Faithfully Delivering the Word
How do we know it is the right time to share what we have seen or heard from God? Though everyone is unique, and prophesy can vary with to circumstance, culture and temperament, some common themes emerge which may help us recognize the voice of the Spirit as we start to move in this gift.
1. A kind of ‘bubbling up" inside
The Hebrew word for prophesying in the Old Testament, nataph, means "to bubble up". It describes a kind of eruption inside, the point when divine activity is "coming to the boil" in the prophet’s spirit. It carries the idea of "to ooze", "distil gradually", and "to fall in drops",
2. A vision/picture or the vivid memory of a dream
God can speak through supernatural visions and dreams that linger and demand interpretation,
3. God may highlight a biblical text
In your own quiet time as you have been reading Scriptures, a verse will particularly stand out.
4. You may sense an impression or words
It may be no more than the beginning of a sentence; or it could be that information comes to you as if someone was whispering in your ear about a specific situation, and this simply will not go away.
5. You may have a "gut feeling
This is not to be mistaken for a suspicious or paranoid attitude!
6. There may be a persistent but quiet "still, small voice"
This phrase was used to mean a "gentle whisper" or the "sound of silence"; the gentle, hushed, intimate way God spoke to Elijah (1 Kings 19:12). God came to Ezekiel’s slain army of dry bones as the mighty wind of God’s resuscitating breath. God went before the wandering Israelites in the desert as a pillar of fire. God’s voice is often likened to thunder or earthquake. But Elijah, a true prophet of God, was used to looking and listening for the unusual, and not necessarily a repetition of what the Lord had done in the past. And so there came a "still, small voice", a "gentle whisper", a "silent, thin sound" (1 Kings 19:11-12).
God’s voice can sometimes a half a whisper: very quiet, almost imperceptible,
7. You may experience unusual physical sensations
You may pant or breathe deeply. You may shake or tremble — this is a frequently the case when the Holy Spirit is moving powerfully.
Some General Principles For Sharing a Prophetic Word
1. Engage with what you are receiving by asking questions
Revelation is somewhat out of our hands since this is God’s initiative alone; our responsibility is simply to make ourselves open to the Lord and receive from him. We should try to allow a prophetic word to incubate and mature. Try to get as much information about it as the Lord is prepared to give you. He may not tell you everything, but you should be sure you have heard all he has to tell you. Never be in such an hurry that you deliver a half-formed message.
God does not mind us asking questions: "What are you saying in this, Lord?", "What does this mean?", "There are some details about this picture I am unclear about", "Who is this for? Is it for the whole church? Is it for an individual within the church?" "Is there something more I need to know? Am I missing something?" "Is it for now or later? Do you simply want me to pray about this for the time being? Is it for me to tell straightaway or must I put it on hold for now?"
2. Wait for the peace of God
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:7-9
Acting on this principle, be careful about speaking when you are hesitant or uneasy. We are not to feel afraid, nor coerced into producing a prophetic utterance. There is no pressure upon us to pass on prophecies, beyond the innately prophetic lifestyle of love, grace and the desire to serve God.
It is wise to remember that, speaking a word of prophecy is under your control. There is no irresistible compulsion to speak when the Holy Spirit is at work.
"The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of the prophets" (1 Corinthians 14:32).
This is in stark contrast to the activities of mediums or occultists when they testify to being "taken over" by a ghost or spirit. Control is a mark of unholy spirits or demons, not the Holy Spirit.
3. Try to calm down
We are to do all things decently and in order, so that we may lovingly edify people (1 Corinthians 14:33, 39-40). Simply focus on the task in hand and do not let distracting static or interference confuse your mind or divert you away from hearing from God.
Some Final Practical Issues
1. Speak with clarity
Let’s be sure we have clarity and not confusion, repetition, or rambling. The Holy Spirit is not a Spirit of confusion. Say what the Holy Spirit gives you, and then stop. Try not to talk nonsense.
2. Never sell your gift
The desire to impress people must be resisted or you and your ministry will spiritually weakened. Some seek popularity or notoriety through prophecy, like the court prophets in the pay of the apostate king in ancient Israel (1 Kings 22:4ff). Genuine prophets seek truth not popularity. They don’t do it for reward, but for God’s glory. Let God reward us if he wants to, but never pursue human favours.
3. Write things down if you need to
It will help you to get the message clear. Habakkuk was told: ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on so that a herald may run with it" (Habakkuk 2:2). As we write it down, the prophetic flow may flow.
5. Be cheerfully submitted to the church’s leadership
People who are not prepared to do this, independently minded, the "mavericks" who "do their own thing" may eventually become proud, Their abilities and are prime targets for satanic deception:
"Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:5-7
6. Wait for the right time
Because the "spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets" (1 Corinthians 14:32), we can afford to wait for the appropriate moment and leave the matter until the time is right. Prophecy is not only a question of "What?" but also of "How?" and "When?" If you’re not sure of "When?" or "How?", ask someone in authority who might be.
7. Behave normally and naturally
And there is certainly no need to use King
James, 1611, Authorized Version English vocabulary and syntax to add a measure of authority to what we say:
"Thus sayeth the Lord: ‘Thou wentest out into the far country in prodigality, but I have regarded thy lost estate and am moved in my bowels to bestow mercy upon thee, though thou manifestly doth deservest it not’."
"I sense you have been away from the Lord for a long time, but he has never changed his heart towards you and he is telling me that he is longing for you to come back home"?
10. Be especially careful with personal prophecies
Secrecy and furtiveness can be indicators of false prophecy. We are all human and subject to temptation. Be careful. Prophetic ministry places an extra responsibility upon a believer to be transparently honest, kind and compassionate, simple and humble.