Hearing God... Prophetically Speaking
Over the years of growing up in church and during my time living down in the Bible Belt, I have heard my share of opinions about the prophetic. And it seems to be a subject that is often misunderstood, either by believing that everything is prophetic or that only the spiritual giants are prophetic (neither of these are true). But when I look at the life of Jesus, our example of how to live simply yielded to God’s purpose, it doesn’t look that way to me. He told us to do as He does, which is the will of the Father. He demonstrated taking time to listen and hear what The Father says to do. Learning how to hear God speaking to us is the only way to truly follow Him in a relationship that is interactive verses a faith that is based on only rules and guidelines.
In Matt. 7:21-23, Jesus said there will be many who do things in His Name that will hear Him say, “ who are you, I do not know you”. That is a sobering statement, and leads me to question how so many could get that far off track. Whatever occurred to bring this about, the result is they were deceived in thinking they were doing good, healing and prophesying in His name. So, in an attempt to simplify the word prophetic, I want to talk about it’s definition and use in our life as we seek to follow Christ.
There are three areas of the prophetic, the spiritual office of being a prophet, the gift of prophecy and being led prophetically. I am only addressing the last area, since it is foundational in this 8-week prayer journey, and since we all have the ability to hear God speak to us in our personal lives and in prayer.
Prophecy means: word of the Lord. Prophets spoke what the Lord told them to say: His words. Prophetic means doing something God has spoken. No matter what it is, the Lord instructs us to do something in the natural, whether it is speaking forth His word or engaging in some other action.
I know it can be intimidating to hear others talk about hearing God, from their communication style, to the confidence they exude, or just the vocabulary they use. I can feel that way too, until I catch myself and say, “Hey, wait a minute, that happens to me but I don’t express it that way.” I keep it simple and view it as part of my everyday life, and like to use everyday language. Maybe it’s just my style, but I think of it as God using the natural way I am wired to communicate with me, specifically, showing me a picture in my mind since I am a visual person. But the topic on how we can each hear God is a discussion for another time. Now, back to our talk about the prophetic.
The prophetic happens when God directs us to do something in the natural, that releases a response in the spiritual, which brings about a breakthrough in the natural.
Natural = Spiritual = Natural
I love the example of Jesus’ Baptism to demonstrate this concept. John the Baptist was at the Jordan River when Jesus approached him to be baptized. But John resisted, saying he was the one who should be baptized, not Jesus. (Matt. 3:13-14)
But in Matthew 3:15-16 we see Jesus’ reply: “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.”
Jesus' baptism provides a visual illustration of a prophetic act. First of all, Jesus told John to baptize Him because God directed Him to. Jesus made it clear He only did what the Father is doing. And we see that as He and John acted in obedience (Natural), it opened up heaven (Spiritual) releasing the will of God to happen in the natural (Natural), as the dove came down from heaven to rest on Jesus.
Another example is when Jesus healed the blind man in Mark 8:23-25, "He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
What an unusual way to heal someone! Can you image the blind man’s surprise, and then his amazement at being able to see? Jesus didn’t just make this process up because He was bored, He only did this because it is what He saw the Father doing.
Speaking it into existence
What power God exercises with words! As he created the worlds with the words of his mouth in Genesis, so we at times may be directed to speak words prophetically which will carry out His plans and purpose. His divine power will spark life into darkness, and bring about something out of nothing. We know there is power in our words, just as it is written that both life and death are in the power of the tongue, but how much more when speaking by faith what God places in your spirit.
Jesus demonstrates this power in Matthew 21:18-19, when he spoke to the fig tree. Here’s what it says, “Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, ‘No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.’ And at once the fig tree withered.”
Then in verse 21 and 22 it says, “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea’, it will happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
We do not put our faith in the words, as if they were a magical formula. We simply bend our ear to hear His word, and declare what He has said. Mountains move when our faith is in God. The words are just obedience on our part. When we hear God it ignites something in us, because we can see what the Father is doing. But we have to participate in faith, speaking it into existence.
My example: From 9th grade on, my oldest son was unable to function normally, due to allergies, breathing problems, low energy and we didn’t know what else. We tried every kind of doctor, natural remedy, and diet, as we prayed for healing. He was having a tough day when I took Him to get senior pictures taken. When we arrived home, he got out of the car and was already opening the front door, when I yelled his name. He turned around to glance back at me, we locked eyes and then I heard myself declaring, “You are going to be healed by graduation!” “Ok, mom”, he said and then turned to go inside and rest. I can’t remember if it was the first time I told Him that but it was the most memorable moment for me, to be sure. God moved on his behalf in several ways and by graduation He was considerably better, but then shortly after graduation God used one of his medical doctors and a procedure to bring Him back to health.
Sometimes God requires action from us, and when we hear Him whisper something to us, He always has a purpose. Even if we are not sure what the purpose is, we can be sure He is pleased when we choose to obey Him regardless of the outcome.
Here is an example of Jesus healing another blind man. In John 9:6-7 it says, “Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. "Go," he told him, wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man obeyed and washed, and came home seeing.”
This time God required action on the part of the one being healed also. After Jesus put the mud mixture on the man's eyes he told him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. This is where it required faith and active obedience on the part of the man, a type of prophetic act. The Bible records that he went and washed and then his sight was restored!
My example: When God healed my migraine, I heard His word, if I would get up and rejoice before Him, He would heal me. He was directing me to do something in the natural. By physically rejoicing in the Lord, the heavens were opened in my soul that day and, undoubtedly in the supernatural realm, and then healing was released to happen in the natural.
There is another area, besides speaking what we hear Him say or doing what He asks us to do, that I call physical acts or prophetic acts. It is doing something that may seem symbolic, like lifting up your arms as you pray Jesus be lifted up in the midst of the crisis you’re in, but it is much more than what you can see happening physically. There is a spiritual realm that is at work all around us, whether we recognize it or not. In Romans 7-8 it talks about being led by the spirit and not the physical, we are not to let what we see or feel or think rule our lives. As we practice following the Lord, and allow Him to lead us, we may find Him leading us to do things that seem silly at first glance. But choosing to obeying in joyful abandon, will bring freedom and joyful abandon to us and others in whats that surprise us.
In Romans 6:13 we are told to present ourselves as instruments of righteousness to God. We might be the instruments He chooses to act or speak through prophetically.
God directed Ezekiel to do a physical act to establish something in the spiritual - Ezekiel 37:15-28, "God directed Ezekiel to take two sticks representing Judah and Ephraim and to join them together as one stick. Then the Lord gave him words to speak out to his countrymen when they asked him what it meant."
My example: One night when I was at a missions prayer meeting, I experienced this during a time of prayer for my brother. I heard God speak to my spirit that He wanted to pour out blessings upon him. I felt this so strongly that before I knew it I was standing beside him with my tambourine over his head, speaking forth the blessing of God in his life. As I prayed this prayer, I acted it out with the tambourine over his head like a bucket being poured over him. Something in the spiritual was broken loose, and I witnessed my brother being touched by the Lord.
Next Monday will be week 7 of this 8-week series, and I will share what happened next on my prayer journey and how God taught me to use a few tools of intercession.
Blessings, Tami Gaupp
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