Let’s look at the qualifications of a prophet. Right up front let’s state that the qualifications of a prophet are the same as those of others in leadership (Titus 1:6-9). Character is the main concern. As with the apostolic, a godly character is critical because prophets are the representatives of Christ. Revelation 19:10 tells us that the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus. Therefore, a true prophet will speak forth the Lord’s words with the Lord’s heart.
They have an anointing to minister the Word of God. Lives will be changed when prophets minister God’s Word in small groups and in local churches (Acts 15:32). Prophets must know the Word of God (Bible) so that no prophetic word will be spoken that is contrary to the Bible. The prophetic gift is a proclaiming gift: a prophet proclaims the Word of the Lord. They are called to edify the Body of Christ through the teaching and preaching of the Word of God.
They help mature and perfect the saints. Prophets desire to bring attention to areas of weakness in the Body of Christ and minister until they see a strengthening in those areas. A prophet sees in his spirit weaknesses that must be addressed whether they are in individuals or the larger body. Theirs is a strengthening ministry, bringing the Body to perfection, training them to fight for all that is rightfully theirs, giving no ground to the demonic. They desire to see the captives set free and people restored to wellness.
They guide and release believers into their own ministries. Often a prophet will be used either to confirm a known gift in an individual or identify a gift “in waiting.” They speak it as they see it, calling forth things that are either dormant or have been held back or, through unfortunate life experiences, have been intentionally shut down. A prophet brings possibilities back to life. It was Ezekiel who prophesied to the dry bones: “live.” And they came to life! Prophets have that ability to identify ministries in others and want to release them into those ministries.
They carry an anointing for signs and wonders. A prophet will often minister prophetically through visions, dreams and prophetic utterances ((Acts 21:10-11). Prophets are in tune to the Holy Spirit. They will very often give words of knowledge to bring about healing to an individual or lovingly expose a problem in a congregation.
The confirm and/or give direction from the Lord. Prophets help give direction for individuals, cell groups, local churches, families of churches, churches in a given community or location and businesses in the marketplace. New direction from the Lord will be confirmed by the leadership responsible for those particular individuals or groups (Acts 21:10-14). Prophets have their spiritual antenna up to hear from the Lord. They listen to what the Lord is saying and then speak it forth.
Prophets often deliver a prophetic word that will minister by exhortation (to stir up), edification (to build up), comfort (to strengthen), or conviction (to correct). Paul declared this in 1 Corinthians 14:3, “But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement, and comfort.”