My husband Malcolm and I have a drawer that contains personal prophecies given to us over a period of 20 years. Most of them are on loose-leaf pieces of paper.
Some are yellowing with age. On a couple, the typed print is fading and I can barely make out what is written there. A few are on audiocassette tapes.
A number of the prophecies have been fulfilled to varying degrees.
- Others speak of times yet to come—of things that we carry in our hearts but have not yet seen with our eyes.
Igniting a Prophecy with Prayer
A prophetic word from God is like a notice to us of His intentions. However its fulfilment will only take place as we partner with Him—as we pray, listen and obey.
Jesus taught us to pray,
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matt 6:10
Everything God does on the earth He accomplishes in partnership with His people through prayer. As John Wesley said,
“God does nothing but in answer to prayer, and everything by it.”
Elijah understood this. He prophesied to King Ahab that the drought would be broken immediately by rain. What happens next? We see him immediately birthing the prophetic message in prayer. As James says:
‘Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.’ James 5:17-18
Elijah prophesied—and then He prayed. When the prophecy and prayer were combined, in God’s timing, ignition took place. God’s power was released to fulfil His Word.
Discerning the Timing of God
‘In the first year of [Darius’] reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.’ Dan 9:1-3
Here we see Daniel using Jeremiah’s prophecy to pray, repent, and remind God of His mercy and promises.
Daniel was gifted himself in prophetic ministry. But he recognised that Jeremiah had received a message from God that pertained to the current time in which he, Daniel, lived.
It was time to birth that prophecy in prayer.
Nehemiah reminded God of the prophetic promise made through Moses—that God would restore His exiled people to their land when they returned in obedience to Him. (Neh 1:8-9)
Nehemiah’s prophetic prayer was so powerful that it propelled him into becoming a leader in answering that prayer.
Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit
It is not enough to prophesy or simply receive a prophecy.
Many times we receive a personal prophecy and we say, “That’s nice.” We might even get excited about it, because it speaks to something that is already on our hearts.
We may pray about it as we weigh it up. But then, we shelve it where it gathers dust. After all, the ultimate test of whether it is actually a word from God is whether or not it comes to pass. And so we wait.
Now here is the challenge that I believe the Bible makes to us:
There comes a time when we should begin to birth that prophecy in prayer. And we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as to when that time is.
In 1 Chronicles 12:32, we read about the sons of Issachar, who ‘understood the times and knew what Israel should do.’ This ability to sense God’s timing is a quality and gift that we should seek as prophetic people.
The Holy Spirit directs the timing of prophetic prayer to bring to birth God’s purposes at the right moment in history.
We need to ask Him for sensitivity to the times and seasons of God, so that like Daniel, Nehemiah and Elijah, we will know when it is time to pray for God’s prophetic word to be brought to pass.
A Neglected Prophecy
Last week, I led a study in prophetic prayer. As I was preparing for it, I realised that we have neglected to review and pray over our prophecies.
A prophecy that was given to us more than 10 years ago came to my attention. A visiting prophet to our church in New Zealand brought a word over my husband and me. He said that God was going to increase the prophetic anointing in our lives.
Now I have a confession to make right here. Because we have other, more dramatic and exciting prophecies, I have never paid much attention to this one.
However, we discussed the prophecy last week and realised that this was indeed stirring in us right now.
I shared the prophecy at our training night and demonstrated some different ways we could pray and proclaim it. Within 24 hours something happened that confirmed to us that the timing of that prophecy is for our current season.
A message from God that we had shelved has suddenly been brought to the forefront.
Here is a challenging question for you to consider:
What prophecy (or promise from God) have you shelved—but it is now time to birth it in prayer?
Some Ways to use a Prophecy in Prayer:
1. Use the prophecy to remind God of His promises in prayer and ask Him for their fulfilment
2. Turn the prophecy into a declaration of what God will do—and speak it out
3. Use the prophecy to wage spiritual warfare
4. Consider the power of praying and proclaiming prophetic scriptures (e.g. over yourself and family members)
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© 2010 Helen Calder Enliven Blog
Enliven Ministries: in the David McCracken Ministries family