There seems to be at least some interest in the prophetic, and what ‘it’ is all about. So this page is my attempt to explain to those who asked, and any others who are interested, how this all came to be. I hope it clarifies for you something that by its nature is quite difficult to put across.
How can I explain it? It is a bit like trying to explain what the colour blue looks like. And I can only speak for myself, others’ experience may differ. I think it clearer to use imagery rather that to attempt a ‘rational’ explanation.
Sometimes it is as if the glass we all see through dimly is less dim, and I experience in some way the glory of the Lord, just a fraction, a slither. And I could take no more; for that glory is awesome… The burning heart of holiness, a love that would strip you to your bones, and then sear them to powder, is but a fraction of that Reality. Holiness, love, judgment, mercy and justice, they are not distinguishable, but one and the same thing. I can begin to understand the Old Testament prophets – switching between the heart of burning judgment and the heart of burning love – because they are the same.
Sometimes, just to be touched for a moment by that Heart, how can you not prophesy? It would be easier to stop breathing! Then the coldness and indifference of people (myself included) hits home, and it is deeply painful…there is certainly a cost.
Sometimes I have described it as if the Lord gives me an outline of what is on His heart, and I have words that are like jigsaw pieces that, when put into place, approximate the outline that He showed me in my spirit.
Sometimes it is like a volcano, welling up from within. I am aware of the indescribable immensity of that Power, the Spirit of God Himself. Were but a fraction of that Power to escape, it would pulverise you, tear your flimsy foundation apart, blasting you with the impossible majesty and beauty of the Lord. Truly, we are earthen creatures, and in our current state entirely unable to fully behold our awesome God. Is not our Bible full of these encounters? Yet, our hearts are often so dulled, that we cannot comprehend; then in our futile arrogance we imagine that we can possess God. Easier to possess the heart of the sun than the Heart of the Son!
All I can give you is a pale, weak, diluted fraction of the immensity that is Gods’ Heart. It is all I can hold. All I can do.
When I see the evil that comes from us, when I see the wickedness of hearts grown calloused and cold, what can I do but prophesy? It is good that God hides His glory. For what person could stand it? A heart that prophesies is a heart that has seen God, even if through a glass dimly.
When the light of God shines, all is thrown into sharp relief and the things we wish to hide, we wish to ignore, to push under the carpet, are visible in their naked ugliness. What person cannot prophesy the things of the Lord then? It overwhelms you. Overwhelms you with love, with the burning heart of justice, with anger at the depravity you see around you. This is why Jesus overturned the money tables when He saw the sacred profaned. What fellowship has light with darkness?
But then, just as You Lord are ready to burn with unquenchable fire the malice and wickedness of men, then comes Love. And such Love! Have you ever experienced such Love? It would destroy us, unshielded, as we are.
The heart of Love is beyond all explanation, all bounds. All I can say is that it is the heart of Love that prevents us being destroyed in an instant. But it must be an agony, an agony for the Lord. At least, the tiny fraction of what I comprehend is agony for me, when I behold the beauty and majesty of the Spotless Lamb, then behold the coldness of people, then see how Love endures this evil, and yet still Loves. How Lord? How do You bear this?
He does not choose any to perish. What, then, do we choose, when it comes to it, at the end? For this choice, has ever been before us.
The giving of the gift
Being called by God to the prophetic is a very large claim for anybody to make. It is a claim I do not make lightly, or before much time, prayer and discernment. And it is something that is subject to the body of Christ to discern – no man is an island.
So how did this come about? In June 2000, we were in Canada seeking to discern Gods call for us to move there from England (which is another story). One of the things we did not understand was ‘why Canada?’ – why did we need to move here? In response to that question, one person told us that “a prophet is not without honour except in his own country”. This was one of those times where words pierce you, as if God is speaking straight through the words of another. The strange thing is, that while the impression and the power remained, the specific word regarding ‘prophet’ was hidden and did not consciously register at that time. Though in retrospect I believe it was the beginning of the calling.
During the spring of 2002 I first felt God saying that I was to be a prophet. This call became as persistent and nagging as the original call to Canada, and after a while I began to take it seriously. During the next 9 months I pondered this call, wondering what it meant and what to do with it.
My first prophetic vision was given during the winter of 2002/3 as a direct result of asking God a question (be careful for what you ask!), where I saw Gods view on the state of our Church. After much trepidation, I shared this vision with our local Church leadership. I found it confirmed in two ways, firstly through the local prophetic body, and secondly by a lay leader, who used the visions in a sermon, and then proclaimed that the one who gave the vision was a prophet. This was remarkable for us, in that I had never made such a claim to anyone. It was for us the external confirmation of a strengthening internal call.
Subsequent to that, there have been many other visions, more or less understood – these are all written down elsewhere.
St Paul said you should eagerly desire spiritual gifts. While I have desired to serve God better, I have to say that desiring the gift of prophecy was never on the horizon. This wasn’t my idea. I have a science background and am trained to think as a scientist, so it was more than strange to find this whole new vista opening up!
I do not have an easy way of explaining what this appointment feels like. There is both an imperative and a command, a burning fire. Jeremiah in Ch 20 v9 says ‘but if I say “I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name,” His word in my heart is like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones’. And as such, at some point I have to proclaim. That’s not naturally in my nature, but the Lord is relentless.
I have some idea that this appointment will be a hard path indeed, of pain and joy intermingled. I may yet regret saying ‘yes’, but I know I’d regret it far more if I’d ever said ‘no’. The message I believe I am called to prophesy is uncompromising and also needs to be lived out personally in our own lives. The Lord is moving upon this land and His word will not return to Him empty!
I originally wrote this in 2006, and coming to a refresh of this article in 2019 I feel I need to add a section. Back in 2006 I wrote this:
The prophetic, in many ways, is a John the Baptist type ministry, in that the Lord becomes the greater and you the less.
This is very true, but learning it perhaps takes a lifetime. The journey to become less is a hard one and requires entering the desert. As you read this article (and congratulations if you got this far) you may well get the sense of the overwhelming nature of the prophetic call. And, overwhelming it is at times, to the point that you may almost get ‘drunk’ by it.
Such as that happened to me. Looking back, I became unbalanced and started to lose perspective. Prophecy by itself has a way of doing that.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
1 Cor 13 1-3
Prophecy by itself is nothing. Prophecy is just a glimpse in part that will fade away in due time when what is complete will be revealed. And these limited, broken jars that we are can have a real difficulty even holding a little of what is to come.
So, what happened to me? The Lord led me into a desert place. Physically and spiritually I was cared for. Emotionally, I was broken. For perhaps 7 years, I had to learn what being less really was. Everything I thought I was on the cusp of, was going to do, was taken away from me. And, it was a kindness, as I was not capable of containing that gift.
Am I now? I do not know – and perhaps that is a good thing. I have learned something for sure, and am more grounded. Whether I could prophesy with the same intensity and not lose my grounding to the Rock, I do not know. But, He does, and in that I am content. His strength is indeed made perfect in my weakness!
I hope this helps you to understand what this is, at least for me. I believe that the Lord is calling such gifts into being again as the world grows darker. Words must be spoken, over the Church and the world, even if and when they are not received. If not me, then others. Perhaps some may listen. I can do no other than speak what I am given, God help me.
Hello Peter! Thank you, I am glad you shared this. It is always interesting and a blessing to hear how God is moving in someones life. Having walked in this anointing for a very long time, yet only understanding what it is, and that there are many others like us for about 10 years, it never grows old.
I am blessed with several truly prophetic friends; but have seen a few seemingly false prophets too…
this gift is given as you said, to whom the Lord chooses, not because we are anything special; not because of superior intellect or spirituality; no, He simply calls whom He calls and anoints who He anoints for reasons known fully to Him and Him alone.
We are told to desire spiritual gifts but especially the gift of prophecy… all can prophesy; but not all are prophets.
I am feeling led to write a multi part teaching on prophecy ofr the blog, and have been working on it a few days now…
Blessings to you! oh…
by the way, I like the poem. :>)
Very clearly put Peter. You’ve been able to express what I call ‘fog’: you know it exists but somehow the words to describe are absent.
Hi Susan, thanks for dropping by again. Much of my understanding of this gift comes from Graham Cookes book ‘Developing your prophetic gifting’, which I found very comprehensive, practical and helpful.
I know a bit about the difference between the gift and the office, and I purposely try and not to mention the ‘prophet’ word. If nothing else, it often acts as a distraction to the word that you are trying to deliver and conjurs up in folks minds images that are not helpful not to them or to you. I am most uncomfortable bringing this up at all.
So, why Peter did you mention it? Well, simply, as I was writing this, I did not have the time to edit in such a way as to tell the story while missing out that part of it. It seemed integral to answering the question, so I left it in. I can only say, truthfully, that this was a gift given by the Giver, and not something sought or earned. Let the reader judge.
Anyway, less important as to what to call this gifting, and much more important to use it to build up the body of Christ! After all, that’s what it’s for 🙂
BTW – “that there are many others like us for about 10 years” – not quite sure what you meant there?
I’m glad I can describe fog too 🙂 I think it’s one of those things you explain with your heart, or not at all!
Thanks for sharing this, Peter.
I am 17 and understand all of this but I will speak out and say , Peter you have no idea what a god well…….god is. For 17 years no one loved me ,and pain beyond human explanation grew in my heart. Walking through schools of violence and many other things I wanted to die. But I don’t believe in suicide. It is a miricale that I still can stand up to tell you all god saved me when I finally fell from such pain and such exhaustion. I could say much more but god said enough when he died for us.
Michael, it sounds like you have quite a story to tell. I thank God that He found you and saved you!
Bless you and yours,
This is good.
Glad you think so!
All we need is Faith, Love & Hope.
Daniel … I am the Force and Shape of The New World To Come. And it will be Great, Now go in Peace and proclaim the New World of No Hate, No War & Just Love – DB & AAM, RG & All the Saints