I find that many people in traditional Christian churches do not understand, know about or believe in the gift of prophecy; however, it is listed in Romans 12:4-8 as one of the seven gifts that are given to the body of Christ. It is not any better than any other gift, but is equal to the other six gifts. Paul said he wishes that we would all prophecy.
While this is not my main gifting, I do operate in it at times. I love the way God uses people with this gift. It is a passion of mine to help those who have the gift to recognize it and come to a greater knowledge of how it operates and how to mature in the use of the gift.
Here are the attributes and misunderstandings of the gift as found in my book, “Seven Love Languages of the Holy Spirit”:
The Love Language of Prophecy
“If God has given you the grace-gift of prophecy, activate your gift by using the proportion of faith you have to prophesy.” Romans 12:6 (TPT)
Prophecy is hearing from Holy Spirit for ourselves and others and to speak, to edify, encourage and bring comfort. (Romans 14:3) Paul says in I Corinthians that he wishes all would prophesy. Romans 14:1 says “It is good that you are enthusiastic and passionate about spiritual gifts, especially prophecy.”
The person with the gift of prophecy:
- Is direct, frank and persuasive.
- Has little tolerance for sin, and hates evil.
- Sees things as black and white, with no grey area.
- Experiences an intimate connection with the Holy Spirit, and hears His voice frequently and clearly.
- Had a strong desire to express what they hear.
- Is drawn to spend a lot of time in communion with God.
- Has great discernment of character and motives of people.
- Is willing to experience brokenness to prompt brokenness.
- Desires scriptural truth to validate his authority.
- Can be a burden-bearer.
- Is concerned for the reputation of God.
How someone with the gift of prophecy can be misunderstood:
- Appears intolerant of partial good.
- People often don’t understand the gift of prophecy.
- Can be viewed as harsh, uncaring.
- Public boldness and strict standards may hinder intimate relationships.
- May not be seen as caring for individuals but rather the overall plan of God.
- May appear to have a hard time listening to other’s opinions.
- May have a hard time giving a person time to mature. They want change now.
- They carry so many burdens that they are not often available.
- They withdraw from large gatherings because of their burden bearing tendency.
BIBLICAL EXAMPLES: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, John the Baptist, and many more!
How the enemy attacks the person with the gift of prophecy:
Those who have this gift are often viewed as “weird” as a child or discounted because the parents don’t understand it or they think the child is making it up what he sees or hears from God.
If someone who has this gift is raised in a home where they don’t feel heard or don’t have a voice, it can result in them delivering a word from the Lord but can be “distorted” by talking too much – getting in the flesh to make sure they are heard, or they can just shut down. Since they are sensitive to others’ needs as the Lord reveals, they may become burden bearers, which when not understood can lead them to burn-out or depression. They may suffer a lot of rejection from family members as well as churches and get trapped in unforgiveness.
Another way the enemy targets this gift is with pride – resulting in them thinking their gift is more important than others.
Some additional thoughts on this gift:
Often this gift is accompanied by a word of knowledge gifting which is described in I Cor. 14. A word of knowledge is knowing things about people that the Lord reveals, or having an awareness that God is about to do something, or something is about to happen, or someone is going to be healed of a certain ailment. When people have this gift, often times God will put on their mind someone that is in need of prayer. People with this gift are often intercessors – someone who spends a lot of time in prayer because many of the things God reveals are for them to pray about, rather than speak about. Maturity helps one know when to pray and when to speak
I love to have someone with this gift serve as an intercessor in inner healing sessions. When they pray and hear a word from God for the person, it can escalate the healing and be life-changing.
When received, this gift is very directive to the Body of Christ. They may see things that are coming. People with this gift need to subject their words to be tested. When someone with this gift if recognized by the gift and given an office in the church to speak for God, they are given the title of Prophet. This is different from an individual that has the gift of prophecy.
A benefit of the gift is evangelism. When these people get words of knowledge for someone and there is no way they could know the information but by divine revelation, then nonbelievers get hungry to know this God. All prophecy is to be for edification and building up. That is a good test for most prophecies. Some words can be warnings.
A great use of this gift is to call forth the “gold” in someone.