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

FireSide Chat

Informal Prophetic MentoringWith Teresa Seputis

Week 24
Do I Have The Faith To Prophesy?

Dear Teresa,

What do you do, when you think God has given you a word for someone, and it's seems important, but your not sure it's from God? Do you still give it in obedience, or do you wait and test it--possibly holding it forever, not knowing?

I recently gave a word to my youth pastor in a letter, of a picture I had while praying with God. It involved him moving overseas to minister. When I received the picture, I thought it was God straight away, but I was hesitant to prophesy to my spiritual leader. It kept bothering me, so I finally wrote it down, explained my feelings about it and gave it to him.

Since then, I have felt my faith slip, as I am reeling from my doubts about it. What if what I shared wasn't really from God? That concern has been bothering me a lot, almost to the point of depression. To make matters worse, I have not received any feedback from my youth pastor that might help me get over this.

What exactly do you do, when your faith slips so badly over an incident, that you feel like you can't even hear God about what to do about it?

--My Faith Is Slipping Away

Dear My Faith Is Slipping Away

The first thing that comes to mind is Romans 12:6, which says, "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith."

This is saying that we are only expected to prophesy up to the measure of our faith that we have to do it. We do stretch a bit out of our comfort zone to grow, but we don't stretch so far beyond our ability that it leaves us in a place of crisis.

Let me switch to another spiritual gift to explain the principle. Let's look at the gift of physical healing, because this one is pretty easy to understand. When we first start out praying for the sick, we don't go to the local hospital and try to empty it out. Instead, we start with the little things--flu, colds, headaches, back pain, etc. As we start seeing God heal these things, we will be healed when we pray. Our faith steps up to the next level, where we can start praying for more slightly more serous things-- carpel tunnel, migraines, scoliosis, etc. When we see start seeing enough of those healings that we expect them to happen, then we move up to the next level...and so on. Eventually we get to the point where we see blind eyes open, people get out of wheelchairs, cancer fall off of people, etc. But if we start out by praying for these difficult things, most of us won't see any sort of healing because we are praying for something way beyond our faith level. Our faith grows as we experience God's faithfulness as we minister to others in His name.

This same principle applies to the prophetic. When we first start out, we don't have a lot of confidence in our hearing. We are not sure what is God and what is not. So we need to start out small (with words of blessings and encouragements) instead of life-changing directions, corrections, future predictions, etc. When I teach people to prophesy, I require them to stick to the 1 Corinthians 14 guidelines until they are firmly established in the gift and know with confidence when God is speaking through them. That way, if they make mistakes while learning, then it is not a mistake where anyone gets hurt. The 1 Corinthians 14 guidelines are words that: encourage, edify, strengthen, build up, etc.

Even within those guidelines, people usually start with very general words, like "God loves you." The more they practice, the more they grow in their ability to add specific details and words of knowledge that customize the word for the person God is speaking to. God might throw in a specific detail that is scary, like a name or a physical description of someone. We may feel that it is beyond our faith level to put that detail in the word. But if we stretch and present that detail in a tentative way, then we just might find that we heard correctly, and our faith level grows.

There are times when God may push us to the limits of our faith, to help us grow in it, but He knows those limits and He never pushes us past them. Stepping out in faith and obedience is important to God, but He never leaves us high and dry when we overstep our bounds. I am thinking of Peter when he stepped out in faith and tried to walk on water. that story is from Matthew 14:29-31. "28 And Peter answered Him and said, 'Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' 29 So He said, 'Come.' And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, 'Lord, save me!' 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'"

The Lord won't leave us high/dry when we step out in faith at His direction. When Peter first stepped out of the boat, he was walking on water. He was doing it. But when he realized what he was doing and started to get afraid, that is when he failed. But Jesus did not let him sink--He reached out and rescued him and put him back in the boat. In those times when we step out in faith and fall on our faces, God takes care of us and doesn't let us be destroyed by our mistakes.

What you are describing sounds more like an enemy attack than anything else. It sounds like the enemy is trying to come in with condemnation and fear. Those things are not of God and must be rejected.

There are two important things you should be aware of. First, the "word" you gave your youth pastor probably was not a "big deal" to him, because you presented it in a tentative way. You basically said, "I think that God might be telling you this, but I am not sure it is Him. Please prayerfully check it out with the Lord." Since you presented it in a tentative way, I seriously doubt that this word (if wrong) is going to ruin the youth pastor's life or injure them in any way.

This is just a guess on my part, but I am guessing the reason you did not get any feedback from the youth pastor is because it was not a big thing to him. He probably took it as a suggestion to file away rather than something to act on. But you can always go back to him and ask him about it. If you feel this "encounter" has damaged your relationship with your youth pastor, you should go back to him and get back in good relationship with him. (You can show him this write-up if you have trouble explaining it to him and would like "help.") It is really important for you to be in a good relationship with your spiritual leader.

The second things is this. Since you are not at a high faith level in the prophetic, please stick to the types of words that are at your level. These would tend to be general encouragements, etc. Try to stay away from giving words that contain life-changing direction (like move overseas). Stick to the 1 Corinthians 14 guidelines and you will have better experiences in the prophetic to help you build your faith level. Remember, we are only prophesy according to the measure of our faith. So start with the smaller words that you have faith for. Your faith will grow over time, and so will your prophetic ability.

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

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