The day had ended and eight hours of teachings and prophetic ministry was now history. My interpreter and I sat on the edge of the platform chatting and simply resting our sore feet and tired legs. It had been a long day; part of ten days of constant ministry in five different churches and two major cities. As we sat resting and relaxing a bit people, one after another, came up to us to chat. This is always good. Tired, yes! But, always interested in people and their concerns or comments.
They speak to me about many things – family issues, thoughts about their ministry, something they are struggling with personally. But, regardless of where the conversation is heads it always arrives at the point of asking me to prophesy over them. They need a prophetic word. They want to hear what God has planned for the next few years in their life and ministry. I emphasize. I understand. However, the service is over and that means that the prophetic ministry has come to an end for the time being. So, I always tell them that I can appreciate their situation but that the ministry time has ended and I won’t be doing any more prophetic ministry until the next service (or the next church).
They will tell me that they really do need a word. Well, we all do, don’t we? And, that they have some issues they are dealing with and would like to hear from God about the problems they are facing. Prophecy never addresses problems but speaks to potential and opportunities God is offering the person. Not dealing with the present but opening up the future. And, because the leader has closed the service the Word if given would not be heard and judged by the leaders nor would it be correctly recorded for later review. So, the answer is always and simply, “The service is over and so is the ministry of the Spirit.”
It is time for something to change. Here is what needs to change. God’s people need to learn to recognize God’s voice for themselves. The Bible states that if a person is truly born again they can hear God;’s voice. John’s Gospel, chapter ten, three times states that “My sheep hear My voice.” After all, when you were born again God placed a gift in your spirit called “eternal life” (Romans 6:23b). This gift is the supernatural ability to have a relationship with the Living God (John 17:3). To have a relationship with someone, even God, you have to be able to hear Him. So, listening and recognizing which voice is His voice is an important step in having a dynamic relationship with the God of the universe.
Then when someone with a prophetic gift comes to the local church there will no longer be this desperate need to receive a prophetic Word from the Lord. The people will already be hearing God’s voice and God will already be speaking to them about things that are to come – their future, the opportunities He is offering them, their potential. The role of the prophetic and the ministry of the apostle and prophet would simply be to confirm what the disciple of Jesus already knows or senses because they have been relating to Jesus and receiving personally from Him. The urgency and the absolute essential need to hear from God through the fivefold visiting ministry would no longer be there.
I believe it is time for true disciples to invest time and effort to discover which voice inside them is God’s voice. There are many “voices” in our heads and hearts – the culture, the voice of tradition, our opinions, the voice of religion, our emotions, even demonic influences. But within al these many “voices” is the still, small voice of the Living God. We need to learn to “be still and know that He is God.” It is time to silence all the voices outside of us and inside us and listen for the most important voice – the voice of our God. This will take practice and time but we can hear God and do hear God according to the Scriptures. So, let’s no longer be lazy and rely on hearing God through apostles, prophets, and those ministering through the gift of prophecy. Let’s learn to hear God’s voice for ourselves so that it becomes a daily occurrence. This would revolutionize both the believer’s life as well as alter the ministry of the apostle and prophet so they can actually fulfill the unique callings that are on their lives.