People think that Biblical prophecy is something spooky or mystical. But don’t Christians believe that God has spoken to us through His word? Don’t we believe that we can ask God for guidance, or pray for the answer to some problem? Don’t we believe that God answers prayer? It turns out that the prophetic is just God answering!
The prophetic is simply the overflow of a walking, talking relationship with God. Because of that, cultivating the prophetic in our own lives involves depth of relationship, ongoing communication and some mode of telling others.
Cultivating the Prophetic Involves Depth of Relationship with God:
Stay close to God daily — take regular time every day to read, pray, and meditate in the presence of God.
Take time to listen daily — when you take time with God, don’t only read and talk and ask. Take time to also listen!
Write down what God says to you, no matter how simple or strange. Understanding what God says is always good, but is not always necessary! Your understanding will grow as you take time to listen.
Check what you hear with what God has already said in His Word. God does not contradict Himself. If we hear something that seems to contradict the written Word, it only means that we don’t understand well enough yet. Ask God, then, for more insight, wisdom and understanding.
Also, it’s important to find a person whom you trust who also listens to God, and check what you’re hearing with them. It may be, from time to time, that you have a limited interpretation of what He is saying — it helps so much to have a friend that you trust who can listen and hear too!
Cultivating the Prophetic Involves Ongoing Communication with God:
As you take time to listen, you’ll get impressions, hear words, see pictures. You’ll hear from God differently than I do, and you’ll hear differently from many others. Listen, ask God what He means in the picture, the word, the impression, or the “gut feeling” and take time to listen further.
As you practice listening every day, begin to set your heart to talk to God as you go out into the world, along the path of your daily life. Pray and listen as you travel, as you work, as you play, and as you talk to others. It’s a practice that takes time to develop, but as you tune in to God, it’ll become easier to tune in all the time.
Over time your heart will be deepened and enlarged until you can stay in that place of intimacy all the time. Like in a marriage, you’ll get to know God’s preferences, His loves and desires. He’ll set understanding inside you so that you begin to know what He thinks.
In this way you’ll learn to listen and hear, and be able to begin to know what He is saying, but there are a few things to remember:
- He says what He will – we can’t always get understanding for what WE want – that may take listening and asking over time. God is not a vending machine!
- We won’t always understand what He says – we must trust Him, and keep asking for clarity.
- He speaks in the moment – it doesn’t always work to get His word beforehand and then carry it into another time and place. We must do everything to be well prepared beforehand, but then we must be willing to trust God to speak in the moment also. He may show us something different in that time and place. We want the Fresh Bread of His presence!
Cultivating the Prophetic involves a mode of telling:
God has gifted us each with different modes of communication that are most comfortable for each of us. Some of us are visual, and can express ourselves well through painting, sculpture and photography, while others are physical and can express themselves beautifully through dance or acting. For those of us who are verbal there is writing, singing, sharing one-on-one, preaching to crowds, writing articles, blogs and more. For others there is video production, skits, plays, composing music, making a film… in fact every avenue of expression can be a mode of communication for the prophetic!
So you see, the prophetic isn’t just “Thus saith the Lord…” It is the result of a walking, talking relationship with God. We will hear Him if we take time to listen, and then obey — sometimes that will involve the need to tell others what He is saying. Prophecy isn’t something spooky or mystical. We believe that God speaks to us through His word. We believe that God speaks to us through prayer. We just need to practice listening. God wants to answer us when we pray. It turns out that the prophetic is just God answering!