“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Corinthians 14:1) (Image: Terry Ivy)
Prophecy is a vital ministry in the body of Christ. Every believer can prophesy and some do, but many struggle to discern the voice of the Lord. Many others do not understand simple protocols for prophetic ministry because they have not been rightly trained, despite the Ephesians 4:11 mandate for five-fold prophets to equip the saints for the work for the ministry.
Recently, we launched prophecy rooms at Awakening House of Prayer. Prophecy rooms are a safe place where experienced prophetic ministers can share a word of the Lord to people seeking edification, exhortation and comfort. Our goal with this is two-fold: to train up prophetic people with accountability and to reach out to our community, giving them an alternative to the psychic shops that plague our region.
We have prophetic ministry guidelines because there is a biblical precedent for them. Paul outlined the definition and use of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12-14. In part one of this series on prophetic protocols for exercising the simple gift of prophecy, we'll look at 10 protocols that will help guide you as you grow in this critical gift.
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1. Expect to hear from God: As you cultivate a discerning spirit—which includes discerning the Spirit of the Lord—you will grow in the gift of prophecy. Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice" (John 10:27). You can hear the voice of the Lord. Some people come to me and say, "Well, Jennifer, the devil is telling me I can't hear from God." That baffles me. They are hearing into the spiritual realm and they can't hear from God? I always tell them, "Just change the channel."
2. Do not prophesy to someone one on one: There are times the Lord may have you do this, but in a church setting or a prophecy room setting, you don't want to be a "parking lot prophet." That is, you don't want to pull someone off in the corner or prophesy one on one, especially to someone who is not part of your church community. This could lead to people twisting your words and it also leaves you without any true accountability. Prophecy should not be exercised in the dark. Even if you have a serious word for someone, another leader should be present.
3. Always record the prophetic word: In our prophecy room setting, we record the prophetic utterances for the same reason listed above. Some people hear what they want to hear no matter what we say and will declare you prophesied something at which you never even hinted. A secondary reason is so we can provide the participant with a copy in case they didn't bring a recorder. We want people to be able to judge, meditate and war with accurate prophesies. If you give someone a prophetic word in writing, be sure to make a copy for your own files.
4. Do not showboat, get goofy or start talking in Elizabethan English: The Lord doesn't talk to me in Elizabethan English. We don't need to get religious to deliver a word from the Spirit. We don't need to get loud for the sake of getting loud, to cry for the sake of seeming spiritual, to shake, rattle or roll. I am not against any manifestation of the Holy Spirit but the truth is the Holy Spirit exalts Jesus and the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10).
5. Don't add to or take away from the prophecy: You wouldn't add or take away from the written Word of God, right? In the same way, you don't want to add or take away from prophetic words. Just say what you hear, nothing more and nothing less.
6. Be aware of your facial expressions and gestures: Just as you must be careful about adding or taking away from a prophecy with words, you need to also be careful about your facial expressions and gestures, especially when prophesying as a team. Don't give a sour face when your ministry team partner is giving a prophecy. Don't seem disinterested or otherwise emotional. Keep a straight face or smile. Stay engaged.
7. Don't compare your flow with anyone else's: God moves differently through different people and not everyone in a session needs to deliver a word to each person (2 Cor. 10:12).
8. In the case of a strongly bad reaction from someone in the hot seat, remain calm and peaceable and handle the situation with diplomacy: If you are delivering a personal prophecy and the person rebukes you, cries or displays some other surprising reaction, don't get upset, defensive or otherwise disturbed. Maintain a cool spirit at all times.
9. Commit yourself to prophetic accuracy. Don't feel pressure to prophesy. One reason some people miss it is because of that prophetic pressure.
10. Stay accountable. Admit if you are wrong. Stay humble and teachable. Receive correction so you can develop your prophetic gifting.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder of awakeningtv.com, on the leadership team of the New Breed Revival Network and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening; Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of God; The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Jennifer's Periscope handle is @propheticbooks.