by Pam Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. Recognize that God has given the gift.
There are some things that God has ordained and prophets are one of them. He has ordained quite a number of things, and it is up to us to understand how these things work. We are told to “study to show ourselves approved unto God as workmen,” because we have been ordained from the foundation of the earth to do good works.
Not all good works are appreciated or even understood here, but they are created and they form to enable and to support and to establish the Kingdom of God. God is choosing out of the earth a people who will be His peculiar treasure, those who will enjoy His fellowship and company and ways. It is likened to a love relationship, like a bride with her husband where hearts are shared and life is established in an order.
A prophet is one who can speak the oracles (or the declared things) of the Spirit of God. Some will write it, and they are called scribes. Some will do prophetic acting out – giving a message from God, knowingly or unknowingly. (Ezekiel and Hosea are examples of that.) Prophets will correct understandings and pray in supplications (called intercessions) and declare things at the unction of the Lord.
It’s always been a mystery how God could relate to human beings who have such a propensity towards sin. He used humans to birth and raise the Messiah [Jesus] who gave His life as an offering for all. Because God was His Father, His blood was sinless which provided the atonement necessary for our salvation, so it is through Him that our eternal life and ways are established. He is our ultimate Prophet.
2. Recognize that God has given the gift of the prophet for a reason.
God has given a number of gifts and for good reasons – to make things work the way He wants! God has given teachers to teach, and farmers to farm, and encouragers to encourage, and builders to build things we need for example. It’s all for a reason, and it’s obvious that some gifts can overlap and overlay others. People can improve the abilities of their gifts by using them.
God has given prophets first to Himself as a sounding board and intercessor, and as people who will work to correct things such as mindsets, and as messengers, to people who will hear and seek God for what the Lord is saying to them. He gives them as people who will declare visions of the potential future in rebukes or better yet hopes. God will speak to those whom He believes are willing to hear His point of view and who will generate a message that equips and enables.
Can someone be a prophet who was not called as one? Possibly, by having a heart after God’s own heart. A prophet is not a status as much as it is a position, placed for the sake of establishing the Kingdom in boundaries (not of their own making) and defining the glories of it for greater understandings. As Moses said, “Would to God that all were prophets!”
3. God has given the gift through fallible humans.
It is amazing that an all powerful perfect God has any dealings with man at all, but He does, for man is His creation made in His image, yet with his own will. If man were not autonomous, meaning that he has his own nature and will, then there would not be a way for relationship and fellowship to occur.
And God desires our fellowship. We were created for that! God has no plans ever of giving up His Sovereignty over His Creation, but He does want to enjoy it – individually and corporately.
4. Fallible humans can make big mistakes.
This is an “ouchie” for all of us. Anyone anywhere can make mistakes and if we have lived even a short amount of time, we know that accidents as well as willful acts can occur that don’t bless us and can harm us even quite significantly. Prophets are no exception. Any type of leader can fail, and there is no way to arrive at that perfect place (unless you want to be dead).
Kings and presidents, pastors and leaders, children and youth, are all subject to failures but we work to perfect and mature ourselves to the right ways that will eliminate the problems and harm. As much as we may work at it and accomplish great things, we are still in this life, subject to things going wrong. But through God we can overcome them – especially when we learn His ways and how to pray effectively.
We must learn to forgive and keep our eyes on God as the Source, the Solution and the Savior. The greatest power in the Universe declares that Love overcomes all evil and that must be our goal. It is not just an emotion but it is something learned and as we encounter Love in experiential ways, our lives are transformed from glory into glory.
5. The gift is for seeking Jesus, not men or “words.”
In Isaiah 49:15, God says “I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”
These are also the things that prophets must seek to do. We humans love to play guessing games and there are a lot of people who like to play that way, even as adults. Life is a discovery and we will venture into things to learn them. But there are things that lead to life and things that lead to death, and some things that just waste time. There is no greater word than hearing from God for yourself.
God is calling us into a relationship lifestyle with Him, not giving us the authority to create our own kingdoms in an opposition to Him. He has a Plan, and it has some leeways but the optimum way of Life is His Way. When things are set up contrary to His ways, He calls them idols and He will destroy them and remove them. We can try to ignore them but we will find that His Spirit rule is as sure as the laws of gravity on this earth. You may throw something up in the air, but it is going to come down by that invisible pull.
6. The gifts are positional.
The ministry gifts of the Spirit are not jobs of employment to apply for, they are callings from God for the function of the whole Body. If you have the gifts of helps or hospitality or giving, or even pastoring or evangelizing, some important things will not be accomplished if you are not in your place doing what you are called to do. The lack of people not in their place can cause stress and strains on other parts of the Body that can be quite damaging to the whole!
7. True prophets will lift up the Scriptures as foundational.
God was wise in making the Scriptures a foundational basis and not men. Printed ink does not change like the moods and goals of men. There can be good people, but as we mentioned earlier, things can go wrong. When Jesus fought the devil, He used the words “It is written” to establish His loyalty, faith, obedience and stance. And it prevailed.
The Scriptures are a gift, and Jesus said those who worship God must do that in Spirit AND in Truth. The Holy Spirit can make the written Scriptures come alive and make good sense to us. There is a balance; and Spirit and Truth counterbalance each other in ways that keep us on the right path of life. Too much truth can become legalistic and oppressing, and too much spirit can become silly and fruitless and impervious. Jesus showed us the way to become powerful living truths through Him.
8. Prophets want you to understand.
True prophets are not trying to be weirdos. Sometimes God will make them do or be things that bring attention, but the goal is not to be weird. The goal is to make you understand God better and to increase and improve your relationship dynamic with Him.
A prophet’s life is wasted if you do not increase in your knowledge of God and in the understanding of His ways. Not every prophet is for every person, and God is not taking votes on which ones you like or don’t like. They are there to get the job done and He is not seeking your approval on that, except to get it right in Him. The culmination of the total will make the whole that He desires and is pleased with.
9. Prophets want you to increase in your own vision, not theirs.
Prophets are not just here to declare the future, although at times they will do that. How we see the future can really help us with the present and with resolving the past. If we can get a vision of the future that God wants us to see and have, we will be more equipped to walk into that good place.
Sometimes God will do that through personal words for people, and sometimes He will do it through corporate words to the Body. But if it is of God, the goal is to make you more excited and inspired about serving God, even if He is protecting you from potential future harm. True prophets are not building on themselves because honestly, they cannot carry the weight!
Jesus came to teach, heal, save and deliver people and prophetic words are used for those purposes.
10. Prophets labor unto the Lord, not man.
Prophets are called and employed by the Lord for the Lord. They are not “personal” or to “be hired” for just a few. It is always beneficial to know Godly people of all sorts, for every true believer has special revelations and manifestations of Jesus that are unique and that can carry an impartation of that which is good from Him.
But again, as we mentioned earlier, humans are human and subject to faults and failures, and it is important that we learn to keep our eyes on the Lord and His big picture, based on what the Scriptures say. Also the Lord wills to place them in strategic places for the most beneficial purposes.
All the men in the world can vote one particular way, but as the Tower of Babel story shows, if God has a different view, it won’t stand or function the way man may possibly want. Sometimes the longer things go on, the bigger the crash when they fall and it can make its point in very succinct ways.
11. Prophets can get offended.
Rightly or wrongly, prophets can get offended. They are a work in progress just as other humans are. If a prophet is offended for the right reasons, often God will stand with that prophet. If a prophet is offended for the wrong reasons, God will deal with the prophet. God does not show favoritism over Truth. He will not take away His will for their calling, for “the gifts and the callings of God are without His repentance” (Romans 11:29), meaning He won’t change His mind. He may put them on hold or allow them to go out of commission, or even save them for a special purpose, but He will always have in mind His original intent of good for their lives and for their called function.
12. God can get offended.
This is not just based on prophets. Don’t believe wrong teaching. Prophets in their obedient place will be defended, just as any other Godly saint will be because of Truth, but God has His own will. He can act independently and often does. And sadly correction may not happen right away, but God does take notice. Grace is realizing His longsuffering with us. The hearts that seek after Him, He will help, but those who don’t will be corrected. And then there is that place when “His cup gets full” or He has “had enough” and He will act in ways that get the attention of man so that the eyes of their heart will turn to Him.
God deals with individuals corporately as well as personally, and sensitive people will learn the ways of His Spirit. No mortal man can fully explain God which is why a personal prayer life is so important. He says His sheep can hear His Voice. It is best to avoid the blame game.
13. Prophets are intercessors.
All prophets are intercessors but not all intercessors are prophets. Prophets will plead the cause of God to the people and the plight of the people unto God. And to a great degree God will respond to those prayers, especially those presented as a righteous cause for the Kingdom’s sake.
Caring for the people as God does holds a special place in God’s heart, which makes the relationship He has with the prophet special. This is why they are often misunderstood and even rejected as “not right.” They just don’t think the same ways as others and at times it can seem “too high” up there. This can make it a lonely walk for the prophet, but the shared pleasures of God will be the prophets’ reward.
14. Prophets are people.
Prophets are people just like other people and have the needs that all humans have. They don’t have a separate or special place of provision just like pastors and evangelists and other leaders do not. If something is set in place for them, then they can reap that benefit, but if not, they struggle just like anyone else would and if they spend their time seeking God in ways that benefit, then it is not wrong to give gifts and help support them if it helps them to live and better serve others.
15. There are different types of prophets.
This is an area for Biblical study that can’t be given fully in a short amount of space, but there are different kinds of prophets – meaning that their gifts can operate in a variety of ways. Just as a dog and a cat or even people can come in different breeds/cultures, sizes, colors and traits, so can prophets. (Just using an analogy there to say there are varieties of the same thing!) Some prophets are “seers,” and they will see things and events and people in the future at times and be able to describe that, some get visions, even paradigm revelations. Some will dream dreams with serious messages, or have visitations of varying sorts in the Spirit realm. Some will walk out the message.
And obviously from this definition, you can discern that the opposite is out there as well, as in the form of the counterfeit to deceive and take you away from the true ways of God. This is why it is so important to know the Word of God because it invites His Spirit to come and abide with you. The Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth and He will show you things to come. This is not just for the prophet, but for all believers, but when the gift is there through the prophet, they will learn to let it manifest in ways that helps the most amount of people in order to please God.
16. When you give to a prophet, give to the Kingdom of God.
Just as they say “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” in many ways so is the Kingdom of God. You can give to people just because you like them and that can be an act of love. But when you give to a prophet, it needs to be because you believe in blessing the Kingdom of God. It’s a statement in the Spirit realm that you are believing in the ways and works of God.
It takes a place of maturity to really get to know our hearts in this area. If you give just to get “a word” without seeking to be more in the will of God, you have sown to less than the Spirit of God (the flesh or carnal nature) and you will reap that. At the same time, we can steal from or defraud those who labor by not showing any signs of appreciation.
Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, your heart will be also.” When we really know and love Jesus, we will want to bless the work that He is doing.
17. Prophets have a place in the Body.
One fifth of the five fold ministry is the prophetic. We need to have proper balance in these gifts in our lives and churches. The apostle and prophets are foundational gifts for a number of reasons. One, they are sent to you or others; and two, they declare the Word of God and break off the things that bind and limit and they teach others how to do that as well. They will bring insightful information (also called revelations) that can open your eyes to better ways of doing your life and ministry, even for areas or territories.
This will pave the way for the other gifts of the Spirit to manifest and come in. A pastor will take a group of people that evangelism has brought in, and they will care for them and train them (sometimes a thankless job), and teachers will ground them in the written Word of God. If the Bible was so easily understood by just anyone, we would not need that teacher gift, but the Bible is the gift that keeps on giving, so we need these teachers who can open it up for us.
As you can determine, many people have the manifestations of the varying gifts, but some will specialize in certain areas more than others. Some are called to be more translocal than just local.
18. Prophets have a job description.
I was so excited when I got the understanding of what a true five fold minister is, with all the people out there declaring they are this or that and confusing people. The office ministers called by God have a job description and while it may manifest in certain differing ways, the basics are established in Ephesian 4 that qualify them. Some may have callings they are not walking in yet, but this will define them in function. For the sake of simple understanding, I will use the New Living Translation for these verses:
New Living Translation (NLT)
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Obviously the older or more mature in these things will teach the younger. No one is born again one day and fully equipped the second day. But these express God’s goals for His believers and help the cause. This work definition applies to all the five fold ministry.
Obviously there is a drama dynamic at work that makes this a “pressing through” lifestyle engagement of many encounters. Something is being formed within and it will express itself outwardly as the maturity comes through in true Kingdom dominion. A baby doesn’t grow if it doesn’t eat and exercise. It grows up if it is ministered to properly.
Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is within you.” It starts there.
19. Prediction is not always establishing the Kingdom of God.
A true prophet is not defined by predictions alone. For those who do foretell, sometimes many years can go by and they must suffer the humiliation of not being understood or believed. It is easier to put things on the shelf or even discard them if they are wrong by putting God’s will for your personal life first. If we judge others who are trying and we condemn them, God may use that measure of judgment back on us. Things that were good can be left for something better and things that are wrong need to be forgotten anyway. If you are not sure and feel concerned, document things and look at them later, but make it apply to your life as well. We need to be in this together for the good, and remember patience is a virtue and that truth stands the test of time. God’s will is for us to have life and that more abundantly, but properly!
20. Some people are office prophets and some people are just prophetic.
Do you know, when it is a matter of the job getting done, titles are not the most important thing. People who pursue God and seek to be valid and equipped in His service can get a lot more done than people who are just lackadaisical and indifferent and don’t place value on their calling or giftings.
Some have dramatic callings and some are more subtle, but the outcome is dependent upon the responder. You can study prophets in the Scriptures and learn a lot about them but none follow the same exact patterns. The revelations that God is giving today are custom fit for our day. We can all be blessed abundantly when we each seek Him with our whole hearts.
© Copyright 2012 – Pam Clark Ministries