What is the Gift of Prophecy?

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth he said that all of them could prophecy.  This is still true for us today; we can all prophecy!  Unfortunately, most Christians would say they don’t prophecy and don’t even know how.  This begs the question, what is the gift of prophecy and how do we operate in it?  

1 Corinthians 12 teaches us about the nine manifestation gifts of the Holy Spirit. The word manifestation means how the invisible God shows himself to us.  Look at verse 7:

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 

The Lord will manifest or show himself through each one of us.  The purpose is to profit the rest of the body of Christ.  Now look at verse 10:

10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits,

The word prophecy is the Greek word prophēteía, which means to speak under define influence and/or predict.  This gift is available to all believers who will hunger and ask God for it.  We can all cry out to God and ask Him to empower us to speak with divine utterance and know future events as He wills.

I do want to make an important distinction that just because a believer operates in the manifestation gift of prophecy, this does not make them a prophet.  The office of prophet which Ephesians 4 discusses is a specific ministry gift Jesus gives the body of Christ.  The office of prophet means prophecy is their main ministry gifting and they are responsible for equipping others in the prophetic.  A New Testament example is Agabus in the book of Acts. 

1 Corinthians 14:3 tells why God gives the gift of prophecy.  The gift of of prophecy is to strengthen, exhort, and comfort.  If we are sensitive, God will often use us to strengthen, encourage, and comfort one of our brothers and sisters when they are going through a challenging situation.  

I have seen this gift really bless and strengthen me in my own life!  I probably wouldn’t be pastoring Grace Life Church if not for my pastor operating in the gift of prophecy in 2007.  At the time I was wanting to move to Colorado to attend Charis Bible College, however, Ashley and I were broke, had a lot of debt, and had a new baby on the way.  I was considering taking a new job that would pay me significantly more money, but was apprehensive because it was in sales and I was afraid if I didn’t sale I would be fired and be in an even worse financial position.  

I went to my pastor and asked him to pray for me. I want to emphasize he was a pastor and not a prophet.  As he prayed, he told me he thought he had a word from the Lord for me.  He told me I was supposed to take the job and it would take me into my destiny.  This confirmed what was in my heart so I took the job.  

Over the next five years, Ashley and paid off over $30,000 in debt, paid cash for a new car, saved up three years of tuition for me, and had saved a large emergency fund before moving to Colorado.  As awesome as all that was, the most amazing thing was when we moved I was able to transfer my job with my company to the Colorado Springs office which was 1.1 miles from Charis Bible College!  I worked that job for the first two years we were in Colorado before I was hired by Andrew Wommack Ministries.  The job literally took me into my destiny. 

So how do we operate in the prophetic?  As we begin to quiet ourselves down, we get more sensitive to God’s voice.  It is vitally important to realize since God lives in us, He speaks to us in the first person. For example, we may have thoughts such as I think I’m supposed to tell that person how much God loves them because if they knew how much God loves them they would receive the answer to prayer they are believing for.  That subtle thought is often the Holy Spirit in us so it will come to us in first person as God lives in us.  If we are waiting for God to speak to us in the second person it may not happen as according to 1 Corinthians 6:17 we are one spirit with the Holy Spirit.  He’ll speak in first person because He is in us and it’s Him bringing the wisdom.  We are just the vessel he uses.  

Here are a principles the Lord has showed me over the years to recognize His still small voice.   

• We will have light or an enlightenment about a situation on the inside of us – 1 John 1:5 says that God is light.  This is probably the number one way God speaks to me personally.  I will just get light on a situation.  God is light so one of the ways He speaks is light.  If you begin to get light on a situation, begin to step out in faith and say what He is leading you to say.

• The light we have may come across as pictures or images.  I’ve had this happen to me occasionally, however, I know many people who say that God regularly shows them images in their mind about situations in which God wants to intervene.  These pictures/images are a piece of God’s wisdom about how He wants to bring deliverance to a situation.  

• We may have supernatural compassion come on us for someone.  1 John 4:16 says God is love.  If you feel a supernatural love well up on the inside of you for someone, that is the voice of God leading you to minister in that situation.  In my experience with this way of being led, I often have to follow the leading of love and begin to talk with the person before I know what to say.  As I step out by faith, the words come and the wisdom about the situation occurs.  

• We will have always supernatural peace about the word we are giving.  Isaiah 55:10 says we are led with peace.   The peace will be in your heart and not necessarily your head.  Your head may be full of fear as you begin to think about what happens if you miss it, but on the inside you just know that you know you have heard God.

The ways listed above are ways of hearing God on the inside of us.  This is not an all inclusive list as I’m sure God has more ways to speak than I’m aware but I believe as you endeavor to practice God’s presence on a regular basis and give attention to these principles you will get more sensitive to His voice.  

God wants you to know, you can prophecy! Begin to hunger for the gift and spend time with Him to tune your ear to His voice! He wants to show Himself through you mightily! I hope this article has blessed you and I want to encourage you to press into God to hear his voice and then step out it faith and deliver the words you hear!

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