On Prophecy: An Introduction

Session 1 | Points 1-3 | Reflection on Elijah | 1 Corinthians 14:1-3

  1. The Prerequisite Heart Disposition for Practicing the Prophetic Gift
    • Rest: Dad (“Abba, Father”) is teaching me how to ride a bike
    • Expectation: The Incarnation (the “God-Word”) opened ongoing communication with mankind
    • Humility: When the Holy Spirit (the “Living Water”) speaks through me, he takes on “the flavor of myself” 
  1. Prophecy is
    • Giving voice to the Holy Spirit
      • Listening and reading Scripture first
      • Testing and discerning second
      • Speaking and writing third
    • Imparting courage to
      • Persevere in what we already know to do, i.e., Christ’s commands
      • Press in to seeking the Lord for what we do not yet know
      • Prepare a brave heart for the future
  1. Prophecy has a range of types
    • Comfort & encouragement: all do this always
    • Course-correction and warning: some do this sometimes
    • Prediction: few do this rarely (“All can cook, but some are cooks.”)
  • Reflection: In Communion with the Holy Spirit, Consider Elijah
    • What habit did he practice?
    • What vulnerability did he live with?
    • What grace was he strong in?
Elijah with the Ravens at the Brook Cherrith by Uncut Mountain Supply
  • Scripture Meditation: Read I Corinthians 14:1-3 in Two Different Translations
    • What do we learn about the gift of prophecy in this verse?
    • How does this verse instruct us to respond to prophecy?
    • What one thing will you do within two days of reading this? (“I will…”)
  • Practice:
    • Choose a passage of Scripture from the Psalms or New Testament
    • Choose a person you pray for, care for
    • Prayerfully read the passage with a view to that person and discern prophetic content for them according to points 1, 2, and 3 described in this session. Communicate in gentleness and welcome feedback.
  • Questions: write down questions you have from practicing this exercise.

Session 2 | | Points 4-5 | Reflection on Elisha | I Thessalonians 5:19-22

  1. The Reference Libraries of the Holy Spirit
    • The library of the Scriptures
    • The library of Creation (nature and man-made)
    • The library of experience (observations and old books)
  1. Ingredients of Confident Communication
    • A sense of sacred space
    • Faith: a knowing that the Word is present
    • A good conscience
  • Reflection: In Communion with the Holy Spirit, Consider Elisha
    • What habit did he practice?
    • What vulnerability did he live with?
    • What grace was he strong in?
Elisha Prophesies to King Joash by William Dyce, 1844
  • Scripture Meditation: Read I Thessalonians 5:19-22 in Two Different Translations
    • What do we learn about the gift of prophecy in this verse?
    • How does this verse instruct us to respond to prophecy?
    • What one thing will you do within two days of reading this? (“I will…”)
  • Practice
    • Choose a person in your circle of trust
    • Ask the Holy Spirit for content from “the reference  libraries” described in point 4. As an aid in discerning what content to keep and what to discard, employ the definition of confidence described in point 5.
    • Communicate in gentleness and welcome feedback.

Questions: write down questions you have from practicing this exercise.

Session 3 | Point 6 | Reflection on Daniel | I Timothy 1:18 & 4:14

  1. Develop the gift by becoming trustworthy as
    • a listener
    • a person who consistently prays, and
    • a person who suffers alongside others
  • A listener learns how to wait, watch, and weigh
    • Wait on the Lord: learn how to practice this 
    • Watch: observe all while leaning on the Lord
    • Weigh: test what you are hearing and seeing
      • Truth: Is it accurate, inaccurate, or not yet known?
      • Timing: Is it for now, later, or not yet known?
      • Tone: the Lord’s voice is a blend of truth, love, and wisdom
  • A person who consistently prays grows in it until
    • Much of your prayer life is listening and watching 
    • Most of your prayer life is private, unknown to others
    • All your prayer life is anchored in waiting on the Lord
    • Notes
      • The Pomodoro timer app called Flow may help you grow in these things
      • Henri Nouwen’s The Way of the Heart provides access to ancient practices for praying without ceasing
  • A person who suffers alongside people and nations in their hopes, hurts, and hunger for righteousness:
    • Identifies with their dilemmas
    • Mourns and rejoices with them according to wisdom & grace
    • Does not take up their offenses toward others, but remains healthy, forgiving
  • Reflection: In Communion with the Holy Spirit, Consider Daniel
    • What habit did he practice?
    • What vulnerability did he live with?
    • What grace was he strong in?
Daniel with the Lions by Henry Ossawa-Tanner, 1896
  • Scripture Meditation: Read I Timothy 1:18 & 4:14 in Two Different Translations
    • What do we learn about the gift of prophecy in this verse?
    • How does this verse instruct us to respond to prophecy?
    • What one thing will you do within two days of reading this? (“I will…”)
  • Practice
    • Over a period of time, wait on the Lord with a view to your church community. As an aid in developing the prophetic gift, try employing the descriptions in point 6.
    • Ask the Holy Spirit for content, keeping in mind points 1 through 5.
    • Communicate in gentleness at the small-group level to test your content and welcome feedback.
  • Questions: write down questions you have from practicing this exercise.

An Additional Resource

On Prophecy: Reflections: slideshow of art and short sayings.


© Kurt Mähler

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