Prophecy is highlighted in 1 Corinthians 14 and is found throughout the New Testament. It isn’t what some have defined or described it as, preaching, or something strictly in keeping with what is found in the Old Testament, though it has overlap with that. Prophecy involves words or impressions from which words come. All of God’s children in Jesus, I believe, can prophesy, if we are open to this gift and more than open, if we actively pursue it. It is a great need in the church and in our individual lives, though I am convinced that churches who deny this as a gift for today, still experience it to some extent. And it’s important for us as individuals as well.
Prophesying is meant for “strengthening, encouraging and comfort,” for the edifying of the church. It is part of the fulfillment of the promise of the Spirit, that sons and daughters, men and women will prophesy. It is a gift in which we must learn to hear God. God is speaking; the question is, are we listening and hearing?
It is relatively easy to learn to hear God, I have read, but harder to interpret what is said, and harder still to apply it, to put it into practice. In all of this, we need the help of the Spirit. Of course this presupposes that the prophecy has been weighed by others, and hopefully confirming prophesies have been received by others. It must come in the spirit and content of scripture. It is judged by the inscripturated word of God, the Bible. If in fact some of it is not in line with that, we reject it. We’re to test every prophecy by scripture. At the same time we must be careful not to put out the Spirit’s fire by rejecting prophesying. We need to be open to receiving it ourselves, as well as from others.
One person of God has prophesied to me more than once. The words they said were spot on, completely in keeping with what prophecy is supposed to be, and something that I believe could have come only from God. This person did not know me that well (even if they would have, they still would not have been able to say what they said). Prophesying is meant to help us along the way, but it is also meant to direct our way at key points. It comes from the Spirit through Christ’s body, the church, a part of the ministry within the body. But a prophecy can also uncover the secrets of the heart of those who don’t believe so that they recognize God’s presence and worship him.
I’m sure there is much more to say on this, although I would caution discernment in what is said. We have to judge everything, again, by the word of God. Much of what passes for prophecy has seemed amiss to me. We need to be in the word regularly. And we need those who are seasoned or growing in this gift, to help others like myself, who lack experience in this. Together in Jesus in this for the world.
As in all my posts, the basis is scripture, the word of God. Two books which influence this post, and which I believe are based solidly on scripture are Jordan Seng’s book, Miracle Work: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Supernatural Ministries and Gordon Fee’s book, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul.