Something is about to shift in the prophetic world. A cleansing is imminent and already underway. As this purification of much that has been impure takes root, it will also include a changing of the guard. While faithful patriarchs such as John Paul Jackson, Bishop Bill Hamon and my own father, John Sandford (to name a few) have paved the way for reliable prophetic ministry, it seems clear that a fresh set of voices will now carry it forward. An older generation is passing away or simply fading from the spotlight while a fresh group of anointed prophets is just beginning to emerge.
While I am not saying there was anything less than godly in those now fading from the spotlight, or in those now gone home to glory, and while I am certainly not in any way minimizing the contributions they made to the body of Christ, I am saying that the generation now emerging carries a fresh heart for a new day. These will speak more from humble intimacy with Jesus and from a pastoral spirit than from a concern for gifting. Their words will flow more from the heart of the Father than from any felt need to prophesy, build a great ministry or stand on anyone's stage. More than developing their gifts, they will seek oneness with Jesus and His nature. They will pursue rest in relationship with Him, more than being supernatural.
The aforementioned pioneers pointed the way with an emphasis on character, the cross and biblical grounding, but their foundational core messages were, in my opinion, too little heard by too many who needed to listen. In this coming generation, however, the call to integrity, character and solid biblical grounding has been heeded. The need to wow the body of Christ and tickle the ears of men is giving way to a hunger to bow before the King of kings, broken by His love and faithful to His words, regardless of the fallout. As a result, these emerging prophets will release into the people of God a deeper level of life than we have known, as well as a sense of liberty in holiness that is both life-giving and free of condemnation.
We older ones whom God allows to remain—some of us perhaps late maturers in matters prophetic, hidden by the hand of God until now—inherit a calling to father the coming movement. The heart of a true father desires to see sons and daughters grow into greater things than he could ever attain. Those into whom we sow life and wisdom may therefore carry greater gifting and walk in a higher level of revelation than we who are called to be fathers have known, but so did Elisha exercise a greater level of raw anointing than did his spiritual father, Elijah.
What if those in this emerging generation become better known than those of us called to father them? What if their books sell more than ours? What if they stand before thousands as we merely watch and pray? Can we walk in the kind of humility that rejoices to see others gaining notice and recognition for their full-grown wisdom and the revelations for which we sowed the seeds in hidden places? Will our hearts swell with pleasure and pride in their advancement? Or will old wineskins and unredeemed elements of character, ambition and insecurity disqualify us and hinder us from delivering and releasing the fullness of the treasure God has entrusted to us for their sake?
When these younger voices confront abuses and imbalances in prophetic ministries, will an older, more established prophetic community receive and judge their words on the basis of the humble spirit in which they are delivered and the soundness of their biblical grounding? Or will there be rejection and backlash with cries of, "Who does that young guy think he is, correcting and rebuking major internationally known ministries?" The apostle Paul exhorted young Timothy not to allow anyone to look down on him for his youth, but rather to exercise the gifting, anointing and authority imparted to him through the laying on of Paul's hands. Will an older generation need to be exhorted regarding the flip side of Paul's admonition so that, in fact, the older generation does not despise the younger for being what I might call "chronologically handicapped"?
The shift underway in the prophetic world has only just begun. It will unfold in two waves over time: 1) The passing and/or retirement of an older generation and the emergence of a fresh and mostly younger one, and 2) a cleansing of prophetic ministry to discredit and eliminate pollutions and abuses across a broad front. We need, and we will have, a more accurate flow of prophetic ministry in the body of Christ, faithful to the Father's heart in Jesus. God our Father will see to it for the vindication of His own name.
R. Loren Sandford is an author, musician and the founder and senior pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver, Colorado. He has a bachelor's degree in music and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. In addition to pastoring, Sandford has an international teaching and worship ministry. Married since 1972, he and his wife, Beth, have two daughters and one son. They live in Denver, Colorado.
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