Prophecy is given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit to tell people what God's Spirit is saying to them. It is God's way of speaking through His servants the Prophets, "Nabiy" according to the Hebrew language, and "Prophetes" in the Greek language, as His spokesmen in the earth, to share with people things that will happen in the future as well as to bring repentance from past sins in order to return unto God for His purposes to prevail in their lives.
There are over 227 references concerning "prophets and prophetess" in the Bible with approximately 38 references to the ministry of "prophets" in the masculine form, with 6 references to the term "prophetess" and their ministries in the feminine form. (Note: The 227 references mentioned in the Old and New Testaments are located within the various illustrations and real life stories of these servants of God, such as Joseph, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Nathan, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, John the Baptist, Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Noadiah, Anna, and the daughters of Phillip, just to name a few.)
While prophets are seen throughout the Old Testament, today the ministry office of the prophet as referred to in Ephesians 4:11, is still relevant and will often accompany the Apostolic ministry in order to provide balance within the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a governmental ministry office that releases the inspiration of God in such a way that brings encouragement, correction and anointed instruction to the people with the purpose of causing righteous fruit to be manifested in their lives.
"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers." (NKJV)
Prophecy, however, doesn't operate in the church only. It is also a Kingdom ministry, which means that those who are called to the office of the prophet may also minister to nations, leaders of nations, kings, presidents, and prime ministers alike. The influence of a true prophet, one who is seasoned and mature through the process of submission to divine order, spiritual covering, and observation is different from the "gift of prophecy" in that it is one of the five "gifts" spoken of in Ephesians 4:11. The office of a prophet is one which serves to build up, equip and mature the people of God, through sound doctrine, to carry out the purposes of God for the church. In essence a prophet holds people accountable by the Word of God, and also speaks into their destiny by the same word, as guided by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The "gift of prophecy" as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 14:1-3; Joel 2:28; and Acts 2:17, ministers edification, exhortation and comfort to
others, but is not a governmental ministry office as seen in Ephesians 4:11. Whenever individuals operate in the gift of prophecy they are allowing the river of "living water" or unction of the Holy Spirit to flow out of their inner man into the church bringing encouragement, hope, and comfort. Anyone can actually prophecy in the church in accordance with the gift of prophecy, but it must be submitted, tested, permitted and overseen by the senior leaders of the ministry. While we encourage prophesying it is important to remember that all ministry gifts should start at home first, and the individuals character and lifestyle should reflect the image of God.
During my interview with Dr. Beatrice Redmond, we discussed the subject of prophecy and how to nurture it. In doing so, she encouraged the audience to embrace prophecy by nurturing the gift at home with your children as a family, and develop the gift further by journaling what you believe God is speaking to you. Journaling will allow you to recognize the distinction between your personal thoughts in contrast to what God is actually speaking. When journaling it is important to date each time you receive a word and when it is fulfilled. This will allow you to develop recognition of divine timing. I have personally accumulated journals for nearly thirty years. The most notable thing I have observed and discovered about journaling is that the vast majority of the prophecies I've received are not from my own intellect, but are of a divine origin and have come to pass. On a personal level, there are many times when I have received prophecies and held them until the time when the Lord released me to share them with the person or group of individuals intended with praiseworthy results.
Now, in order to avoid confusion and prevent abuses and misuses from taking place it is important to remember that "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion." (1 Corinthians 14:32, 33a) We must also understand that all true prophecy will be in alignment with the Word of God, and will never contradict it. If someone were to tell you to commit sin, I believe you should be knowledgeable of Scripture enough to recognize that this constitutes a false prophecy, and should be ignored. However, it is also just as important to qualify that not all prophetic utterance is false. There may be instances when the individual sharing the prophecy is not mature enough and doesn't understand proper timing, and shares a word prematurely. It is for this reason that all prophecy and those desiring to prophecy should always be submitted and accountable to spiritual coverings and mentors to help judge (monitor), train, instruct and activate those who believe God has given them a particular gift to release to others. It is much better to be in alignment than to suffer undue and needless reproach or do harm to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"And we have also a more sure word of prophecy; Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation." (2 Peter 1:19-20)
When the Holy Spirit inspires a person to speak it will always be consistent and in alignment with the Scripture. So, while everyone is not called to the office of a prophet, everyone can decree the word of God and get results because He will always endorse His Word.
Finally, prayer and worship are major keys to cultivating and releasing the prophetic anointing. Communion with God cultivated through prayer trains and tunes a person's ear spiritually to recognize and hear the voice of the Father, while worship creates an atmosphere that releases His presence in such a special way making it easier to both hear and speak what the individual has heard God speak to them. Anointed atmospheres and prayer should be cultivated and encouraged in churches and homes. It is out of this that relationship with God is developed, and the fruit (character of Christ) is developed above all forms of ministry, because the main qualifier of all ministry is Christ like character first, then comes the gifts and offices. You should never export what is not working at home first, but put the emphasis on serving God in secret before public ministry. Then God will reward you openly. (Matthew 6:4)
"Thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly."
KJV Holy Bible
I hope that you've gleaned insight from the subject of understanding the prophetic that will enable and allow you to embrace it as a genuine gift to the world and lives of God people for today. I also want to encourage you to share your comments regarding this subject and share our blog with your friends. Please note: This is not an exhaustive study on the gift of prophecy or the prophetic office, and is not intended to encourage anyone to operate in any ministry or church without prior approval by the leaders of that particular organization. What we encourage is to submit your gift and abilities to your leader(s) and allow them to confirm the authenticity of the gift so that everyone can benefit from it. "All things must be done decently and in order." (1 Corinthians 14:40) God bless you.
I would like to encourage everyone to visit the MPLI Radio Network page, and listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of my interview with Dr. Beatrice Redmond. I am confident that it will be a tremendous blessing to you.