The Gift of Prophecy and Prophetesses
By Rev. Crystal Schmalz
A few years ago I was studying about the gift of prophecy and the impact this gift has on the church for today. I was praying, and I asked God for this gift. The Bible says we can ask for wisdom, and so I thought why not use the same principle to ask for the gift of prophecy. After all, Acts 2:17-18 says “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on your male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.”
I don’t want to make the gift of prophecy out to be some weird mystical experience which only a few can have, because I don’t think that is what the gift of prophecy is. In my life, I started to be more disciplined with my listening. I would listen to people talk, and I would hear their needs. Often, I would be reminded of scriptures I had learned, and sometimes I would share these scriptures with people. After some time, I realized God was allowing me to listen and hear the stories of people. God would give me wisdom and direction to see their needs, and to be empathetic. There would be times I would receive a few words, and I thought I should tell someone. Usually, a fear came over me and I thought I would not be able to say these words to people. But, I obeyed the still small voice of God and spoke the words which were given to me. Sometimes people would respond, and at other times people would not respond. I wasn’t in it for the response, but occasionally it was nice to hear whether or not the person felt I had spoken a correct word to them. One time, years later, a person told me they still carried the words I believe God spoke to them through my human voice.
I specifically remember one time when I felt I received a word from God for a particular group of people I was with. I waited for a space and time, and God revealed the right time. At first I didn’t know whether or not I should speak the words, because no one had spoken out in tongues in the group. I obeyed the still small voice, and spoke the words. It felt right. We prayed and had a powerful time with God. Someone approached me later and said my words were from God.
I remember another time I was in a small group, and there was a time of sharing. I felt I should read Isaiah 61. As I read the words, it was as if the Spirit of God opened the eyes of those around me, and another person said this same scripture had been on their mind. The Bible is powerful, and sometimes when we speak and read it aloud, this is exactly what people need.
Another time I was in a small group of women, and I felt God gave me a word. However, I didn’t know exactly who I should tell. There was a time of silence, and so I spoke the word. After the group, a woman came up to me afterwards and said God spoke to her through my words, and it was exactly what she needed to hear.
All of these times were special, but I haven’t always obeyed the still small voice. I remember one time I thought I should go and pray for someone for healing. I was scared, because the young boy had a rare disease. I prayed for him at a distance, but didn’t pray the way I thought the Spirit was leading me to pray. I also remember another time when I was at a retreat. I felt like the Lord gave me something to say, but I was really afraid. The speaker at the retreat said to the group, does anyone have something from God? I knew I should speak up, but another started to speak. I never did say what I felt God gave to me. The lesson I learned from these experiences is that it isn’t about me, and if God gives a word to me for someone else it is my responsibility to share the word. I am not going to beat myself up for some of the times I didn’t obey, but I am learning for the future. When the still small voice speaks, obey.
In conclusion, we need more people to ask for the gift of prophecy in the church. The gift of prophecy should be tested according to scripture. If someone says something against scripture, it is not a word from God. All gifts should be tested. We should always prayerfully consider what those around us speak into our lives. We also should be sensitive to the practical things we have in our life. If someone tells you they are hurting and feel alone, you don’t need a miraculous writing on the wall to know this person needs more community and support from the church. We can meet the needs of the church and the community around us by simply being present, available, and open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We need more women to be prophetesses in the church, and more men to be prophets. This is a gift for the church from God (Ephesians 4:11-12), and so we can ask for this gift and use this gift to build the Kingdom of God!
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