PROPHETIC AND THE POWER OF PRACTICE
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-16)
Singing in the Spirit
Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul (Acts 13:1)… I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:14)… speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:14).
Spiritual songs are refreshing and releasing. There is liberty we exercise when we sing spiritual songs. Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 14 that it’s perfectly acceptable to sing in tongues. That verse doesn’t make any sense if singing with the Spirit doesn’t mean singing in tongues, because the next phrase is, “I will sing with the understanding.” Just before that, Paul has said, “I thank God I speak with tongues more than all of you.”
Paul also gives very clear instruction that it is not to be forbidden, but it should be under specific order. The order he gave is that if anybody is going to speak in tongues in the congregational gathering, there ought to be an interpretation so that people know what’s being said. Otherwise it will be said you’re crazy.
Having a valid interpretation doesn’t seem to apply to spiritual singing. There’s something about the singing that gives a sense of not only the presence of God, but the sanity of Him. Over the years, I have seen people healed and filled with the Spirit while people were singing, and people coming to Jesus Christ as their Savior as they sensed the reality and beauty of God’s presence the midst of worship.
The reason I don’t believe that the Bible means to preempt that there must be an interpretation to the singing together of a congregation in praise with spiritual language is because the very action itself is self-interpreting–People are worshipping God and the act itself has a beauty, a dignity, and a presence that is different than if everybody was just talking in tongues. I also think that it serves as a trigger for the vocalists in their prophetic worship, as they can be inspired/enabled to interpret into an understandable vocalization or prophetic flow.
Singing spiritual songs in tongues can be done at will because the scripture says: “I will sing in the Spirit… I will sing with the understanding…” You don’t have to wait for a burst of emotion. It’s a part of singing to sustain that fullness—to keep on being filled with the Spirit by singing spiritual songs.
Spiritual language enables us to speak prophetically to God
He who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him… (v. 2). Speaking to God in spiritual language is not the only way to speak to Him, but it is a privileged benefit through which we gain intimacy with God, and by which the Holy Spirit empowers us to serve others.
God loves you uniquely and individually. Utilizing prayer language is an important element in speaking to God personally, as it allows us to address Him uniquely and individually, as we express our hearts in a way only He understands.
While we don’t necessarily know what we are saying, we do know the One we are speaking with, as well as the quality of what our heart is feeling toward Him, as Holy Spirit lets us communicate beyond the language limitations we have.
Spiritual language equips us with prophetic insight…however, in the Spirit he speaks mysteries. (v. 2). The word “mysteries” is not talking about peculiar things but about God’s truth being brought into the light. It may be fresh to our minds, but it’s not going to be different from what’s in the Bible. To us, a mystery is something we can’t figure out, but in the Greek (mysterion), it is an insight or revelation that now we understand.
Often when I am studying and come across something that I just don’t get, I ask the Lord to help me tap into His Holy Spirit to see where it fits. It’s important to remember that the Bible was given by the Holy Spirit. While I am praying, another verse will come to mind, and then it will all click: this connects to that. Or the Lord will whisper something in my heart, and it all becomes clear.
Spiritual language is self-edifying He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself… (v. 4)
When we speak in tongues, there is an edifying—or building up—of ourselves. That doesn’t mean that people who speak in tongues are not interested in loving the lost and serving others. The Word says: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 20-21). It goes on to say to have compassion for the lost, and reach out to those who need to be drawn from the threat of eternal loss into life in Jesus.
Spiritual language is also an occasion in which we may welcome the Encourager or the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who comes alongside to help us (Paraclete is the term). As we pray in the Spirit, He flows refreshing goodness to us. There is no human explanation for the supernatural infusion of His encouragement and strength into our being when we pray in the Spirit.
Spiritual language expands the dimensions of our praise and intercession… For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us… (Rom. 8:26)
Worship and praise are powerful tools of warfare that drive back darkness. Praise drives darkness away, as true praise and worship is despised by the enemy. There is power in our praise when it becomes an instrument in the hands of the Spirit to drive back the works of darkness. Praise is an instrument of warfare and intercession, and it is loathed by the Adversary.
The Bible in Romans 8:26-28 says that we often don’t know how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit knows the mind of the Father, and He will enable us to pray exactly the way we need to, beyond our human capacities. The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses, For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
When we look at these benefits of spiritual language, we see in the Word why, on the day the Church was born, the Lord gave everybody a release in spiritual language. I don’t believe it was to prove to them that the Holy Spirit had come; the love of God overflowing their hearts would have done that. Nor was it to demonstrate that the power of God had come. Over each of their heads could be seen fire from Heaven that had come to energize. I believe spiritual language was given not as a proof but as a resource they would need in order for the Church to be the Church.
I will never argue against the idea that tongues are an evidence of the baptism of the Spirit, because I think there is sufficient evidence for that. It’s just not the only evidence. But the Lord did not give us spiritual language as a point of argument for the Church. He gave it as a resource to capacitate the Church. The Holy Spirit, who has come to dwell in us, wants to overflow every one of us and, in that overflow, to release His spiritual language.
POWER OF PROPHETIC SAFEGUARDS
In order to have a safe environment for revival and prophetic flow, there are safety measures we have put in place. Most of these rules and insight came from The Vineyard and are not intended to harm or mute prophetic flow. They also protect the dignity of the person being ministered too, as overblown words can be destructive and can be used of the enemy to create bondage. In my opinion only 85% of what is identified as prophetic words are God inspired at best. This means there has to be a means of judging prophesy and helping people grow, 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent (1 Corinthians 14:29-30). As to its place in Scripture, it is a principle, not a stated objective. To say it isn’t valid on this basis would disqualify many other aspects of life and discipleship.
Is there a possibility that the prophetic word is tainted or it’s biased? Tainting simply means this: if because of my past experience, if because of what I think or how I have been conditioned I can taint the prophetic word; for example somebody who has been abused may begin to speak a prophetic word that is harsh and judgmental. So you have to say is there a tainting.
The problem with some of the “so called” prophetic stuff that passes as prophetic in some circles is that it is nothing more than arrogant, critical, faultfinding bitterness, wrapped in the cloak of “the lone, persecuted truth-telling prophet.” Loren Sandford (John & Paula’s son) addressed that very issue one time, stating: “most prophets are persecuted not because of the content of their message but rather that the prophet is being a turkey.”
All modern prophecy is imperfect. The use of guidelines for the practicing of the prophetic gifting, like restricting novices from speaking about dates, mate or babies is an intentional act of protection, as the guidelines help to protect the person who is growing in their gifting, keeping them from exaggeration, deception or what I call “propha-lying.” Sometimes people go overboard in their exuberance to be recognized and used ministerially when among other believers. The guidelines help in discipling people into effective ministry.
Keep things simple!
- Do not project what God has been doing in your life onto the person or group with whom you are prophesying.
- It is best to present prophetic insight in such a way that the person feels free to say “no, thank you” to what you have spoken, (we are not to control, manipulate, or pressure), Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers (Ephesians 4:28-30).
- Remember that personal prophecy is conditional.
- These guidelines are used by virtually every major credible Renewal group, including Toronto, Redding, Pasadena, Randy Clark, John Paul Jackson and others as a basis to help people, not restrict them. I would say their use has been successful, not a dismal failure.
POWER OF PROPHETIC RESPONSIBILITY
Prophetic Responsibility- Bill Johnson teaches that there is a dual responsibility when it comes to prophecy on both sides: giving and receiving prophecy. The one prophesying has to recognize that the LORD desires to speak to each and every one of His children, and to those who have not yet been redeemed. We can trust that God will speak in a situation if the attitudes of the heart are correct. When we yield over to Holy Spirit, we can trust that He will speak. We must then be careful to give the prophecy in the purest form given by Holy Spirit. There are many scriptures against false prophesy and giving words to people in the Lord’s name, when it is not the Lord.
FINDING THE MARGINS- The proper use of the prophetic mantle moves against the negative and releases the positive. Jesus became nameless and faceless in order for the Father to be made known. We can reject those prophets or so called prophetic people, that seem to prophesy out of the flesh or pride or even envy. These are called curses, and we do not have to receive a word just because someone says they are prophetic. Guard your heart and mind against these kind. Give grace in all things and correct them if led by Holy Spirit. God abhors a false prophet.
It says in Scripture to honor the prophets. Part of the reason is that a prophet goes through an incredible amount of testing until they are like gold, able to be trusted by the Lord. These ones are anointed of the Lord, and must be honored and prayed for, just as you would a leader or Pastor in the church. Honor a prophet and receive a prophet’s reward.
The Lord is constantly refining us like gold. He is raising up an end time generation that will be effective and mighty in power against the powers of darkness. He will use prophetic gifts to speak to those desiring a God of the Supernatural, that is revealed in POWER. As we submit to the Lord in obedience and humility, we will be trusted with anointing to bless others.
We must always “test the spirits” to assure that we are following after His love for them. The Lord is faithful to teach us HIS WAY of doing things. As we are faithful to move in obedience, our giftings are perfected in His love. Luke 15:3-5, So He spoke this parable to them, saying: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
Words given often have good intent but little prophetic content. Or just because a word comes and everything seems to go in the “opposite direction” doesn’t mean the word is false. That is called “prophet process” and if you listen too or read Graham Cooke he teaches that this is a part of the process at times.
Leadership Oversight– Leadership will need to closely oversee and instruct each person as the Lord leads. Along with the freedom to prophecy in this closed environment, there is also responsibility when moving in prophetic gifts and a level of maturity and healing is required to be able to give pure prophetic words without filtering in our own “paradigms”. Therefore, careful instruction in prophecy will be given. In order to raise up a company of prophets, learning to move in the prophetic requires a humble and teachable spirit to accept correction. Discernment and hearing God’s voice must be emphasized. Training and release will need to occur before a person will be asked to minister outside of this close setting. In time, a person with a prophetic gift will be able to give and receive prophecy with the correct attitudes of the heart, spiritual maturity, without fear and move in the flow of Holy Spirit’s pure stream of love for the body and for “nonbelievers”.
It is the receiver’s responsibility to receive a word from a prophetic person, encouraging them in their gift if they are new to it. They then must submit this to the Lord and ask Him to confirm it. We must be careful not to receive it in our spirit automatically, as woundings can occur and doors can be opened in the spirit. It is important to understand that the Lord will continually build upon something He is telling you. It will not just happen once. Most of the time, when you receive a word, it will be in confirmation of something He is already telling you.
- Discerning of spirits enables believers to distinguish – by means of spiritual insight – the motivating spirit behind certain words or deeds, be it human, demonic, or divine.