5 Keys to Activating Your Prophetic Gift

5 Keys to Activating Your Prophetic Gift

The church world I am part of has greatly increased its prophetic culture in the last twenty years. There are probably few reading this blog who have not received a personal prophetic word from someone. I too have been powerfully impacted by people who prophesy, and I have had many, many people tell me how my prophetic words brought breakthrough for them.

As I hear testimonies of lives being changed by a prophecy spoken to them, I am struck by the fact that 95% of these words are given by “ordinary”, non-famous people. Truly, we can all prophesy; we are all “called” into this ministry. And just to be clear about prophesying: we don’t need to be weird and use King James language, grow a beard, or carry a staff. We can be naturally powerful.

So, let’s go for it. Let’s be part of God’s plan to unlock destinies in others. To help you do this, here are five keys to activating your prophetic gift:

  1. Prioritize the Prophetic – “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:1). Paul just finished the “Love Chapter” (1 Corinthians 13) and now tells us to pursue spiritual gifts. He had listed nine of these gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (tongues, miracles, healing, prophecy, etc.). We are to pursue the manifestation of all of these gifts in our lives, but we are to go after learning to prophesy above all others. God would never tell us to desire something that He did not want us to have.
  2. Understand the Nature of New Testament Prophecy – New Testament prophetic ministry is different than the norm in the Old Testament. Now it is not just reserved for a few, but is for all. This was made clear when Peter preached at Pentecost and quoted the Old Testament prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17). Not only will it manifest through us all, but the nature of the prophetic is now primarily encouraging.  “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3). “For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged” (1 Corinthians 14:31). The gift of prophecy is something we are all to do. It is encouraging in nature. Yes, those in the office of a prophet (Ephesians 4:11) may at times rebuke and correct, but that is not the purpose of the prophetic gift described in 1 Corinthians 14.
  3. Believe Your Words Are Powerful – “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). When we believe our words are not just giving information but are actually releasing life and imparting grace to the hearers, then we are ready for great prophetic ministry. Our assignment is not to convince people of what we are saying, but it is to believe our words have a life-giving substance on them. That belief takes our prophetic to another level.
  4. Be An Encourager – We have already said New Covenant prophetic people give encouraging words. Let me take this even farther by saying truly prophetic people ARE encouragers at their very core. They are actually looking for and identifying the gold they see in people. Being encouraging as a person is foundational to healthy prophetic ministry. When people ask me how they can grow in prophesying, I tell them this: Become the most encouraging person you know and ask Holy Spirit to supernaturally infuse your encouragement. This is the fast track to effective prophetic ministry.  
  5. First Speak Identity, Then Speak Actions and Influence – “He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). The moment we believe we become born again (John 3:3,16), we become perfect in Christ. (We experience an identity change into spiritual perfection.) We become perfectly righteous, perfectly protected, perfectly healed, and perfect in multiple other areas. “He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Sanctification is the process of getting into our experience who we already are, and the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2) with our biblical identity is how we get transformed into experiencing our Christlikeness. This is an important thing to understand as we prophesy. In Judges 6 the angel prophesied to Gideon and told him he was a mighty warrior (even though that was not manifesting in his life experience). He was told who he really was. (This true identity word is vital because we cannot consistently do what we don’t believe we are.) After Gideon was told who he was, then he was told what he would do (save a nation). When we know that the strongest prophetic words have clear identity statements in them, we will become increasing influential in the words we release over others, cities, nations, and ourselves.

For more on this, please listen to this week’s podcast.

Also, my book You’re Crazy If You Don’t Talk to Yourself and Kris Vallotton’s book Basic Training For The Prophetic Ministry will help you to grow and develop in this area.

For more on topics like this, listen to my podcast by clicking the link below.


Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.