Eli taught Samuel how to discern, respond and become sensitive to the voice of God. Prophets can only teach you how to cooperate with the activity of the Spirit, not how to manufacture the Holy Spirit’s activity.
1. Put on your priestly garments. The priestly dimension must return to prophetic people. Prophetic people must put on their priestly garments and spend quality time in the presence of God, understanding their responsibility to minister to God and then to His people. Worshipping God for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Worship is the doorway to receiving the revelation from God. The apostle John paints a prophetic picture of the lifestyle of a prophetic minister (John 21:20). This verse shows how we must lay our head on the breast of Jesus and listen to the rhythm of His heartbeat being filled with the breath of God. We, in turn, breathe onto others the breath and life received from encountering the Creator. We must develop relationship and fellowship with the God who knows everything about everything.
2. All of the Lord’s words, no matter in what form we hear them, must be quickened and revealed by the Holy Spirit. Quicken means "adding life to ordinary words." The Greek word for quicken means "to make alive and give life by spiritual power to arouse and invigorate." The word Jesus speaks has life and vitality. Other words are just dead language. The message can come in a variety of ways—flashes of pictures, Scripture verses, sentence fragments or impressions.
3. Activate faith to operate in the gift of prophecy much as you activated your faith to receive the gift of salvation. You prophesy according to the portion of your faith. The word proportion refers to a ratio. You can have faith to prophesy to one person or faith to prophesy to 100 people. It’s all based on the proportion of your faith. The apostle Paul challenged Timothy to stir up (rekindle and arouse from dormancy) the gift that was given to him (2 Tim. 1:6).
4. Ask, seek, and knock (Matt. 7:7–11). We can ask God for a prophetic word. Many are afraid to initiate conversation with the heavenly Father because of fear of deception or demonic interference. Notice Jesus states that if you ask the Father for gifts, He will not give you something contrary to what you ask. God our Father, who is so in love with human beings, loves to hear the sound of a human voice asking and inquiring of Him. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Mighty comes from the Greek word batsar, which means "secrets, mysteries, inaccessible things."
5. God will immediately speak something to bless the body. God’s first command was to bring light to chaos (Gen. 1:3). God speaks as a means to bring life and order. Since the moon and sun were not created until the fourth day, the light is the presence of illumination in general. Prophetic ministers should speak the light to every dark situation.
6. Focus is the key. Look in the spirit. Ask yourself, “What do I see, feel or have a knowing about the situation?” God speaks through your spirit. It sounds like you. (See Isaiah 21:3–4.)
7. God will quicken one sentence, word, picture or thought to your spirit. Then you must exercise your faith to release the revelation given. It is like a piece of string on a sweater. Give it one pull, and let the words flow. Open your mouth wide, and God will fill it (Ps. 81:10). The Holy Spirit will not move your mouth or override your will. You must give voice to what He is speaking.
8. Manifestation of the spirit is given to every man. Manifestation means "to see and behold, to gaze by voluntary observation." It is to inspect, to appear, to discern, to clearly see, to experience, to perceive, to uncover, to lay bear, to reveal. It is also to open to sight, signifying shining. (See 1 Corinthians 12:7.)
9. The end result of prophecy is to find a way to put honor and glory back on mankind and restore what we lost in the garden: relationship to the Father. Everyone wants his or her crown of glory and honor. People are made for validation, celebration and appreciation.
“What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of [earthborn] man that You care for him? Yet You have made him but a little lower than God [or heavenly beings], and You have crowned him with glory and honor” (Ps. 8:4–5, AMP).
10. Prophecy releases the power of God, but don’t let that be the center of attention. The focus is the heart of God being rightly communicated (1 Sam. 2:35).
11. God will give you a signal in your spirit to what He is about to do. I call them feelers. You will know when to look, listen and release.
12. God does not just manifest words; He manifests Himself, so do not quench your emotions. Recognize His thoughts in your mind. We must focus. We have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).
13. Recognize the voice of the Lord. God drops things into your spirit, and they manifest on the screen of the spirit called the imagination. Because the Lord speaks through your human spirit, the voice sounds like your voice. It’s not normally an outside voice, but the Lord will quicken words to your human spirit, and the voice sounds like you. God speaks through your personality.
God will add life to ordinary words, experiences and things that you can relate to. Jesus said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Words that are given by the Holy Spirit give life to what would otherwise be dead language.
Michelle McClain serves as director of prayer ministry on the staff of Crusaders Church under the leadership of Apostle John Eckhardt. She is also one of the house prophets and apostolic team leaders at Crusaders Church in Chicago. She is the author of The Prophetic Advantage, from which this article was excerpted.