Bethany Hicks

Jan 23, 2024

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and change things with the wisdom you have now?

    I often tell my kids that if I could redo high school with my current knowledge, it would be a whole new experience.

  Recently, I've been reflecting on what advice I’d give my younger self about prophecy. I had different ideas thirty years ago about what it was and wasn't. It took me years to sift through the truths and unlearn the misconceptions. We all have our own beliefs–both good and bad–about prophecy. These beliefs have been influenced and shaped by Scripture, teachers and pastors along the way, life experiences, and even social media. Thankfully, over the last several decades, there has been a rise in biblically-based teachings with a New Covenant lens regarding the gift of prophecy which are empowering believers to grow in a healthy understanding of the gift.

    But many are still new to prophecy or have misconceptions, just like I did. So, here are four essential truths I wish I knew earlier:

1. Prophecy is for every believer

        Some believe that prophecy is reserved for spiritual elites, prophets, or church leaders. They may acknowledge that prophecy is functioning today but disqualify themselves, thinking, "It's not for me," or "I'm not holy enough." These mindsets are a form of self-disqualification and must be identified as what they are—lies. Joel 2:28 says that God will “…pour out My Spirit on all flesh, your sons and daughters will prophesy…” This dream of God's was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, which means if you are a believer, you no longer have to wait for His Spirit to come upon you in order to hear and speak the word of the Lord—Holy Spirit is in you all the time! If you have a desire to prophesy, it’s available to you today.

2. Prophecy isn't about exposing sin

   I remember when certain prophets would come into town once or twice a year. They would call out and prophesy over different people in the church meeting. Depending on your theology about prophecy, you would prepare for this prophet by either wearing your brightest colored shirt in hopes the prophet would notice you or shrink down and hide in the back of the room because you were afraid they would expose some hidden sin in your life.

    However, the New Covenant changed how prophecy now works. While the Old Testament includes stories of prophets who confronted kings over their sin and warned of coming judgment, First Corinthians 14:3 is very clear that the primary function and protocol of prophecy today is to strengthen, encourage, and comfort. Prophecy is a building tool for the Church, and every “tool” (a.k.a. gift) that the Spirit has given must be operated from love, for love, and in love.

    While we can occasionally discern negative patterns in a person’s life, prophecy is not the tool for addressing sin. Scripture, not prophecy, is for rebuking and correcting (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Let prophecy fulfill its role of encouraging, strengthening, and comforting.

3. Hearing God is easier than you think

    We sometimes overcomplicate spiritual matters. Hearing God isn't complex; it's part of our design. God has hardwired every human to recognize His voice. The belief that we must jump through hoops to hear Him stems from religious thinking, not the Holy Spirit. At Prophetic Company, we often say that the challenge is not getting God to speak because He is always speaking. The challenge is in learning all the ways God is already speaking to us.

   Sometimes, His voice sounds, looks, and feels so natural that we don’t recognize it as supernatural. Yet, that is how God created us to hear. God’s super through our natural. Don't overthink it; trust your innate ability to connect with Him.

4. Practice makes perfect ... faith!

     Just like any skill, the more you practice it, the greater your proficiency in the gift of prophecy. The more you practice the gift of prophecy, the stronger your faith will be to hear. Hebrews 5:14 emphasizes that constant practice trains our senses and builds maturity. Every time you step out in faith to encourage others through prophecy, you are increasing your "faith muscles." The stronger your faith, the greater your expectation that God is speaking to you and the more confident you will be in recognizing His voice.

    God has so much grace for our learning process. Don’t let past mistakes deter you; keep moving forward in love, knowing that your faith pleases the Father.

    These are only a few pieces of advice I wish I could have given my younger self about the gift of prophecy. And though I am grateful to have grown in prophetic knowledge over the years, let's aim for a generation that surpasses our understanding of prophecy. It may have taken us a lifetime to get here, but our ceiling can be the prophetic launching pad of the next generation if we let it.

    If you've been pondering the same things or if you're helping others understand them, let your voice be one of love, truth, and encouragement.

    Feeling wiser,