If you are anything like me, you may have been discouraged about your prophetic calling (or whether you even have one!) because of rigid criteria laid out by some teachers on the prophetic. You see the checklists of what a prophetically inclined person is supposed to be able to do, and you think, “I can’t do that … or that … or that. Maybe I am not really prophetic after all. Maybe God didn’t speak to me about this being an area of ministry for me to function in … but I thought He had. I am confused!”
While criteria lists of what a prophetic ministry calling should look like can be useful as general guidelines, they are not written-in-stone commandments which separate the haves from the have-nots! The truth is, we are each unique. Prophetic ministry has many avenues of expression, and you don’t have to excel in every one of them. Contrary to what you might have been led to believe, we are not all going to give words of knowledge and personal prophecies right and left. We don’t necessarily have to publicly prophesy from a church platform. Not all of us will see and hear about major futuristic events on a regular basis.
Do you listen to the Spirit and pray what He shows you? That’s a way prophecy manifests. As you intercede, you might receive unique angles on how to pray for various situations, from the local to the international. This is, in fact, the most common way the prophetic gifts are expressed. And common does not mean mediocre. It is only common because it is so needed in order to establish God’s will on earth, so He pours it into many of us.
You might operate in prophetic counsel. When people tell you their difficulties for which they see no way out, you know exactly what steps they need to take to receive a breakthrough. It’s not that you are unusually smart: you only know because the Holy Spirit is revealing it to you.
You may have a prophetic teaching gift. Teaching and the prophetic are often closely intertwined. This, too, can vary widely in its expression. It could involve a speaking/preaching ministry, but it doesn’t have to. It might instead be carried out through writing on foundational Bible truths under the anointing and understanding of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps God has given you the ability to mentor people one-on-one or in small groups, based on your past experiences with the Lord and what you are currently hearing from Him. The Lord might use you to show others how to tap into heavenly revelation. What makes you a prophetic teacher is that you do it by the unction of the Holy Spirit, not from head knowledge alone.
God speaks to many of you through dreams. The majority of your dreams will be for you personally, but as you grow in learning to understand your dream language, God may give you information which pertains to more than your own life. He gives you that revelation to help you know how to pray, and, in some cases, as a means of helping others with what you have seen. I have had the opportunity to prophesy into people’s lives based on what God showed me about them in a dream. As you gain experience with how dreams work, you may eventually be able to interpret other people’s dreams for them. Dreams are a powerful expression of prophecy.
Your prophetic ministry may be limited to your church, city, or region. It could go beyond that to national or international affairs. It will often start locally and expand outward from there — but if it never gets beyond your church or city, that does not make you or your gift inferior to those who speak into a larger arena.
If you have a burning desire to be used by the Lord in the prophetic gifts, this is because He really does want to use you that way. Are you an intercessor? Prophetic people love to spend time with the Lord, and intercession is a big part of what they do. Time spent with God opens the realm of the revelatory to you.
If you would like to increase in your prophetic gifts, try praying Isaiah 11:2, 3 over yourself, something like this:
“Father, I ask that the Spirit of the LORD would rest upon me in the following ways:
- The spirit of wisdom and understanding
- The spirit of counsel and might
- The spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD
Make me to be of a ready understanding in the fear of the LORD: and help me not to judge according to what my physical eyes and ears tell me. As you enabled Jesus to see with Your eyes and hear with Your ears, so do with me.”
I encourage you to do with joy whatever God has given you to do. Use the gifts you do have, instead of bemoaning the areas of the prophetic which you don’t excel in. Don’t try to be someone you are not. The rest of us in the Body of Christ don’t need impersonators of other prophets. We need who you are.
If you need further help, I highly recommend John Paul Jackson’s 4-CD audio set, Developing Your Prophetic Gift, available from Amazon (affiliate link) or from Streams Ministries (mp3 available — much cheaper).