For years, I have wanted to share some of our family's personal pilgrimage as it pertained to raising children in a highly prophetic culture and attempting to be naturally supernatural. Michal Ann and I had the honor of bringing four wonderful children into the world: Justin, GraceAnn, Tyler and Rachel. They were miracle children as we were told it was impossible for us to have our own biological children naturally. But then there was God and this was how we learned the art of Prophetic Intercession.
With each child came amazing dreams and visions from the Lord, open visitations from angels and messages from heaven. At times we were shown aspects of their destinies and callings. But how do you steward this? Are there keys we learned to pass on from both our strengths and our weaknesses? I would say yes!
(This is the short written form but for the full impact it is imperative that you listen to the audio message from Justin and I sharing together that is included in this e-blast.)
Proverbs 22:6—"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."
Colossians 3:21—"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, lest they be discouraged."
1 Samuel 1:26-28—"And she said, 'Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman that stood by you here praying to the Lord. For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore also I have let the Lord have him. As long as he lives he will be dedicated to the Lord.' And he worshipped the Lord there."
Principles in Parent-Child Relationships
The following are "principles"—not rigid laws. Every child is different. The entire key here is "relationship." Are you as a parent only in a functional position or are you developing an ongoing relational equity with your children? Relationships take time and priority.
The following is a brief look at three stages in life that Michal Ann and I attempted. We were in no way perfect (well, she was close)! In fact, we believed that our goal was not to be "perfect" but rather "engaged" in the developing relationship.
By the way, there are no perfect fathers or mothers. In part, this gap exists so God can reach in and be our perfect Father to each of us. He jealously wants that role in each of our lives—no matter your age, profession or position in life.
Three Basic Stages:
Stage One: When they are young, your world is their world. You determine their boundaries and their goals. You teach them core values not only in word but also by your very lifestyle and actions. You must realize how you conduct yourself is as important as the guidelines you present. Have stricter guidelines when they are young and learn to loosen the belt as they grow—enabling them to eventually learn personal responsibility.
Stage Two: As they grow older, your goal changes as a parent. You are to help them discover what are their passions, callings, gifts, talents and desires. When this begins and ends all depends on the maturity level of the child and your capacity to help them learn to make godly life choices. You must learn to teach them how to make decisions, not just make decisions for them.
Stage Three: When they are older, their world must become your world. You step-by-step shift out of the definition role and into a supportive encouraging role. If their world does not become your world, then you will only end up with a functional and positional role. If you engage with them and give value to them and their passions and pursuits, you will have the potential—though always tested—of having an on-going relationship, which is the key to all things. Do you have a relationship or only a function?
By the way, every stage needs to be filled with celebration and fun—not just duty, responsibility and toleration. Enjoy these munchkins you call children. I know. I know. You lose your hair in the process, but trust me, your sacrifice for their gain will pay off in the long run! Whew! Thank God for grace and mercy! Without it we are all sinking!
Principles in the Prophetic I Had to Relearn
Revelation * Interpretation * Application
While being a part of the early years of the Prophetic Movement, we learned there was a three-stage process in dealing with "prophetic revelation." I must state though, that we primarily taught these wonderful principles on more of a church level and not as much on a family level. Nonetheless, these simple guidelines apply to every area of life and ministry.
Stage One: Receiving revelation in its various forms and having it confirmed by the testimony of two and three witnesses. Journaling becomes a big key in this journey of receiving and retaining revelation. Apply the scriptural tests to judging revelation. (This is explained more thoroughly in the book Shifting Shadows of Supernatural Experiences and Receiving and Discerning Revelation Study Guide.)
Stage Two: Learning to properly interpret the revelation you have received. This indeed is a constant art to learn. Many believers move into presumption and thus move out with their own understanding instead of properly seeking the Lord for the spirit of wisdom and revelation.
The first response to every form of revelation is prayer. Have you given the revelation back to the Lord and are you seeking godly input and counsel? Prayer first! Remember, You can do more than pray after you have prayed. But you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed!
Stage Three: Bringing application to the interpretation of the revelation you have received. Mercy! If you get the wrong interpretation to the revelation then you will surely move into the wrong application. Period! So Stage Two becomes all the more important.
Now we begin to flesh out the word. You must be committed to a plan. You must put action steps to your faith. Faith without works is dead. (Sadly, that is exactly where some parent/young adult relationships end.) Please hear me, there is always a "trial and error" aspect to these ways of God. They now must bear the majority of the weight of their decisions.
Enjoy the Ride!
Dear prophetic papa Bob Jones always use to tell us, "Just kick your feet up on the coffee table and enjoy the breeze! Enjoy the ride."
Your children are not just work! They are a lump of clay that is very impressionable and that you get to help shape. Always remember, they are the Lord's first. But they are in your stewardship for a while. Date your kids. Play with them. Provide a safe place for them. Pray for them. Speak God's destiny over their lives.
Then yield them back to the Lord and ultimately release them from your control and enjoy the journey of destinies fulfilled!
Dr. James W. Goll is the president of Encounters Network, director of Prayer Storm and coordinates Encounters Alliance, a coalition of leaders. He is director of God Encounters Training—an e-school of the heart—and is a member of the Harvest International Ministries apostolic team. He has shared Jesus in more than 50 nations worldwide, teaching and imparting the power of intercession, prophetic ministry and life in the Spirit. Goll is the prolific author and co-author of numerous books—including Shifting Shadows of Supernatural Experiences (co-authored with Julia Loren), from which this article is adapted—and has also produced multiple study guides and hundreds of audio and video messages.
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