For those who are beginning to sense a nudge from the Lord to prophesy, I want to offer some thoughts. I share these insights from my own prophetic journey that began 42 years ago. Some of my experiences have been positive and some were negative. It will be the same for you. Recognizing and cooperating with God in this process will help us become a positive presence in His Kingdom leaving behind a legacy of righteous influence.
God is always speaking. That is part of the problem, not God’s but ours. Early on we can think we need to speak everything we hear. We mistakenly take on the task of wanting to build a reputation as a prophetic person, so we feel the need to put out content…all the time. Our calling is not to become a prophetic vending machine. If we succumb to that task, we will eventually compromise our calling.
In the course of a prophet’s life, there might be a few words that were predictive. The bulk of prophetic ministry consists of two other issues. The first is speaking words that strengthen, encourage, and comfort people (I Corinthians 14:3). By the way, those three points of prophetic ministry are the by-products of a word, not always the sound or content of the word itself. Some of these by-products come from a word that doesn’t feel good when first delivered, but the content of the word, when engaged by a supple and obedient heart, will eventually strengthen, encourage, and comfort.
The second part of prophetic instruction is creating a healthy heart environment in which a word, like a seed planted in good soil, can grow and prosper until fulfillment. This part of the prophetic calling looks more like a farmer than a prophet. As we mature in our gift, we will spend more time preparing the soil of people’s hearts than we do actually prophesying.
One final thought. Early on in the development of a prophetic voice it is affirming and exciting to have something we prophesied to begin to gain a wider audience. This is where both blessing and danger exist. It is a blessing because if the word was truly from the Lord it will bring life and offer direction. The danger appears when we begin to hunger for recognition as much as we first hungered for the Lord to speak.
In leadership theory, this juncture between blessing and danger is where something called an Integrity Check will manifest. How we navigate that passage will determine whether our voice will continue to be used for the glory of God or the glorification of our reputation. I wish you well and pray that you become a trusted voice echoing the heart of God. It is not an easy journey, but one that will produce beautiful fruit if we remain faithful to Him.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins