And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. – Joel 2:28-29 (KJV)
Should you desire the ability to prophesy is a question most of us ask and rightly so. Prophecy is a great and unique gift that benefits believers and unbelievers. When we prophesy we speak divinely inspired messages from God to other people.
Now, contrary to what some Christians believe prophecy is for today just as it was for the Old Testament times. So we are not supposed to despise prophecies (1 Thessalonians 5:20). The word “despise” in Greek means contempt, esteem lightly, set at naught, to make utterly nothing of, disdain. Don’t be quick to brush off prophetic words, and neither should you take prophecies lightly. Measure what you hear against the word of God and take them to God in prayer.
Another thing that we need to understand about prophecy is that it is not reserved for special people that is why Paul advises all of us to desire the ability to prophesy. We also see the same with Moses in the book of Numbers 11:23-29. Moses desired for all to prophesy. He said, “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (NIV)
Now, you may be asking right now, what is prophecy?
What is the Gift of Prophecy
The Gift of Prophecy is the unique ability given by the Holy Spirit to an individual so that they can speak forth the message that God has given them. To prophesy means to declare things. It also means to predict future events. Understand that while we can desire this gift, we cannot pursue it or choose it automatically because it is the Holy Spirit who gives us spiritual gifts as He wills. Notice this verse:
But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. – 1 Corinthians 12:11(KJV)
In this verse, the word “will” in Greek is “boulomai” (#1014 Strongs) and it means to will, be willing, to plan with full resolve. It is a strong term that underlines the predetermined and determined intention of driving the planning. In contrast, #2309 (thélō) focuses on the desire behind making an offer, wanting what is best because someone is ready and willing to act.
The Lord Wills – not because we are ready for His gifts or willing to act. He gives us gifts because He is the Giver. It means that you cannot earn this or any other spiritual gift. It’s not by works, but by grace. Nobody should take credit for the gifts that are given to them by the Holy Spirit. Spiritual gifts are meant to bring glory to God alone.
Note that while we are encouraged to covet (covet – zeloo (Greek) – envy, zealous over, zealously affected) the gift of prophecy, it doesn’t mean that people with the gift of prophecy are better than people with other gifts like speaking in tongues. Paul encourages the gift of prophecy because it edifies the whole church as opposed to speaking in tongues which edifies a person. Every gift is needed in the body of Christ, so no one should forbid others from using their gifts. But they should be used in an orderly way. (1 Corinthians 14:39-40)
Principles of the Gift of Prophecy
● It is for Every Believer
As already stated above the gift of prophecy like any other spiritual gift is for every believer. It is not for a selected few like in the Old Testament. Note how Paul uses the word ALL in the following verse:
But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all (1 Corinthians 14:24 )
The gift is for all and not a select few. Every child of God is given a spiritual gift when they become born again. So you don’t get the gift of prophecy because you qualify for it but because the Holy Spirit gives it to you.
● You will be Accountable
It is not just enough to desire this gift so that you can be called a prophet. Know that you will be accountable for how you use this gift. Do not misuse your gift or underutilize it like the servant who was given one talent in Matthew 25:18.
God wants you to be a good steward of your talent and He will reward you for using your gift effectively for His own glory.
● Acts as Evidence of the Presence of God
In 1 Corinthians 14:24-25, Paul continues to explain why people should desire the gift of prophecy. He tells the Corinthians that if everyone is prophesying, and an unbeliever enters a meeting, he will be convicted by all that he hears because the intimate secrets of his heart will be brought to light.
Paul goes ahead and says that the unbeliever will report that God is truly among them. This means that the gift of prophecy acts as evidence that God’s presence is with believers.
● Don’t Be Afraid to Use Your Gift
Walking up to someone and telling them what God has told you sounds scary, right? But you shouldn’t be afraid to use your gift for God’s glory. See, if your gift is genuine, then God will confirm the revelation He has given you. Or He has already given this person or congregation the same message, and you’re just a vessel that God uses to confirm His word. So, do not fear judgment. God is with you through it all, even if some people may not receive what you have to say positively.
● Glorify God with Your Gift
Many people love to chase after prophecies instead of hearing God directly. This can be a bit challenging on the part of the person with the gift of prophecy. If you’re not careful, you may end up obsessing about your gift.
You may end up chasing after new words and distort the relationship people have with Jesus. Remember, you are supposed to point people to God and not-self. So be very careful.
Why Should You Desire the Gift of Prophecy?
But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. – 1 Corinthians 14:3 (KJV)
1. Prophecy Edifies the Church
The gift of prophecy is meant to edify, build-up or strengthen the church. Don’t use the gift of prophecy to bring others down or condemn. You can point out the sin and tell people to live godly lives lovingly.
Remember what you say needs to motivate people to strengthen their relationship with God. People will not seek God’s face when you keep condemning them. If anything, they will only run away from Him and start chasing the things of this world.
So you need to be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove when delivering the message (Matthew 10:16). When you lift others up with the messages that God gives you their faith gets renewed, they draw near to God, and the body of Christ is built up.
2. Prophesy Encourages/Exhorts Others
We could all use some encouragement, right? We live in a world where people love to put others down. So much so that some people have committed suicide because they could not handle the pressure. The church is also under so much attack from the world. The enemy has intensified his attack on the children of God.
The people of the world can do anything and fight for “their rights”. But Christians are being silenced because of their faith. It is now okay for some people to speak their mind, but we cannot talk about our faith freely. Some believers have started conforming to the patterns of this world because they want to fit in.
This is the best time for us to desire the gift of prophecy because through it, we can encourage one another. Look, we belong to one body that is Jesus Christ, and when some people in the body are discouraged, the kingdom of God is affected negatively, and this blocks it from advancing in different parts of the world.
We need wisdom from above, that is the wisdom of God, and that is why the gift of prophecy is needed now more than ever. See prophecy is not just about giving people human counsel. When you tell others what God is revealing to you, you’re in essence sharing godly counsel which leaves people encouraged.
3. Prophesy Comforts
There are so many people in this world that are hurting. The issues of life have left them angry, discouraged, bitter, and fearful. Sadly, many of these people are in our churches. They come to church with the hopes of finding peace and comfort, but unfortunately, most of them don’t get that. Instead, they end up being judged by the very people who should be helping them.
The body of Christ will become a place of comfort if we start to pay attention to those that are hurting among us, and that is why the gift of prophecy is needed today. God’s comfort will break away the stronghold of fear and bring healing to our souls and the body of Christ.
How to Activate the Ability to Prophesy
Sounds simple right? But we tend to overlook the simple step of going to God in our prayer closets and asking Him to grant us the desires of our hearts. Don’t run from prophet to prophet trying to get this gift, instead go to God and ask Him for it.
He alone knows where your heart is concerning this, and He will be able to work on your heart so that you can use this ability for the glory of His name. Jesus said in Matthew 7:7 that if we ask for what we desire, we shall receive. So don’t stop at desiring, take the next step, and ask God to give you this gift.
2. Activate the Gift of Prophecy in Your Personal Life
The first place you can start to use this gift is your personal life. Learn to receive insights from the Holy Spirit about your personal life when you are doing devotionals. For example, you can read your Bible and then listen to what God is telling you through His word. Make sure you record what God is telling you because it is easy to forget these revelations.
You can consult someone who is already using this gift for advice about the revelations that you get. They will help you determine if what you are hearing is truly from God.
3. Stay in Tune with the Holy Spirit
Now, you can not activate your gift without help from the Holy Spirit. Remember He is the one who gives us spiritual gifts as He wills. Develop an intimate relationship with your Heavenly Father so that you can be in tune with the Holy Spirit.
Learn to be open to the promptings and the revelations that the Holy Spirit gives you throughout the day. Note that the Holy Spirit can speak to you through life experiences, pictures, dreams, visions, impressions, and thoughts. You need to be alert in the spirit all the time.
4. Remain Grounded in the Word
It is crucial to remain within the context of the Bible when sharing a prophetic word. See, God will never tell you something that contradicts His word. So you must measure the revelation that you’re getting against the word of God.
Do not be quick to share any revelation you get because sometimes the enemy may try to misuse your gift.
5. Let Encouragement Be Part of Your Lifestyle
We have already seen that one of the things modern-day prophets do is to encourage other people. So how about making encouragement part of your lifestyle? Do not wait until you get a revelation from God for you to encourage others.
Always encourage those that are discouraged around you. See the best in others and correct others with love. The more you do this, the easier it will be for you to share prophetic words. See others the way God sees them and encourage them to become better Christians.
Spiritual gifts are special abilities that are given to believers for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Prophecy is among the spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to believers for the edification of the church. Paul encourages us to desire the gift of prophecy because through it, we can build, encourage, and comfort others.
It is not just enough for you to desire this gift, you need to ask God for it just like you ask for the desires of your heart. Activate the ability to prophesy in your life by remaining grounded in the word, staying in tune with the Holy Spirit, and making encouragement part of your lifestyle.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come before Your throne of grace today with thanksgiving in my heart. Thank you for making me part of the body of Christ through the death and resurrection of Your Son Jesus Christ. Lord, you say that if we desire anything according to Your will, we should ask for it and You will grant it to us.
Father, let your Holy Spirit impart and activate the gift of prophecy to me. Help me to operate in this gift so that the body of Christ can be comforted, built up, and encouraged for the glory of Your Holy Name. In Jesus’ name, I believe and pray, Amen.
I hope I have answered your question, “Should you desire to prophesy?” If you have any questions or story to share, please leave your message in the comments below.