18 Keys to Prophesying

by Wendell Smith (edited)

Too often the church has neglected a practical approach to the gifts of the Spirit. This has caused many to fear or abuse this means of building up the body. This article gives explicit guide­lines and keys to give us a better under­standing of the purpose and operation of the gift of prophecy.

Have a Clear Conscience.  A person with a clear conscience is a person who is released into confidence in any area of ministry (Prov. 28:1).

Build Up Your Mind.  Study Scripture. A person who is going to move in the prophetic must be one who is speaking the Word of the Lord.  He, therefore, must fill his mind with God’s Word (Eph. 5:18-19, Col. 3:16).

Build Up Your Spirit.  Speak in tongues.  Speaking in tongues strengthens the spirit, the inner man, to prepare to move into the prophetic (I Cor. 14:4).

Yield To The Holy Spirit. A person who wants to move in this realm must be totally consecrated to be obedient to the initial voice of the Holy Spirit.  It is important to be willing to do whatever the Lord speaks to you under the control of the Holy Spirit

Remember the Purpose of Prophecy. The purpose of the prophetic is given in I Corinthians 14:3: 1) edification, 2) exhortation, and 3) comfort.  A person moving in the prophetic realm in the congregation should never be involved in rebuke or condemnation.  If you feel you receive a word of rebuke or correc­tion, that word should be shared with someone in leadership. It is only the ministry of the prophet that should use the prophetic for this kind of adjust­ment in the church.

Worship releases Prophecy.  During times of worship, the prophetic mantle is released in the presence of the Lord.  Anyone who is going to move in the prophetic must be totally involved in worshiping the Lord in Spirit and in Truth (Rev. 19:10).

Concentrate on the Things of the Spirit.  It is of benefit to close one’s eyes, concentrate, and focus ones attention on the things of the Spirit and on what the Lord is saying, avoiding all distrac­tions.

Listen For the Words of The Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will speak to you as you learn His voice and will bring phrases, words, or visions to your mind with a prophetic anointing for you to share them.  Many words can come into a person’s mind; it’s important to try not to make these up or create something similar to the words of the Spirit.  A sensitive heart and a finely-tuned inner ear will help one recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Recognize the “Pushing” of the Holy Spirit.  There will be times when the Holy Spirit will indicate His presence and anointing upon the vessel for the pro­phetic message. Oftentimes a person’s heart will begin beating quickly and he will feel an impulse to speak.  It is very important to be totally committed and sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that this subjective confirmation does not be­come an excuse for self-glorification. Read Job. 32:18-20.

Practice Prophesying.  Although this sounds rather unspiritual, a person who desires to move in the prophetic realm must spend time alone in the presence of the Lord. Even in those times he will find himself anointed by the Holy Spirit to share a certain message.  Reading the prophecies of the Bible oftentimes can stir that prophetic spirit in a person.

Look for Confirmation.  Many times, in the congregation during a service, other words will come which will confirm the direction of your heart.  Songs, ex­hortations, Scriptures, etc., can be con­firming factors in knowing that you are in the flow of the Spirit.  However, if several have already prophesied and you simply confirm it, it does not neces­sarily mean that you are to prophesy in addition to those who already have.

Wait for Experienced Ones to Step Out.  This is not always a definite rule, but in a large congregation or a major church meeting, and especially in a place where you are not well-known, you should allow those who are in leadership or in experienced and re­cognized prophetic ministries to be the first to set the tone and flow of the Spirit.

Use Your Own Language. It is not necessary to have “thee’s” and “thou’s” to be spiritual in your prophetic flow.  The reason we hear many of those words is simply because of the certain vision that a person may be meditating upon in the Scriptures.  It is important to use your own language and be natural when you share a word of prophecy.

Evaluate: Prophecy or Exhortation?  Be careful not to prophesy a feeling, a “pet peeve,” or something that has just been mentioned and therefore on your mind. Many times we feel a word that we would like to share is an exhortation but it may not be prophecy.  A prophetic word should have a certain unction on it that will confirm it as a word of prophecy.

Check Questionable Content with Leadership.  Is the content of what I am about to share doctrinal, is it appropriate, is it timely, is it necessary, is it a rebuke, is it in the flow, or is it a personal prophecy aimed at one person?  If there are any questions or doubts, such pro­phecy should be screened by a leader in the church.

Refrain From Personal Prophecy.  Per­sonal prophecy should be administered by one who is a recognized prophet or under guidance from a strong prophetic minister in the church.  1 Timothy 5:22 says, “Lay hands suddenly on no man.”  The gift of prophecy in the congregation is not for the purpose of ministering to individuals, although it will in a general sense.  All prophecy should be tested by those who are experienced in this gift; therefore, do not give personal prophecy when there is no other to test it.

Speak Loudly and Clearly. It is impor­tant that people are able to hear and understand what you are saying. How­ever, it is not necessary that a person shouts or screams in order to sound spiritual.

Quit When the Flow Quits.  Many times the Holy Spirit wilt give us a partial word or we will not be sufficiently in tune to continue the flow as the Holy Spirit would give it to us.  It is important not to keep going in a word simply to make it sound better to our own ears, or to make the “good feeling” last longer or to simply get attention.

Allowing the river of God to flow in the church is the primary function of moving in the prophetic realm.  God’s design is that there always be a river of life which edifies, exhorts, comforts, and strengthens the body of Christ in the congregation.

Reprinted from Trinity Times, Trinity Church Lubbock, Texas.