Admittedly, the title of this blog post is a bit ambitious and of course no one can promise you that you’ll be able to prophesy accurately after reading one article. In fact one of the foundational scriptures for prophecy is 1 Corinthians 13:9, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part,” or as the New Living Translation puts it, “Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!” But don’t be discouraged: 1 Corinthians 14:3 says, “For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged.”
In John’s gospel, Jesus is quoted as saying, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:13). This is a tremendous promise, as it shows us that it is the Holy Spirit’s job to train us up. Whatever gift(s) God has given you will be grown and made manifest by the Holy Spirit. So God guarantees to help you prophesy better! It’s your job to learn to submit to His process, and in case you get discouraged about your ability to do so, remember that Philippians 2:13 says, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” This is the amazing covenant into which you have been placed: God gives you gifts, he gives you desires to use those gifts, he trains you up in them, and he gives you the power to partner with that training. We even see in 1 John 2:27 that “the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know,” so rest in knowing that the Holy Spirit is actively working in you. If you desire to prophesy, He is actively helping you do just that.
So…how to prophesy accurately. All true prophecy begins with this: “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” — Revelation 19:10 Logically, we can flip that sentence around to see that the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus, or to put it another way, all prophecy sounds like Jesus. If a prophecy doesn’t sound like Jesus, it’s not prophecy.
Combine that with Scripture’s teaching that we — followers of Jesus — are the bride of Christ, and we can build a picture of what prophecy should sound like: a husband speaking to his bride. Or, as 1 Corinthians 14:3 puts it: One who prophesies speaks to people for edification [to promote their spiritual growth] and encouragement [to uphold and advise them concerning the matters of God] and consolation [to compassionately comfort them]. (AMP) Even when Jesus rebukes us, it is loving, encouraging, and it imparts faith along with conviction.
If the key to delivering a true word is to sound like Jesus, then step one of any prophecy is to get the heart of Jesus for the recipient. This is true whether you are prophesying over an individual or over a group of people.
- Ask God to show you what He has done for the recipient.
- Roll over in your heart & mind the ways that God has shown love for the person. For example, you could say to God:
- You sent Jesus to die on the cross for this person.
- You called them out of the pit and have set them on a path of righteousness.
- You are showing them the right way to live, and you are empowering them to be free from all that holds them back.
- You have poured out your Spirit on them.
- You are healing them from what pains them and you long to lift them up.
- You are faithful to them, even bringing them here to hear from you once again.
- You have not given up on them.
- You are their good shepherd, causing them to lie down in green pastures; you are leading them to waters of rest; you restore their soul; you have been with them through every dark valley…
- Continue meditating upon all the ways that God has shown His love to the person. Connect in your heart with God’s emotions for the person. Allow yourself to feel His affection and His hope for the person. Stay here until you begin to feel overwhelmed by His heart for the recipient.
- Now, ask God what He wants to say to the person.
It all comes down to this: if you are fully immersed in God’s heart for a person, you can’t deliver an inaccurate word. Anything you say at this point is going to be informed by God’s heart of love for your ministry recipient. You are aligning yourself with the testimony of Jesus, which means you can deliver a prophetic word with potency and accuracy.
The lovely thing about this process is that it gets faster and faster the more you use it, because it’s coming from a place of mercy, love, compassion, and focusing on the other person. This is what the Holy Spirit does in us: He helps us focus on others, to love better, and to connect with His heart for those around us. He will train you up in this if you let Him!
As we like to say around here, there is more! There’s certainly more to learn about the prophetic, and all believers can benefit from training. One of the ways that the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth is by speaking to us through other people (kinda like prophecy), which is one of the reasons we offer training schools. We have an online prophetic training program here » and many of our conferences feature sessions which can help you grow in prophetic ministry.
Keep going! You can do this, and no matter how far/deep you go in prophetic ministry, always remember that it’s Jesus the bridgroom speaking to His bride. Get to know Jesus and you can trust your prophetic words.