Are You Prophetic?
Jesus died on the cross not just to forgive our sins, but ultimately to bring us into a relationship with God! Communication is probably the single greatest vehicle of any relationship, so if we want true connection and intimacy with Jesus we must learn to tune in to what He is saying. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice…” (John 10:27). This means that as a part of His flock, you hear from Him! 
That’s right — you are pre-wired to hear the voice of God!
In fact, the Lord is more determined and excited to speak to you than you are to hear from Him.  So why is it challenging to hear from God?

We must realize that God’s first language is not English, Spanish, French, or any other human language! 

Wouldn’t it be nice if He always spoke to us in an audible voice? Life would be so much easier that way. But then we would miss out on the greatest part of our time here on earth—building relationship with the One who loves us the most. 

Think about it this way… If you’re in a crowded room and your mom walked in and started talking, it would be easy for you to recognize her voice before you even set eyes on her. You’ve heard it since you entered the world and through relationship you’ve learned what she sounds like. However, if I asked you to pick out a random stranger from the crowd solely based on their voice, you likely wouldn’t be able to do that. It would take time and relationship for you to learn what they sound like. God loves to draw us closer to Himself so that we learn the way He speaks! The goal of hearing God’s voice is not to have a party trick or to impress others with your gifting, but rather to know Him and be known by Him. 

Once we grasp this revelation we will begin to realize that we actually do see and hear God much more clearly than we thought. All we have to do is “tune our receivers to His station.” For example, when you’re driving in your car, there is music playing all around you. But even if you listen very carefully, you wouldn’t hear it if your music player is not turned on. However, by simply turning on a radio, you would perceive what was there all the time. The reason, of course, is that our human bodies were never designed to perceive radio waves. We need the equipment to be able to discern the music.

Likewise, God is always speaking to us! The gift of prophecy is the equipment we need to tap into the spirit realm that exists all around us, even though we often can’t hear it with our natural ears or see it with our natural eyes. The gift of prophecy is like a radio receiver from Heaven. It gives us the ability to hear what God has been speaking to us all along, but we were unable to perceive it before we received this wonderful gift. As He teaches us His new language, He creates an opportunity for us to draw closer to Himself and become more intimate with His people.

If we don’t recognize the different ways God communicates with His people, we will miss His voice. And getting to know God’s voice is key to deep intimacy with the One who knows you the best, and for stepping into an active partnership with Him in your life. 
Point to Ponder: Could you be hearing from God but discounting His voice in your life because you expect it to look or sound a certain way? Take a moment to turn your heart to gratitude for the ways He HAS spoken.
So then, how does God speak to you? 
How God Could Speak to You
Here are eight ways that God commonly speaks to His children (but remember, He doesn’t fit in a box. So this list is not the final word on His voice):

1. Visions
A vision of the mind, in which the Lord “projects” images and pictures onto the “screen” of our imaginations, often appear like hieroglyphics—pictures that require interpretation. As the Holy Spirit speaks to us through these pictures and images of the mind, we must turn around and ask Him what the pictures mean.

2. God’s Still Small Voice
At times, the Lord speaks to us in a still small voice from within our spirit. This is not a booming, audible voice. This can be heard as a passing thought, sudden impression, or internal “sense” of something that God is saying. This still small voice is illustrated in the book of First Kings. In this account, God is not in the strong wind or the earthquake, but rather He is in the gentle blowing (1 Kings 19:11-13).

3. Angels
Angels speak to us from the heavenly realm. Throughout the New Testament angels spoke to people and gave them instruction for their lives. God sometimes sends angels to deliver messages to us.

4. Creation
Creation itself is a voice from the Lord and speaks to us in many ways, especially by telling us about who God is. The mountains speak of His strength, the rivers of His provision and the flowers of His beauty (Psalm 19:1-2). Another way creation speaks to us is by God causing nature to do things that are actually prophetic acts. One year, every time Bethel Church would meet to pray, a roadrunner would show up outside the glass door with a lizard in its mouth! This went on for months until we realized that the Lord was calling us to go out to the roads, the highways, and the byways and compel the lost to come in! One day the roadrunner managed to find his way inside the church. In a desperate attempt to get out of the building, he hit a window and died. The Lord showed us through this event that if we did not reach out to the lost that our church would die.

5. Scriptures
The Lord can speak to us in our daily reading of the Bible.
 He can also highlight a verse or story that speaks to us about our circumstance. Sometimes, it may even seem as if God is taking Scripture out of context. That’s why it is vital for us to have a basic knowledge of the context of the Scriptures so we understand the full counsel of God. God will never violate His Word, but He will often violate our understanding of His Word. The Holy Spirit may grant us fresh insight or application as we are reading through the Bible. If God gives us fresh insight or new understanding of a verse or portion of Scripture, it is important that it fits within the rest of the context of the Scriptures. It also cannot be in disagreement with the foundation of God’s revealed nature and character (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

6. Impressions
Many prophetic people experience discernment through impressions without even realizing it. Oftentimes we can sense an evil spirit on someone just by sitting down next to that person. The evil spirit that is troubling the person will begin to trouble us in the same manner. For instance, if a spirit of fear troubles a person in a close geographic area, we can actually begin to feel fearful as well. If we do not realize our prophetic ability and discernment in this area, we can begin to feel very confused or think we are crazy (1 Corinthians 12:10).

7. Circumstances
God can speak to us and direct us through the circumstances of our lives. This dynamic occurs as God opens and closes the doors of opportunity. It is easy to misunderstand this principle and think that any time we come up against an obstacle in our lives that we are out of the will of God. However, keep in mind that often times when we are doing something for God, the enemy will oppose us! Even in times of opposition, we must remember that in Revelation 3:8 it says, “I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”

8. Spiritual Happenings
Spiritual happenings are another way God speaks to us. These are supernatural incidents that correlate with natural events. Some time ago, every time I entered a worship service, I noticed that my watch gained an hour. After purchasing three different watches, all of which gained an hour during worship, I finally asked the Lord what this could mean. He said, “It’s later than you think.”

Sometimes we struggle to hear the voice of God because there is a war to keep us spiritually deaf. In the parable of the sower (Mark 4:14-15), Jesus explained that often when God speaks to us, the enemy comes along and tries to convince us that we didn’t hear God clearly or that it wasn’t God’s voice at all! The key here is to not give up. Don’t let the enemy steal your hope or get in the way of you pursuing more of God, but rather learn to discern what God is saying versus what the enemy is saying.
Point to Ponder: Do you often deal with doubt or confusion right after you feel you hear the voice of God? Perhaps that doubt is coming from the enemy and not yourself! It’s not worth paying attention to because the enemy comes to steal kill and destroy but God comes to give you abundant life (John 10:10).
The Gift Of Prophecy
There is a difference between the office of a Prophet and the gift of prophecy, which we will cover in-depth tomorrow. Today let’s look at the gift of prophecy.

You may be prophetic if…

  • You tend to be more focused on the future than the past.
  • You “sense” things before they happen.
  • You love to pray for others and listen to what God has to say about the people you love.
  • You have vivid dreams often filled with imagery and metaphoric symbols.
  • You see patterns in life via numbers, symbols or colors that God uses to speak to you.

You may check one or all of these, however, this list is not meant to box you in but rather reveal some things you may have discounted that God actually wants to highlight as His voice!

The truth is that anyone who is saved and receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit can minister in the gifts of the Spirit, including prophecy!

1 Corinthians 14:31 says, “You can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted.”

Acts 2:17 shows us that God’s Spirit is poured out on all mankind. “It shall be in the last days God says that “I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; and sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”
Point to Ponder: The gift of prophecy is not for an elite few but rather for every Believer! If you have considered yourself to be the odd one out that cannot hear from God, receive the truth today that you were created to hear God’s voice and prophesy!
What is Prophecy?
So what is this gift, how does it function, and how can we each grow in it? Here are some keys to note about the gift of prophecy:

1. The gift of prophecy is one of the nine spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 says, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”

2. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are to be earnestly desired.

1 Corinthians 14:1-3 “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.”

The words “earnestly desire” mean to “lust after.” God wants us to pursue His gifts! He desires to give us His gifts more than we could ever want them.

3. Prophecy is a gift, not an award.

You didn’t earn the prophetic! You received it by asking. This means that even very gifted people are not necessarily mature Christians. They may not even have good character. Therefore, the gifts of the Spirit do not validate one’s walk with God. It is the fruit of the Spirit that is developed as a person matures in Christ. The Greek word for “gift” is the word “charisma”, which means “favor which one receives without any merit of his own.” The fruit of the Spirit is the evidence of maturity in each of our lives. These fruits grow in your life as you allow the Holy Spirit to work ON you and not just through you.

4. The gift of prophecy is for the purpose of edification, exhortation, and consolation.

Remember that 1 Corinthians 14:3 says, “But one who prophesies speaks to men for
edification and exhortation and consolation.”

The prophetic words you receive for yourself and others should line up with this purpose.

Edification means “to build up.”
Exhortation means “to call near.”
Consolation means “to cheer up.” 

I like to say that if you’re beginning to walk in prophecy and are unsure of whether you should give someone a word you feel God is speaking, first try it out on yourself. If you don’t feel edified, exhorted, or consoled, it may be better to pray and ask God for more. 
Point to Ponder: Prophetic words should point us back to our relationship with God. Sometimes, we fear the prophetic because we’re afraid that the voice we hear will bring shame and condemnation. Remember, the gift of prophecy is for your encouragement and to move you closer to your loving Father! Are there any places in your life where you have rejected prophecy because of fear?
5. The gift of prophecy is to encourage the church.

The primary purpose of the gift of prophecy is not to direct or correct the body of Christ, but rather to encourage the church. We should never allow people who are ministering in the gift of prophecy to speak negatively into the lives of others. The goal of the gift of prophecy is to bring out the best in people! We are to mine the gold that is among the dirt and to find hidden treasures in the lives of people. 

If we see negative things in the person’s life we are ministering to, we are to ask the Holy Spirit to give us the answer to the problem we discern. Then we prophesy the answer, not the problem. This will result in the person we are prophesying to receiving grace to solve the problem that they are stuck in. For example, if we are ministering to someone and discern that they are struggling with pornography, the Holy Spirit will often give us a prophetic word for them something like this: “God is calling you to a new level of purity and holiness.” In this way, we have prophesied the answer without speaking about the problem and have released grace to break the bondage of pornography.
What Do You Do with a Prophetic Word?
In order to be effective when we have a word for someone else, or we receive a prophetic word, we need to understand these three aspects of prophecy: revelation, interpretation, and application.

1. Revelation
What is God saying? The person who delivers the prophetic word is responsible for the revelation of the word. It may come as a dream, a vision, through nature, or many other ways.

2. Interpretation
What does the revelation mean? Prophetic people need to realize that just because they received the revelation it does not mean that they also have the interpretation. We often get into trouble when we try to interpret a prophetic revelation without first receiving God’s direction and clarity.

3. Application
What should we do with the prophetic word once we know what it means? We should always involve wise leaders in our lives when we receive directional prophetic words. They should help us to devise a plan to actually apply the prophetic word to our life and walk it out. 
Point to Ponder: Did you know about the three aspects of prophecy? How does the awareness of these distinct aspects impact your understanding, and your practice, of giving prophetic words?
I’d love to share a story of how I’ve seen revelation and interpretation play out. Some time ago several of us traveled to a conference where they were training people how to prophesy. With about 70 people in the room, we were all prophesying to a woman in the front of the room. We completed the ten prophecies allowed in the prophetic exercise and then began to judge the words given to the woman. Suddenly, a man in the back of the room stood to his feet and said, “You have a yellow shirt on!”

Immediately the woman fell to the ground, crying hysterically. The man continued to prophesy, saying things like, “The sun is yellow…the moon is yellow,” and so on. When the woman finally regained her composure, the leader of the class asked her what the word meant to her. She explained, “I have a son who is autistic and I told the Lord today, ‘If You are going to heal my son, have someone tell me that I have on a yellow shirt….’” The man who delivered this prophetic word heard God accurately for the revelation, however he stepped out of bounds and tried to give the woman an interpretation of the color yellow. 

Although the Holy Spirit used the word powerfully in the woman’s life, the entire prophetic word was simply, “you have a yellow shirt on.” When God stops speaking, we should too! People who are prophesying often feel pressure to give an interpretation for every prophecy they have, particularly when the prophetic word seems ambiguous or even silly. It is astounding what some people think their prophetic words mean! The preceding story is a profound example of a powerful prophetic word that was misinterpreted by the person who delivered it. 
Point to Ponder: Do you feel pressure to interpret every prophetic word you receive from God? Let’s take the pressure off and refuse to partner with performance. Remember, we don’t have to be profound to be powerful.

  1. Go back through the “Points to Ponder” throughout our teaching today and journal through any of the points that God highlights to you.
  2. Practice makes progress! It takes time to learn to discern what Holy Spirit is speaking to you, and there is no substitute for experience. So I want to encourage you to practice, practice, practice. When you pray, make sure that you’re not just listing off your needs to God, but that you’re also taking time to quiet your mind and give Him space to respond to you. God does not want to simply impart information through speaking to you, but rather the goal is to draw you into a deeper relationship with Jesus and His Body. Practice by asking God for two prophetic words today: one for yourself and one for another person. Have him highlight somebody in your life and then ask Him for a specific color for that person, then ask Him what the color means for them.
  3. The pure-in-heart see God and can be trusted with His mysteries. Take some time now to ask the Lord to search your heart. Let humility and hunger be your guide as you move closer to Him and His voice. 

Pray with me: 

“Father, thank you that you are always speaking and that you have created me to hear Your voice. I ask that you would give me eyes to see what you’re doing, and ears to hear what you are saying. Lord, increase my prophetic ability that I may be a blessing to those around me and can bring encouragement to the body of Christ! Most of all, teach me how to be Your friend and give me a deep hunger to know You more. Amen!”