Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Prophetic Frustration

I am frequently contacted by people who are frustrated because they know they are called to a prophetic ministry, but find there is no space for them to function. It is a difficult time to be a prophet (it probably always was). God currently seems to have far more people called to be prophets than is needed by the church or the world, so there are numerous underemployed prophets sitting around looking for something to do.

The most important thing that underemployed prophets can do is to prepare for the future. The time will come when they will be needed and they don’t want to miss the opportunity because they are not prepared.

I have explained that there are three spheres where prophets can operate.

  • Individuals
  • Church
  • City/State/Nation
Prophets need to discover from God the sphere that he wants them to operate in.

1. Prophesying to Individuals
We have seen a vast increase the prophetic gifting and the release of prophecies for individual believers, but there is still a long way to go. Too many of the prophecies given are flaky and without much substance. This role of the prophecy-giver has tended to be professionalised with a big-name prophet being invited to a church meeting and expected to prophesy over a large queue of people who are desperate for a good word. This does not work well for anyone. The people get shallow words, and the prophet focuses on quantity rather than quality.

When I was setting out to serve Jesus, a friend shared a word with me that was life-empowering, because it explained who I was and enabled me to pursue my calling with confidence. A huge number of Christians have collected many words, but they don’t have the substantive word that they really need to sustain them through the trials of life.

Prophets who are called to this sphere should concentrate on quality over quantity. They should learn how to give really good words to the people who come to them asking for a word from God. They should seek to purify their prophecy and hear more accurately from God, even if they speak out far less frequently.

In the future, when times get tough, getting a true word from God in a tricky situation will be far more important. People called to be prophets should be using the current freedom to get better at hearing from God and learning to deliver really pure and complete words to the people who seek them.

Some unemployed prophets have concentrated on getting their words posted on prophetic bulletin boards, but this is not very helpful, because it is not clear who they are speaking to, so there is not much accountability for the truth of their words. People can claim these words, even if they are not intended for them. This has resulted in a flood of prophetic mush circulating freely on the internet.

2. Prophesying to the Church
While the church continues to be pastor led, the opportunities for prophets to speak to the church will be limited. Pastors tend to be a bit insecure, so they are often not comfortable having prophets around. Even if they are uncertain about the direction that they should take, they will be reluctant to call on the prophet for advice, because they will lose control of the process.

This leaves the prophet sitting in church meetings grieving because they feel the heart of God, and his desire to achieve much more, and about people not being released into the fulness of their calling. There is not much a prophet can do about this except pour their intense feelings into focussed intercession. They can shift to a different church, but the problem is that the situation will be the same in the new church too. They will be less known by the pastor of their new church, and the pastor will be probably just as reluctant to have a prophet around.

A few prophets have gone out and tried to start their own church, but that does not work well, because they gather a following of people who like their black and white style, but they usually fail at shepherding them into maturity. A prophet needs a pastor and prophet working together to nurture them.

Demand for the calling/giftings of the prophet will not increase until churches switch to a different leadership model, based on team leadership with balance giftings, where pastors, prophets and evangelists work together in unity by submitting to each other.

3. Prophesying to the Nation
An increasing number of prophets are attempting to speak to the leaders of their city, state or nation. This is a noble development, but my observation is that we are seeing more quantity than quality. Too many prophets seem to be cheerleaders for American nationalism and American military power.

I believe that the United States desperately needs an honest and truthful prophetic voice, to challenge the nation’s sins, and speak honestly about the dangerous path that the nation is going down.

Prophets who are called to speak to the nation should be seeking God intently to hear what God is saying to their nation. They will need to shut out the voices of the cheerleader prophets who are currently holding the microphone.

Those who hear God clearly will probably not get an opportunity to be heard in the current season, but they need to be prepared, listening intently to God, so they can bring a true word when everything around them is collapsing. If they can keep their hearts clean and their ears open, the time will come when they will speak and be heard.

Underemployed prophets should be honing their skills and preparing their hearts so that they are fully prepared when God needs them to share his word clearly and precisely in a powerful way.

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