A few questions and answers about prophetic ministry and the gifts of the Spirit.
Are there ‘special’ anointings?
To answer that, in 1995 I visited Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship for two weeks and stood, sat and laid on the carpet, amazed at the presence of God.
I was overwhelmed by the sense of God’s presence. On the last night that I was there, an elderly pastor came to me and asked permission to pray for me with the encouragement that he felt that God had told him to pray for me for an anointing to raise the dead.
Personally, I have thought at times, “If I can’t heal the sick, how on earth am I going to raise the dead?”.
We have to face these awkward moments if we are going to make our way forwards. In the dark days of capital punishment in England, Robert Louis Stephenson said, “Nothing clears the mind like a public hanging”. The same happens when people like you and I who believe in healing, and the power of God, in humility and vulnerability open our hearts to ask hard questions. It clears the mind. But God is always faithful.
It is more than words. We want the real thing, we are stirred as we hear, see, read about the wonderful things God has done in the past, and what he reveals he is going to do in the future. Pentecost was not God’s greatest day and then after that it all went a bit downhill. Christ is coming back for a glorious bride, and how glorious she will be because of what Jesus is doing in and through her!
The answer to this brief moment of thought is a simple one. My conviction is that God’s word is true and that it is as in every area of my life, that I am to walk by faith, not by sight. Sometimes walking by sight causes us to stumble over the issues of faith.
When Jesus told his followers to, ‘heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons” (Matt 10:8) he wasn’t trying to encourage them or build a sense of direction, vision and purpose into them, he was telling them simply to continue doing the things that he was doing – and doing well.
I appreciate my friend in Toronto praying for me, but I don’t need an anointing to raise the dead, I have already been tasked with it in the Scriptures. In the intimacy of all that Jesus calls me to, there is nothing that I can do, except that he helps me. I can’t raise the dead, but He can and when or if the appropriate moment comes, my hands for an instant in the whole tapestry of time, will be his hands. You don’t need a special anointing for anything that God calls you to do, the call is the commission, and with it the anointing (don’t get religious and strange about these terms, it simply means, God’s enabling) will be sufficient. You are not special and will never be, but He is.
Is prophecy just for leaders?
Moses answers this really good question in Numbers 11 in the account where God comes on the seventy leaders of Israel, and also on two others who were outside of the camp. They all prophesy. The people wonder about this, should they really be doing it? it was a legitimate question but Moses’ encouragement echoes down the centuries to us, “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” Have a think about Joel 2.
So what’s the best advice about prophecy? Desire it, long for it, crave it, make way for it – and never despise it.
Is there still a place for fasting today with reference to the prophetic ministry?
I could say much about fasting that you already know. Moses, Elijah, Jesus, John the Baptist-all engaged in prolonged periods of prayer and fasting, seeking God.
But why fasting? The Bible knows nothing of fasting from television, (obviously) activities and events or from other things like hobbies and interests.
When the Bible speaks about fasting, it speaks about going without food.i Food is a blessing from God and a necessity of life. I would not be surprised to discover that Heaven looks on with interest when they see the children of God briefly forgoing the blessing that God has brought so that they can seek God for his intervention. We have lost our way slightly with the idea of prayer and fasting. It is prayer with fasting. We do not fast to make some time so that we can pray, it is part of the process.
Is prophecy for Children?
If we teach our children from early days that God really speaks to kids as well as to adults through the Bible, through dreams, visions signs, and audible voice they will begin to develop a worldview that includes the interventions of God. If you tell them the stories of God with enthusiasm and faith, including how others have come through difficulty and hardship and yet God broke in and made a difference, then you will be inspiring them. Inspired people are easily stirred by God.
But for the sake of all of us – tell the stories of God out of a conviction of God that comes from faith because you are immersed in the narrative of God’s redemptive purposes yourself.
By that I mean, read your Bible. Devour it. Don’t be a pathetic modern day sceptic that calls a few verses a day ‘your daily reading’. Oops! Is that harsh?
Got a question?
- The Greek word for fasting is the negative form of ‘to eat”, literally, ‘not-eat’ (back)