HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR PROPHETIC GIFT: WHERE TO BEGIN Your Gift of Prophecy You believe you have a spiritual gift of prophecy (Rom 12:6)–the special ability given by the Holy Spirit to receive messages from God for yourself and others –but how and where do you start developing it? Like any spiritual gift and skill, the gift of prophecy takes study, practice and training to develop to its fullest potential. We need to be intentional about developing the spiritual gifts God has invested in our lives. We have a responsibility to steward the gifts God has given us (2 Tim 1:6, 14). In the New Testament, prophecy is nurtured and grown in the environment of church life (1 Cor 14). Within that, there are a number of contexts in which we can grow our prophetic gift. These are: privately, through mentoring, in small groups, in the life of our church and in the wider Christian community. 1. Personal Development (Hab 2:1-3) • When you’re having personal times of prayer, pause and ask God if He has something to show you or speak to you about the person or situation that you are praying for. • Record your prophetic insights and experiences so that later on when confirmation or fulfilment takes place they will be a ‘marker’ of your growth • The practice of journaling and hearing God speak to you personally through a scripture can help you develop your prophetic gift. • Reading good books about prophetic ministry can help you learn about your gift. Some good ones I have read are: ‘The Voice of God: How God Speaks Personally and Corporately to His Children Today’ by Cindy Jacobs, and ‘The Beginner’s Guide to the Gift of Prophecy’ by Jack Deere. 2. Mentoring (1 Kings 19:19-21) • If possible, look for a good mentor to help you grow in your prophetic journey. If a potential mentor is too busy to spend one-on-one time with you, you can still learn from them by assisting them and observing them. • Sometimes a mentor will only be present in your life for a season, so be willing to release them and move on when you need to. The Lord will bring others across your path that will help you at different stages of your journey. • A prophetic mentor should not only be gifted and anointed, but also be accountable and in good standing in a local church, having a supportive and encouraging attitude towards his or her church leaders. 3. Small Group • The best way to develop the gift of prophecy is to start in a place and atmosphere where you can have a go with safe people that you trust • You need to be free to try prophecy and also be free to fail or feel foolish (we’re never as foolish-looking to others as we think we are when we’re beginning with prophecy) • A small group may be a cell or home group, or small prayer meeting with others who know you or who are on the same journey. Don’t feel that you have to be authoritative in your approach to a prophetic insight. You can preface your message with words like, • ‘I sense God is saying…’ • ‘Does _____ mean anything to you? • ‘I’m getting a picture/word verse…’ 4. Church Life (1 Cor 12-14) • Join a prophetic or prayer community or other group in your church where you can utilise and grow your gift. Enquire as to the best way to submit a prophetic word to your leaders. It’s important to follow any protocols, and the accountability this provides will help you grow (1 Cor 14:26-33) • Observe how others in your church community bring prophetic words, paying attention particularly to what is well received and brings blessing • If there is a prophet or prophetic speaker coming to your church, make it a priority to get to the meetings. It’s amazing how much you can learn by observation and osmosis. The Importance of Feedback (1 Cor 14:29) You will grow faster in the gift if you can get feedback—as the saying goes, ‘feedback is the breakfast of champions.’ Feedback can come in the form of a response from the person or leader you have submitted a prophecy to, or by accountability to a mentor or leader. Inviting comment on your word takes courage but is well worthwhile. 5. Wider Christian Community • Training sessions can be a great way to learn about prophecy. In some training sessions, you can put what you learn into practice (‘prophetic activation’). If this is the case, ensure that the environment you will be learning in is safe and encourages accountability. Remember to weigh up carefully any prophetic insights that are given to you and submit them to oversight, especially if you are considering taking action as a result of a word  • Watch out for conferences on the theme of prophetic ministry or with a respected prophetic speaker that you can attend  • Advise leaders in your church if you are undergoing specialised training in a ministry area such as intercessory prayer or prophetic ministry. This lets them know that you are working to increase your skill for service in the church. It also gives them the opportunity to give input if they have any concerns or questions about the ministry you are attending.