There are few things in life as encouraging as when God speaks to you through the ministry of the prophetic. Sometimes the prophetic ministry comes with various forms; encouragement, admonition, warning or with counsel.
The difficulty sometimes is how to respond to those prophetic words, especially as sometimes the word is more about ‘promise’ than immediate intervention. What is God really saying, doing, meaning and what should our response be when we have received a prophetic word?
- Pray & Consider
It goes without saying that you should pray about any word that is brought to you and weigh (consider in the light of Scripture) what is said. In our consideration we need to think about the person who has brought the word; does their life match up with the Bible, are they submissive to Church leadership and those in authority? Examine the prophets life, if the person is someone who is divisive and at loggerheads with the leadership of the Church and bring their words secretively then you may well have concerns, in this case it is best to speak to leaders in the Church as you consider what has been said.
Authentic prophetic words have a sense of God on them, they affirm but also they have a ‘true ring’ about them. Jesus said that His sheep would know His voice – when He speaks, you will know it, but don’t be afraid to ask others what they think.
And please, never give money for prophetic words, interpretation of dreams – anyone who hints at such a thing is to be avoided. Let’s get rid of this obnoxious practice! God gives us encouragement and direction freely. I would urge you not to give a love offering, seed offering or any kind of gift in return for a prophetic word. If you would like to bless someone with a gift don’t do so on the day, leave it a week and see if your heart still feels the same compulsion to give.
- On a Quest for a word?
Some people spend a lot of time and energy (and money!) in a quest for a word from God. Sometimes that quest is understandable, we are broken people in a broken world with hurts, pains, frustrations and lots of questions. Our first call is to seek God directly for ourselves. In fact, our confidence is to be that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. He is the speaking God, who hears what is said in secret and rewards us openly! Don’t put your confidence overtly in someone else to hear God for you, especially someone who is so unconvinced about the local Church that they don’t actually belong to one!
God’s plan A for the prophetic ministry is prophetic ministry working, serving and accountable to the local Church.
- Plan for the future.
God is already waiting for us as we walk into the days ahead of us. Our confidence is not in prophetic words but in the peace that comes from knowing our sin is dealt with, that Christ’s very own righteousness has been imparted to us and that we are children of God, loved by Him, accepted and free of all guilt and shame. That said, God gives us hope and courage for the future through the prophetic ministry.
Pray, consider, weigh against the Scripture and talk to others. If you are concerned about anything that is said, write down your immediate thoughts and then talk to your leaders or those you are accountable to as soon as you can.
Ending on a happy note. Like everything in life, we tend to focus on the tiny minority that is negative, and fail to see that the majority is positive – and so with the prophetic. It is always the intention of healthy prophetic ministry to bless you, to encourage you and to give you strength to turn your focus on Jesus and to enjoy Him forever as you worship Him. Expect to be blessed and don’t be overly concerned about their agenda, focus or intent, especially if they are pointing you to focus your trust, hope and love in Christ.
The enemy is not going to be encouraging you to trust the Lord with all your heart.