PROPHECY IS POSITIVE, NOT NEGATIVE.
Not like much of Old Testament prophecy. It is given “for edification, encouragement, and comfort” (I Cor. 14:3). I thought as a young man that its purpose was to say something dark about a person so he or she would be ashamed and confess sins. New Testament prophecy is about grace and mercy, not shame and condemnation. The New Covenant through the blood of Jesus changed everything.
PROPHECY SPEAKS TO THE FUTURE, NOT THE PAST.
It speaks to who people are and who they are becoming, not to their past and how they’ve blown it. It is not looking to call someone out but to invite them into their destiny. Do you know anyone who could use some encouragement or comfort? God in his love wants to say upbuilding words to discouraged people, and He wants you and me to do it. People get beaten up enough; they don’t need us to point out their failures. They need people to tell them what God thinks of them. People who are victims look to their past and are threatened by the future. Prophecy helps them to become victors and face the future with confidence.
PROPHECY IS SIMPLE, NOT COMPLEX.
We used to have well-known prophets from around the country give prophetic words at our Holy Spirit Conference. Few people were saying, “I could do that.” Then we began inviting people to teach us how to do it rather than doing it for us. Then my daughter Karis said, “I could do that.” You learn to say what you see, and God opens your eyes to see what He wants you to see. My friend Fred Thoni, a gifted prophet, teaches people to start prophesying by telling them to say this as they look at people: “The Father loves you and says to you that…” As you step out in faith, knowing that “love believes all things,” God will give you prophetic words that speak grace and truth to the heart. And you won’t get stoned if you don’t get it all right, because you are learning little by little and growing in faith and confidence. New Testament prophecy helps you do that.
PROPHECY IS FOR ALL, NOT FOR A FEW.
Paul made that clear. He said, “You can all prophesy” (I Cor. 14:31). It is meant to find expression in the local church when the people gather on Sunday or during the week. It can also go wherever we go! Really cool! Joel wrote, “Your sons and daughters shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17). The New Covenant opened the door so that you didn’t need a beard to prophesy.
PROPHECY IS FIRED BY FAITH, NOT FEELINGS.
As you walk into prophetic words with faith, the prophecy grows, and so does the prophet. We can practice prophesying, and we grow in the gift as we exercise it in faith. At the beginning we may be 30% accurate. As faith increases, so does the accuracy. Paul wrote, “If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith” (Romans 12:6).
PROPHECY IS WEIGHED, NOT SIMPLY RECEIVED,
even with the big guys. No one is spot on every time. You do not have to receive a word simply because it was given by an important person. Paul wrote, “Do not treat prophecies with contempt” (I Thess. 5:20), but then he adds, “Test everything. Hold on to the good” (21). And remember–without love, prophecy is nothing.