As you compare scriptural examples, as well as contemporary life experiences, you find a variety of times, ways and styles that people have been called into prophetic (or any other) ministry. Some seem to be "born with a gift." Others are "born again with a gift" or "baptized-in-the-Spirit with a gift." Still other callings are gradual and emerge later in life even though the person was sovereignly called before they were ever born.
Samuel was called as a child (1 Sam. 3:1-15). Elisha's call came when he was a man plowing a field (1 Kin. 19:19-21). Amos' call to prophesy came while he was a herdsman and grower of figs (Amos 1:1, 7:12-14). John Baptist's call came in the womb (Luke 1:41). The following are a few clips from my personal journey of receiving and following after His call upon my life.
In my pilgrimage, I was set apart unto the Lord by the prayers of my mother before I was ever born. As I grew up, Jesus was my best friend and close companion! But it was not until I met the Jesus People in the early '70s and was introduced into the baptism of the Holy Spirit that I began to operate in the vocal gifts! In fact, before I ever was released into the wonderful gift of speaking in tongues, I prophesied—though I did not even know what the gift was at the time! The visionary side of the prophetic broke forth also, as mental snapshots would invade my mind. But back then, I didn't know that these were actually visions!
I spent much time in prayer, worship, community and sitting under anointed teaching. But I could not find a prophetic mentor! Nevertheless, for the next 10 years (1973–1983) I cried out to the Lord for the "School of the Prophets" to come forth. Eventually I came across the books Elijah Task and Interpreting Symbols and Types and they, alongside my NASV Bible, became my mentors and constant companions.
Those days were filled with abounding zeal, passion for God, and a hunger to impact people through the gifts of the Holy Spirit and an unquenchable thirst for His unfolding destiny in my life.
Peaks and Valleys—The School of Hard Knocks
For many of us, Elijah is a prophet we connect with in a special way. He had great mountain top experiences but he also had some serious valleys he walked through. After a great victory on Mount Carmel where a 3 1/2-year drought ended, he then went and hid in a cave in fear of Jezebel.
Some of us, like Elijah, also have had our share of peaks and valleys in the life of a prophet. I have had my share of lessons learned in The School of Hard Knocks like the necessity of mercy, what to share with whom and when to keep your mouth closed. The following (from a humorous yet truthful side) exhibit some of the pits and pinnacles in the pathway of becoming.
The Pits or the Valleys
1. People treat you special.
2. People no longer treat you special!
3. You are treated like you are a Jukebox machine or a wind-up toy!
4. You're not prepared and you're "called up-front" in a meeting.
5. You think you are ready and nothing comes to you!
6. You are ready and others don't want it, like it or respond to it!
7. You are ready and you aren't called on.
8. You make messes for yourself and others to clean up.
9. There are so many parameters put in place that you're afraid to do anything.
10. You're too afraid to risk your reputation.
11. You've exaggerated a word and everyone knows it!
12. You've exaggerated a word and no one knows it except you and God.
13. Your gift exceeds your character!
The Peaks or the Pinnacles.
1. When it really works!
2. When character and gifting match up.
3. You learn from past mistakes and failures.
4. Denial is turned into correct identity.
5. The prophetic spirit is imparted to others.
6. You embrace the pits, kiss the cross of Jesus and you are changed.
7. A heart of mercy and penetrating truth is joined together.
8. You step aside long enough for Jesus to be seen.
9. When the lost are impacted and Jesus is glorified.
The Quest Continues—Moving on Out!
There can be many excruciating lessons in our journey of becoming all that He desires. God doesn't want us to give a message only—He wants us to become a living word. Because a person gifted in the revelatory is often extra-sensitive, the area of character development must be given special attention. But eventually the cross of Christ will become the love of any truly prophetic person.
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