When updating my teaching on the Prophetic Ministry, I realised that something important was missing. There is nothing about the role of the wife of the prophets. This topic is not covered by in the books. Here are my thoughts. What could be added? Men called to the prophetic ministry are usually very thick skinned. They need to be to fulfil their calling.
Wife of a Prophet
Some prophets will be single, but many will be married. The wife of a prophet often carries a heavy burden.
I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint (Ez 2:8,9).
Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land-the kings of Judah, its officials its priests and the people of the land (Jer 1:18)The wife of the prophet is not a fortified city. She is a precious vessel (1 Peter 3:7), who is vulnerable to attack. Because opposites attract, she is quite often a very sensitive person.
As the prophet moves into his calling, he must put protection in place for his wife. She needs to be surrounded by loyal and sympathetic friends, who understand her struggle and can provide encouragement and support. His calling to be a prophet must not be put ahead of his responsibility as a husband. His wife must not be sacrificed on the altar of the prophetic ministry.
Men called to the prophetic ministry are usually very thick skinned. They need to be to fulfil their calling.
When he receives a hard word, the prophet should have wrestled with God and gone through a process to be sure that the word is correct. His wife will not have gone through that process, so she will not be so sure that the word is right. She will remember the times that her husband has been wrong, whereas he will have pushed these down into a memory hole, so he can get on with his ministry. She will remember the harm done, and be concerned that he could be wrong again, so it will be difficult for her to share the same confidence in his words. He will need to understand this fear and help her to understand why he believes the world is right. She will need to trust him, for better or for worse.
People are often intimidated by a prophet. If they disagree with what he has spoken, they will often be scared to challenge him. Many will take the easy way out, and share their concerns with his wife, hoping that she will pass them on to her husband. This is a bad practice. The wife should point out that her husband is teachable and encourage the people to take their concerns to him directly. The elders should advice the people in the church not to mess with his wife, if they have an issue with the prophet.
Prophets tend to be very black and white, so they can easily hurt people. When a young prophet is starting out, he will not even be aware that he is doing this. Some will not worry about people being hurt, even if it is the fault. The prophet’s wife will be much more sensitive to what is happening. She will pick up on all the unnecessary hurt and pain that he has caused. The prophet needs to learn from his wife. He should ask her about how people are responding to the way he speaks. He should use her advice to learn how to speak the truth in love.
Being a prophet is a tough calling. The wife of a prophet knows his integrity and the cost of his ministry, so she can be his main source of encouragement. Hopefully, she can build a home that is a place of refuge during times of stress.