In our last post, we saw that God desires to share with us things yet to come. If you are an intercessor, the amount of time you spend with the Lord will most likely cause you to hear more about the future than believers who are not investing as much time in prayer. You are also more likely to hear about events which go beyond your personal life.
It has been said that, on average, intercessors hear two to three years ahead of schedule. Our advance notice can cause problems for us in the local church if we are not aware of this. Today, I’d like to help minimize those problems.
When we hear something from the Lord or experience a vision, it often feels like a “now” revelation because of its vivid intensity. The truth is, though, often it is not for the present. It is speaking of the future.
Typically, we excitedly contact our pastors with what we’ve heard or seen, especially if it’s to do with our local church. Meanwhile, pastors are often focused on the here and now: the day-to-day caring for their congregations, getting the next sermon together, short-term goals, and dealing with immediate problems. So, when we spring upon them an idea which doesn’t fit their current frame of reference, their response is, “That’s not God.” They may not tell us that, but it might be what they are thinking. The disparity between the “now” realm of our pastors and the “not yet” world of intercessors can create a tension-filled disconnect between the two groups. This is sad, because we have a lot to offer each other, if we could only learn to work together.
What can we intercessors do to help the situation? Here are some tips to make the road smoother:
Wait on your word or vision for a few days before sharing it. Sometimes we release revelation too quickly, only to have God clarify and expand upon it, if we wait. Pray about whether this is the right time to share it. Proverbs 15:23 speaks to this: “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” A word released at the right moment is so much more effective than a word shared either prematurely or tardily.
Right before or after a church service is not usually a good time. Beforehand, your pastor is focused on guiding the service and preaching. Afterwards, he’s tired and just wants to be done.
Your presentation skills matter:
How you preface your word or vision has a lot to do with whether you will be heard. “The Lord told me you need to do this,” and “God said the church’s direction needs to change” rarely go over well, even if you really did hear from God. Such approaches are not only annoying, but they sound arrogant.
A softer approach is more likely to be received: “Pastor, I think I heard something from the Lord. This might not be for right now, but I wanted to mention it, in case it will be useful to you down the road somewhere.”
When possible, share your revelation in writing. Pastors are almost guaranteed to forget what you said if you only tell them orally. They have too many other things on their minds. Keep a copy of what you share, and date it.
Ask for feedback from your pastor, but then let it rest. Give your word or vision time to play out. When it finally does, it probably won’t look exactly like you envisioned it, but that’s OK.
If you see your word being fulfilled at a later date, rather than having a smug “I saw that coming!” attitude, look for an opportunity to encourage and bring confirmation. Sometimes my pastor or someone else in the church had the same prophetic revelation as mine a year or more afterward. I approached that by saying, “Pastor, I was excited to hear what was spoken this morning. You may not remember, but last September, I shared with you that same thing! It was an encouragement to me that we’re both hearing this.”
This is one reason why it is important to write down what you hear and see, with the date, so you can retell it accurately. If you approach this with a heart attitude of wanting to serve, you will not sound like you are bragging, and your reiterated word will truly encourage your pastor that he is on the right track.
Make sure you know what sphere God is speaking about before you share:
Much of what you hear will be for you personally, especially if it is of a corrective nature. Don’t mistakenly project it onto others. While growing in hearing the Lord, we sometimes err by thinking we have a word for the church, because we haven’t yet learned to distinguish between personal words and words for others. Ask God to make clear to you which it is before sharing.
While learning this, several times I shared revelation which I thought was for our congregation, but it wasn’t taken seriously. In my discouragement over not having my words received, I became confused about whether I could even hear God accurately. I nearly gave up. But at the critical moment, the Lord brought some prophetic words my way from two well-known ministers. They matched almost exactly several things I had heard. I then realized that what I had thought I was getting for the local church had been about the American church as a whole. No wonder they hadn’t made sense to my pastors!
If you make mistakes, don’t give up. Keep on listening to the Lord. Ask Him to help you mature in releasing your revelation. If you maintain a heart attitude of humility and desiring to serve, over time, God will honor your efforts, give you favor, and make a way for your words to be heard.
The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
Your Intercession Questions Answered,
by Lee Ann Rubsam