Monday, February 03, 2020

General/Personal Prophecies

I have noticed that on the Elijah List and on Facebook, prophetic people are releasing what appears to be general/personal prophecies, which are not directed to any one person, but are made available to a general audience. They might say something like the following: “In the next four months, God is going to be without in a powerful way that will change your life around, etc, etc”. The word is not for a particular person, but has a wide distribution making it available to anyone who claims it.

I have two questions about this practice.

First, is it valid for followers of Jesus to claim any prophetic message that resonates for themselves?

When I have read some of these general/personal prophecies on Facebook, my heart has been really stirred, and I have felt like claiming them for myself. On the other hand, I have also wondered if it was just wishful thinking, and if I was grabbing hold of something because, it was positive, even if God did not intend it for me.

The reality is that the situation of Christians over the next four months will be really variable. A few will face persecution. Some will face disruption, when people they trust let them down. Others will face sadness due to the death of someone that they love. Some may make mistakes that set them back. A few who have been pursuing the light hard might have a serious breakthrough.

The sample prophecy above would only be accurate for one of these groups, although they might not realise it when first reading it. So, I am not sure if it is entirely safe for people to claim general/personal prophecies for themselves.

At the very least, claiming a distributed general/personal prophecy should go through a similar testing process as any prophetic word received directly. It should be submitted to a couple of people the claimer trust to decide if they consider that the world is relevant to the person claiming it. The witness of the Holy Spirit will be important.

On the other hand, there is a massive shortage of personal prophecy in the church. I see it when a visiting prophet comes to town. People are queued up, desperate for a word, and many appear to be disappointed, because it is difficult for one person to give relevant words to so many people in a short time, even if they have a powerful gifting. Likewise, in a church with two or three prophets, if there are 200 members, they will struggle to deliver every one of these members a relevant prophecy when they need it.

So, while there is a shortage of prophecy, maybe the best that the Holy Spirit can do is to get personal prophecies distributed widely, so that as many people as possible can benefit from each one. This works because despite the variety of situations described above, many people are in similar circumstances, so they benefit from the same message. This is probably not optimal, but it is better than people being left stranded without a word when they need it.

I suspect that God would like to see more prophets, and more people comfortable in the gift of prophecy, but until that happens, he is using the distribution of general/personal prophecies to encourage his people. Ideally, every believer should be able to get a prophetic word from some in their circle when they need it.

I have been blessed to have received clear, direct prophetic words at key points in my journey with Jesus. They have kept me going when times were tough. The most important words were from friends operating in the gift of prophecy. A couple were delivered by visiting speakers who did not know me, which is quite encouraging, if the word is correct. I have not had the same benefit from general/personal words that I have read on Facebook, because I have always been uncertain if they really were for me.

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