While teaching allows us to gain a full understanding of God’s principles for life; prophecy imparts the purpose of God in our current situation Teaching reveals to us the mind of God while prophecy deals with His heart. God, like us, both thinks and feels. “But I am poor and needy; yet the LORD thinks upon me,” says Psalm 40:17. “Jesus wept,” records John 11:35. Christ both thinks about us and feels for us.
God loves to express His heart toward us and make His thoughts plain. Those feelings will never countermand Scripture, which is profitable for our teaching, correction, reproof, and exhortation (2 Timothy 3:16). In fact, it was the Holy Spirit-inspired word of the prophets that enabled the heroes of our faith to write Scripture in the first place. One could argue that by believing in the Bible, we automatically believe in prophecy! We cannot separate the two on any level. “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit,” says 2 Peter 1:21.
Many people rightly worry that an over-dependence on experience, at the expense of the solid grounding in the Word that good teaching builds, may lead to error and abuse. On the flip side of that coin, others are rightly concerned that the ministry of the Word without the spirit of revelation, which the prophetic enhances, can lead to a correct, but sterile, formality.
All knowledge must lead to an actual experience if our spiritual life is going to develop. Knowledge that fails to capitalize on experience is not worth anything in the spiritual realm. It ensures that our head is filled with instruction that has not progressed to life changing enlightenment. We are scholars who never graduate because we fail every life test. We know in our head but our heart is untouched. We can quote scripture but we do not encounter the God who breathed it into life.
I know from personal experience that it is possible and beneficial to have both prophets and teachers operating together. After all, that’s the way God intended it.
To move in even the simplest prophetic gift requires an understanding of the mind and heart of God and how to release that revelation to others….it requires a prophetic people to establish its rule. Prophetic words have different strengths of impact depending on the situation, circumstances, faith level and understanding of the receiver, and also the ability, experience, understanding, and relationship of the giver to the Holy Spirit.
Prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit; it does not belong to people. The Spirit gives gifts at His own discretion. Anyone can be used in the gift of prophecy provided they believe and have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, are filled with the Holy Spirit, and are open to moving in the supernatural.
Knowing that all Spirit-filled Christians can prophesy does not make everyone who does a prophet. Prophetic anointing contains various levels and stages, beginning with the shallow end of basic prophecy, encouragement, edification, and comfort. However, moving through levels of prophetic ministry and into the office of a prophet requires considerable training, experience, and development over many years. On average, it takes about twenty years to fully form a prophet, depending on the training, discipling, and mentoring one has received.
A strong, clean, purposeful relationship with God, wedded to a life of prayer, study, and meditation of Scripture, will always be more productive spiritually than a casual familiarity in those areas.
–An excerpt from Approaching the Heart of Prophecy
Approaching the Heart of Prophecy is Graham’s most comprehensive introduction to prophecy, the local church and the heart, mind and ways of God. For the month of January you can purchase Approaching the Heart of Prophecy as part of the Entering into Prophecy Combo which also includes the Approaching the Heart of Prophecy CD. Entering into Prophecy is the perfect collection for anyone who wants to know more about prophecy and how to start incorporating the prophetic into your daily life. Be sure to check it out!