Guidance for prophercy.
Prophecy is bringing a message from God on a given subject at a given time by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It involves “telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind.” Prophecy occurs when a revelation from God is reported in a person’s (merely human) words. (Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology)
Prophecy at Oasis Church
We believe God still speaks to us. We are eager that people prophesy
(1 Corinthians14:39) so that the church and individuals will be built up (1 Corinthians14:3)
The Purpose of Prophecy
Oasis Church believes God speaks authoritatively through the Scriptures, however, God may also speak through prophecy. The primary purpose of prophesy is to build up the church (1 Corinthians l4). This can come when a prophecy is given to an individual or to the church as a whole. It is not about predicting the future.
“Those who prophesy speak to people for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.” (1 Corinthians 14:3)
- The gift of prophecy is to be desired and sought after (l Corinthians14: l)
- Spiritual gifts are given for the good of others and are not a proof of spiritual maturity (l Corinthians l2:7)
- Prophecy is to be tested or evaluated (1 Corinthians14:29-32)
- Prophecy is to be orderly and not out of control (1 Corinthians 14:32-40)
- What is said during a prophecy is under the control of the prophet (l Cor 14:32).
- Prophecy is not to be despised (l Thessalonians 5:19-22)
Prophesying in Church Meetings
During church meetings or a worship service a designated member of the church leadership will decide if it is an appropriate time for a prophecy to be given to the congregation.
Those giving prophecies during a service will have a calling and will be recognized by the leadership.
Guidelines for prophesying
- All things are to be done in order and in a fitting way.
- If you have a prophecy, pray to see whether it is to be given publicly, at this time. If you are unsure speak to one of the leaders
- Use qualifying language such as “I think the Lord might be saying… “or ” l have a sense from God that … ” This shows you are humble about what you have and also gives the listeners room to respond.
- The content of the prophecy should follow the 1 Corinthians 14:3 guidelines; it is to be for edification, encouragement and comfort.
- If the content includes more specific guidance or rebuke then it should be cleared with the senior pastor or a staff member before it is given
- The person prophesying is to avoid excessive emotion, angering language, being judgmental, repetition and being overly long
Giving a prophesy
There are three aspects to prophecy
- Revelation: hearing what God is saying (could be a verse from Scripture, a dream, an impression etc)
- Interpretation: having a sense of what the message means.
- Application: doing something with the message (could be given publicly; given privately; not given; used as a stimulus to intercede etc)
When you believe you have received a word from God:
1. Ask God whether you should speak it out
- Don’t assume that because you have received some revelation from God that you have permission to share it.
- Sometimes God reveals things to someone that are not to be shared (Daniel 8:26; 2; Corinthians l2:4).
- Is the prophecy for you, for another person, or for the whole church?
- Ask God when you should speak it out; timing is important (Proverbs 12:18,25:1)
2. Get permission to speak from those in authority in the church
- Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be easy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Hebrew13:17)
- It is helpful if you can warn one of the leaders in advance that you think you have something from God
- It is also helpful if you write it down; then it can be read and prayed about
3. Know the difference between revelation interpretation and application
- It is possible to have an accurate revelation but a wrong interpretation. Only give what the Lord gives you – do not add to it
- The application may be to pray; it may be that you don’t actually give out the prophecy
- If you are guided to give out a revelation from God, do it with humility
4. Leave the results to God
- Once delivered (either to the leaders, to a person or to the church) your job is done. The results are now up to God. Remember you could have got it wrong; remain humble
When a prophecy is spoken out in a worship service, small group or some other setting, the response will depend on the nature of the prophecy. It is up to the leader of the meeting (i.e. a service leader, small group leader) to determine the response. It is appropriate for the leader to pray that people will respond. It may be that there is an invitation to come and talk and pray after the meeting is finished.
If the leader thinks the prophecy is wrong or inappropriate they are to respond immediately so that the congregation or group are not left confused. If this were to happen:
- The leader would then speak to the person giving the prophecy after the service to explain why they felt their prophecy was wrong or inappropriate. This is in line with “testing” and maintaining order.
- If the prophecy is tricky pastorally or theologically it would be best for the leader to ask that it be written down and not spoken out at the meeting. This then gives other leaders time to weigh it up and discern God’s leading.
Written prophecy is to be given to the xxx who will share it as they see fit -possibly with Pastors or prayer leaders:
- the aim is to test the prophecy and seek God’s guidance on what to do
- a person or group giving a written prophecy must trust the authority of the leaders and should not feel personally rejected if the leaders after praying choose not to do anything with the prophecy
- if deemed appropriate the Senior Pastor or another designated leader will make the prophecy known in the church and ask God to direct the outcome
Giving a Prophesy to an individual
1. Do not prophesy to someone one on one. There are times when the Lord may have you do this, but in a church setting or a prophecy room setting, you don’t want to be a “parking lot prophet.” That is, you don’t want to pull someone off in the corner or prophesy one on one, especially to someone who is not part of your church community. This could lead to people twisting your words and it also leaves you without any true accountability. Prophecy should not be exercised in the dark.
Before prophesying to a leader or a visiting speaker always pass your prophesy by a Pastor or Senior Leader. Even if you have a serious word for someone in the congregation another leader is to be present.
2. Always record the prophetic word: Some people hear what they want to hear no matter what we say and will declare you prophesied something which you never even hinted of. A secondary reason is so we can provide the participant with a copy in case they didn’t bring a recorder. We want people to be able to judge, meditate and war with accurate prophesies. If you give someone a prophetic word in writing, be sure to make a copy for your own files.
3. Don’t add to or take away from the prophecy:
4. Be aware of your facial expressions and gestures: Just as you must be careful about adding or taking away from a prophecy with words, you need to also be careful about your facial expressions and gestures, especially when prophesying as a team. Don’t give a sour face when your ministry team partner is giving a prophecy. Don’t seem disinterested or otherwise emotional. Keep a straight face or smile. Stay engaged.
5. In the case of a strongly bad reaction from someone in the hot seat, remain calm and peaceable and handle the situation with diplomacy: If you are delivering a personal prophecy and the person rebukes you, cries or display some other surprising reaction, don’t get upset, defensive or otherwise disturbed. Maintain a cool spirit at all times.
6. Commit yourself to prophetic accuracy. Don’t feel pressure to prophesy. One reason some people miss it is because of prophetic pressure.
7. Stay accountable. Admit if you are wrong. Stay humble and teachable. Receive correction so you can develop your prophetic gifting
Individual Response: Testing and Weighing Prophecy Given to You
These guidelines are for those receiving a prophecy
If you believe a prophecy is for you, speak to a leader after the service and pray
If you are certain this is from God and for you then obey what God is saying; thank God for what he has said to you; act on it
It may be the revelation the person has given is accurate but their Interpretation is wrong; listen carefully to the content of the revelation first
Don’t be gullible; test everything and weigh it up; if you are unsure speak to a leader and ask them to help you discern
If you have difficulty with a prophetic word speak to a leader; be careful not to despise the prophecy or the person who took the risk to give it out
1. Test the prophecy against Scripture
There should be no conflict with Scripture; if there is you should disregard the prophecy
Prophecy may add focus to a section of Scripture or even a verse; listen to God and weigh it up.
Check it against the context or the Bible as a whole to ensure there is nothing in conflict
If you are uncertain if your reading of Scripture is correct or sound, talk to a church leader or the senior pastor
2. Test the content
Is it encouraging, edifying or comforting?
Does it lead you to praise God and thank him for what he has done?
Does it lead to guilt and condemnation? This in an indication it may not be for you or it may not be from God; even a rebuke should lead you into a greater experience of God’s grace and mercy .
Hold on to what is good (l Thessalonians 5:21)
3. Test the person bringing the prophecy
Is the person humble before God and before the leaders of the church?
Are they known to be a mature, godly person?
Are they willing, even eager, to have their words tested?
Do they believe Scripture? (do they hold to truth about Jesus as the Son of God?)
Both Old and New Testaments warn of false prophets (Isaiah 44:25, Jeremiah 23:32, Matthew 7:15-23, Acts 13:6,2, Peter 2:1, I John 4:1, Revelation 19:20)
4. Test the outcomes
Over time has the prophecy or prophet been beneficial to the group?
Are individuals and the church built up?
Does what was prophesied happen? (Deuteronomy 18’21-22)
If the message is inaccurate it may not mean the person giving it is a “false prophet” as they may have got the revelation or the interpretation or the application wrong; or it may be that some other part of their sinful nature has coloured what they said (e.g. pride may have caused them to say more than God gave them)
5. Test your own heart
Do you eagerly desire prophecy? (l Corinthians l4:l)
Do you want to see the church built up?
Are you willing to be encouraged, edified, comforted and even rebuked in this way? or must God conform to some pattern of speaking to you that you have grown comfortable with?
Are you humble before God and before the church leaders, willing to grow as a disciple of Christ?