Last week we had prayer and prophetic ministry over 430 of our church leaders. It was a terrific time of encouragement, challenge and ministry. This was the culmination of a season of prayer and fasting in our church.
For those who received a prophetic words, here are some suggested steps for following that up:
Responding to the Prophetic Ministry
It is important that we respond properly to the prophetic word. Paul was intent on seeing the church have a proper attitude and a mature response to prophetic ministry. Two extremes must be avoided - unbelief or rejection of prophetic ministry and blind acceptance of prophecy without proper testing.
The Bible says, “Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-24. NIV)
Hear are some important steps in responding to the prophetic word correctly.
We must be sure of exactly what was said. This involves listening carefully to ensure full understanding of the message (see Revelation 2:7). To help you do this, we provide a recording of each prophetic word. Listen through the mp3 and write out fully what was said. Often we have selective memory and can miss the overall intention or message of the word given.
Every prophetic word is to be “tested” or “judged”. The prophetic ministry must be accountable. Is this a word from God? Is it in line with the Scriptures. Is there the “witness of the spirit”? Does it create faith or fear? Was it fulfilled?
See 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 and 1 Corinthians 14:29. "Prove" is the Greek word “dokimazo” which means to discern, examine, test, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not) as in metals. "Judge" means to weigh carefully, test, decide and distinguish.
It should be noted that we select proven prophetic ministries and we have great confidence in their prophetic ministry. Nevertheless, all prophecy must be judged. Wrong "prophetic words", not tested, can cause incredible damage to people's lives.
Meet with one of your ministry leaders and discuss the prophetic word. Share whether you received the word as accurate and relevant. If not, discuss the reasons why. The apostle Paul teaches us to not treat prophecies lightly, to test all things (examine and scrutinize), to hold on to the good, and to not worry about the rest (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22).
The prophetic word must be received with faith. We need to say in our spirit, "Yes, Lord" and "I receive Your word." We must "hold fast" the word of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Unless we mix the word with faith, it will not benefit our lives.
The Old Testament nation of Israel received many words from God through Moses but the words "did not profit them" (was of no use, help, advantage, assistance or effect) because of their unbelief (Hebrews 4:2). Mary’s response to the message through God’s angel was, "Be it unto me according to Your word" (Luke 1:38). Have an expectant and responsive heart to God’s word to you.
We must ask the Lord for wisdom and understanding so we may interpret correctly the word given. The word may be an accurate message from God, but if it is misunderstood or interpreted wrongly, it will not benefit the believer. Sometimes the message may be more understood over time.
Paul (in 1 Corinthians 13:9) says we prophesy in part (fragments or incomplete knowledge). He prays for the Ephesian believers that the "eyes of your understanding be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling" (Ephesians 1:18). We need the Spirit’s illumination in our mind bringing clarity.
Understanding can be gained through prayer, meditation and godly counsel. Until the message is interpreted and understood correctly, proper application (practical steps) can’t be taken. As you review the prophecies, note any ministry areas or giftings. Also look for: confirmations of what God has already been talking to you about, areas of encouragement, new directions, exhortations, warnings, or any reference to character areas that need developing.
The prophetic word must be obeyed. Prophecy does not automatically come to pass in our lives. Prophecy reveals God’s intentions for our life. However, we are responsible to obey and apply God’s word, otherwise it may not come to pass. Most prophecy is conditional or dependent on our response.
Don't neglect (through laziness or wrong priorities) the word. Give it careful attention (Hebrews 2:1-4). "Take heed" means “to turn your mind and attention to it”. Be diligent in following up what God has said to you (1 Timothy 4:14-16). James says to be "doers, not just hearers, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22). God responds to us. What we are to Him, He will be to us (Jeremiah 18:7-10).
Consider what steps you could take to follow up on the word: areas of ministry to focus on, attitudes to develop or further training and mentoring.
6. Spiritual Warfare
The devil wants to do everything he can to steal, kill and destroy our lives. He wants to ruin our potential and hinder us from knowing then fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives (John 10:10). We must aggressively battle against him and pray for God’s word to be fulfilled over our lives.
Paul told Timothy to wage a good warfare over the prophecies given to him (1 Timothy 1:18-19). We are in a spiritual war. We are to fight the good fight of faith. This implies that there will be opposition, struggle, delay and testing.
Pray that God will help you to fulfil your calling, using your prophecies as an encouragement and promise from God about his intentions for your life and ministry (1 Timothy 1:18).
Prophetic ministry is only one way to have God’s will confirmed in your life. God communicates to us in many ways, but all through the Spirit. See next post on "Knowing God's Will for Your Life".