Currently, throughout the earth God is raising up prophetic voices and a global prophetic people that will share God’s heart with those both inside and outside the Church. God longs for His message of passion and truth to first be shared within the Church and among the people of God and then with those outside the Church and among those who are far from Christ (Matthew 10:5-8; 1st Peter 4:17). When I speak about prophetic voices and prophetic people I am speaking about those who hear God’s voice and share what they hear with others. Being prophetic, at its most basic level is as simple as that.
It’s important to demystify the words prophet, prophetic and prophesying so we don’t detach ourselves from God’s activity in the earth, specifically at the end of this age because before Christ returns to the earth, the majority of the body of Christ will be prophesying. But there seems to be many within the body of Christ today that would relegate prophets and prophetic people to those in the Old Testament, or some guy on a mountain living in solitude emerging only when God visits him in an open vision (which often times after hearing it, it’s confusing, bizarre and un-relatable) . But the Bible presents a very different picture when it comes to moving in the prophetic.
In 1st Corinthians 14:1-3 Paul says “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” Through this passage Paul is challenging every believer (those in Corinth, Church history, as well as you and I) to move in the prophetic to some degree. It’s not required that you have an open vision before you speak to others on God’s behalf. It’s as simple as hearing the voice of God and sharing what you hear or see with others. There are various levels of the prophetic gifting that God has given to the body of Christ, but here in 1st Corinthians 14:1-3 Paul is presenting a form of prophecy that every believer can operate in. It’s not that I want to dumb down the prophetic and over simplify it, but rather break it down so that a form of it is attainable for anyone who loves Jesus.
This is exactly what the Prophet Joel declared would happen on the day of Pentecost. In Joel 2:28-29, Joel (a prophet from the Old Testament) receives and gives the strangest prophetic word to the people of God about how God was going to radically shift the way that He interacted with His people. Joel says “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” There are a few key phrases that we need to look at in these two verses that would have totally shocked the Hebrew company hearing this prophetic word. The first phrase is all flesh. What we must remember is that the lens in which the nation of Israel would have received Joel’s word was the lens of the priesthood, which only represented around 1/8 of the Children of Israel.
In the time of Joel, it was uncommon for everyone (all flesh) to prophesy and hear the voice of God (dreams, visions). And actually there were typically only a few prophets in the whole earth at any given time. In the Old Testament we see something called “Prophetic Concentration”. In the New Testament when we see Peter quote Joel 2:28-29 and in Acts 2:14-21 when the Joel 2:28-29 passage begins to unfold in Peter’s day, we see something called “Prophetic Distribution.” When Joel prophesied about this coming day he was saying that God was going to move from speaking through a few to the majority. This is some of what all flesh means. Instead of the prophetic being reserved only for a few (Prophetic Concentration) it would be made available to all (Prophetic Distribution).
The last phrase I want to mention from Joel 2:29 is “And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” This was another prophetic statement that would have shocked the nation of Israel. It’s not that there was no female prophetic activity in the Old Testament or among the nation of Israel, but it was greatly limited to a few experiences over thousands of years. This would also change on the day of Pentecost as God would start to fulfill the promise of both men and women hearing God’s voice and speaking it to others. It’s not that only Gentiles would hear God’s voice and speak it to others, but also that men and women alike would share God’s heart with the masses. That which was reserved for a few in the Old Testament, is now made available to the many in the New Testament.
Something I have learned about moving in the prophetic, is realizing how much I actually hear the voice of God. I have spent much of my Christian life waiting for that open vision and audible voice from God (which I still hope comes someday) while missing the regular, normal, common, still small voice which I am now understanding I hear so often. Sometimes God’s voice is so subtle that if we’re not listening we will miss it. And sometimes what He says to us is so simple, that if we’re looking only for grand revelation (which I occasionally receive) we will pass it over.
Misty Edwards has a simple phrase she often says while leading worship and it’s “God, we put our ear to the floorboard of heaven and listen. We wanna hear Your heartbeat.” Now it’s not that heaven actually has a floorboard, but the concept helps me to remember to tune my ear to what’s happening around God more than what’s happening around me.
My hope is that you would start to see that you do hear God’s voice far more often than you think. That you are able to not only hear God’s voice, but to share with others what you hear. Here at IHOP-KC we are reaching to be a prophetic people and to use the prophetic gifting that God has given every believer primarily to encourage one another and remind each other about How God not only sees us but feels about us.
I challenge you to take a moment right now and ask God what He feels about a dear friend or family member. After you wait a little bit, listening to what God says about them, write it down on a note, or a card and then give it to them. Listen for a verse, look for an image in your mind’s eye, an impression or a feeling. And make sure it’s something that would encourage them and help them love Jesus more. Be encouraged today that you hear God’s voice far more often than you think.