The owl as a prophetic symbolIt was October 2010, and I was processing the call of God to join the David McCracken Ministries team. A question uppermost in my mind at that time was, ‘Am I really called to the prophetic ministry on a full-time basis?’

One night while I was preparing dinner, I was listening to a podcast by Kris Vallotton in which he shared about a prophetic word God gave him. [1] It was:

“The prophetic mascot for this season is no longer the eagle, but the owl. Because the owl is nocturnal—the owl lives in the darkness, can see through the darkness and knows ‘who’s who.’”

He went on to talk about supernatural owl sightings that confirmed the word. As I was listening, two responses were happening on the inside of me.

Firstly, I was a little disappointed—the symbolism of the eagle for prophetic ministry had significant personal meaning for me. And secondly, as I was listening to Kris Vallotton’s stories about the appearance of actual owls that confirmed this word about a shift of season, I thought (somewhat cynically), “Well, we have been living in Australia for 8 years and have never once seen an owl.”

What happened next is a reminder that God has a sense of humor.

An hour or two later, our daughter returned home from visiting a friend after school. She came through the door and rushed up to me, excitedly saying, “Mum, Mum! I’ve just seen a whole family of owls!” There was a tree with a nest of them just outside her friend’s home. She was particularly excited because she could not remember ever seeing an owl in her whole life.

And inside I’m thinking, “Well you nearly got me there, Lord, but I still haven’t seen an owl in Australia!”

The following evening, my husband Malcolm and I were leaving a friend’s birthday party late at night, and as we were driving up a road lined with trees I noticed a flutter of wings. I said to my husband, “I think that’s a kookaburra!” I would have gone on but he said, “Back up.” So I backed the car up, and right there was a huge owl on a branch, looking at us.

A few days later, my Mum visited us and she brought me a photo—of her own recent sighting of a native Australian owl.

And Then the Lights Turned out

Since I was very young, I have had a gift of discerning spirits. One aspect of this gift is the ability to see or sense any demonic spirits that may be operating in a person’s life (as well as places, groups, and atmospheres)—and know quite clearly what these are. [2]

This gift was predominant in my ministry as an intercessor—but the season was changing.
Soon into my new ministry role, I noticed something unusual was happening. The gift of discernment of spirits that I had for most of my life was not functioning. It was as though Holy Spirit had turned the lights off, and I was operating in the dark.
What was even more interesting, was that as I ministered in personal prophecy during these early days, the Spirit was leading me to the very people whom I might previously have avoided, had I been seeing what was motivating or oppressing them. This happened over and over again.

I was embarrassed at first, but then I woke up to what God was doing.

He was teaching me to see people as He sees them, breaking down my former judgments and stereotypes. Teaching me to see as the owl does—in the dark.

Loving People and Seeing Treasures in the Darkness

The heart of our Father looks and reaches beyond what is seen by our natural eye, and even what we know presently through discernment.

  • He looks beyond a person’s exterior and the interior condition of their soul
  • He looks beyond a person’s history and He sees a much-loved child of God, someone who has a prophetic identity, and destiny in His Kingdom

As Kris Vallotton points out, the role of prophetic ministry is to look into the darkness and see the treasure in hidden places. (Is 45:3) He says, “An owl can look through the darkness and see a Rahab (a prostitute in the Old Testament) and know it’s the great great great great… Grandmother of Jesus Christ.” [1] (Josh 2:1, Matt 1:5)

Many times a word of love and affirmation from God will break down the barriers and bondages and hurts that a person carries. But even if it does not—He still loves them. He still desires to reach out and affirm them. And He takes great delight in demonstrating that love to them and others through His prophetic ministry.

The experience I have had of prophetic ministry—especially personal prophecy—these past few years I have likened to ‘a baptism of love.’

And yes, I have recently noticed that the lights have turned back on—although perhaps not as strong as before. It seems Father trusts me with discernment again.


[1] Kris Vallotton is from Bethel Church, Redding. This particular podcast is published by Kris and Kathy Vallotton Ministries, dated 30/9/2010, and entitled ‘Becoming a History Maker.’

[2] When teaching on the discernment of spirits, I emphasize that the balance (and glory) of discernment is that this gift enables us to sense the Holy Spirit and His anointing. Our focus should always be primarily on what God is doing, not on what the enemy is doing.

[3] Would an owl be used as a prophetic illustration when it is an unclean animal in the Old Testament? 
There is always value in understanding what Scripture says and in what context.
The owl is listed as being unclean in the Old Testament (Deut 14:15-17). Peter’s vision of the unclean animals now being edible is an example of the Holy Spirit bringing a prophetic revelation (vision) in a way that offends the minds of those who pay attention to the letter of the law. I personally love the way our Father loves people, and that He would use an ‘owl’ – a creature of the darkness, and also representative of sorrow and isolation (Ps 102:6, Is 34:11) to share His love for people, is a picture of His redemption. He has called us out of darkness into His glorious light! He calls us to see and perceive with His heart, and call others out of their dark places also.

Related Posts:

Prophetic Signs And Unusual Coincidences

Prophesying Out of God’s Love

© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

Enliven Ministries: in the David McCracken Ministries family

24 thoughts on “Prophesying In The Dark: What The Owl Taught Me”

  1. Wendy coker a slave to God

    r the most part of my life. never really getting to understand were you are coming from, I have been blessed from a small child to hear and see things that are not on this earth, By the time I got to say around 12 I thought I was weird or had something really wrong with me, God each time I had that thought would confirm that he knew what he was doing and I only had to keep hold of the word he had spoken turst in me and I will show you your wonderfully made in my image .I have never not known the Lord I was a child who was left with strangers to be raised fow anyone person truly or trusted in any one. I had my Father , The Lord and he placed 2 great to big to describe Angels either side of me at a very young age.I have been caught up in bondage for the most part of my young life 25 years to of physical abuse, with one Child I has been blessed with at 17 because I felt the need for unconditional love no one could take from me, Fell into a bad situation through not being raised with any one who cared to show me the values of being valued and loved. All along I would come across triggers to pray and speak with my Heavenly father. now how dos that happen to a girl who really had been abandoned I admit I was placed here and there with the Catholic Church I was baptized at some time I hope because I have a photo of me making my holy communion at 6 although I had been thrown from person to person at that time I was with my mother. Lift went in many directions but God stayed in the center of all the chaos. He never left me for forsaken me. I had problems as I couldn’t read so the bible was the last place I could find God infact no one told me about all the wonders and miracles and blessings and above all the family and love that was in his protection through finding the bible and reading his words for my life here on earth.As I seemed to get older and every part of my family the one I have been given and the one I was born into but never really became a part of was falling apart I was crying out for the Lord to stop it all please help me Lord please. Well God is faithful through out the years I had asked for others and he was faithful for me well I just wanted to noise and pain to stop and it did.I had heard God speak into me when I was half way through this turmoil life of 25 years and the man I was with had a large heart attack and wasn’t expected to live you would expect I would of been grateful that God had stopped the noise but I went in a different direction.I prayed for his healing for his life to be restored, the doctors was amazed as he was not meant to survive and at least only 12 mths as he was only functioning on 10% of his heart function the rest had been destroyed again God was faithful and answered my prayers he is awesome and has never failed when I pray to him about the tough stuff that has come up in my life or the lives of others. You know I could go on and on and on and give testimony after testimonies as to how faithful the Lord has been, I am older now and understand that we go through the trials to strengthen our hearts to stand firm and press in and not to lean on our own understanding, which he told me very young to trust in him as he was my one true friend father and in my older years lover husband carer and adviser protection and comforter.I share in a ministry online with Rev John now Im here in Australia and he lives in the USA we teach the Good news and pray we educate and give hope and bring the lost the the cross and pray for their salvation. God has worked miracles in my life every day some times I dont see what he is doing other times I hear him and do what he asks of me. I speak to people about what God has planned for them and lay hands of the people he directs my feet to walk along side of .I just love my Father so much and Im so glad I stumbled on this page I cant tell you how but Gods direction is always there , he has blessed me to paint things in this past year and not more than 5 weeks ago I painted an owl a very large owl who is perched over a farm house in the night glowing. looking at the viewer of the painting with wisdom God has been bring about a lot of different things in my life paintings I would of never expected I had talent to even draw let along the depth of what God is saying through them.Their all just for me, or maybe I haven’t been given my net mission with art yet. But the Words of God are like rivers of living waters that flow over my life Im hungry and trusty for more and more . I love most of all how he just stops me and I start talking to people about the strangest of things out of the blue and with no knowledge of the history of them or who they are and all these words come flowing out of my mouth.Im very young in the prophetic, I believe what happens to me to be the Word of God, What anyone thinks or what every even I might think about it I know that the Lord loves me so deeply and I love him just as deep inmy way our way of relationship which is unique and special . thank you gain for sharing the OWL. @onewholoves@ God bless you all Wendy Coker

  2. irene Kyriacou

    Thank you so much Helen, I Love this article. As always your Teaching is OVERFLOWING with the LOVE of GOD. Thank you again Helen for being such a WONDERFUL INSPIRATION and BLESSING to ALL the Body of CHRIST xo

    I too have a testimony about encountering the Love of GOD, I have written it as a Poem called, “Immersed into the River of HIS LOVE”

    Step by Step
    Day by Day
    Glory to Glory

    This is my Story

    Stepping into the River, of HIS Presence
    Stepping into the River, of HIS Grace
    Stepping into the River, of HIS Mercy

    Seeing GOD Face to Face

    Encountering HIS Presence, Like Never Before
    Encountering HIS Glory, Igniting my Hunger for MORE

    Immersed into the River of HIS Love
    Abiding in the VINE
    Tasting the Goodness of the Divine

    Soaking into HIS Sweet Embrace
    JESUS is my Resting Place

    Lingering in the Presence of the KING
    Soaking in the Warmth of HIS Glorious Light
    Soaking in HIS Presence, is my Delight

    Waves of HIS Glory, Flooding All Over me
    As HE Opens Up my Eyes to See
    I Abide in CHRIST, and CHRIST Abides in me
    Such a Wonderful, Glorious, Beautiful Mystery

    I’m Connected to the TRUE VINE, you See
    CHRIST, Sustains me in Every Way
    HE Satisfies the Longing of my Soul
    HE Nourishes me, and HE makes me Whole

    Yes, JESUS is my Resting Place
    My Soul finds STRENGTH, as I Seek HIS Face

    On Eagles Wings HE Carries me, through every Season of my Life you See

    Poem by Irene Kyriacou

  3. I love it, Irene, your poems are worth coming back to again and again because God’s Presence is on them. Thanks and blessings!

  4. I live in Australia and after 9 years in this home from what i recall i have never seen nor heard an owl in my area. On the 5th of June this year at 2am i was awoken by an owl hooting from the gum tree in my back yard.I knew instantly Holy spirit was saying something, i asked what is it Lord, this is what i heard, “wake up oh sleeper, seer in the darkness, arise and shine for your light has come.I was lead to Eph 5:14-16 [to awaken, and an owl is symbolic of many things, this time round it is a wise owl.] Also Is 60:1,2 .A few weeks later i had a dream. I was at the optometrist and he was looking at my eyes through his optometry machine, he stepped back from it, looked at me and said, “you can see in the dark”, the dream ended.About 4 and a half years ago i left my church of more than 20 years, i have tried to connect elsewhere but nothing has taken, through a range of circumstances outside church over the past 18 months i have found myself drawn to some of the people including one of the pastors from my previous church, Helen it seems as though the very people i have been trying to move on from i cant avoid.I have felt for a long time Holy spirit has been teaching me to love accept and see others as he does. [wow i feel i have read a very similar story recently.] Would appreciate your prayers, thanks, Blessings David.

  5. Hi David, (or should I say, ‘Gidday!’ good to hear from a fellow Aussie, although I’m more of a Kiwi-Aussie)
    God is so evidently at work in your life, I do pray that you find the group and church community – the spiritual family – He has prepared for you. Words can’t describe what being in a ministry team and church means for me, and I do believe it is God’s design. May you be enriched, continue to be much graced, and led of His Spirit. Love the optometrist dream – wow! 🙂

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