This article explores how you can prophesy and move in the prophetic. The Greek word for 'prophesy' is propheteuo which Thayer's Lexicon defines as 'to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation'. To prophesy is simply to speak forth a revelation from God. So, how we can exercise this gift? Below are six keys that will help.
1. Know that you can prophesy
Paul explicitly states that all believers can prophesy in the following verse. Knowing that you can prophesy is the first step to moving in the prophetic:
For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.
(1 Corinthians 14:31)
Whilst not every believer is called to be a prophet, each believer can prophesy.
2. Desire to prophesy
Once we know that we can prophesy, we must actively desire to do so:
Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
(1 Corinthians 14:1)
Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.
(1 Corinthians 14:39)
Desire is the magnet that attracts the prophetic anointing. If you don’t desire you to, you probably won’t!
3. Look for vision
Have you ever been praying or worshipping and had a picture appear in your mind’s eye? Don’t ignore those pictures; God may be speaking to you, even if the image that appears seems insignificant. A very important key to receiving prophetic revelation is to look for visions in your mind’s eye, and then to interpret them by the Spirit. Let’s look at some biblical examples:
11 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”
12 Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.”
What would you do if you were praying, and then saw a picture of a branch in your mind’s eye? Would you ignore it, or would you ask God what He is saying to you? Jeremiah saw a branch of an almond tree, and God gave him the interpretation of the vision. The vision meant that God was ready to perform His word. In the Hebrew language, the words translated “almond tree” (shâqêd) and “ready” (shâqad), both have a similar sound when pronounced. Therefore, sometimes when God gives us a vision in our mind’s eye, the interpretation of it may be linked to the pronunciation of what we saw. However, sometimes the interpretation may not be linked to the pronunciation. After that vision, Jeremiah had another one, which is described below:
13 And the word of the LORD came to me the second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, and it is facing away from the north.”
14 Then the LORD said to me:
“ Out of the north calamity shall break forth
On all the inhabitants of the land.
This time, Jeremiah saw a boiling pot, tilting away from the north. This was a prophetic image which signified that disaster was going to come from the north to the inhabitants of Judah.
Vision was one of the main ways that God spoke to his prophets in the Bible. For instance, Habakkuk the prophet declared that he would watch to “see” what God would say to him (Habakkuk 2:1). It was so normal for prophets to receive their revelations in the form of visions, that before they were ever called prophets, they were called “seers” (1 Samuel 9:9). Therefore, an important key in seeking prophetic revelation is to look for visions in your mind’s eye. We are not to create visions using our own imagination. We should simply look for what the Lord will show us.
4. Be sensitive to what bubbles up in your spirit
Be aware and sensitive to the fact that prophesies will often ‘bubble up’ from within you and continue to ‘flow’ as you speak it forth. The Hebrew word most often translated ‘prophesy’ is naba which literally means to ‘bubble up’ (NAS Exhaustive Concordance) and to ‘flow forth’ (Young’s Analytical Concordance). Compare this to John 7:38-39. As you prophesy, allow yourself to flow with the words/impressions that bubble up within you. Also, be aware that as you speak forth the revelation that bubbles up within you, the volume of your voice may at times increase. That is what happened to the prophet mentioned in 1 Kings 13:
20 Now it happened, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came to the prophet who had brought him back; 21 and he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says the LORD…
(1 Kings 13:20-21)
However, the volume of your voice will not always increase.
5. Pray in tongues to kick start a prophetic word
I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied;
(1 Corinthians 14:5 KJV)
The Greek word translated “that” is hina. Hina can also be translated “in order that” (see Thayer’s Lexicon). This means that an alternative translation for the above quotation is:
I wish that you all spoke with tongues, but rather in order that you prophesied
(1 Corinthians 14:5. alternative translation)
In other words, Paul is saying that he wished they all spoke with tongues so that their tongues would lead into prophecy. This indicates that tongues can be used as an effective tool to “kick-start” a prophetic word. As you pray in tongues for someone or something, God may drop something in your spirit, a vision may come to you, a certain phrase, message or word may bubble up within you etc. which you can speak forth to bring edification, exhortation and comfort.
6. Be around people who are prophesying
A great way to catch the prophetic anointing is to be in the presence of those who are prophesying. The prophetic anointing can be contagious, and that is how Saul was inducted into the prophetic. The prophet Samuel said to Saul:
“… you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a stringed instrument, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp before them; and they will be prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.”
(1 Samuel 10:5-6)
Even so, as you expose yourself to outpourings of the prophetic, the same will happen to you. The group of prophets mentioned were actually a prophetic school. This demonstrates that you can be trained in prophetic ministry!
To help you grow in the prophetic, I have put together a powerful online course called, "Prophetic Ministry and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit". Please click the below image for more info:
Recommended Prophetic Books
For further study, I would also recommend you read my eBooks, "Moving in the Prophetic" and "Hearing God's Voice":
Dr. Stuart Pattico
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