Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spontaneous v Deliberate?

In a post called Patterns in Personal Prophecy, Gene Redlin describes how he hears and delivers personal prophecies. His bullet points are worth digesting. I like his emphasis on achieving precision in hearing and delivering what God is saying. Precision is an important value for prophetic people, because truth is important and there has been too much prophetic mush masquerading as prophetic truth.

Gene contrasts “rapid fire” prophecy with a quiet, more measured, style that he often uses and concludes that one is not better than the other. I find this interesting, because the modern church tends to assume that spontaneous prophecy is more accurate. There is no biblical basis for this view. The Holy Spirit can do both, and he is free to choose how he will operate in any situation. To shake us out of our comfort zones, he will sometimes be spontaneous, when we want to be deliberate, and he will often be more deliberate, when we want to be spontaneous.

The benefit of a spontaneous word is that the Holy Spirit can drop it into our hearts unexpectedly, before our minds get going and before the flesh starts getting in the way. This is fine for beginners, but it not the basis for developing into a prophetic ministry. The person who wants to be used by God in prophecy must learn to quiet their minds and put their flesh to death. They must learn to distinguish between their own thoughts and the voice of the Spirit. This is difficult and takes time, but essential for developing a prophetic gifting. Relying on the Holy Spirit to beat our minds with spontaneous words is not a long-term solution.

The Holy Spirit loves to surprise us, so he will continue to give us words when we are not expecting it, but we must never fall into the trap of thinking that spontaneous words are superior to those that are received in a more deliberate, careful process. Clinging to the spontaneous will keep us locked in immaturity. Those who want to be used in prophecy will need to work hard at learning to shut out their own mind and flesh and deliberately and carefully seek the words of the Lord.

Sometimes precision is worth waiting for. At a meeting I attended recently, it took nearly a whole day for a few prophets to pray for less than twenty people, but the quality of the words was amazing.

Pearls take time to polish:
Mush tends to gush in a flush.

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