1 Corinthians 14.1 exhorts us to earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. This indicates that the desire to prophesy is a critical component in flowing in the gift of prophecy. When Pentecost happens in Acts 2, the first two spiritual gifts displayed by the early church are tongues and prophecy; the gift of tongues is for personal edification and prophecy is for corporate edification (1 Cor 14.4). Paul encourages us to desire prophecy above other spiritual gifts for this very reason (I Cor 14.1). When corporate edification happens (through prophecy), the church is strengthened and enabled to operate in the fullness of spiritual gifts. When we view prophecy in that light, the value of stopping to share the “slight impression” of what the the Lord whispers in your heart is so clear: the person is encouraged, the body of Christ is strengthened, and Jesus is glorified!
“The Path to Prophecy”– I Corinthians 14.1, 1 Corinthians 14.3, 1 Corinthians 14.31
“Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Cor. 14.1, NASB)
Love is the foundation of everything we do in the kingdom. When we put love first, much of the “prophetic etiquette” falls into place. For example, when we prophecy from the place of love, we won’t declare words that don’t edify those around us. Love is pure and declares the truth, believing and hoping all things (1 Corinthians 13). The first key to prophecy is abiding in love.
“But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.” (1 Cor 14.3, NASB)
Although scriptural prophets gave directional and correctional words, the primary paradigm of New Testament prophecy is releasing identity from one believer to another by the Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit). A simple guideline is to choose not to prophesy life events (i.e., mates, dates, or babies). Often the words that we release, though intentionally non-directional, may be confirmation of what the Lord has spoken.
“For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted;” (1 Co4 14.31, NASB)
The Bible is clear that all can prophesy–no one is excluded. All means All. When everyone prophesies, everyone is encouraged.
“The 3 I’s of Prophecy”
God spoke in an audible voice in the New Testament three times. Do you know what He said? “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1.11). Firstly, we must be intimate with the Father who delights in us. When God spoke it over Jesus, He declared it over us who are in Christ.
Secondly, Acts 2 declares that the sons the daughters will prophesy. That means (in part) that those who are rooted in their identity as sons and daughters will prophesy! The Spirit’s role is to expressly bear witness to us, that we are the children of God (Romans 8.16).
Lastly, David declared that he desired one thing–to dwell in the house of the Lord and to inquire in His temple (Psalm 27.4). We are made to ask questions of God! My favorite question to ask of God is, “What do you think about me?” The Bible says in Psalm 139 that His thoughts towards me are precious and more numerous than the grains of sand on the shore. When I ask Him how He sees me and how He feels about me, I can be confident that He will speak the truth and it will strengthen my relationship with Him.
Furthermore, I can take that same question (“What do you think about me?”) and make it about another person: “What do you think about [My Wife, Hannah]?” When I ask the Lord that question and declare the response to [my wife], that’s prophecy.
[Transcribed and Adapted by Gretchen Christie]