Seer or Discerner: What is the Difference?

Have you ever wondered what the difference between the gift and ministry of a seer, and a gift of discernment is? 

This is a great question—because many discerners are gifted visually and see a lot in the spiritual realm. And many seers are encountering things they recognise are demonic—so there can be some cross-over in the manifestations and experiences of the two gifts.

I’ve answered this in depth in the Enliven Prophetic School this week, but following is a brief summary:

The Seer Gift and Ministry

When we use the term ‘Seer’ we are describing one type, or strand of the prophetic gift and ministry. [1]

We are describing those who have prophetic gifts and ministries, or who are prophets, who operate primarily in the realm of seeing—that is, in visions, pictures and visual impressions, and even dreams, from the Holy Spirit.

The key points we need to remember about the seer gift and ministry are:
1. It is a prophetic gift and ministry (1 Sam 9:19)
2. Being prophetic, the primary focus is on seeing God’s intended purpose
3. Throughout the Bible, seers were given visions from God concerning the past, present and future, they saw symbolic pictures and visions that were prophetic in nature, they had Heavenly encounters and were enabled by the Holy Spirit to see in the spiritual realm for God’s purpose in that moment.

The Discernment Gift

Our definition for the gift of discernment comes from Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, where he says,
‘But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: …to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits…But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.’ (1 Cor 12:7-11, NKJV)

The spiritual gift of discernment is the Holy Spirit-given ability to perceive whether an atmosphere, word or action is sourced in God, a person or something demonic.

The key points about the discernment gift are:
1. Its primary focus is on distinguishing the source of something.
2. Whilst some discerners do operate in the realm of sight (visions, visual impressions and pictures from the Spirit) many discern in other ways, including a ‘knowing’ (recognition) by the Spirit, feeling, sensing atmospheres and even physical responses

A Different Focus

So, to sum up, the seer gift and ministry and the discernment gift have different purposes and a different focus.

  • The seer gift is a prophetic gift and its main focus is on seeing and declaring God’s intended outcome
  • The focus of the discernment gift is to perceive the source of something

Note that Paul identifies the gift of prophecy and the gift of discernment separately in his list of gifts of the Spirit—they are not one and the same. And one is not more important than the other. They’re both needed.

Having said that, there is very good reason for those who operate in one or other of these primarily to see their need for the other:

  • Someone who operates in the seer gift of prophetic ministry needs discernment, to help weigh up whether or not a vision, encounter or visionary experience is of the Holy Spirit.
  • Likewise, someone who has a gift of discernment needs the encouragement and perspective that the prophetic ministry and gift brings. When we perceive the enemy at work, for example, the prophetic gift sees past what is currently going on, to God’s intended outcome. And that is a game-changer!

So, whichever gift you identify most with, pray to be strengthened in the other. And always ensure that you have those with complementary gifts of prophecy wisdom, leadership and so on, around your life to bring the balance and complete your gift and ministry.

Being in community and having team, a spiritual family, a church body around you, and leadership oversight is the most important thing you can do, to stay on track, reach your fullest potential and honour God in your gift and calling.

We were never meant to journey alone.

Gifted as both Seer and Discerner

It is certainly possible to be gifted strongly in both ministries. Seers of the Old Testament were also discerners.

My own story is that I had a gift and ability to discern from a very young age. But while growing in the gift of discernment, the primary calling on my life was ultimately to prophetic ministry, where I operate mainly as a seer. So, whilst I personally identify with both ministries, I’ve learned not to take either of them for granted.

Both gifts need sharpening, both are significant, and each one shines at different times, depending on the need and what Father is doing.

[1] See my Biblical references here: 8 Ways to Grow in Prophetic Visions and Pictures

Enliven Prophetic School: Seer Master Class

This week, I’m thrilled to let you know that after a few months hard work, the Enliven Prophetic School is now open!

This school is for anyone who would like to learn and grow in the gift and ministry of prophecy and includes classes for discerners as well.

Modules currently include:

  • Foundations of prophetic ministry
  • How to hear God’s voice, begin and grow in prophecy
  • The Seer gift: how to grow in pictures and visions
  • Discernment and prophetic warnings: how to respond and share a prophetic warning

This is the best mentoring I can give, all rolled into one place! You can currently join the school for as little as $6.95 USD (monthly subscription) or make a single payment to join with no end date.

I will be adding more master classes regularly. Visit the Enliven Prophetic School here.

© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries
A part of the David McCracken Ministries family

Discernment: Be a Glory Watcher (Like Ezekiel)

Do you relate to the ministry of discernment, or the ability to see in the spiritual realm? For many who have the gift of discernment, it can be a lonely journey at times. Discerners may perceive demonic entities, battle with dark forces, and know firsthand what it is like to ‘wrestle with principalities and powers…’ (Eph 6:12)

In the meantime many people around them have no idea of the difficulties discerners are having as they process these encounters.

I remember a time when I cried to God in prayer and said, ‘If this is a ‘gift’, I don’t want it!’ In His loving wisdom (and sense of humor) God sent a prophet, twice during those difficult years to affirm publicly, ‘Helen, you have a gift of discernment!’

Like I did, you may go through times when you don’t know what to do about what you are experiencing. If so, here is some great news:

The very key that enables you to perceive what is dark, and painful—your God-given ability—is the same one that gives you access to see and encounter the glory of God, the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and His manifest Presence.

As I often say, ‘the highest use of the gift of discernment is to perceive the Holy Spirit and what He is doing.’

It is time to enter and claim the full inheritance of your gift and spiritual ability.

Overcome in the Midst of the Battle

The Apostle Paul saw demonic powers operating in people and experienced great persecution, demonically fuelled and inspired.

Not only was Paul able to overcome in the midst of the battle, and set people free from demonic oppression in Jesus’ Name, but he also had open visions and encountered angels and the Heavenly realms.

Be a Glory Watcher

God called the Prophet Ezekiel to see and address the sin of rebellion in God’s people. In the darkness and pain of viewing the idolatry and spiritual adultery of God’s people and foreseeing the outcome of Israel’s sin, Ezekiel saw and felt things that brought him grief. He experienced personal pain and the loss of his wife.

And yet that very calling that caused Ezekiel to encounter conflict and see things painful to bear, was the same calling that was a gateway to see the glory of God.

In the first chapter of Ezekiel, we read of his vision of the throne of God. In chapter ten he sees the cloud of God’s glory leave the temple. Later in a vision he sees God’s glory return to the new temple. He steps into the great River of Life and experiences the harvest and healing that flows from the seat of God’s Presence.

Ezekiel was a watcher of the glory of God. And you can be, too.

Prophet of the Holy Spirit

Ezekiel is known in history as ‘the prophet of the Holy Spirit’ because of his frequent encounters with, and references to, the Spirit of God.

Hear God saying, ‘it’s time to lift your eyes! Get ready to see and encounter My glory as you never have before.’

You will perceive His throne. You will see what He is doing. You will discover God’s glory in unexpected places—even in the dark places.

You will see, with wonder, that no place is so dark that God’s glory cannot visit it. No bondage is too great that the power of the Spirit in Jesus’ Name cannot break it. No situation is without hope.

In the worst of circumstances, your eyes will be opened and you will see what the Spirit is doing.

Ezekiel’s intimacy with the Spirit was remarkable. Is God also calling you to be known as an intercessor, watchman, or prophet ‘of the Holy Spirit?’ Say ‘yes’ to Him today. And always remember:

The same gift that reveals the darkness, sees the Light that casts shadows away.

Spiritual Warfare Online Course: Learn how to Identify and Overcome Spiritual Attack

Would you like practical tools to overcome spiritual pressure and win the battle?

Join me now on my online course, ‘Spiritual Warfare 101: How to Identify and Overcome Spiritual Attack’.

To enroll or find out more, visit the course page here: ‘Spiritual Warfare 101: How to Identify and Overcome Spiritual Attack’.

© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries
A part of the David McCracken Ministries family

How to Access a More Powerful Level of Discernment

Do you want to grow in the area of discernment and spiritual perception? There are three basic levels of discernment, and understanding these will not only help you grow in your spiritual gift of discernment, it will empower you to lead a supernatural life.

3 Levels of Discernment

1. Natural Perception

The first level of discernment is seeing on the surface. Anyone can see what is happening in the natural realm—and, everyone has their own opinion about what they see. As a result, there is a lot of negativity in the world today, as people express their viewpoints.

2. Having a Discernment Ability

Some people have an ability to discern beyond the surface of things:

  • They are more tuned to the motives of people.
  • They may be able to perceive the spiritual realm
  • They are sensitive to atmospheres
  • They may be able to discern the demonic realm

I frequently hear from people who have this second level of discernment, and who are having a difficult time knowing what to do about what they see.

3. Seeing as the Father Sees

discern_with_fathers_eyesAnyone can see what is happening in the natural realm. Some people may have the ability to see in the spiritual realm (and this is not always sourced in the Holy Spirit).

If you are a Christian, and your desire is to develop a spiritual gift of discernment, a third level of discernment is vital to you.

  • And that is, to see as your Father is seeing.

When your ability to discern is submitted to the Holy Spirit and based in the Father’s love, it will truly be a gift. The fruit of your discernment will not be fear, suspicion, confusion or accusation. It will be life-giving. It will bring freedom and transformation. It will draw people to Jesus.

Jesus saw with the Father’s Eyes

The third level of discernment is only available to those who are walking in relationship with God.

We can be like Jesus, who looked beyond what could be seen with physical eyes, to what the Father was doing. He then spoke and acted accordingly.

‘Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”’ (John 5:19)

In Luke 8, Jesus took the disciples on a visit to a place called the Gerasenes, where a demoniac man was living among the tombs.

  • On the level of natural perception, people could see that the demoniac was crazy, out of his mind and dangerous
  • Someone with discernment could see that his life was being controlled by demons

However, Jesus went not only with discernment. He went with the eyes, heart and mind of the Father. He saw a man afflicted with demons—but He also saw beyond that, to a worshiper, a disciple and an evangelist.

And what He saw, Father’s intention, is what took place. He set that man free and sent him on his way with the good news about what God had done.

The Power of Seeing What Father Sees

When our eyes are focused on what our Father is doing, our gift of discernment can grow to a powerful level. We can then act and speak accordingly—as Jesus did.

  • Jesus was able to look at a tax collector sitting in his booth—a man seen by others as a cheat, a ‘shark’ and a tool of Rome—and see a disciple. He called Matthew into his destiny. (Matt 9:9)
  • Jesus was able to go into a workplace where there was weariness and frustration and see that His Father was bringing a miracle supply. He spoke a word of command and as the fishermen responded to that word, a school of fish was thrust into the nets. (Luke 5:1-11)
  • Jesus walked into a home where there was sickness and saw His Father bringing healing. He spoke the word and Peter’s mother in law rose up from her sick bed. (Matt 8:14-15)


‘Father, I want to know you more. Help me to see as You see, in every situation. Today, share Your desires, Your intentions with me.

Holy Spirit, empower me to discern, and to speak words of life that bring healing, freedom and transformation. Help me to become so tuned to what is on Your heart, that when people encounter me, they encounter Jesus.’

Unlocking the Gift of Discernment eBook

DISCERNMENT Front Cover SmallThe gift of discernment of spirits is a powerful weapon in times of spiritual warfare, and can be of great assistance when ministering freedom to individuals. And yet many who have the gift of discernment have difficulty knowing what to do with what they are feeling or sensing.

‘Unlocking The Gift Of Discernment’ incorporates wisdom from Enliven Blog as well as additional valuable material on how to be protected as a discerner in times of spiritual warfare.

To view ‘Unlocking The Gift Of Discernment’ in our e-store, click here

Note: All transactions are secure using PayPal and we do not pass your information on to third parties. Our store will convert to your currency.

© 2016 Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

Shift the Spiritual Atmosphere Using Your Gift of Discernment

Shift_the_AtmosphereI frequently hear from Christians who struggle with what they discern. They may be experiencing physical, mental or emotional strain from spiritual warfare and demonic encounters.

When these people come across Enliven Blog, they are relieved to hear from someone who has experienced similar problems.

The Atmosphere of the Holy Spirit

It is true that in my early years of growing in discernment, I was adversely affected by negative atmospheres. However, that is not my experience today.

Today, I live with a continual awareness of the Holy Spirit being with, in and upon me. I know that the atmosphere I carry is one of ‘righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.’ (Rom 14:17)

This is my usual experience, and if it is ever anything otherwise, I can quickly make my way back into that awareness of God’s Presence.

  • It is simply a matter of doing whatever it takes to get back into a place of reliance upon what Jesus has done for me. (Col 2:13-15) This may involve confession, repentance, an act of obedience, renouncing something—or most often, simply returning to a position of trust in God.

I know that peace and the experience of God’s Presence is my inheritance as a Christian—and it is yours too.

Take the Weather with You

‘Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you’ sings one of our favourite New Zealand bands. [1]

As people who discern and sense atmospheres, we have a choice. We can come under the dark clouds, or we can rise above them. Better still, we can participate with the Holy Spirit in shifting the atmosphere.

Determine that you are not going to be like a thermometer, going up and down with the temperature of the environment and people around you.

You can be a thermostat. You can set the temperature. You can take the weather with you. And the weather forecast in God’s Kingdom is ‘righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.’ (Rom 14:17) [2]


[1] Crowded House, ‘Weather With You’, 1992

[2] The above article is an excerpt from the revised version of the book, ‘Unlocking the Gift of Discernment’

Unlocking the Gift of Discernment eBook

$5.95 AUD e-Book

Revised and updated with more than 40% new material!

DISCERNMENT Front Cover SmallAvailable for purchase from the Enliven Blog (David McCracken Ministries) e-store.

The gift of discernment of spirits is a powerful weapon in times of spiritual warfare, and can be of great assistance when ministering freedom to individuals. And yet many who have the gift of discernment have difficulty knowing what to do with what they are feeling or sensing.

‘Unlocking The Gift Of Discernment’ incorporates wisdom from Enliven Blog as well as additional valuable material on how to be protected as a discerner in times of spiritual warfare.

To view ‘Unlocking The Gift Of Discernment’ in our e-store, click here

Note: All transactions are secure using PayPal and we do not pass your information on to third parties. Our store will convert to your currency.

Has this article spoken to you, or do you have a testimony to share? Leave a message in the comments section, on Facebook or on Instagram. If the blog comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.

© 2015 Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church

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Discernment: When You See Darkness, Ask This Question

Discernment, Turn on the LightIn my early years of journeying with the gift of discernment, I often focused on the negative, demonic aspects of what I was perceiving. I have since learned that the best way to deal with darkness is to respond in faith and to focus on God and what the Holy Spirit is doing.

So if you are facing spiritual warfare or observing demonic activity in a person, atmosphere or situation right now, try asking this question:

‘Father, how do you want me to turn on the light in this situation?’

It has often been said that the way to deal with darkness is to turn on the light—and Jesus is the Light. 

‘The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.’ (Matt 4:16)

You can shine the light of Jesus into situations and upon people who are in darkness.

How to Turn on the Light when Confronted with Darkness

Those of us who are gifted in discernment can be very sensitive to atmospheres and are quick to notice when something is ‘off.’ If you can relate to this, you may also be aware when spiritual warfare is taking place, frequently picking it up before anyone else does. So how can you best respond when you are perceiving something demonic?

‘For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.’ (Eph 5:8)

This is Good News!

  • You do not need to focus on the darkness.
  • You do not have to put up with demonic activity affecting you or others.

Be open to the Holy Spirit leading you to do things such as:

  1. Focusing upon Jesus in prayer or praise
  2. Declaring Scripture
  3. Bringing prophetic insight about Father’s intention
  4. Looking for what the Holy Spirit is doing, rather than what the enemy is doing
  5. Speaking God’s truth in love—with the Father’s heart
  6. Share a prophetic warning only with balance, wisdom and love
  7. Remembering that you are living under an open Heaven and act accordingly

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (John 1:5)

So when you are confronted with darkness—remember that you have the power to turn on the light, and darkness will flee.

© 2015 Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church