(Prophecy Series, Part 3)
‘This is what I will do in the last days—I will pour out my Spirit on everybody and cause your sons and daughters to prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will experience dreams from God. The Holy Spirit will come upon all my servants, men and women alike, and they will prophesy.
Acts 2:17,18 Passion
God has never intended for ministry to be restricted to the top leadership in the Church. Rather, He desires to raise up a prophetic people from among us all. God’s intent has always been that from generation to generation, believers would be equipped and trained to hear His voice. Our sons and daughters are included in God’s intent to raise up a prophetic people. Not only should believers hear His voice, it is vital that believers be given opportunity in the corporate gatherings to prophesy. Beyond the corporate setting, believers should be encouraged to hear the voice of God and speak forth what God reveals to them whether they are in the marketplace or with their families and friends. Understandably, there is protocol that must observed in every setting, but the key factor is that believers should be encouraged and given opportunity to prophesy.
Why then don’t more believers embrace prophecy? Here are 9 reasons why believers don’t prophesy.
- Fear of Man. Jeremiah 1:8. God told Jeremiah, “Don’t be afraid of their faces.” Jeremiah was a young prophet of God who could easily have become filled with fear as he encountered the hostile, skeptical facial expressions and elevated status of those to whom he was sent. When you are overcome by fear, its voice becomes louder than the voice of the Lord. Fear causes us to look inwardly and not toward God. We begin to hear only the darkness of our fears, and we can miss what God is saying in that moment. God’s response to us in those moments is: “Do not fear.”
- Fear of Rejection. Matthew 23:31. Prophets must learn to overcome rejection. Israel repeatedly rejected and killed prophets of God. Fear of rejection will prevent you from prophesying. Not only that, fear of rejection will cause you to prophesy smooth sayings to the hearer(s) when the Lord is saying something quite different. Allow the courage of the Lord to come upon you, and declare the word of the Lord with boldness.
- Fear of Failure. Many believers don’t prophesy because they are afraid of being wrong. I have often heard believers express their anxiety over not hearing God’s voice correctly, or being afraid that what they speak will be inaccurate. This is a manifestation of an inward perspective instead of being focused on God. We have our senses exercised by reason of use, and we can choose to use our gifts, even though we are afraid of failing. To overcome fear of failure, you must focus on God and keep prophesying. Simply declare what you hear the Lord saying to you.
- Lack of opportunities. Many denominational churches don’t embrace prophecy. Believing that prophecy is only valid when it is from the ancient past, and not for today, believers are not activated to hear words of prophecy and release them in the corporate gathering. Yet prophecy is a spiritual gift as vital today as it ever has been. Prophecy has been set in the church for the edification, exhortation and comfort of believers and should be included in the corporate gathering.
- Ignorance. The lack of understanding of spiritual gifts prevents many believers from prophesying. Ignorance of spiritual things is a primary factor leading to believers to not prophesy. Some believers wrongly believe that only certain people can prophesy. A primary characteristic of kingdom culture is prophecy. Study the word of God concerning prophecy. In 1 Cor. 14:1, Paul, the apostle, encouraged the believers to desire prophecy. Every believer can prophesy.
- Religious traditions and control. Programs and systems within the church can prevent the flow of prophecy. Tradition and formalism within the corporate gathering can become restrictive. While it is important for the church to have structure and order, there must be allowance for the flow of the spirit of God. When the flow of Holy Spirit is stopped, believers become stagnant.
- Unrepentant Sin. Believers must walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. When we live according to the desires of the flesh, we are often unable to hear the word of the Lord with accuracy. Sin brings shame and condemnation into our lives. Submitting to Holy Spirit opens our born-again spirit to the voice of the Lord resulting in our rising in faith and declaring the word of the Lord.
- Prayerlessness. Prayer is communication with God. When we pray, God supernaturally imparts courage and boldness to us. He shares what is in His heart and often gives us words of edification, exhortation and comfort for ourselves and others. When we live without prayer, we can become spiritually dull and fail to perceive the voice of the Lord.
- Lack of faith. Each believer has been given a measure of grace. Faith is the activation key to flowing in the gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. Our faith is not in ourselves but in God who has anointed us. The opposite of faith is doubt. Reading the word of God and understanding His desire for us to minister as prophetic people helps to build faith in us. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
God has given every believer a measure of faith, gifts, and anointings to accomplish his will and purpose. One of the primary gifts given to the Church is prophecy. It has the capacity strengthen the church as each believer advances toward fulfilling their God-given purpose. According to Ephesians 4:11-13, the Church must commit to equipping believers. Obstacles, fears and apprehensions surrounding prophecy can be overcome through faith and commitment to God’s agenda instead. In this decade of the voice, let’s break out of traditions of men and commit to God’s agenda instead. Let us stand as a prophetic people who hear his voice and declare it. Let’s go.
Dr. Venner Alston is the author of Next Level Spiritual Warfare: Advanced Strategies to Defeat the Enemy. Her book can be purchased on Amazon or wherever fine books are sold. Her second book, Prayers, Decrees and Confessions to Defeat the Enemy, can be purchased directly from her website: www.drvjalston.org. Order your copy today!