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"I have heard some people teach on the concept of "stirring up the gift". Now I understand that this comes from 2 Timothy 1:6. But I really would like to stay away from some vague, "Christianese" answer and get down to some practical ways to do this."
This series is designed to provide some answers to that question in jargon- free language and to provide practical help for people walking at various different levels of prophetic gifting who want to "stir up the gift" within them, i.e. increase the effectiveness of the Holy Spirit inspired gift of prophecy in their lives.
This series is split into four sections. While the division into sections is in some ways arbitrary, the sections are intended to follow a progression similar to the stages involved in building a house. Thus we start at Section 1 (this section) which deals with the foundations which need to be in place for effective prophetic ministry. Section (2) covers the choice of basic materials with which to work. Section (3) covers rules of construction. Section (4) covers the finishing stages. All are important if we want a house that stands firm, won't collapse due to inferior materials, and has been built efficiently and is attractive!
I'd like to share two words of warning before we go any further.
First, God isn't just interested in making us "better prophets". He wants to transform us to be more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18) and to set us free in heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30) to worship Him. The things that we consider in this series are only a part of that process.
Secondly, remember that developing prophecy is not a logical progression of tasks to be performed. It is based on relationship. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are involved as well as fallible humans! This is not a "ten steps" prescription to a sure-fire powerful prophetic ministry. So as you read this series, ask the Lord to highlight the relevant bits deep into your personality. Don't worry about the rest - its time will come!
STIR, STIR UP (NOUN AND VERB)
1. anazopureo denotes "to kindle afresh," or "keep in full flame" (ana, "up," or "again," zoos, "alive," pur, "fire"), and is used metaphorically in <2 Tim. 1:6>, where "the gift of God" is regarded as a fire capable of dying out through neglect. The verb was in common use in the vernacular of the time. (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Rather than see the fire dying out, we want to see how best to cause the gift of prophecy to blaze up more strongly.
Notice that the responsibility for this is placed on the person who has already received the gift. It is true that gifts of the Holy Spirit are distributed sovereignly by the Holy Spirit:
The picture is of a process whereby we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in increasing the intensity and consistency of the prophetic gifting (2 Peter 1:10). We will now go on to discuss some of the ways we can do precisely that.
So it is with the prophetic ministry. Unless certain foundations are in place, the ministry is at best erratic and at worst can come crashing down. I know, I've seen it happen.
Here are some of the foundations we need to consider in order for the gift to be "stirred up".
Everything springs from our relationship with Jesus because we can't do anything without Him.
Now, when we put our faith in Jesus, we automatically get a relationship with Him.
That is the legal basis for our status as the children of God.
But our relationship with Jesus goes beyond that, wonderful although it is.
When my wife and I got married we signed a legal document which defined our relationship. But how we develop our relationship in practice depends on us. If our marriage stopped at a legal relationship, then we would fall far short of achieving the potential blessings of our partnership.
If we use marriage as a picture of our relationship with Jesus, then we can quickly see how you can build on that relationship just as a loving wife builds a marriage relationship with her husband.
First, you are responding to His love. He is the one who has reached out and sacrificed all for you. He is the one who continually loves you and reaches out to you. He is deeply and passionately in love with you and wants you to be with Him for EVER and EVER.
Next, your heart must be in it. Your passions and desires are directed towards Him and none other.
You spend time finding out about Him. How He feels about things, what His desires are. Pleasing Him becomes the most important thing in the world to you. All else is given up in comparison to the overwhelming joy of knowing Him (Philippians 3:8).
You spend time sharing yourself with Him. The delightful thing is, the more you share of yourself the more love you can receive because with Him there is no condemnation or rejection.
However, this relationship is NOT just to be a means to gaining a stronger gifting. Loving someone as a means to an end is, by definition, not really love. So right at the heart of increasing the prophetic we have this paradox - building a relationship which defines the prophetic (and all else) as secondary to knowing Him.
Just hanging out together builds relationship. Tackling life's challenges together strengthens the cords of dependence and trust. Spend time getting to know Him, for that is the wellspring of life (John 10:10).
Love is a foundational element of moving in prophecy. It's certainly possible to minister without it, but the results are frequently disastrous.
What is love and how do I "get" it?
The best definition of love is found in the Bible:
God is love (1 John 4:16), so He is the source of the love we experience and minister in.
God supernaturally pours more love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We cooperate in that process by deciding that we want Him to do it, by asking Him to do it and by obeying the promptings of love when they come.
My own experience is that the greatest release of visions and prophecy came into my life when Jesus met me in vision and simply told me that He loved me, in a manner which melted my heart.
A friend of mine who has ministered as a prophet for many years says that the greatest release of prophetic gifting came into his life when he met his wife and started to experience love in his own heart. That's when the Lord started to show him the thoughts of people's hearts (Mark 2:8).
By the way, there is an error sometimes stated by some that "I'd rather follow love than the Gifts of the Spirit". The Bible makes it clear that it is not a matter of love OR the gifts of the Spirit, but of love AND the Gifts of the Spirit:
When you love someone then that is a powerful motivator for asking God to grant a word or revelation which will speak into that person's situation. Also, God can trust you with that kind of revelation because He knows that you are going to use it to bless the other person because you love them. When you love someone, especially with divinely inspired love, you don't want to manipulate or control them or even destroy them - which are some of the major pitfalls prophetic ministry can fall into.
Having a deep revelation of God's love for us and for other people is a fundamental part of effectively ministering in the prophetic.
Going back to a point we saw earlier, it is the LORD who gives the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:11). Unless you have that gift from the Lord as the basis, then there really isn't much point trying to "stir it up". No amount of human effort will do it.
How does one get a full blown gift of prophecy (by which I mean the ability to prophesy consistently and accurately, not just give an occasional word) from the Lord? There are various alternative ways or combinations of ways. Here are some.
A word of warning in all the above: attempting to gain a gifting from God for the wrong motives can be dangerous (Acts 8:18-22). Which is why we are covering Foundations and motives in our first two teachings.
Finally, an important point. Once you have received a gift from the Lord, He will never take it away from you (Romans 11:29). Through disuse and neglect it can die down like an untended fire, but it will never go. It will just be waiting to be fanned into flame again.
Effective prophecy springs from a servant heart. Jesus insisted on this as an essential qualification for rank in God's kingdom. If you want to be a prophet, be prepared to serve!
Having a servant heart means, among other things:
We have seen that all prophecy flows from relationship with Jesus. Making that relationship a priority is the key to everything in Christianity, not just prophecy.
We have seen the core value in prophecy is love, both for Jesus and for others. Unless that core value is there the ministry will at best be ineffective and at worst destructive.
We have seen that you need a gift from God before it can be fanned into flame and explored some of the ways that gift comes from the Lord. Those who saw that short list as pretty all inclusive, well done! That is precisely the point. According to His will God can distribute these gifts to whomever He chooses.
Finally, we looked at the need to have a servant heart and what that means in practice.
Q2. When dealing with this subject, how can we avoid the danger of approaching it as a "recipe for success" rather than as a relationship? Is that important?
Q3. Have you seen "bad" (i.e. unedifying) prophetic ministry? (Please don't mention names and remember that these perceptions are necessarily limited). If so, could you trace the problem to one or more of the foundational issues discussed here? Which one(s)? What has that taught you about effective prophetic ministry?
Q4. If you had to list the "heart attitudes" necessary to the prophetic (or even just beneficial to the prophetic) which ones would you list? While allowing for the grace of God in our lives, how can we work on these areas to cultivate them in our own hearts?
Prophetic School is an electronic community or kinship of people who believe the Lord has given them some degree of prophetic gifting. It provides a safe (non-threatening) place to learn to walk out and grow in that prophetic anointing. The list provides a place to build each other up and to encourage each other in our prophetic gifting. It also provides a place to ask questions and to share experiences and even to share words of knowledge, prophecies, dreams, visions, etc. with the group. The list is also a place where you can ask others for help interpreting some dreams or visions, etc.
You may read the charter on the WWW page:
The WWW referece is: