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In 1955 a little 4-year-old girl crept up into her mother's lap. "Mama," she said, "I want a baby sister."
The young mother smiled, amused by the child's request. "Sweetheart," she chuckled, "we're not having any more children. You're the last one."
But the 4-year-old was insistent. She just knew Mama was going to have a baby girl. And as it turned out, she was right!
I was that 4-year-old child, and the next year my baby sister, Lucy, was born. That was 48 years ago, and at that time I had no idea that the "knowing" I sensed about Lucy's birth was a "prophetic word." Nor did I realize that my prophesying the birth of my sister was part of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter quoted from the Old Testament book of Joel: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy....And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy" (Acts 2:17-18, NKJV).
Peter said that because of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, both sons and daughters--men and women--will prophesy. The gift of prophecy is not for men only. Women can be prophets too.
PROPHETIC WOMEN IN HISTORY The truth is, women have been prophets throughout Bible history. The Holy Spirit was quite intentional about the people He included in Scripture, and He gives us many examples of women operating in the prophetic gifts in both the Old and New Testaments.
It's true that no female prophet wrote a book of the Bible. Nevertheless, Scripture records that prophetic women have always been used in great and significant ways for the Lord.
One Old Testament prophet was Huldah, a woman who was consulted during Josiah's reign when the lost book of the Law was discovered (see 2 Kin. 22:14). A contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah, Huldah apparently was quite influential and known for her wisdom and ability to hear God.
Deborah, another Old Testament prophet, had a governmental anointing (see Judg. 4-5). And according to Isaiah 8:3, the prophet Isaiah was married to a woman who was a prophet.
The New Testament also mentions women prophets. One of those was Anna, the old widow who spent most of her time fasting and praying in the temple.
When Mary and Joseph brought their baby to the temple to present him to the Lord, Anna knew supernaturally that this child was the long-awaited Messiah. Luke 2:38 says that Anna "gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem" (NIV).
Other women prophets in the New Testament include the daughters of Philip the evangelist. Acts 21:8-9 says that all four of Philip's daughters prophesied.
Many women in our own day have become widely recognized for their prophetic gifts. Violet Kitely of Shiloh Christian Fellowship in Oakland, California, is a seasoned prophet who has operated in her gift for many decades. The same is true of Gwen Shaw, the founder of End-Time Handmaidens.
Other modern-day prophets include Barbara Wentroble, Barbara Yoder, Stacey Campbell, Jill Austin, Beth Alves and Jane Hamon. These women have prophesied in the United States and around the world. While their ministries are quite diverse, each one has stepped forward to answer the Holy Spirit's call in Acts 2:17: "Your daughters shall prophesy" (NKJV).
PROPHECY 101 What does it mean to prophesy? A woman prophesies when she is prompted by God to deliver a message to a particular individual (personal prophecy) or a group (corporate prophecy). The message comes to her by the revelatory activity of the Holy Spirit.
When prophesy happens in prayer, it's called "prophetic intercession." God moves upon the heart of a woman while she is interceding, prompting her to pray prayers about things that are far beyond her natural knowledge.
Let me give you an example of prophetic intercession. A woman I'll call Susan was asked by an elder of her church to pray for their congregation because certain people were causing problems and stirring up dissension.
Not knowing any of the specifics, Susan began to pray in a general way. Suddenly this sentence fell out of her mouth: "And Lord, those 80-year-old ladies who are gossiping and causing problems need to be touched by You and convicted of what they are doing to the church."
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