I love the gift of prophecy. Well, I love all the spiritual gifts. All of them are powerful and all are needed; however, to me, prophecy is one of the most important. The Apostle Paul felt the same way, for he wrote, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy…everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort…he who prophesies edifies the church…I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.” (1 Cor. 14:1-5) The main purpose of prophecy is to build up the church. It can be a corporate word for a particular congregation, a word for the worldwide church, or personal prophecies for individuals.
I received my first prophetic word in 1992, long before I knew what prophecy was, or that such a thing even existed. I had no idea what it all meant, but it greatly impacted my life nonetheless. At the time I received it, God had begun the process of emotional healing in my life. That year, and the two or three that followed it, were particularly difficult and painful for me, both emotionally and physically. Two years after receiving the word, I underwent my second hip replacement which was followed by serious complications, necessitating two more hospitalizations. My faith hit rock bottom and I even began questioning the existence of God. In spite of all this, something deep within me couldn’t let go of the promises God had made to me in that prophetic word. I can look back now and see how Holy Spirit used that simple word to sustain the little faith I still had.
Paul wrote to Timothy, “Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.” (1 Tim. 1:18-19) Personal prophecies help to build our faith. They are a powerful weapon we can fight with when the enemy tries to bring discouragement and fear. True prophecy is powerful because it is the word, or voice of God, which brought forth creation. God’s words always bring life to that which is dead, and light that dispels the darkness. Faith is birthed and grows stronger through hearing (and reading) His Word, both written and spoken. His word must be received with faith, however. Many reject prophecy for different reasons, miss out on blessings God had for them, and forfeit the power needed to grow in faith.
Personal prophecy must always be tested, as should all personal revelation such as dreams, visions, etc. It should line up with Scripture. Generally speaking, it should not be correctional or directional, though there are exceptions at times. It is conditional, meaning, it isn’t guaranteed to come to pass. It must be received with faith, acted upon, and prayed over, sometimes for many years. God uses prophecy to begin the process of transformation in our lives, changing us from who we are now, to who He declares we will become. He speaks to us from our future in order to call us there from the place we are now, in the present. Between the promise and the fulfillment are many tests and trials designed specifically to shape us, purify us, refine us, and mold us into His image so we can handle the responsibility of the promise. Otherwise, we would be destroyed by it. More about that in next week’s post…
How has personal prophecy changed your life? Please comment below.