As you know, we have been in a sermon series about what we do at our Sunday Service and why we do them. I hope this series gives you a deeper Biblical understanding of why God commands us not to neglect being together as a church (Hebrews 10:25) and how each part of our Sunday Service brings us spiritual renewal. This past Sunday, I preached on the Holy Spirit and why we leave room in our service for Him to minister to us through His gift of prophecy. In response, I’ve gotten some questions about what it might look like to put into practice the Biblical command to “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Corinthians 14:1) I am grateful for how God has used this gift in some of our gatherings in the past and that some want to learn more. So here are a few practical suggestions about how to pursue the gift of prophecy.
Prophecy is a gift that God gives, and so if we want to grow in stepping out into this gift, we need to ask God to speak to us. A theme throughout our series has been the importance of praying for our Sunday gathering before we get to Sunday. The word “church” comes from the Greek word for gathering, or assembly. And so being together as the church is the most important thing we do as a church, because being together is what being a church means. Since our gathering is the most important thing we do as a church, we should pray for our Sunday Service throughout the week. One of the things we can pray about is that God would speak to us through the prophetic gift and that each one of us would be open to Him giving that gift to us. Not everyone will be gifted in the same way (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), but any of us can experience this gift. The Holy Spirit is not bound to personality. Nor is He limited to our comfortability. If we are open, then He can work through anyone in this way. So pray that God would make you open and that you would be sensitive to what He might be giving you to share.
The prophetic gift is when God brings something spontaneously to mind and puts it on your heart to share with others. However, just because this gift involves spontaneity does not mean that it needs to be shared extemporaneously off the top of your head. Maybe the Spirit will put something on your heart days before our gathering. If so, think about what you are hearing and write it down. Often the Spirit speaks during our time of singing, because there is a connection between music and us being filled with His presence (Ephesians 5:18-19). So if you sense the Spirit giving you something to share during our open music set, write it down, think it through, and try to prepare what you are feeling led to share.
As we saw this past Sunday, our subjective sense of the Holy Spirit must always be governed by, interpreted through, and under the authority of the objective truth of God’s Holy Scripture. Part of testing whether the prophecy we are sensing is for the good of the church is by considering if it is anchored in the Bible. For example, when I shared about how I was feeling burdened and God gave someone a prophetic leading to share about bringing that burden to Jesus, that word was anchored in Matthew 11:28. Or when I shared about how God spoke into my self condemnation, that word was anchored in Romans 8:1. Or when Pastor Ian shared his prophetic sense at the end of our service about the Holy Spirit wanting to lift the fog that people felt they were in and minister the love of Christ to their hearts, that was anchored in Ephesians 3:17-19. We might not always have a specific Bible verse that goes with our prophetic sense, but what we share should always be in theological alignment with what we read in Scripture. So one of the best ways to grow in pursuing this gift is to continue to saturate yourself with the word of God. The more Bible you get into you, the more the Holy Spirit can speak through you and use you to bring timely and specific applications of God’s word to people’s hearts.
I’m so grateful for the many ways the Spirit is evident in our gathering. He is the one who empowers our joy, fills our hearts with worship, directs us to serve one another, leads us to pray for each other, empowers us to reach out and welcome one another, gives gifts of service, administration, preaching, and leading. May we continue to pursue the Spirit and all the gifts He gives, especially the gift that we are told to earnestly desire. The gift of prophecy.