How to Exercise The Spiritual Gift of Prophecy

When we begin operating in our spiritual gifts, it requires a great deal of learning and stretching. That doesn't just happen—it takes effort on our part. As I have sought to learn more about my gift and serve more faithfully in it, I have seen God increase it in many ways. I want to encourage you to take the same approach. Faithfulness means partnering with the Holy Spirit and carrying your end of the commitment. Let me share some of the most important principles I have discovered while growing in the prophetic gift.

Don't Be Afraid

The first principle—don't fear—is one that looms largest for me. Though I know prophecy produces much good, having the gift of prophecy is scary for me. I feel like I am walking on water whenever I have to tap someone on the shoulder to give him a word. I am tempted with all kinds of fear—fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, fear of getting in trouble and fear of making a mistake.

Every time it happens, I have to choose not to allow these fears to overcome me. I remember that God is in control and is with me at all times. In my weakness He is strong. When I open my mouth to speak, I know it is His Spirit speaking through me and not my own voice. I have found that the key to confronting fear is to acknowledge it, then say no and move on with what God tells you to do. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We do our part, but He is responsible for the outcome. I get great encouragement and boldness from reading the Word.

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Jesus said: "But when they arrest you and hand you over, take no thought beforehand, or premeditate what you should speak. But speak whatever is given you in that time, for it is not you who speaks, but the Holy Spirit" (Mark 13:11).

Sift the Stirring

When I feel the stirring in my stomach to speak to someone, I don't run over to that person right away. I wait to see if the stirring continues, because I want to be absolutely sure it is God directing me.

While waiting, I examine myself to make sure I am in right standing with God and that I don't have wrong motives in my heart concerning what I am about to do (see 2 Cor. 13:5). Before sharing with someone, it's OK to sift it for a moment. God allows time for this. Check your motives. Pray and ask the Lord for a clean heart, to keep you from "presumptuous sins" (Ps. 19:13), and that the words of your mouth would be acceptable in His sight.

Establish Boundaries

When God accelerated the use of my gift, Vicki had a number of different reactions. First, she was happy and relieved to see her husband coming along in his walk with God. When we were first married, neither of us was walking with the Lord. When we came back to church, Vicki often asked God, "Is Hubie going to have the same love and passion and desire to serve You that I do?" So my spiritual growth was a relief to her.

But when I started prophesying more frequently, including to women, Vicki was tempted to feel threatened, jealous and insecure. It wasn't a welcome sight to see me interacting with women who were attractive and single. Even less did she like the idea of women calling or texting me later with follow-up questions.

So there are now some boundaries we have established: I don't minister to people one-on-one in private. I don't hug women if I can help it, and I cut communication short if they contact me later. I'm not saying everyone has wrong motives, but Vicki and I are determined to go the extra mile to protect our marriage and ministry from even a hint of scandal. We also established an open text and email policy. Vicki is free to pick up my phone at any time and read my texts and emails.

I encourage you also to go to great lengths to protect your marriage and family relationships. Set boundaries so everyone knows you are serious about having integrity and protecting the most important relationships in your life.

Don't Chase Prophecy

Some people rely on prophecy too much. They like the "rush" of hearing from God. That is not the way God designed us to live. Prophetic words can give us something to hold on to, but they are not our daily bread.

When people obsess about the prophetic gift and seek new words all the time, it starts to distort the precious relationship Jesus wants to have with them. By chasing prophecy, they cut themselves off from personal contact with God. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice" (John 10:27). We must all hear from God ourselves.

On the other side, if you are a prophetic person, you must not become addicted to or enamored of giving words to people. If your motivation is wrong, you can easily start to draw people unto yourself instead of to Jesus. Pure motivation means wanting to give people the same love we received from God. Unfortunately, some prophetic people I know feel great pressure to perform.

I want to warn those of you who are prophetically gifted: If you act the part of the celebrity prophet, it will draw people to you. And it will pollute the exercise of your gift and eventually do as much harm as the good that God intended.

Let It Unfold and Flow

Many prophecies give general direction but not as much detail as we would like. I believe this is because God wants to give us just enough hope to keep us moving in the right direction. It is not our job to figure it out.

For example, it was prophesied to me when I was in my late 20s that I would be handling money for a lot of people, that they would come to me for counsel and that I wouldn't have to worry financially. I am now almost 50 years old and am just starting to see what those words means.

Let me address one more thing here: If you have received and acted on a false prophecy, don't get stuck in regret. The Bible says we see in part and we know in part (1 Cor. 13:9, 12). Prophecy is not going to be perfect, and God does not want us to get bogged down with bitterness.

When you receive a prophecy, pray about it and allow the Holy Spirit to help you discern whether to receive or reject it. Resist the temptation or pressure to interpret it right away or to make things happen.

The same attitude of patience goes for those giving the prophecy, as well. As you move in the gifts and surrender yourself to God, He may use your time in ways that make no sense to you. My advice: Deal with it. Give up your schedule.

I was always taught to have certain goals in life, but over time I have surrendered each of them to the Lord. Even my daily schedule is His. I start each day by surrendering to Him.

God is the author of time and is trustworthy to plan your calendar. His daily agenda should be your only agenda—no more, no less.

When I began to travel for ministry, God did the same thing. One time I was invited to extend a ministry trip in Florida, even though I really wanted to go home. Vicki prayed about it, and the Holy Spirit said, "Tell Hubie to go to Fort Lauderdale and await further instructions." We didn't know anything more than that. So I obeyed, and God opened doors to fruitful ministry there.

I have seen God open doors so many times that by now I'm afraid to say no to Him. I know He always has a purpose for telling me to speak to someone or go somewhere. I am getting better at trusting that He will give me time to rest or will impart supernatural strength if I am feeling weak. A good example is the divine appointment with Jonathan Cahn at the Charlotte airport. I was tired and cranky, but my obedience changed both our lives and set the course for publication of The Harbinger.

Yes, it's scary to call a client some days and say, "I can't come in like we planned. Something has come up." But I have placed my trust in God. If He makes me cancel meetings, I know it's for a good purpose. If He messes with my schedule, it's a good thing, not a bad thing. He will do the same for you, prying your fingers off the steering wheel of your life and forcing you to give up your petty sense of control. When you become willing to accept the unknown, your gift will operate much more freely.

Let Your Ministry Grow and Be Unique

I believe each person's spiritual gifts manifest uniquely through his or her personality, strengths and calling in Christ. There are general principles but no cookie-cutter approach to our gifts. Don't be afraid if God does things differently with you than with others. Embrace the differences; learn from them. Let me share some observations I have made about my own prophetic calling:

  • The Lord often sends me to give a word to someone right before a big change or breakthrough in their lives.
  • I minister to everybody, not just those in positions of power. The few times I have been on Christian television, I ministered to the staff. When I was backstage for one show, they had to come find me because I was ministering to a behind-the-scenes worker and almost missed my cue.
  • I now know the Lord will give the same word a second time if the person did not catch it the first time. When God gives me a word, it comes in a flow, and I can stay in it a little while if the person needs to hear parts of it again or wants clarity. But in general I cannot turn the flow on or off like a light switch.
  • The Lord will use visuals to help get His message across.
  • Your gift can expand and improve. I would encourage you to go where ministry is happening and see if that has an effect on how your spiritual gift operates.
  • You can prophesy to your family. It doesn't happen much, but now and then God does send a word to my wife through me.
  • Prophetic ministry is really draining.
  • You would think that prophecy has become part of my personal identity, but the truth is that I would not be disappointed if the gift stopped operating, unless stopping hurt the body of Christ.

God Can Use You Too

Though Vicki and I have been part of some exciting things the Lord has done, in some ways we haven't changed at all. I'm still an accountant.

I drive into New York City a couple times a week, park near the Lincoln Tunnel and work for my clients there.

If people recognize me, they think I'm that intellectual Japanese professor on science shows on TV. They ask for autographs and are disappointed when they realize I'm not him.

Vicki and I are raising our kids and trying to hear and obey God as best we can.

Our lives are in some ways radically normal.

If God will use people like us, He is eager to use you too.

In His own unique and unpredictable way, He will use your life to tell tales worth sharing. May God bless you now as you follow Him in the adventure ahead.


Hubie Synn is not only a certified public accountant, but also a speaker and itinerant minister who travels around the world. Known for his prophetic gifting, Synn has ministered to many prolific people, including New York Times best-selling author Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, Super Bowl hero David Tyree, Grammy award-winning artists and others.


Watch Part 2 of Jennifer LeClaire's recorded webinar "Walking in Prophetic Ministry" at propheticministry.charismamag.com.


If you liked THE article, you'll love the book

In his latest book, The Tales of a Wandering Prophet (Charisma House), Prophet Hubie Synn shares tales of divine escapades the Lord has led him through, including his prophetic encounter with Rabbi Jonathan Cahn. You can find this book wherever Christian books are sold or at amazon.com or christianbook.com.

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