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Watching a child's spiritual development is rewarding. Here's what you should know if your youngster displays a prophetic gift.

Do you have a prophetic child? I empathize!

My two grown children, Mary and Daniel, both began exhibiting their prophetic gifts at an early age. I know from firsthand experience that raising a prophetic child can be a unique, wonderful, and sometimes difficult challenge.

RECOGNIZING THE GIFT As you have probably noticed, prophetic children can sometimes seem out of step with the rest of the world. They can also be very headstrong.

When Mary (or Madison, as she calls herself) was little, she didn't like the word no. I used to believe that James Dobson wrote his book The Strong-Willed Child (Tyndale House) just for me! (Parents who have prophetic kids tend to wear out several copies of Dobson's book, if they've discovered it, before their children are 3 years old.)

One of the first indicators that Mary was prophetic was the ongoing altercation we had concerning the electrical outlets.

Upon learning to crawl, Mary decided she would stick her fingers into every outlet in the house. She seemed to have a thing for invisible power!

We bought little plug guards, but she always found a way to work them out of the wall. No matter how many times we would spank her little hand, she would go back for those outlets.

Another significant sign came when she was almost 4 years old. When I told her, "Mary, go upstairs and pick up your toys," she mounted the steps, whirled around, pointed her little finger at me (pointing her finger was a strong clue) and announced, "I'm going to go tell God on you!"

This evolved into a finger-pointing match in which I said back to her, "You do, and He'll tell you I'm right!"

Our children's personalities can give us clues about their prophetic gifts. As you might expect, Mary's gifts have continued to blossom in mostly overt ways.

Daniel is a different personality, however. As a child his rebellion was always more inward than outward.

His prophetic gifts have developed differently too. He is more of an intuitive seer (someone who literally or figuratively sees things in the Spirit) and is aware of the feelings and needs of others.

SPIRITUAL RADAR Obviously every prophetic child is unique. What all prophetic children have in common, however, is a built-in spiritual radar. Although most children have a certain sensitivity to the spirit realm, that sensitivity is greatly amplified in those who are prophetic.

For example, let's say a particular household comes under spiritual attack. At the time, two little boys are asleep in the same bedroom. The prophetic child wakes up screaming that monsters are in the room, while the other child, gifted in other areas, sleeps blissfully on.

The prophetic child, more keenly attuned to the spirit realm, senses that some kind of attack is taking place--whether or not he fully understands it.

A wise parent will not rebuke him and tell him the monsters are only imaginary. This shuts down his spiritual acuteness. Or it leaves him unprotected and vulnerable because he doesn't have the skills to counter what he is sensing in the Spirit.

At times, of course, children do have dreams that are only imaginary. At other times, however, nightmares are the result of demonic attack. As parents, we need to ask God for help in discerning the difference.

Sometimes prophetically gifted kids are more spiritually sensitive than we are.

I remember one night when both Mary and Daniel awakened me. "Mother," they said, "there are spirits all over the house. Please get up and pray now!"

"Where are they?" I groggily replied.

"In our bedrooms and the laundry room," they answered in exasperation, frustrated that I hadn't awakened before they did.

I guess they were the watchmen that night, and the Lord was letting Mom get some rest! Needless to say, I rolled out of bed to pray.

PREPARED FOR COMBAT My husband, Mike, and I trained our children at an early age to know how to rebuke satanic attacks. We didn't want them to be afraid.

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