy Spirit, but, truth be told, many are not actively seeking for God to use them.

Many Christians are waiting to be overcome with God’s presence before they ever step out in faith. They want a miraculous sign from God like the writing on the wall (Daniel chapter 5). 

While God can write on walls, let me remind you that the Bible only records this one time.

So, if you are looking for God to do this, you may be waiting for a while. 

How many Christians do this very thing? They look for a particular sign they can’t miss.

However, the Bible shows us repeatedly that there is no guarantee that we will perceive what God is doing if we are looking for him to come to us in a specific way.

We see this same truth in the life of Elijah, who was on the run from Jezebel when God spoke to him:

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Ki. 19:11-13)

Before you jump to the conclusion that God is not in the wind, the earthquake or the fire, know this: God is present in those things, just not for Elijah! 

Remember that when God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, he was in the wind, the earthquake, and the fire. The reason this is so significant is that Elijah’s role model was Moses. This means that when God spoke in the still small voice, he was challenging Elijah’s expectations. He was telling Elijah not to place him in a box. God doesn’t always do the same things the same way!       

Like Elijah, we need God to challenge our faulty expectations. For many Christians, biblical principles have become so familiar that they have forgotten about the person of Jesus that the Bible intends to reveal.

Ironically, we end up using the Bible to divorce God from our lives when we think that he must meet us in the exact way he did others (by way of a “divine takeover”).

God is not looking for robots; he is looking for partnership. The reality is that God is always at work in the world around us. It is up to us if we will lean into this relationship and make ourselves available. 

Like Moses, we must take the time to stop and see the strange sight of a burning bush. This story’s point is not to inspire us to be on the lookout for the next bush on fire. Instead, it is an invitation not to walk past ordinary moments in life where God is moving.

In Closing,

There is no reason to complicate the prophetic.

Prophecy is simply perceiving God communicating to you for the purpose of speaking to another person to strengthen and encourage them in their faith.

So, if you are looking to grow in the prophetic, my encouragement is to spend time learning to hear God’s voice in your life. Once you begin to discern how God is speaking to you, you can give prophetic words as the Holy Spirit leads.

If you would like to learn more about spiritual gifts or discover what spiritual gifts you have, take our free spiritual gift test.

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