“Earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy” Paul told the church. (1 Cor. 14:1, NASB). The Greek word translated “earnestly desire” means to “burn with zeal, desire passionately, and pursue.” Paul says that he wishes every believer would prophesy (v. 5).
“The one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3, NIV). Prophecy edifies – or builds up – the church. Prophecy can give specific insights into a person or situation, and can open up the door for healing as well as evangelism.
Did you ever receive a timely word that lifted you up? Was there a season when your pastors and elders sought to hear from the Lord in order to cast a vision for your congregation? Have you ever received a word or impression from the Lord for someone else?
It doesn’t take long to get beat up and discouraged in the world in which we live. Prophecy is a means to restore our soul (Ps 23:3). It can alert us to a blind spot in our lives (2 Sam. 12). We are strengthened by the spoken word (Dan. 10:19).
What is prophecy?
Prophecy is simply hearing from God and speaking forth what He says. This can be for an individual, a congregation, a nation, or to the church as a whole.
“But I don’t hear God speak”
Jesus said “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27). Some Christians don’t realize that it’s God speaking and discount His voice as their own thoughts. Others don’t tune in by spending time in His word and waiting on Him. All who have the Holy Spirit can hear from Heaven (John 16:13). How God speaks to us can come in a variety of ways; our primary means of hearing from Him is the Bible.
God’s spoken word (Rhema) to us sounds like His written word (Logos). When the Holy Spirit speaks to us, He will never contradict what scripture says. The more time we spend in the Bible, the better equipped we will be to recognize the Spirit’s voice.
When it comes to God speaking, the analogy has been made that “the radio is turned on, but we need to tune in.” We live in an age where there is more static than ever. But He will honor our desire to hear Him.
How thrilling that we the church can hear directly from God! Jesus said “all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). We no longer need a high priest as under the Mosaic Law. Are you passionately pursuing His gift?