At the core of prophecy is encouragement from the heart of God, and a culture or atmosphere of encouragement makes it easier for prophecy to flow. In any group of people some will be in need of this. Any time we gather together there can be those around us who look mighty fine like swans sailing along in the sun, but like swans that appear graceful and dignified on the surface, underneath they are paddling like crazy just to keep going.
To be able to encourage them, to put strength back into them with Spirit-empowered words is the goal of any friend or leader.
It is liberating to learn how to hear God, it helps us to be brave about speaking to people when He highlights them to us.
A group of us did a simple prophetic exercise recently. When I say simple, I mean really simple.
I’d heard a story of a father who taught his young children how to hear God, and thought it was perfect for this purpose.
I started the evening by asking if anyone needed any encouragement or was feeling a bit flat, a few indicated they might be. This is never going to be the most responsive of situations, everyone knows if asked a question in a meeting that somehow if they respond they may well regret it.
I gave a brief explanation of the nature and purpose of prophecy and then asked if anyone ever felt less than confident about hearing from God, so again, I had just a few let on that this was so.
I admit what I did next will possibly harm my chances of getting anyone to respond to any questions ever again, but it was so worth it.
I asked the ones who needed encouragement to stand at the front, and the ones who didn’t feel confident of hearing from God to go through a simple step by step process of listening for a word or picture from God.
I won’t go into the practical details here, but you have to know, it worked. (Faces lit up…all except the ones who were crying because they had received a solid encouragement from Jesus) and others looked, well, curious, and perhaps a little relieved on behalf of their poor friends who’d just been ‘volunteered’ by me, and those ‘volunteered’ friends were now beaming as they had brought something from the heart of God to someone else who needed it.
The apostle Paul said he wanted believers to eagerly desire to prophesy, I think a lot of people long to prophesy, but wonder how they might start off in it. Keeping it simple is the best way, anything which needs a lot of thought isn’t going to make anyone feel less fearful of approaching a person in church, never mind elsewhere, but if we do venture out and take a risk with our simple ways, we might see things like Peter and John did.
Have a look at this,
‘They couldn’t take their eyes off them…Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realised these two were laymen with no training in Scripture or formal education. They recognised them as companions of Jesus, but with the man right before them, seeing him standing there so upright, so healed! What could they say against that?’
Acts 4:13-14 The Message
When the power of God impacts lives though us then people will stop to see what’s going on.
As we and our friends become more comfortable with hearing God and get brave enough to speak to people we don’t know, maybe in a supermarket, or a queue for coffee, who knows we may even start to see more of heaven touching earth.
Others may start to ask how they can know this Jesus who still speaks, still heals, still works wonders today.
Such a simple place to start, but so helpful. Why don’t you take a risk and make a difference to the person right there in front of you, now. Why not ask God if He has something to show you for them?