The Hidden Life of the Prophetic Voice
How can you develop a prophetic voice?
With pen and journal in my hand, I asked the Lord to speak to me one day, and the words began to flow. The Father spoke saying, “There are many who want the grandeur of having a prophetic voice, want the call, the anointing and the power without developing their closet life. It won’t happen. All My great men and women who have truly run the race well have run it rooted in Me, learning the secret of dependence on Me in a quality closet life.” As the words hit home, I saw how I greatly desired to hear the voice of God and become an agent of His blessings, yet my life alone with Him seemed somewhat insufficient because of its demands. I was determined to see a priority shift take place. Little did I know that I was about to begin a wonderful journey.
"The fruit we bear in the prophetic ministry comes as a natural by-product of our roots abiding in the rich soil of His love."
1 Corinthians 14:1 says that we are to desire earnestly spiritual gifts but especially prophecy, and it says that we can all prophesy. Prophecy is one gift that we all can desire and develop. Once we are convinced of the value of the prophetic ministry in our personal lives and in our churches, the question is how do we go about pursuing this gift? I believe that embracing and cultivating the prophetic life has everything to do with embracing the One whose testimony is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10) and cultivating our hidden life with Him.
Like A Tree
As I began my journey, I often saw in my mind’s eye a strong tree standing tall providing shade and bearing fruit on its healthy branches. Underground beneath the tree was an expansive root structure. I began to study trees and roots both in the encyclopedia and in the scriptures. What a wonderful analogy of our Christian life! Just as roots are hidden under the surface of the soil, unseen and yet essential to the life of the tree, so our hidden life with Jesus is essential to our walk. The roots anchor the tree stabilizing it against the wind.
A tree’s roots also serve as passageways for water and life-giving nutrients from the soil. The fruit we bear in the prophetic ministry and any other aspect of life or ministry comes as a natural by-product of our roots abiding in the rich soil of His love. Our intimacy with Jesus, our ability to absorb nurture, affirmation and approval from our Father, and embrace the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit when no one else is around directly affect our ability to hear His voice and speak His words.
The messages the Lord is speaking through this move of the Spirit such as the Father’s love, healing of the heart and the importance of soaking have provided fertile ground for the emergence of the prophetic gifting. Before I was touched in this outpouring, I knew a portion of the Lord’s healing love and how to discern His voice. However, after my first encounter with renewal on January 31, 1994, a series of switches activated inside me. My faith began to soar concerning what he could do in and through me. A deep assurance of His love settled over me, healing my heart and awakening my passion for Him. It was then that the prophetic gifting began to emerge.
"Knowing I'm accepted by my Father frees me from the fear of man."
Knowing in our inner being how much we are loved by the Father fills the need we all have for affirmation and glory (John 5:44). Knowing that our Heavenly Dad loves us produces rest of soul. This allows us to prophesy out of an overflow of that love, and thus we avoid sounding like “noisy gongs or clanging cymbals.” We have a very communicative Father, and He has an abundance of things to say if we will let Him speak through us. We are simply going about our Father’s business as we prophesy.
The honor of speaking on behalf of the King comes from knowing Him intimately and conveying His heart as well as His words. As God heals my heart of the pain of the past, it enables me to speak more clearly and not through a filter of hurt and bitterness. As I receive my Father’s love, defensive barriers around my heart begin to drop. Knowing I’m accepted by my Father frees me from the fear of man, failure and rejection as I step out and risk allowing the Spirit to speak through me.
Developing The Hidden Life
"Soaking regularly is a gold mine."
Although I had been soaking sporadically for some time, it was during this past year that I realized how soaking regularly in the Father’s presence is a gold mine. Simply turning on an anointed CD, lying on the ground and allowing the Father to minister His love to me for an hour a day can be difficult for active people like me. However, I have found that the benefits of this divine I.V. far outweigh the investment of time. Now I cannot imagine going without soaking time each day. I’m being drawn by a divine magnet into that intimate place. Soaking has sharpened my sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, increased my prophetic gift and intensified my passion for Jesus.
Cultivating a prophetic life also includes cultivating a hidden life in the Word. Knowing the scriptures enables us to know the character of God, the way He speaks and the parameters He has laid out for prophetic ministry. We can judge prophecy through the standard of the Word and through the fruit of the Spirit knowing that we can discard any words we receive that don’t line up with His scripture and the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Since worship quiets our spirits and ushers us into the presence of the Lord where hearing comes much easier, being a worshipper goes hand in hand with the prophetic ministry. When three kings confronted Elisha and asked for a word from the Lord, Elisha sent for a minstrel to stir up the prophetic gift within him. The company of prophets came down from the high places playing harps, tambourines, flutes and lyres before them as they were prophesying (1 Samuel 10:5).
Cultivating an intercessory life is also important to prophetic people since so much of what we receive is not meant to be shared but meant to be released back to heaven in intercessory prayer. When we see something negative concerning an individual, church, city or nation, the Father is likely showing us this to pray positively and speak His heart back to Him on the matter. We want to see and speak what God is doing not what the evil one is planning.
Exercising The Gift
I discovered that growing in the prophetic ministry is synonymous with exercising the gift of prophecy. The body builder with big, bulging muscles doesn’t start out with any more muscles than anyone else has. Rather, he consistently exercises the muscles he has been given. Exercising the ability to hear begins in the prayer closet as we listen for his voice each day and write out what we hear. It comes through honoring our dreams, looking for vision, listening to the impressions we receive, honoring the quiet, inner voice that seems to sound like our own voice and paying attention to the natural things that happen that are shadows of the supernatural.
"Our churches and neighborhoods are full of people who could use edifying, encouraging and comforting."
One time when my husband and I were sensing we needed to step up our prayer and intercessory life, we walked outside our suburban home to see a praying mantis on our step with his little hands raised together as if in prayer. Every day for three weeks we saw that same praying mantis, and to us it was a divine message to indeed be found more in the place of prayer.
Exercising prophecy begins as we step out in giving prophetic encouragement to those in our families, our home groups and our churches (when released to do so). “Pre- Christians” we meet while in the mall, restaurant or street are also fair game for prophetic encouragement. 1 Corinthians 14 says that one who prophesies speaks to men for “edification, exhortation and consolation.” In case we haven’t noticed, our churches as well as our neighborhoods are full of people who could use edifying, encouraging and comforting.
Prophetic expression can be as creative as God Himself whether it’s prophetic dance, song, melody, evangelism, intercession or symbolic, prophetic actions. The Father wants to speak, and we can choose to be His vessels.
Cultivating a prophetic life means developing a hidden life in the Lord. He is the prize we are inwardly longing for. As I have fallen more in love with Jesus and been drawn to greater intimacy, I have realized my hidden life with Him is both the starting point and the destination of my journey to knowing and speaking the voice of God.