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-- © GodSpeak International 2007 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net http://www.godspeak.net

FireSide Chat

Informal Prophetic MentoringWith Teresa Seputis

Week 15
How To Build Confidence

Last week we started to talk about confidence, and how important that is for ministering in the prophetic. We discovered that it is fairly normal for those newer to the prophetic to struggle with confidence. In fact, we discovered a "bootstrap" problem: It is scary for a prophetic person to move in their gifting before they have developed confidence in their calling; but unfortunately, most of us cannot develop this confidence until we have had some experience moving in the gifting. That can make it uncomfortable to get started in the prophetic.

So, how do we overcome this bootstrap problem and get started? How do we step out in faith and prophesy if we are not sure that God has really selected us as one of His spokespeople?

First, we have to be aware that prophesy is a spiritual gift that God gives to His body, and He doesn't give it to everyone. There may be people who try to prophesy when God has not called them to do it. Those people will never be able to build "confidence in their calling" in the prophetic because they are not called to the prophetic.

On the other hand, we don't want to disqualify anyone sincerely desiring to prophesy, because there are verses that indicate that if we ask God for something, He just might give it to us. Look at Matthew 7:7-11:

7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

9 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! {NIV)

1 Corinthians 14:39 tells us "Desire earnestly to prophesy," and Matthew 7:7 tells us "ask and you will receive." So my own personal theory is that if you earnestly ask God for the gift of prophecy, He will probably give it to you. In fact, that is how I got it. He asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I told Him I wanted the gift of prophecy--and He gave it to me. Chances are that if you have an earnest desire and passion for the prophetic, God will probably give it to you if are persistent about asking Him for it. (Of course, that assumes that you have good motive for asking. If it is for some unholy reason like gaining status or selling words for financial gain, you probably won't get very far with your request.)

But if you have a sincere passionate desire for the prophetic, chances are that God will probably allow you to become one of His spokespeople. The only ones who can develop a true confidence for moving in the prophetic are those who God has chosen to speak for Him. E.g., you can't build confidence to move in a spiritual gift that you don't possess. But you probably can get the gift if you ask God for it.

For the rest of this discussion, let's assume that the Lord has given you a prophetic ability.

It is normal to be tentative when you first start operating in it. There are people who say that if you have a true prophetic gift, the confidence and expertise comes with the gift and you don't have to go through a learning curve. Personally, I think that is hogwash. Some of the great prophets of the Old Testament started out tentative and God helped them grow in their gifting. The prophet Samuel was one of them. He was called of God from the moment of his conception, and God used Samuel to lead Israel and to establish two kings.

But when Samuel first started out in the prophetic, he did not even know how to recognize God's voice or how to respond to Him. The first three times that God tried to talk to Samuel, he missed it altogether. Then he got some advice from Eli. So the fourth time that God showed up, Samuel invited Him to speak, and He gave Samuel a prophetic word.

At this point, Samuel knew that God had spoken to him--he heard God's voice audibly and Eli told him it was God. You would think that would have given him confidence to prophesy what God had said to him. But that was not the case. 1 Samuel 3:15 tells us, "Samuel ... was afraid to tell Eli the vision."

Samuel knew he had a word from God, but he was not convinced that he had authority to speak forth at word. Eli had to coax it out of him. Look at verses 16 to 17: "But Eli called him and said, 'Samuel, my son.' Samuel answered, 'Here I am.' 17 'What was it he said to you?' Eli asked. 'Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.'"

The passage tell us that Samuel knew what his prophetic message was, but he was afraid to speak it forth. Does that sound familiar? This passage tells us another very important detail in verse 19. It says, "So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground." In other words, Samuel grew in both is prophetic ability and is his confidence. As he grew, he became a confident leader and judge of Israel. By chapter 7, we see him calling on the people to forsake their idols and serve only God, and they obey him.

When Samuel got old, he allowed his sons to judge in his place. Sadly, his sons did not do a very good (or fair) job, so the people asked Samuel for a king. By then, Samuel is so confident in his prophetic ability and the call/commission of God on his life, that he was offended. Look at what he says to them in 1 Samuel 12:3-5:

3 "Here I am. Witness against me before the Lord and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you."

4 And they said, "You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from any man's hand."

5 Then he said to them, "The Lord is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand." And they answered, "He is witness."

Samuel went from being afraid to speak the prophetic word to making all of Israel agree that he had been a capable leader.

It is not unusual for us to struggle with confidence when we first start out, but that struggle will not stay with us for our whole life. Each time we step out, God will back us up and confirm to us that we really did speak His word. (Or He will gently and lovingly correct us if we made a mistake). Our confidence level goes up during that process. At some point, we have experienced God's faithfulness so many times that confidence is no longer a struggle for us.

But we have to start somewhere, and it is usually scary at first. Let me give you one common beginner scenario. We are at church lost in worship and having a great time with God. Then God goes and ruins the worship by giving us a word to share with the congregation. We begin to ponder the gist of the message in our heads, wondering if God really meant us to share it.

We decide to keep silent, but our heart starts to pound and we being to feel like we will explode if we don't speak it forth. So we gingerly begin to make our way to the prophecy microphone. As we go, we notice someone starting at us, surprised to see us preparing to speak forth God's word. That catches us off guard and our knees begin to shake. We wonder, "Does he think that I'm not qualified to prophecy?" We hesitate. We being to question whether or not we should speak this forth. We feel like we are about to explode if we don't share, but we are afraid to share. Thoughts begin to run through our head..."it sounds like something God might say, but what if this isn't Him? I don't want to say 'thus sayeth the Lord' when God is not saying it."

So what do we do at that point? The first thing we should do is to realize that we don't do this in a vacuum and we don't do it alone. The Holy Spirit works with us. He speaks to us about our identity and our calling and our gifting. If He gives us a word, we can go back to Him and silently ask Him, "Lord do you want me to deliver this word?" We have to trust that if God is able to communicate a prophetic word to us, He is also able to answer that question for us.

After we speak a word, we look for the Lord to give us independent confirmation that the word we spoke was really from Him. It might come in the form of positive feedback from the person who we gave the word to. Or perhaps someone who wasn't there when we prophesy says essentially the same thing to us that we had said in the word. Or perhaps we read our bible, and we find trip across a passage that confirms the message. Or God may find another creative way to confirm it to you.

In addition, we also prayerfully review our words with God after the ministry situation is over. (I like to do it just before I go to be at night, but you can do it any time you like.) We ask Him if He liked what we shared. We ask Him to show us if we missed anything or got anything wrong. We ask Him if we accidentally added our own stuff to any part of the word. In short, we debrief with the Lord about our words and we ask Him to help us become better at clearly and accurately representing what He wants to say.

There is one last thing that makes it easier to step out. We don't have to say, "Thus sayeth the Lord," when we are not confident it is the Lord. We can present our words in a tentative style, such as "I believe the Lord is saying..." or "God put it on my heart to share..."

The more we prophesy, the easier it gets and the more our confidence builds.

-- © GodSpeak International 2007 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

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