3 Characteristics of Your Gift and Ministry’s Hidden Phase

Do you identify with a sense of waiting, or being hidden, in your spiritual gift, vocation or ministry calling?

When the Apostle Paul—then Saul—became a follower of Jesus, God revealed to him that a powerful apostolic ministry was up ahead.

  • But although Paul’s gift of teaching and preaching was evident from the outset of his conversion, there was much more to come.

Years later, Paul was still ministering as a teacher at the church in Antioch, when the church leaders heard from God that it was time to send him and Barnabas out from the church as missionaries (Acts 13).

From this time onwards, Paul’s evangelistic and apostolic ministry, along with gifts of signs and miracles, emerged in Paul’s life (Acts 14:3, [1]).

Paul’s gifts and calling unfolded progressively throughout his life, and it will happen that way in ours too. [2]

Today, no matter what your experience of life in the Spirit has been, God has more for you.

Here are three characteristics of the hidden phase of a spiritual gift or ministry. If you relate to any of these, take heart! God has not forgotten you. Today, hear Him say, ‘See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.’ (Isaiah 49:16 NIV)

1. A Desire that is Sometimes Intense

When God gives you a prophetic calling, He sows the desire for your destiny along with it. There is a place in your heart and life that will one day be filled with the operation of that gift, ministry and service to God. And until it fully manifests, you notice its absence.

God is using your hunger and the desire of your heart to draw you towards your destiny. That very hunger will cause you to prepare, to search and to pursue Him.

Desire is a gift given by God, that causes us to pursue Him, until He gives us what He has longed to grant us all along. This is the level of hunger that kept Elisha in pursuit of Elijah to the point of no return, until he received the mantle destined by God to be his. (2 Kings 2)

“So I say to you, ask and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking, and you will find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9, AMP)

2. Prolonged Times of Waiting

Times of waiting until the gift, ministry or service to God is fulfilled, are a common theme throughout the Bible.

You may have experienced early signs of a gift, calling or ministry. You may have received a prophecy, or hold certain Scripture verses close to your heart that reflect God’s call upon your life.

But now, you wonder what happened to that calling. It may even seem as though the very opposite is taking place.

In a time of waiting, it is common to hit a ‘ceiling’. You are engaged at one level of ministry for a long time, whilst deep down you know God has more for you. Think of all the years Paul ministered in the primary role of a teacher, when his apostolic call to reach nations was still ahead!

If you can relate to this, know that your Father has your timetable in His hands.

Look at Paul—none of his time on earth was wasted in God’s sight.
‘For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ (2 Tim 4:6-7, NIV)

3. Obstacles and Opposition that are Specific to Your Call

There are times when God allows us to experience trials specifically related to our calling. These hardships are designed to stir us, prepare us and propel us forward.

Joseph was called to rule—and yet was sold as a slave. Daniel was called to govern, but God positioned him as a slave in captivity. Paul was called to impact nations—and then spent years in his home town of Tarsus, waiting for the church to be ready to receive him. (Acts 11:25) [2]

So it can be with us. We are called to heal—and yet we or someone close to us struggles with sickness. We are called to pray—and face the most difficult prayer journey of our life.

The enemy also targets us at the very point of our calling, using tactics of fear, intimidation or direct, blatant attacks aimed at knocking us off course.

If you can identify obstacles or pressure that shout, ‘don’t go that way!’ ‘That calling is not for you!’, be encouraged.

  • That pressure is a signpost; you are headed in the right direction!
  • That obstacle will become a stepping stone into your promise from God
  • That trial will become a testimony
  • That giant of demonic opposition is coming down

As you stay on track by the grace of God, nothing and no one can stop God’s plan for your life coming to pass.

Grow Your Prophetic and Prayer Gifts ~ Now Inside the Prophetic School

If you are feeling stuck, or have undergone hardship in relation to your prophetic or prayer gift, this book will encourage you and provide you with keys to move forward in developing your gift. Learn how to:

  • Identify the season you are currently in for each of your gifts, including a season of wilderness and trial
  • Find out how to break through to the next level
  • Maximise opportunities in the current stage of growth in your spiritual gift

The book, ‘Grow Your Prophetic and Prayer Gifts’ is now available as a bonus PDF inside the Enliven Prophetic School.

I have completed the first stage of basic teaching modules and am now taking an Australian Summer break from production.

In the meantime, you can find the Prophetic School at a reduced entry price here.


[1] I write about this in my book ‘Grow Your Prophetic and Prayer Gifts’. You can find ‘Grow Your Prophetic and Prayer Gifts’ for sale as a single eBook here on the eStore.

[2] Paul’s first recorded miraculous sign is in Acts 13:8-11. It is not until years later, in Ephesus (Acts 19), we read of many ‘extraordinary miracles’ of healing being worked through Paul.

[3] See_https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/paul/timeline.cfm

© 2017 Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries
A part of the David McCracken Ministries family

4 Signs You Are in Transition in Your Gift, Role or Ministry

Do you feel as though you are in transition in relation to your spiritual gift, prophetic ministry or calling?

Transition can be a difficult time. We are uncomfortable with the status quo, and yet the new opportunity that God for us has not yet manifested.

In spite of the trials, transition is powerful—it heralds the fact that a new season of fruitfulness is on its way!

Following are 4 signs that you may be in a God-appointed time of transition in your gift or calling, along with some keys to help you move forward:

1. Experiencing a low time in your ministry

Transition leads to greater fruitfulness“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1-2)

You may have felt as though you have been in a lull, or having a time of barrenness in relation to your calling. You may have experienced a wilderness season.

If you feel as though you have been cut back in some way, that does not mean you have failed. Neither does it mean that you are in the wrong place. It may simply be a sign that God is at work, preparing you for greater fruitfulness up ahead.

Transition is a time for strong hope. ‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ (Jer 29:11)

2. God is at work in your heart

‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’ (Prov 4:23)

Your gift and ministry flows from your heart. So when God is preparing you for a new season, you will find that His Spirit is ministering to you at a deep level.

Perhaps during this time of transition, hurts are being brought to the surface for healing. You may even feel vulnerable. By His Spirit, God is wooing you. He is calling you to intimacy with Him.

Mindsets that you have had are being tested and challenged. Father is saying, ‘You cannot take that thinking with you into your next season.’ It is a time to foster a mindset of faith.

Transition is, by nature, a time in which you have difficulty finding satisfaction in your current role or achievements. Now is the time to rediscover and rest confidently in your identity as a son or daughter of God.

3. Feeling you don’t fit, sensing there is more

In the past, you may have fit very well in your current ministry or role. However, during transition you find that you are no longer comfortable. You may feel as though you are like ‘a square peg in a round hole.’

Because of this tension, transition can be a test of attitude, character and faithfulness.

‘Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”’ (Col 4:17)

If a season is being brought to a close in your role, make it your aim to finish well, with honour and integrity.

There may be spiritual warfare at the transition stage. Your enemy wants to rob you of your destiny.

You may be presented with a ‘shortcut’ that is not God’s best for you. Transition is a time to check options that come your way with the Holy Spirit, with others close to you and with Godly oversight.

Be assured that as you remain faithful during a time of transition, your Heavenly Father is at work in the background. He is lining up people and circumstances, and preparing the way for the new opportunities that lie ahead for you.

4. Travail

‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ (Matt 6:10)

Travail is God’s invitation to participate with Him in birthing your new season. This will be primarily through prayer and your relationship with Him. Allow the Holy Spirit to draw on the longings of your heart, to pray and intercede for what lies ahead.

During transition, your vision for the future may be clear, or you may lack clarity.

Don’t be afraid to dream and envision the next stage. Give God your imagination; give Him something to anoint, direct and work with.

‘Travail’ may also mean that practical preparations, study, or extra work is required to position for what lies ahead. Transition is not necessarily a time to slow down—be open to hearing the Holy Spirit urge you to pick up your pace.

Transition in the Life of Elijah

When God appoints a time of transition, He has already provided you ahead of time with everything that you need.

By the end of 1 Kings 18, Elijah had experienced a great victory. And yet shortly afterwards, he was on the run, fearing for his life. He was also exhausted.

God chose this brief, painful time as a transition in Elijah’s life. He encouraged Elijah to rest and gave him supernatural nourishment. Then, He gave Elijah instructions for the next fruitful season of his ministry. (see 1 Kings 19)

Elijah’s story is a reminder of the grace and goodness of God. He gives you the time needed to grieve, rest and be replenished, when you need it.

Then, at the pivotal time, God leads you into a fresh encounter Him. There, He provides you with the guidance you need to move forward.

The time has come to stride boldly into your new season.

Related Posts:

Going Through a Testing Season in Your Spiritual Gifts

3 Benefits of God-Appointed Transition

Do you feel as though you are going through a time of transition? Which of the above do you most relate to?  Let us know us about it in the blog comments section, or on Facebook or Instagram. If the blog comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.

© 2016 Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

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

Did you receive this from a friend? Read more from Enliven Blog or sign to receive our weekly prophetic teaching updates at http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog

Glory In The Swamp: God Is Redeeming Those Trials

God_in_the_TrialsThe Hunk and I have a jigsaw puzzle at home that depicts a maze set in a swamp. [1]

Completing the jigsaw is only half the challenge. The other is to locate a trail through the maze that will take canoeists from one side of the swamp to the other.

Eventually we discovered that the designer of the maze had hidden an unusual key to solve the puzzle. The correct route, the only one that that led through the maze, was lined with pelicans. Upon review, the maze was easy—if you knew about the signposts.

When Life Resembles a Maze, Check the Signposts

Sometimes we reflect on the picture of our life or ministry and it seems like a jumble of trials, problems and opportunities. We cannot see how it all fits together. It feels as though we are caught in a swamp, and we are not sure how to navigate our way through it.

The key is revealed when we see that God, the Master Designer of our lives, has been intimately involved all along.

And He wastes nothing.

Your Life’s Purpose

 ‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ (Eph 2:10)

The Bible tells us that God designs us for a purpose that He has prepared ahead of time. Today I believe He wants to encourage you in your call from Him, regardless of what is taking place right now.

You are destined and appointed by God to be a history maker, to make a difference in this world. Living out your life’s purpose is not only about some distant goal or destination, though. It is about partnering right now with God.

As you reflect back on your life to date, there are many things that God has used—and will continue to use, to help equip you to fulfil His purpose:

  • Natural talents as well as skills developed along the way
  • Your unique personality, interests and passion
  • Trials and wilderness periods allowed by God, as He did with many of His people in the Bible. These have refined your character and prepared you for fruitfulness. [2]
  • Pain, problems or tragedies. Redeemed by your Heavenly Father, these become part of your life message as a testimony or ministry to others
  • Positioning—that when you look back, you see God enabled you to be in the right place at the right time for His purposes
  • Divine appointments and relationships, as people have been brought into your life for a reason. The input of some people has equipped you to grow spiritually, sharpen different skills and impart wisdom.
  • Connecting you with a local church and calling you alongside people to be part of a community of faith
  • Opportunities and circumstances that when you have said yes to them, you have grown

Today, God may be speaking to you about an event or issue that has been in your life, saying “Give that into My hands, put your trust in Me and I will redeem it. Know that I am faithful.”

The story of Joseph stands as an encouragement to us. (Genesis 30-50) None of the trials Joseph went through were wasted. God used everything to prepare and equip him for what was ahead in the call of God on his life.

Maybe you are reflecting on a vocation or ministry, and you are not sure how it fits together. Perhaps it even feels broken.

Today, take a fresh look at God your Redeemer. Put the pieces of that puzzle in His hands and allow Him to do His work of grace. Ultimately, you will see that things fit together in some way, unforeseen by you but ordained ahead of time by God.

Postscript: Jesus is with you

Immediately after I wrote the above analogy about the swamp, I was taking a break, enjoying some British TV. In the episode, a bride and groom became caught in a muddy swamp, at night. The bride’s white gown was becoming covered in mud. Eventually they found their way out.

It was a vivid parable of what I had just been writing.

Someone needs to be reminded, Jesus is with you in the circumstances—He has been with you all along. And He knows the way out. A couple of verses come to mind:

‘Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor [trouble] a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. “In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’ (Hosea 2:14-16, NIV)

‘I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.’ (Ps 40:1-3, NIV)


[1] Google’s dictionary definition of swamp is ‘an area of low-lying, uncultivated ground where water collects’

[2] For more of how God uses a wilderness season, see Going Through a Testing Season In Your Spiritual Gifts

Do you have any testimonies of God’s guidance through difficult times? How has this post ministered to you? Leave a comment in the box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.

Related Posts:

When Ministry Doesn’t Work Out The Way You Expect

Your Prophetic Word and Spiritual Warfare

© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

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

Did you receive this from a friend? Read more from Enliven Blog or sign to receive our weekly prophetic teaching updates at http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog

When Ministry Doesn’t Work Out The Way You Expected

Ministry Disappointments are God's AppointmentsHas this ever happened to you?

You have a God given dream to serve Him, and the opportunity arises to do something with it. You pray about it, consult with your oversight, and plan carefully. You tick (check) all the boxes and go ahead with your best intentions, believing you are obeying God.

But not far down the track, you encounter unforeseen obstacles.

Maybe you launched a new ministry, department or project, began some meetings, or finally stepped in the call of God for your life in a practical way. But it did not prove as effective or fruitful as you thought it would. Perhaps, you even had to cancel something. Maybe people who joined with you are hurting. Money and time you invested has been seemingly wasted. You feel crushed. And disillusionment looms.

If this sounds familiar to you—be encouraged. God is a Redeemer and Restorer, and He has something better up ahead.

Ministry Trials: God sees the Bigger Picture

In some seasons, God allows trials in our service for Him, because in His infinite love, His infinite grace, and His infinite wisdom, He sees the bigger picture and has something even better for us.

In fact, there are times when God allows us to go through tests, that in order to pass from Heaven’s viewpoint, we need to fail from a human perspective.

This is especially true when God is preparing His leaders and prophetic ministers. [1]

Missionary Giving turns to Receiving

22 years ago, as a young married couple, The Hunk and I had a call from God to release money into His Kingdom and to support missionaries in Asia. When an opportunity came up to purchase a business making Asian food, we prayed, processed it with our oversight. and believed God was in it.

However, when we got into the business, the projected income wasn’t there. We weren’t making enough to feed our young son and ourselves, let alone support missionaries.

One day, we went to the letterbox, and there was a letter from friends of ours who were on the mission-field. Inside was a large cheque to help with our needs.

Instead of us supporting missionaries, the missionaries supported us!

As it turned out, our vision was small, compared to what God had for us. A few years later—the business behind us—my husband stepped into the role of National Director for a mission agency. We were involved in sending long-term missionaries and short-term mission teams to Asia. We raised financial support for missionaries and church-planting projects, as well as evangelistic and humanitarian aid projects in Asia. What we originally intended to do alone, we were empowered to do alongside people and churches from all over New Zealand.

We needed the experience of living by faith financially, as well as the humility and character building that had come from our experience of ‘failure’ in serving God.

Empowerment in the Wilderness

David served Saul in the palace en route to his calling being fulfilled. What a shock it must have been when instead of favour and open doors, he ended up being hunted in the wilderness by the very one he sought to serve.

However the wilderness was part of God’s greater plan. The season in the wilderness honed David’s leadership skills, and formed the core leadership team that would serve him in the future. It developed David’s character, tried his faith, and positioned him for what was to come. [2]

When Adjustment is Needed

There are times when we have ‘blind spots,’ and God allows a trial to reveal the problem to us.  Maybe He wants to build something new into our character or vision. And so He allows a time of failure, from earth’s perspective, to birth us into a new season.

We have our eye on a short-term ministry goal. Father has His eye on the long-term prize of our calling and our intimate relationship with Him.

In 2 Sam 6, we read about a day in King David’s life, that was supposed to be one of his crowning achievements as King of Israel. It was the day he was to transport the Ark of the Covenant to its resting place in Jerusalem.

When David’s first attempt to move the Ark of God turned into a spectacular public failure, he could have remained disillusioned and angry. But instead, he turned to the Scripture, to find out what God had to say about the process. Having learned God’s prescribed way of handling the Ark, he set about organising the nation to do God’s work, God’s way.

As a result, in David’s Tabernacle, in an open tent, looking upon the glory of God, there was 24/7 worship and prophecy and praise—something that only happened in the Old Testament during David’s time. Even today, the Church globally is being inspired by the prophetic example of David’s Tabernacle.

It took failure to bring a needed adjustment into David’s life. God’s greater prize was a King who was not only a worshipper after God’s heart, but a ruler who honoured the Scriptures, the Word of God.


[1] John and Paula Sandford write of the prophet’s training in their book, ‘The Elijah Task’. Although some of the material is now outdated in perspective, this one point is priceless. Speaking of Elisha’s servitude under Elijah, they note: ‘Test after test was put upon the neophyte. The test was a success only if he failed to pass it! To learn that he could not succeed by his own soul’s resources was the first building block… of the prophet’s study course.’

[2] See 1 Sam chapters 16 – 26.

Related Posts:

Why is my Spiritual Gift or Ministry not being Released

Your Prophetic Word and Spiritual Warfare

When You Hit a Wall in your Ministry

Going Through a Testing Season in your Spiritual Gifts

What have you learned from attempts to serve God that have not turned out the way you envisioned they would? Do you have any insights or questions to share? I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment in the box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.

© Helen Calder   Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

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

Did you receive this from a friend? Read more from Enliven Blog or sign to receive our weekly prophetic teaching updates at http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog

Going Through A Testing Season In Your Spiritual Gifts

Our office at David McCracken Ministries is situated in a lovely, semi-rural area here in Melbourne, Australia. A few days ago, I went on my regular walk past a vineyard during my lunch break. I was amazed to see fresh green shoots springing from the harshly pruned vines.

What seemed so barren and dead for months is now a picture of resurrection life.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:1-2)

In the same way that a plant is pruned in order to blossom and bear more fruit, seasons of testing are crucial to the development of our spiritual gifts.

During these times, the best that we have produced seems to have been stripped away from us. God is allowing fruitful areas of our lives and ministries to be cut back, in order that we can focus in a significant way and be even more fruitful for His Kingdom.

11 Signs that you are in a Testing Season

Some signs that you may be experiencing a testing season in relation to your spiritual gifts include:

  • Feeling that you have been shut down in your God-given abilities
  • You might have voluntarily or involuntarily released ministry responsibility and feel displaced as a result
  • You long for the honeymoon period when you first discovered your spiritual gift
  • You might have made mistakes and wonder whether you will ever recover
  • You experience doubts about your ability and wonder if God really called you
  • You find yourself going through character-testing circumstances and coming up short on the character side
  • You wonder whether the prophecies once made about you will ever be fulfilled
  • You feel as though you are being criticised, blocked or resisted
  • You feel battle-worn and weary
  • You feel displaced, separated or hidden in relation to your gift and ministry
  • The opposite of God’s call and the destiny you believed for seems to be happening to you.

A testing season can be specific to a single gift. I have often heard prophetic people relate, mystified, that their prophetic ministry feels as though it has been blocked and yet they are experiencing fruitfulness in other areas of service.

The Season of Trial: What is God Doing?

1. Developing Skills you will need in the Future

Joseph knew that his destiny was one of rulership, but it seemed that his life was taking the opposite course. However, during the time of slavery and unjust imprisonment he developed skills that would be invaluable to his future. He learned the Egyptian language and customs, along with principles of stewardship, leadership and resource management.

During the season of trial, God may be working gifts and skills into your life that you need to fulfil His destiny in the long run.

2. Refining Your Character

During wilderness times, the people and circumstances that try us are instruments that God uses to develop our character and point us towards our destiny. Joseph understood this. He later said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gen 50:20).

3. Repositioning You

During a testing time, God may actually be repositioning us for a new season of fruitfulness.

Elijah went on the run from Jezebel, overnight going from success to mess. (1 Kings 19) He sat under a tree in the desert and actually prayed that he would die. The Lord visited Him and gave him directions for a new season of his ministry. He was to call Elisha as his successor and anoint a new king who would bring Jezebel’s reign to an end.

Elijah had an appointment with God in the wilderness and so do we. During the times of difficulty or separation, allow Him to speak to you about the next season He has for your life.

4. Calling You to Intimacy with Him

Testing times are seasons when we have the opportunity to get closer to God than any other time. Perhaps there are fewer distractions. Perhaps need or barrenness causes us to draw nearer to Him. It is on God’s heart to reveal His love to you in fresh ways during a desert time.

5. Awaiting the Right Timing

While we feel as though we are fighting to survive, God is moving to change the scenery on the stage of our lives—positioning circumstances, others and us for what is to come. [1]

David went on the run from Saul in the wilderness. He was destined to become a king, but he became an outlaw first. He stayed in the desert while God worked things out on his behalf. Saul died and eventually the people called for David to be their new king.

6. Strengthening Your Faith

Abraham is known as the ‘father of faith.’  It was twenty-five barren years before Isaac was born in fulfilment of God’s promise to make him a great nation; God waited until it was physically impossible. Paul later said of Abraham:

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. (Rom 4:19-20)

In the Father’s Hands

It is important to recognize that God is at work during the testing season. He is refining both your character and your gift.

How you respond in this season is very important. No matter what you have done, no matter what people have done to you, and no matter what the enemy has done against you, God is sovereignly working ‘all things together for good.’

If you can relate to this today, I pray that you will perceive the hand of God on your life. During pruning, the vine-grower’s hands are closer to the vine than at any other time.

May you sense the Father’s loving touch on your life and receive a revelation of His goodness that will empower you and cause your heart to flow with gratitude and praise.

This post contains an excerpt from my e-book, ‘Grow Your Prophetic And Prayer Gifts.’

The six phases of spiritual gift development are beginning, desiring, emerging, developing, testing and maturing.

‘Grow Your Prophetic And Prayer Gifts’ is a high-value e-book specifically written to help you grow in your gifts of prophecy, intercession, healing, discernment and more – at whatever stage or season you are on the journey.

Check out my e-books page for more e-books related to prophetic and prayer ministry.

Related Posts:
4 Signs You are in Transition in Your Gift or Ministry

© Helen Calder – Enliven Blog

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