“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:1). This is such an amazing verse. It tells us to pursue the relational love discussed in 1 Corinthians 13 for our lives, and then to desire spiritual gifts to operate through us. The word “desire” comes from the Greek word meaning “to burn with zeal.” We are to have a fiery zeal for spiritual gifts to flow through us. (See 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 for a list of gifts to desire.) Why does God want us to desire these gifts? So we can be a “super saint”? No, the best reason is so we can be a conduit for someone else’s miracle. We are called to bring supernatural encounters to other people.
1 Corinthians 14:1 goes on to say we are to especially burn with zeal to see prophecy flow through us. Why is this the case? One reason is this: If something is going to happen, something must be spoken. This principle started when God said, “Let there be light” in Genesis 1.
What can we do to see the prophetic flow through us in greater ways? Here are five ways to jump-start the prophetic in your life:
1. BE THE MOST ENCOURAGING PERSON YOU KNOW – New Testament prophetic ministry is based on 1 Corinthians 14:3: “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” As we purpose to encourage people with the good things we see in their lives, we create a great foundation for healthy prophetic ministries.
2. ASK GOD TO SUPERNATURALLY ANOINT YOUR ENCOURAGEMENT TO OTHERS – “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). When we ask the Holy Spirit to enter into our encouragement, He will prompt us with thoughts directly from Him.
3. BE OVERFLOWING WITH THE BIBLE – The strongest words we can speak are Bible promises and proclamations of biblical truths. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). It is a powerful thing to share an encouraging truth from the scripture that is burning in our hearts for a person.
4. BE NATURAL IN YOUR DELIVERY – You don’t have to use King James language or become weird in your prophetic ministry. Simply say something like, “As I was thinking and praying about you, I heard something I believe will be a blessing to you.” Avoid overly using “God told me to tell you this” or similar phrases.
5. TRUST THE IMPRESSIONS YOU GET – Take note of unusual coincidences, pictures in your mind, feelings that you get, or Bible verses that come to mind. If you get something that seems a bit bizarre or too good to be true, you could preface what you say with, “This may sound a little crazy, but I am hearing this…”
Our prophetic words should never rebuke or expose the faults of someone, but it is to call out the gold we see inside of them. For more information on the prophetic ministry, we recommend Kris Vallotton’s book Basic Training for the Prophetic Ministry.
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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.