UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS FROM REVELATION TO PROPHETIC WORD
by Lyn Packer
Have you ever wanted a short cut in your ministry learning process? I know I have. I’ve been functioning in the prophetic gift now for many years and often used to long for someone to mentor me in that gift. But it never happened, so I learnt things the hard way, by trial and error, from watching others, by reading and listening to whatever teachings on the subject I could get hold of at the time.
The following article is written to help you learn some of the things I had to learn the hard way. It lays out some foundational things I’ve learnt over the years about the process of receiving revelation and giving a prophetic word.
Because the Lord is a relational God, not just an informational God, all revelation has an invitation to relationship included in it. That revelation is an invitation, both to us personally and to those with whom it is shared, to engage in closer relationship, dialogue and co-operation with the Lord.
Scripture tells us that revelation and wisdom should go together (Eph 1:17). I know that the original meaning of this verse is in relationship to knowing the Lord better, but I believe it also applies very much to the revelatory gifts. Unfortunately, we all too often see prophetic people function in revelation without much wisdom. Hopefully the contents of this article will help you function in wisdom, as well as revelation.
Testing A Word
Scripture tells us that a prophetic word should be tested by others (1 Cor 14:29), but we should also test it ourselves before it gets to come out of our mouth. You can find a basic testing process here that you can use to test the revelation you receive. All prophetic revelation I receive goes through that testing process, as well as taking into account the things listed below. Over time that process has become instinctual for me, and happens now without a lot of conscious effort. To start with you may find that it seems a lot to have to think about, but over time it will become instinctual for you too.
The list is not an exhaustive list, but it contains some things I’ve learnt that have been very helpful to me, and I know that they’ll be helpful to you too.
- We must be willing to lay down our opinions and perspectives on a subject in order to hear clearly. If we’re not careful, our opinions will colour not only how we hear, but also how we interpret and process any revelation we receive.
- Always check whether the revelation you receive is actually from the Lord and not from another source; don’t just assume it always is from Him. The basic testing process will help you discover and confirm that. Revelation can come from various sources – the Lord, our flesh, the world around us and the demonic realm.
Gift and Character
- Remember, Jesus grew in favour with God and man. Both are important and are dependant on how teachable and humble we are, how accountable we are, and how we treat people. To only develop the gift is not enough; our character must be developed as well.
Your Sphere Of Authority
- Understand your sphere of authority (or metron). Several things will determine your metron – the sphere of authority that God has assigned to you, your relational sphere of authority, and your character. A metron may grow as you grow in gift and character, or it may not. Character shortcomings, lack of teachability, and lack of accountability can severely limit a person’s metron. Some prophets have a narrow sphere of authority and some a broad one. A person’s sphere of authority may give them authority to function only in their home congregation; some may function within a city or region, and some may function nationally or internationally. Functioning beyond your current sphere of authority is never wise and will bring problems.
Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge & Prophetic Word
- Understand the difference between a ‘word of wisdom’, a ‘word of knowledge’, and a ‘prophetic word’. In 1 Corinthians 12:7-8,10 Paul writes: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 ... to another prophecy...” In my understanding, while all three may end up being part of the process of receiving and giving a prophetic word, there are some differences between them.
A word of wisdom is a word relating to a specific situation, and gives strategic insight into how to handle that situation. Solomon had a word of wisdom when the two women came arguing over whose baby it was (1 Ki 3:16-28). That word of wisdom solved the dilemma and showed the real mother.
A word of knowledge is something you could not know about a person other than God showing you. It may, or may not, be a pre-cursor to a prophetic word being released, but it is not usually the prophetic word. Jesus had a word of knowledge that ended up in a Samaritan woman’s life being transformed (Jn 4:7-30)
A prophetic word is the Lord sharing His heart and intent for a person, group, community or nation. Under the New Covenant, prophecy is to encourage, comfort and edify, but it may also provide strategic insight, and sometimes direction, into what the Lord’s purposes are for someone or some group. Some examples of this are 1 Cor 14:3 & 31; Acts 15:32; Acts 19:6.
A prophetic word may be forth-telling or foretelling. Forth-telling is current time and situation oriented. It’s a word that applies to the present circumstances of a person’s life and lets them know that God is with them in it, encouraging and guiding them through it. Foretelling is future oriented and announces the will of God and His future plans for people or for communities and nations.
One example of a combination of word of knowledge and prophetic word is found in 1 Sam 9 & 10 where Samuel receives a word of knowledge about Saul (9:15-17) then prophesies over him as a result (10:1-9).
What To Do With The Revelation
- Not everything God shows us about a person or situation is for us to share with them or prophesy over them. Some things the Lord shows us as prophets are for our information, so that we can understand the times and seasons and can pray accordingly. There are times when the Lord gives us information so we can pray into it and bring about His purposes that way; that information may never get past that place of prayer. All prophetic revelation we receive should be prayed through before it leaves our mouth ,and some revelations only ever make it as far as the prayer gate.
- The initial information God gives is often Him initiating a discussion with us. That initial information is often a word of knowledge, not necessarily a prophetic word. It will provide you with context, but may not be the actual word He wants to release through you. It may just be information you need to know in order to converse with Him and gain His heart and perspective, and to find out what He actually wants to say.
- The New Covenant prophetic gift is a redemptive gift given to bring life. Any revelation given to you that exposes sin, or has a corrective element, definitely needs to go through a process so that the end word fits within New Covenant prophetic guidelines. It is never okay for a New Covenant prophet to publicly shame, expose, strip or belittle someone. While the initial word of knowledge given to you from the Lord may bring knowledge of someone’s sin, remember that it is simply the invitation to enquire of the Lord as to what His redemptive purpose and plan is. The true prophetic word comes out of the redemptive purpose and plan.
- Most corporate, and even some personal, prophetic words for others should be allowed to do a work in us personally before they do their work in others, especially if they have corrective elements. I always take a moment to do a stock-take with the Lord and ask, "What of this word needs to speak to me?"
- Ask what the Lord wants you to do with the information you’ve received. Is it for prayer only? Is it to be shared? If it is to be shared, then with whom, how and when? Some words may need time to develop within you, or may have a right time to be delivered.
- Not everything you get needs to, nor should be, delivered on the spot at the moment you receive it. It is always best to pray into something first before you deliver it, to make sure you have got as much of your perspectives out of it as possible so that it is a purer word. This applies even to a spontaneous word you receive when you are ministering to someone; there is always time to pray into it, even if just a few moments. A later time may be more appropriate to share the word than right there, right then.
- We must have a teachable heart. We know in part and see in part, and we are not immune to mistakes in hearing or delivery. Always be willing to receive correction. I will often ask the person whether what I’m sharing has any significance to them, and tell them that I submit it to them to weigh up before the Lord, especially if it has any directive elements in it. That leaves them with the freedom to accept it or not. Don’t ask, “Did you like that word?” or “Did I get it right?” These questions place unrealistic expectations on them to say, "Yes." Let them know that it’s okay if they don’t relate to the word you’ve given, and ask them to go home and pray into it.
- Understand that you are not infallible – you will make mistakes. Mistakes don’t disqualify you under the New Covenant, but they do show that you are still learning to hear. Even if you’ve been functioning in the prophetic gift for years, you are still learning to hear. Own up to, and apologise for, your mistakes. It will go a long way toward helping people trust your ministry to them.
- When you’ve given a word, let it go! You are not responsible for what is done with it by the person who receives it. This particularly applies if it’s a word given to leaders. They must weigh it up, pray into it and decide how to proceed as a result. Don’t pick that word back up if you feel they haven’t followed through the way you thought they should. Too often prophetic people can’t let go of a word once it’s delivered and they then move into manipulating by prayer or words or gossip.
I hope this teaching has been helpful to you. Can I also encourage you to find someone to mentor you in your prophetic growth; it will be invaluable and will make you a much more effective minister. If you’re interested you can find more info on receiving mentoring by me here.
Lyn is recognised as a Prophet within New Zealand and other nations she’s ministered in. Her ministry is revelatory and catalytic, propelling people into encounter with God. The governmental prophetic gift she carries is expressed through prophetic, revelatory insight and strategy, prophetic words (personal, corporate and national), teaching, art, and writing. Click here for more info...