Over the coming weeks, I'm expecting to see prophetic ministry rise to all-time high. This foreboding pandemic that's glaring down on the globe, along with the fear of death and economic famine, is taunting every single one of us.
If there was ever a time for believers to rise up and prophetically minister, it's now. Let me be clear, I'm not talking about declaring end-time doom and gloom over the planet; prophetic ministry inside of the new covenant protects and comforts. It's not pronouncing judgment or declaring destruction. In fact, if you're participating in that right now, then I urge you to examine what spirit you're listening to. Learn more about New Testament prophets here.
As a gift from the Spirit, the core fruit of prophetic ministry is edification, exhortation and consolation (1 Cor. 14:3), so it's not all that surprising that the Holy Spirit is called the comforter (John 14:26). His nature is to educate and align your understanding with God's, convict or strongly encourage you in God's thoughts, and comfort and soothe you with God's merciful perspective.
That being said, operating prophetically is a gift and it's available to all believers. 1 Corinthians 14 says that we should all "earnestly desire the gifts, especially the gift of prophecy." I'll reiterate that it's a gift, and it's called a gift because it's not about you. Rather, it's for the people who need mercy, comfort and protection during times of crippling doubt.
One way we biblically see the prophetic used to protect is found in the relationship between Paul and Timothy. In 1 Timothy 1:18-19, Paul says, "This command I commit to you, my son Timothy, according to the prophecies that were previously given to you, that by them you might fight a good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith."
What you may not know, but Paul did, was that Timothy struggled with frequent illness, and some even suggest that he battled with anxiety (1 Tim. 5:23, 2 Tim. 1:7). In true fatherly fashion, when Paul sent Timothy out to the Corinthians, Paul wrote to the church ahead of Tim's arrival and said, "Now if Timothy comes, see that he may remain with you without fear, for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do" (1 Cor. 16:10).
Armed with authority given by God and gripping tight to the prophetic words spoken over Timothy, Paul protected him—by way of informing everyone in advance of who Timothy was and by commanding (not suggesting) Timothy, who was entrusted with prophecies about his life, to use them to fight for himself! You must understand that Paul was facing perilous times himself. But when your faith is placed in the Almighty and when you are prophetically enlightened, you will protect those God has entrusted you with.
With prophetic wisdom, I believe Paul knew what he was doing when he gave Timothy a stern "stop it, get up and fight" charge. But how many of you know there are times when people need empathy and a listening ear? Let me make this clear: When people are in need of empathy and you give them a command, it's not helpful; it's actually painful.
The ability to listen from the heart is truly an undervalued part of the prophetic ministry. You may say that it's not your personality to be particularly compassionate. I'd like to propose, it's a gift of the Spirit, not your personality, that mends the brokenhearted, delivers the captives from fear and heals the sick. As prophetic people, we earnestly need to listen to the Holy Spirit, not allow our personality to dictate direction.
A great example of prophetic compassion during threatening times was when Nehemiah was harassed during the rebuilding of the walls (Neh. 4:13). With doom imminent, he armed and stationed men, called burden-bearers, in the lowest, most vulnerable parts of the wall. When he saw the fear that struck their faces, his response was faithfully and compassionately charged. He said, "Stop being terrified because of them! Remember instead that the Lord is great and awesome. So fight for each other—and for your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses."
It's paramount that we bear the burdens of others. We need to stand in the low places with people and fight for them. I have no doubt there are people in your life right now who need comfort and to be reminded that God is with them. What I'm getting at is through faithful compassion, prophetically enlightened people will comfort and stand with others during vulnerable times.
The ripple effect of this global pandemic is an opportune time for demonic adversaries to come into our land and accuse God of abandoning us in our time of need. They use disturbing reports from the news to build their case. So how do we respond to spiritual menaces like these? The Lord says in Psalm 91:5-7, "You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day; nor of the pestilence that pursues in darkness, nor of the destruction that strikes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you." One reality threatens destruction, but by faith and through declaring what God has done and will do, liberation is found.
In contrast, look at the sons of Ephraim (Ps. 78). They were equipped to win the battle, but they didn't win. Why? Because "they forgot His works and the wonders that He had shown them." Instead of taking promised ground, they fearfully ran from the battle they were well-equipped to win.
As prophetic people, we not only protect and comfort those in need, but we build new realities in spite of uncertainty by first remembering the wonders God has done.
Years ago when I was depressed and lying on the couch for six months, paralyzed by fear of every kind (death, financial crisis and so on), God asked me to write down every miracle I had ever witnessed. For an hour and a half, I couldn't think of one miracle. Finally, I remembered one...and then a second...and a third. By the time I got off the couch, I had remembered 64 miracles! It was like there was this invisible wall keeping me from remembering God's faithfulness. But with each miracle that I wrote down, cracks formed in the wall of overshadowing doubt until it came crashing down. And that's when my hope enlightened me that if God did it once, He can do it again!
I believe the Lord's prophetic ministry is stronger than any weapon that could be formed against us. And I want to remind you that we aren't fighting for ourselves. We are fighting for our children's future. Our children don't need to pay the price for our fear. So, let's rise up, believers. Let's begin to remember and testify of what God is able and will do.
Currently, we are wisely practicing social distancing because of the coronavirus, but in this digital age, we are not distanced by any sense of the word. Pick up the phone. Shoot a text. Send an email. Let's stand together in solidarity. Let's bear this burden together.
Also, check out last week's blog, "Are Facts or Fear Influencing Your Faith," and strengthen your faith with a 40-day challenge.
Kris Vallotton is an author, speaker and the senior associate leader at Bethel Church in Redding, California. He is passionate about helping people become fully alive and equipping them for their God-given mission.
For the original article, visit krisvallotton.com.
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