“True prophets love process.”
I first heard that comment from Graham in 2005 at a prophetic conference. I didn’t understand it, but I was fascinated by it. My understanding of “prophetic” at the time was people who could tell you your Social Security number or when the next earthquake was going to happen. What Graham was describing was a New Testament prophetic development that was as much about character as it was about gifting; a relational journey with God as much as training in the nuts and bolts of giving a word.
I always thought prophets just were…not developed. But the teachings that I heard that weekend and the ones that unfolded as I worked my way through the Prophecy Series, painted a picture that was consistent with the scriptural nature of a New Testament God and His family of friends who express His voice. All of life in God, whether in the prophetic or in other areas, is progressive and developmental.
We are constantly “growing up into all things in Christ” (Ephesians 4:15)
and every morning, class is in session.
Developing in prophetic life doesn’t happen in a weekend or because of a certificate. Maturity in prophetic life occurs every day as we partner with the Holy Spirit to expand our capacity for stillness, joy and thanksgiving—which in turn, sensitize our hearts to hear what God is saying. We embrace an intentional life of loving as God loves, seeing as He sees, saying what He says and doing what He is doing. It’s how Jesus lived life in Earth (John 12:50 & 14:10) and Jesus is the cornerstone of the prophetic and our model (Ephesians 2:20).
What I’ve learned on this journey is that the riches of God’s grace, kindness and mercy are not waiting at some future destination. The process of refinement, of maturity and development is filled with rich encounters of His true nature every day. While I may become physically tired on long days of ministry, I’m continually renewed by what I’ve seen of His heart as He speaks words of life and abundance (John 6:63).
There are opportunities to practice speaking the heart of the Father every time I talk with people (and being a champion extrovert, that means I get lots of practice!) Are my words filled with grace or frustration? Am I quick to respond with goodness even if someone else’s words are filled with negativity? If not, then I have discovered my next area of growth. And if so, then the Holy Spirit and I can share a smile. I understand that if I’m to be trusted with His words in public, then I will need to become trustworthy in private. People are our proving ground. Every person, happy or sad; kind or rude; gentle or harsh; is an opportunity to see as God sees. To hear His heart. To express hope, passion, grace and truth.
The process of prophetic life is a light yoke, not a heavy one as long as it’s always about my relationship with God. The training is not easy. It has been costly in resources, time and reputation, but it’s a price to be paid gladly. Too many people have been massacred at the hands of immature prophecy that speaks to the sins of the Old Man rather than the identity of the New Man that Christ paid everything to gain. And too many prophetic ministers have crumbled under the pressure that comes with life in the clash between two kingdoms.
God is looking for a prophetic people that will not only express His true heart, but who will embrace the process of relational development with Him, so that on our toughest days, we can trust that HE is our great reward and our Keeper.
Quality training accelerates our development, though even the best training is not magic. We are required to actively engage with the Holy Spirit in His unique course for our lives. The Prophecy Series books themselves have been a process to read, digest, practice with and become. My copy of Approaching the Heart of Prophecy is dog-eared and stained with early morning coffee. Prophecy and Responsibility has endless notes. Prophetic Wisdom is less worn, not only from being the most recent but because it has been read and savored very, very slowly. The cross references to scripture have become well worn paths in my Bible.
True prophets love process. They adore hearing the Father’s kind voice, seeing a broken heart healed, or having a key of wisdom that unlocks someone’s chains. They understand that the training, both in life and in learning, is meant to save us (and others), not weary us. To prepare us to run a marathon, not a sprint — a lifelong race that is worth the investment to finish well.