Category Archives: prophetic intercession

Discerning Between Soul and Spirit (Part 5) — Prayer

For the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, … and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.
— Hebrews 4:12, 13

In our last post, we identified telltale signs that our prayers are soul-fueled, rather than stemming from communication with the Holy Spirit. In this post, we’ll talk about how Spirit-led prayer feels and sounds.

1.) Spirit-led prayer agrees with the nature of God in its tone — righteousness, peace, joy, mercy, compassion, love, goodness. These qualities are quite opposite to the fear, self-centeredness, criticalness, and anger which often accompany soulish prayers.

Prayer which flows with the Spirit is redemptive in its approach, which means that its goals will be salvation, freedom for those in bondage, and good to be worked in the earth and in the hearts of people. Even if we are praying for corruption or deception to be exposed, we take no delight in judgment or exposure for its own sake. It is so that the perpetrators of evil can come to repentance, and truth and righteousness can prevail in society.

The following verses give us a good idea of what praying in harmony with the Spirit looks like:

  • Galatians 5:22, 23
  • Philippians 4:8
  • Exodus 34: 6, 7
  • James 3:17

Study them, to find out what God’s heart is for our prayers.

2.) Spirit-led prayers are not products of preplanned logic. They often appear as a sudden thought or prompting which is not due to our own cleverness. Frequently they are surprising; we pray them and then think, “Now where did that come from?” It came from the Holy Spirit, Who shows us His vantage point, which is far beyond ours.

3.) Spirit-led prayers are often inspired by a Bible verse which comes to mind. Pray that verse from a position of “It is written,” and then declare it with authority for the situation. As Hebrews 4:12 tells us, the Word is living and powerful. It cuts through the fluff to go to the root of what needs to be prayed. God will sometimes give you a verse and show you how to apply it to prayer in a way your mind would never be able to come up with on its own.

4.) Spirit-led prayers frequently incorporate the gifts of the Spirit.

  • The word of knowledge — You suddenly know what the root issue is, whereas you didn’t before.
  • The word of wisdom — You receive a solution you hadn’t previously thought of.
  • Prophecy — You are certain of the outcome God wants, and you declare prophetically that it shall be.
  • Supernatural faith — You boldly command or decree a miraculous result into existence as the Spirit moves upon you, and it happens.
  • Discerning of spirits — You see, hear, or just know that a particular spirit is behind a hindrance. You then break the hindrance by commanding the spirit to let go or leave, in the name of Jesus.
  • Praying in tongues — the perfect prayers of the Holy Spirit
  • The interpretation of tongues — You hear in your spirit or coming from your mouth what you have been praying about in your prayer language. He shows you the exact way to pray into the need.

We grow in Spirit-inspired praying through cultivating intimacy with God via two primary means:

  • Two-way prayer communication with Him (meaning we not only talk, but we listen)
  • Communing with God over His Word (Bible meditation, study, reading at length, and dialoguing with Him over what we have read)

John 15:7 explains this two-pronged approach to intimacy with God and its outcome: “If you abide in Me [prayer communication lived out moment by moment], and My words abide in you [the Bible filling our innermost being with life], you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.”

The last part of that verse is God’s promise to the person who prays by communing in his spirit with the Holy Spirit: whatever we ask for, we receive. God can promise this because the one who is abiding in the Presence of God and who is filled with His Word will be praying by the Spirit. We only ask for what is His will, and therefore our requests are granted. The potential we have to obtain powerful answers is truly exciting — if we pray by communion with the Spirit, rather than from our own natural understanding.

Will we pray by the soul or the spirit — in tune with the Holy Spirit and being led by Him, or only praying what we know in our intellect? It’s our choice.

Let’s review one last time the keys to discerning soul between soul and spirit in the words of others, in our own thoughts, and in our prayers:

  1. Feed on the Word of God, letting its truths influence our minds, rather than feeding on the opinions of men.
  2. Seek God continually for greater wisdom and discernment, so that we are not fooled.
  3. Once we have determined that someone is speaking from a soulish perspective, no longer subject ourselves to his or her influence.

If we implement these keys, our discernment will grow, and we will clearly know the origins of whatever comes our way.

Previous: Discerning Between Soul & Spirit (Part 4) — Prayer

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

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Discerning Between Soul and Spirit (Part 4) — Prayer

spiritual discernment, prophetic prayerFor the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, … and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.  — Hebrews 4:12, 13

We can pray from our intellect (soul), or by listening to the Spirit and then praying what He prompts us to say. Many intercessors never get past their natural understanding — but we can learn, if we want to.

Most of us experience stressful times when we launch into prayer based on our own understanding — especially when we have distressing needs. As we continue to pray and cry out to the Lord earnestly from our hearts, He faithfully adjusts our prayers, causing anxieties to lessen and our faith to arise. These personal SOS signals we send heavenward are a normal part of prayer life. But they are not what I wish to address today.

Let’s talk, though, about learning to intercede from the spirit, rather than the soul, when the concerns  are not quite as pressing, whether we are solo-praying or with a group. Our goal, as I have shared in my book, The Intercessor Manual, should be to pray like sharpshooters aiming for the bullseye, rather than randomly spraying buckshot all over the county, hoping to hit something in the process. The key is shifting into prayer led by the Spirit of God.

A first step is identifying what Spirit-led prayer feels and sounds like, compared to how prayers coming merely from the intellect sound. This takes practice, but we can become more adept as we keep at it.

Let’s look at some telltale signs that we are praying from a soulish perspective:

1.) Our prayers exhibit fear. When we carry on in an anxious, “Oh, I hope You can do something about THIS, Lord” vein, we are neither discerning His power, nor His willingness to answer us. We end up majoring on a lot of what-ifs.

2.) Our prayers sound like we’re parroting news commentators and political analysts. These prayers are usually coupled with fear — because spreading fear through sensationalism is what the news media does best.

Fairly frequently, I get e-mails from prayer warriors who have worked themselves into a tizzy about reports coming in from news services and watchdog organizations. They plead with us to pray very, very hard to keep the latest evil plot from happening.

It’s easy to climb on their hand-wringing bandwagon, but if we take time to ask the Lord, He may tell us that we can rest easy on the issue everyone else is hyperventilating about. It is already a non-issue with Him, and we can invest prayer energy elsewhere. Just because a news commentator or watchdog group tells us something is serious does not mean it is. Remember, a lot of these “experts” are not Christians, and of those who are, many of them are operating from a soulish perspective.

What we put into ourselves is what will come out in our prayers, so if we make a conscious choice to severely limit the clamor of these voices, and invest our time in absorbing the Bible instead, we starve soulish praying.

3.) Our prayers are very general. These petitions sound much like one of the lines in Away in a Manger: “Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care….” Or, as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol said, “God bless us, every one!” I don’t mind either the song or Tiny Tim, but as a way to pray, this is not effective.

General prayers are easy to speak, because they carry no risk. They also have no teeth. With such all-inclusive, vague praying, we are bound to nick a few targets, even if we miss most entirely. But there is no way to measure whether we have received any answers. You won’t ever see a news headline screaming “PRAYER ANSWERED! GOD BLESSED EVERYONE IN OUR CITY TODAY!

4.) Our prayers exude unbelief. The prayer group is asked to petition for a desperate need, and just how dire it is gets explained down to the last detail. By the time the explanation is finished, what little faith anyone might have had has flown the coop.  From there, the whole tone of prayer becomes, “God, we’re asking because it’s the right thing to do, but we’re pretty sure already that You’re not going to intervene anyway, so Thy will be done.” It’s depressing — and it comes entirely out of a natural-minded mentality.

In Mark 9:14-29, Jesus told the father of a boy with an unclean spirit, “All things are possible to him who believes.” If we don’t have faith that He will answer, like that father, we should admit our unbelief and ask Him to fix us. We need to take steps to align our spirit with the Holy Spirit and then make our request.

5.) Our prayers are against people or people groups. If our prayers carry an attitude of hatred, or are asking for harm against someone, they extend beyond being soulish to being devilish. This should be obvious, but apparently it is not, as I have heard them prayed from time to time in gatherings I have attended. There is often a tone of anger accompanying such prayer. Pastors are criticized brutally. Minorities or people of different political, moral, or religious persuasions are prayed against and referred to as “those people.” Ahem!

If there are evil people holding political power, pray for God to deal with them His way. Ask Him to soften their hearts. Often it is best to pray for the removal or restraint of the specific evil itself, rather than going after the person(s) perpetrating it. Remember, our warfare is not against people, but unseen spiritual powers (Ephesians 6:12). Whenever we forget that, our praying goes awry.

We can also ask the Lord to remove those who need removing and raise up better people in their place. But don’t curse anyone or pray harm upon them. Let God deal with the when and how. We should take a lesson from the story in Luke 9:51-56, where James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven on a Samaritan village. Jesus rebuked them, saying, “You don’t know what manner of spirit you are of, for the Son of man has not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

These are five identifiers of soulish praying. No doubt there are more. If you can think of any, would you please share them in a comment?

Next time, we will talk about how to identify and shift into prayer coming from a Spirit-led perspective.

Previous: Discerning Between Soul and Spirit (Part 3) — Prophecy
Next: Discerning Between Soul and Spirit (Part 5) — Prayer

The Intercessor Manual

 

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

An Exercise in Tongues and Interpretation

Some time ago, I experimented with an exercise to help me grow in the interpretation of tongues. I felt the Lord was encouraging me to do it so that I would be more disciplined in listening to Him in general.

As you may already know, when we are in a church gathering, if someone gives a public message in tongues, opportunity is supposed to be given for an interpretation of the tongues message. 1 Corinthians 14:27, 28 instructs us about this:

If any man speaks in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church, and let him speak to himself and to God.

1 Corinthians 14:12, 13 tells us a little more:

Even so, since you are zealous about spiritual gifts, seek to excel to the edifying of the church. Therefore, let him who speaks in an unknown tongue pray that he may also interpret.

If you attend a Spirit-filled church where the gifts of the Spirit are welcomed, you have probably been taught these things. What many of us have not been told, however, is that we can (and should) also ask God for the interpretation of our private prayer languages.

In 1 Corinthians 14:18, 19, the apostle Paul said, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all: yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding….”  If Paul spoke in tongues more than the rest of them, yet preferred not to do so frequently in the church gathering, the implication is that he privately prayed a lot in tongues. Further, he spoke of the importance of also engaging in interpretation of tongues while in prayer.

Let’s look at verse 13 again. This time, we’ll add verses 14 and 15 to it:

Therefore, let him who speaks in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.  For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.  What then?  I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

Clearly, we are not only to pray in tongues, but also to hear the interpretation at times.

Here’s how I carried out my experiment:

  • I set aside about twenty minutes daily to simply pray in tongues. (I usually pray more in tongues than that, but this was focused time, while usually I pray in tongues as I am doing other things around the house.)
  • Before praying in tongues, I asked the Lord to interpret for me some of what I was praying.
  • I kept a journal in front of me to record any interpretations I received.
  • While I was praying in tongues, if a word, phrase, or picture came to mind, I wrote it in the journal.

The results:

Quite often, what I ended up recording were expressions of praise. How nice to find that much of what I prayed was expressing love and adoration for the Lord! That is how it should be.

Some words and phrases followed a theme. The flow along a theme seemed to be intercession – and sometimes there were enough details to unfold a story. In one particular session, I found I was praying about a nursing home (the name was supplied), which was suffering some type of catastrophe. I was praying for the safe evacuation of the residents and safety for the rescue workers. In still another, I was praying for a Christian man who had been blinded in an accident, whom the Lord was intending to heal through an innovative eye surgery. This much detail occurred only rarely, however. Most of the time, because I was only catching words and short phrases, I did not have much clarity.

Some words I heard seemed random and unconnected. This may be an indication that they were just coming from my own mind, not from the Spirit. When they were far between, they may have simply indicated that I was only hearing slight bits before moving on to a new topic.

Some words or phrases were unfamiliar to me. I usually googled those, out of curiosity. Sometimes they were astronomy, medical, or engineering terms. To my surprise, one peculiar phrase was the trademark expression of a character on a TV show I had never heard of, which had been popular in its day. The Spirit must have chosen to use this unique saying to address whatever I was praying into, but I did not understand it.

Sometimes the interpretation was unusually clear, and led me into more extended intercession in English. I could feel the heavy anointing of the Spirit on those expanded prayers. At other times, the interpretations did not lead me into further prayer along a theme.

I did not expect to receive an interpretation for everything I prayed. I believe that many topics we address in our prayer language remain purposely hidden by the Holy Spirit. When we are interceding for others, some information is not any of our business, so He protects the person we are praying for by not revealing it. Some things we pray for our own future would perhaps upset us if we knew prematurely.

I continued the experiment for about four months, and then stopped. It seemed that the unction to keep doing it every day was no longer there. Perhaps that phase of my education in discerning His voice had come to a close. I still pray in tongues, of course, but I don’t regularly listen deeply for an interpretation as I did then.

Perhaps sharing my experience will inspire some of you to listen to the Lord in this way. It takes faith to believe that the words and phrases you hear are really from Him, not  just your own imagination. And it takes concentration. But it is one more path to becoming sensitive to His voice. You might find that it opens up a depth of communication between you and the Lord beyond what you currently enjoy.

Why not give it a try?

 

Yes, You CAN Be an Intercessor! (CD or mp3 set),
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

 

Growing in the Prophetic (CD or mp3 set),
by Lee Ann Rubsam

Shadows and Light (Part 3)

Recently, I was struck by Psalm 104:2, which speaks of the Lord in His majesty: “You cover Yourself with light, as with a garment….” As I meditated on that phrase, the Lord reminded me of other verses which say we, too, are to be clothed with light.

Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), but He also said, You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). 1 John 4:17 says, “… As He is, so are we in this world.” Truly, His plan is that we be like Him in this world in every way, including being clothed with light. There are no shadows attached to Him, and we should not have any attached to us, either.

Does being clothed with light happen all by itself? Yes and no. It is partly the work of the Holy Spirit and partly something we consciously participate in. Once we have become Christians, the Spirit dwells within us. He begins to fill us with God’s own nature, even though we are not constantly aware that He is doing so. The more we yield to Him and fellowship with Him, the more we take on His attributes, and those attributes begin to ooze outward from us, so that we shine with His glory. In our last post, I mentioned some steps we can take to open ourselves up to the Spirit, so that He can work these transformations inside of us.

However, we are also exhorted in the Word to take an active role in clothing ourselves with light: “… Let us put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). Putting on the armor of light is not at all passive. Romans 13:14 gives us additional information about what this “armor of light” is — “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ….” It continues, “and do not make provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” The light we are clothed in is Jesus Himself. Always, always, it is about Him. He is our righteousness, our light, and every good thing which we manifest. But we are still responsible for starving our fleshly nature and its lusts by making choices which are in keeping with what Jesus would do.

We learn even more about the armor of light which we are to put on in Ephesians 6:11-18. Again, verse 11 tells us to put on the armor.” You are probably already familiar with the rest of that passage, so I won’t talk about it here. (But if you want a detailed explanation of the armor, go here.)

Many years ago, I received a vision of the condition of the Church. In it, many people were camped alongside a river. They were handling suits of armor and weaponry, exclaiming over the beauty and power of what they held. They were so happy to have the equipment they needed. But no one was putting the armor on. They were content to just look at it and talk about it. They were totally unprepared for the looming battle. Many in the Church are like that today. We’ve absorbed oodles of teaching about the armor of God, and we can recite the armor’s parts, but few are actually putting it to effective use.

It is time to suit up in that armor of light and take our battle stance. We cannot hope to win if we aren’t clothed in Jesus, the Light. And we certainly must quit making the mistake of trying to fight our battles using the enemy’s tactics of darkness and shadows.

If you are a prophet or a prophetic intercessor, I encourage you to take the needed steps to come out of shadowed thinking and speaking. Take a look once again at the suggestions I have given in the previous post for how to do that. Spend lots of time in the Presence of Jesus so that you will reflect His glorious light. You will have a much better idea of what the Lord is saying and how to convey that to others, as well as how to pray, having God’s heart.

Let’s mirror the Lord, Who does not cast shadows with His words, but instead, dispels darkness. This is our calling as prophetic people — to exude His light, so that others will be drawn to Him.

Previous: Part 2

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

Shadows and Light (Part 2)

Light Dispels DarknessIn our last post, I commented that it is very easy for prophetic intercessors and prophets to become darkened in our revelation. How can we keep that from happening? And, if we’ve already stepped into the shadows, how can we shift back into being messengers of light?

1.) Use the Bible prophets as your pattern. When we look at the Old Testament prophets, their messages were often dire. But what we usually see along with prophecies warning of judgment is a message of redemption and hope:

  • “If you repent, I, your God, will spare you.”
  • “When you have turned from your evil ways, I will restore you.”
  • “Though terrible times are ahead, I will protect My remnant who stay faithful to Me.”
  • “Even in the coming distress, I will be a tower of safety to you.”

Even Jeremiah, often called the weeping prophet, delivered messages of hope to Israel. Yes, he told them of awful things to come, but he also spoke of how the Lord would take care of them in it, and he gave them a glimpse of better times on the other side of the calamity. This is God’s nature, to give hope to the hopeless, comfort to the sorrowful, mercy to those who seek Him, deliverance to the helpless.

Study both the Old and New Testament prophecies. Make particular note of the messages of hope given in them, usually at the end of whatever judgment warning had been pronounced.

2.) Feed on the whole counsel of God’s Word, not only the prophecies. We need all of Scripture, not just portions. I recommend feeding daily in the Psalms. They are filled with revelation of God’s nature and comfort for the downcast.

3.) Pray for healing restoration from hurts you have endured. All of us have experienced rejection. Prophetic people tend to have received even more rejection than average. This is because the enemy wants to silence, or at the very least warp, the word of the Lord on our lips.

The good news is, what the enemy means for harm, God is determined to use for our good. He can use the wounds of rejection to refine us into better, more humble people, as we give them to Him.

Receiving inner healing starts with forgiving those who have hurt us. We make a deliberate choice to let go of the offenses inside, and then we ask God to take the pain away. Restoration can only happen if we are willing to let go of resentment, no matter how justified it might be.

4.) Feed on Jesus, the Lamb. Again, we do this primarily through reading His Word. Focus on the gospels in particular. Spend time thinking about Jesus — how kind He is, how self-sacrificing, how tender, what He says about the Father, His call to love one another as He has loved us, etc. Think about that moment when you will see Him face to face.

5.) Sit at Jesus’ feet, as Mary, Martha’s sister, did. This goes along with feeding on Jesus. In Luke 10:38-42, Mary refused to let the seemingly urgent steal her time away from her Savior.

Isaiah 40:31 reminds us, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” 

When we invest time in quietly waiting before the Lord, sharing conversation with Him, asking Him what is on His mind, we come away refreshed. What is weary in us takes on new strength. When we’re worn out, we are susceptible to becoming darkened, but when we rest in the Lord’s Presence, we absorb His light, much like Moses did in His times with the Lord, so that his face actually shone with God’s reflected glory (Exodus 34:29-35).

Psalm 34:5 says of those who seek Him, “They looked to Him and were filled with light; and their faces were not ashamed” (LITV).

Spiritual reconnaissance warriors have to frequently come in from the field and spend time at their Commander-in-Chief’s banqueting table. He is not only our Commander, but also our Beloved. This is not the way it is in earthly, human warfare, but it is the way in spiritual warfare. God’s kingdom ways are often different from how things are in our fallen natural world.

In our next post, we will look at a few more ideas from the Bible about how to come out of the shadows and into a light-filled life.

Previous — Shadows and Light (Part 1)
Next — Shadows and Light (Part 3)

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

Shadows and Light (Part 1)

Prophetic shadowsThose of us who are prophetic often perceive beyond the surface appearance of our natural surroundings. We are sensitive to what is taking place in the spirit world as well — both in God’s kingdom and the kingdom of darkness.

Because we are sometimes able to see and hear what is happening in both of these invisible realms, we can develop a tendency to “see” what is wrong more than what is right. It is easy to get into a rut of speaking forth the negative things we become aware of. If we focus more on what the devil is doing than on what the Lord is up to, our prophetic utterances can become tainted with darkness.

There is a definite place for prophesying warnings to the Body of Christ. I am not advocating only speaking “positive” prophetic words. Limiting ourselves to the positive can end up producing false prophecy which panders to people’s feel-good desires, but never calls them upward into closer fellowship with the Lord. God does use prophetic revelation to warn and correct His people, to lead us to repentance, and to reveal difficulties in the path ahead of us. But there must be a balance.

Correction and warning prophecy which is genuinely from the Lord has a different feel to it than prophecy which only talks about how bad things (or people) are. It will have Christ’s light shining around and through it — showing the way out of darkness, promising restoration and hope for those who will turn to the Lord and put their trust in Him.

There was a time in my early prophetic life when I was hearing mostly negative revelation and then reporting on it. I thought this was just the particular prophetic gift God had given me. What I did not then realize was, while I was probably hearing and seeing some real things going on in the spirit realm — things which needed to be prayed into — I was looking into the enemy’s plots way more than I was gazing upon Jesus and what He was planning to do.

I wanted to see the enemy’s strategies so that I could thwart them in prayer, but, partly due to hurts and fear I held inside, I spent little time viewing the Lord’s beauty and mightiness. As a result, I became unhappy and heavy-laden in my intercession. This is a common scenario for prophetic intercessors.

I have seen the same thing happen with some very gifted young prophets. They see the problems, they hear the warnings, and they begin to focus on all that. They get emotionally beat up by people who scoff at their prophetic revelation, their hearts get wounded, and before we know it, everything they say is critical. Their messages now accuse and browbeat, instead of uplifting the Body of Christ. Grace, mercy, hope, and encouragement are lacking in their messages. They now report the problems, but rarely the answers God wants to unfold. Their frequent words of doom leave their hearers feeling darkened and chilled, as though the sun had suddenly disappeared behind the clouds.

If we desire to accurately represent the Lord Who has sent us to speak for Him, we need to be balanced. We must deliberately see the light of God as larger than the shadows surrounding us, for James 1:17 tells us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”  God is light. He does not cast shadows. Instead, He dispels them.

In our next post, we will take a look at how we can maintain balance in our prophetic revelation — or restore our balance if we have already tilted.

Next: Shadows and Light (Part 2)

The Intercessor Manual

 

The Intercessor Manual, by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered, by Lee Ann Rubsam

God’s Model for Prophecy

Spirit of truthIn our last post, I listed steps I use in meditating on Scripture. Today, I’m sharing something the Lord showed me as I meditated on a particular verse. Let’s start with the verse, John 16:13:

… When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.”

The NIV renders “He shall not speak of Himself, as, “He will not speak on His own.” The NASB puts it, “He will not speak on His own initiative.”

In this verse, God has given us the Holy Spirit as our role model for how prophecy is supposed to be carried out. And should it not be that way? The Spirit is our teacher (John 14:26).

Furthermore, Jesus followed this same model while on earth. He said, “He Who sent Me is true, and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him” and, “I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father has taught me, I speak these things” (John 8: 26, 28).

A true prophet parallels the Holy Spirit (and Jesus) by not speaking on his own initiative. He speaks only what he hears from the Lord. This is what is meant by speaking as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11). The prophet does not get ahead of God or speak presumptuously. He does not speak what he thinks is right, and then expect God to back him up. He waits to hear God first, and then he speaks.

Unfortunately, some modern-day prophets are not following the model given to us in John 16:13. A popular teaching in prophetic circles says we can “step into” prophecy at will: merely decide to prophesy and just start speaking in faith. God then supposedly backs up the prophet by filling his mouth with the word of the Lord. As a result, we are seeing far too much presumptuous prophecy coming from natural understanding or wishful thinking. Inner anxieties, faulty theological mindsets, and a desire for personal recognition can also contribute to inaccurate prophecy.

In addition, some prophets start out with a genuine, kernel word from the Lord, but then add in their own interpretations as part of their “word” without clearly explaining to their listeners, “This part is what I heard God say, and this part is what I think He might mean by that.”

In the next verse, John 16:14, Jesus adds this about the Holy Spirit: “He shall glorify Me, for He shall receive what is Mine, and shall show it to you.” Continuing with the Spirit as our model, any true prophetic revelation must in some way glorify Jesus. If a word or vision is genuine, it will always point back to Jesus, for He is the absolute Center of all. He never gives His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8). The word might not speak of Jesus directly, but it will ultimately cause us to turn our hearts to Him in greater reverence.

I have majored on just part of what John 16:13 has for us. It also promises that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, will guide us into all truth. I had been pondering this verse in response to a prophetic word I had come across. Some of the things said by the prophet troubled me, and I used this verse as my prayer to know the truth: Spirit of truth, please guide me into all truth. Is this prophet speaking rightly or not? I want to align myself with You. By the end of the day, I had my answer. The Holy Spirit enlightened me with His perspective by recalling to mind some Scriptures which refuted what was being claimed by the prophet.

John 16:13 also promises, “He will show you things to come.” The Lord is eager to share with His people what is yet ahead, so that we are not blindsided. He doesn’t tell us everything, but a good many times He desires to give us glimpses into the future, if we are willing to listen.

Such a rich verse! The Word of God brings life and strength to us. I will not be the same, since seeing these things. I hope sharing what I have learned will be a blessing to you, too.

Personal Prophecy

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy