Hopefully you’ll get more than just five intelligible words in this post.
It’s hard to know where to start when talking about prophecy. There are those (mentioned last week) within the Church that don’t believe it is an ongoing event in these days after Christ and his disciples.
However, I’m of the opinion that it happens all the time, every day.
In saying that, I don’t want to set up some sort of dichotomy between ‘amazingly significant words from the Lord’ and the common, everyday ‘garden variety’ words spoken.
All prophecy is amazing, because it’s God speaking to us. (Just hit pause and think on that one for a bit)
Here’s some of what The Bible has to say on prophecy:
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen
Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people…Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
How does this work out in practice though?
Once when I went to a Christian meeting, someone stood up and asked if they could speak a word because they believed they had something to offer the group. They asked could they have authorisation to do so.
That’s prophesying in a ‘fitting and orderly way’. (And it just so happened that what they said was beneficial to me)
Other times I’ve visited different Churches and someone who has never met me before, shares ‘a word’ with me. As they do so, it is clear that they know things about me that it is totally impossible for someone who’s never met me before to know. Sometimes, it’s something I’ve never told anyone else about ever – and yet they know.
That’s also a time when I feel like I’m ready to stop hanging around with the Anglicans, as many I’ve met don’t think that sort of thing can happen/is not to be believed.
(If anyone from my Church is reading this post, also read Philippians 1:3 🙂 )
It’s completely Biblical for there to be an orderly and fitting time of prophecy (sharing words) in a Church service. It’s also clear that the sharing of prophecy is not restricted by gender:
And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head, for it is just as if her head were shaved.
However you interpret that sentence, it’s clear that women are free to pray and prophesy at Church – and that praying and prophesying can actually happen. (Again, I’m not sure why some people keep skipping over that message in this verse when they claim to be ‘fundamentalists’ …???)
But how do you know that someone is actually prophesying, as opposed to spiritually abusing people by telling them something that is a message from their own evil intentions… and not from the Holy Spirit at all?
Test the spirits.
There’s (again) far too much to be said on this one as to how that is actually done. The simplest thing to say is this: if you think you’ve received a message from God in your ‘inbox’, hit reply.
Ask him to show you if it’s truly from Him or not. He will.
Yours in faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms,