Some prophetic words are tougher than others to give, but we still have to deliver them. I have worked hard at learning how to give such words while making people laugh. I draw people into wanting such a love for God that they accept the challenge if it is going to help them get there.
It is possible to give hard words without offending everyone. Unfortunately, it is not something that can be taught through a six point strategy. It takes practice, humility, and sensitivity to who God is for us. Our journey crafts us into the type of prophet we are. It comes out of what God is doing in us and whatever burden He has placed on our hearts.
The word has to be given gently, no matter how harsh it is. It has to be willing to yield — we have to be open to being challenged on it. This is where leaving it with the church leadership is so valuable. None of us ever receive a full word: “For we know in part and we prophesy in part,” as Paul said in 1 Cor- inthians 13:9. What often happens in the judging and weighing process is that God reveals more revelation to the leaders involved, allowing them to add to it, and giving them a stake in it. Suddenly, they come alive.
A few years ago, I gave a word to a church leadership body that included one individual known for his caution. I had nicknamed him “Mr. Cautious” because he was always the one suggesting patience, waiting, and thinking. I loved that about him: he was just being true to himself, and the community valued that. I gave the word and honestly expected him to suggest that every- one wait on it. After a lengthy discussion, we decided as a group to meet again the next day to further consider the prophecy.
Mr. Cautious arrived the next morning and stunned me. “Well,” he said, “I had a dream last night.” The dream and his interpretation fit perfectly with the prophetic word. I love that! This was the first time something like that had happened to him and he was absolutely thrilled. It changed the way he judged and weighed words.
God is always doing a hundred more things than we think He is doing in a particular situation. Our role is to be willing to yield to Him. We don’t need to defend our own prophecy — that’s not our job. We are not called to explain the gospel, but instead to proclaim it. We are not trying to make people understand who God is, but are instead called to say, “This is who He is.”
People can take it or leave it, for our only job is to proclaim it and trust that the Holy Spirit will come and make the proclamation real. The moment we try and explain God, everyone loses interest. It is boring to rationalize the Almighty. We can’t explain the inexplicable, so why try? Instead, we proclaim Jesus, what He is like, and what He is doing.
Proclamation is like a key in the door of the hearts of the people who hear it. It opens them to thinking in a way that explanation never can. Kindness needs to be at the core of all of our verbal interaction. We are supposed to be good to one another and to ourselves. The grace of God allows us to feel good about who we are. We can like who we are in God.
Becoming Christlike is a process full of mercy and good fruit. Everything we do to each other has to be godly. Our conversations must somehow draw people closer to who Jesus really is. The way we speak with people, the way we connect, the way we handle ourselves: this all communicates who we are in Christ. We need to remove all double standards and hypocrisy from our life and be teachable in all things.
One of my mentors used to say to me, “Graham, the humble man has an advantage over all other men. No one can put you down.” If we humble ourselves, God can exalt us. But if we glorify ourselves, God will have to humble us so that we are not lost to the calling.
The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. Second Peter 1:4 calls us “partakers of the divine nature.” If we partake in it, we must transmit it by giving it away to those around us.
The church has got to become prophetic, full of words that cut across where we are and what is happening. I remember going to a church in northern England for the first time. My first evening there, I met with the elders. I was very casual, even leaning on a stack of boxes in the pastor’s office. “Do you sense anything prophetic over this church?” the pastor asked me. “Oh yes,” I answered. “This is what I hear the Lord saying. This church is like a wheel, like a hub. God is going to give you eight church plants around this area. Your influence is going to go through all of these spokes throughout the region. This church will give birth to eight churches.” I then went on to describe each church, its influence, and measure of rule in the region.
Great word, but not at all what the pastor wanted to hear. He didn’t want a mother church with eight daughter churches; he wanted a mega church of ten thousand people in his current location. I later found out that he had just published a vision statement that included his plan to build a mega church. In fact, the very boxes I was leaning on contained the leaflets explaining that mega church vision! He was not happy with me. He quickly left the church office and I didn’t see him again that weekend.
Still, he went ahead with his vision and the church split over it. Naturally, I was blamed for the conflict because of my prophetic word, despite the fact that the split was actually caused by the pastor’s refusal to share his vision with his leaders before taking it to the printer. The pastor took the people who wanted a mega church and left to build it, but it never came about. I stayed and worked for four years with the people who remained and now, thirteen years later, that church numbers eight hundred, with eight daughter churches ranging in size from fifty to one-hundred and twenty. All of them are still growing.
–An excerpt from Prophecy & Responsibility
Prophecy & Responsibility is the second book in The Prophecy Series. It’s a perfect tool if you are interested in prophecy but need to build confidence in your prophetic gifting. This month it is available as part of the Experiencing the Prophetic Combo, which also includes The Portland Sessions: School of Prophecy. Together these teachings are a great resource for developing your potential in a way that produces increase and blessing! The Experiencing the Prophetic Combo is only available until the end of the month, so be sure to check it out before it’s too late!