But What do I Say?
Isn’t that always the question that you ask yourself when you feel compelled to speak something prophetic? Often times you know that you have something brewing in your spirit, but you don’t know where to start. For me it often starts as a churning in the gut; a nudge; a sense that God has something He wants to say. In fact, this happens every week. None of my articles or video sermons and teachings are a product of my reasoning. As best as I can I always try to speak prophetically on the topics I hear. But often it starts just as I described. And sometimes I don’t know exactly what I am going to talk about or write until I sit down at the computer or hit the record button. In my need to control things, I will often try to get God to give me a running start. Sometimes He does and sometimes He doesn’t. I call it prophetic preaching and teaching. If you have ever watched a video of me recording on my way home then you have definitely seen this in operation.
Often, as I am leaving for the day I get a sense that God wants to address an issue. But I rarely know what it is until I get to that moment. It is not until I position myself by getting in the mindset to edify, comfort, and exhort that I know what I am going to say. Getting myself into the place of desiring to hit the gas is always the key. (If you don’t understand my reference to hitting the gas, then you need to read the last article.)
The same can be said when it comes to giving out personal prophetic words. Often you don’t know what you are going to say until you get in front of the person (and many prophets will attest to this). At the time you approach the person you just have a sense that God wants to say something, but what is often the question. Most times it is not until you set your heart to press the gas that you see or hear something to say. That is why I addressed the idea of desire in the last article. It is truly the starting point for choosing to move out prophetically. Hopefully, I made my point clear in that article. I tried to communicate that it starts by positioning yourself to edify, comfort, and exhort someone. I further tried to communicate that prophesying is akin to choosing to put air into flat tires.
For some of you reading this, you are still put off by the idea that I am saying that you can choose to prophesy. Let me put you at ease. Most of the time people who are put off by such an idea are offended because they are assuming that we are saying that we can control God. That, however, is far from the truth. What we are suggesting is that we can choose to agree with God at any time. I have said this before, but it bears repeating. I want those of you who oppose the idea to do a search of the scriptures. What you will find is that God is eager to speak to us. I dare say that He is more eager to speak to us than we are to speak to Him. That is because hearing from God comes with the responsibility of obedience! What you will also find is that there are few times when those who sought God’s counsel were denied. In fact, other than Saul’s account we don’t really see such a thing happen. Plus we see that God was often offended by Israel’s rejection of the counsel He provided. In addition, we see that He was offended by them not seeking His counsel. There are in fact, many examples of God being offended by those who did not seek His counsel. Read 2 Chronicles 16:1-9. The king sought the help of another nation over God’s counsel and God was offended with him. There was Joshua 9:1-27 who did not seek God’s counsel before entering into an agreement with the people God told him to destroy. There was King Ahaziah in 2 Kings 1:2-4, who fell through his roof and sent an inquirer to seek the counsel of Baal-Zebub god of Ekron. In this situation, God made His feeling known. He said, “Is there no God in Israel that you have inquired of the God of Ekron?” See, God is more willing to speak than you are to hear.
For the record, let me say that I was also one of those persons who was offended by the idea of someone choosing to prophesy. That was until God spoke to me about the issue. What He said to me put things into perspective. Hopefully, I can put them into perspective for you too by showing you what to look for and what the scriptures show us about the matter.
Kevin, You Need to Check Your Email
When God made the principle of making the choice to prophesy real to me He did so in a unique way. If you have read my book, God, Is that You, Me, or the Devil, you know that I teach on a mode of communication whereby God gives us what I call “perceptual visions.” Without going into too much detail, a perceptual vision occurs when God takes a natural object or situation and uses it as a mode of communication. It is a great experience because God usually deploys this method to give you a certain feeling or to make a strong point. Well, God did just that when He wanted to teach me about making the choice to prophesy.
I was in my office one day when my boss suddenly asked me if I had checked my emails. Apparently, a really important and time-sensitive email had come to me from the big boss and I had missed it. Upon realizing the error, I did what was necessary to get the job done on time and spared us a tongue-lashing. From that day forward, for approximately two weeks, my boss asked me every single day, “Kevin, did you check your email? You really need to check your emails.” He said this to me so often that I was starting to get annoyed. I said to myself, “If he asks me that question one more time, I am going to lose it.” It was quite patronizing to me because it made me feel like a child.
Then one day as I was on my way to work I decided to ask God about this “choosing” to prophesy thing. I was wondering how it was possible. As I was asking the question His answer suddenly came back to me. He said, “Kevin, you really need to check your emails.” Stunned, I said, “What! That was You, Lord!” He then proceeded to speak to me in a voice I could hear and explained the similarities of the email system to heaven’s communication system. He taught me how to see the subject line and dig deeper into the body of the message. Then, later on, I tested out my newfound knowledge and started to prophesy to people online.
I specifically recall one particular girl I spoke to. I had given her a word and God reminded me to drill down deeper for more specific information. He said, “Would you like to go deeper. Tell her this…” So I did. I conveyed to her what I heard. And sure enough, it was spot on. I was making the choice to minister the voice of God and He was meeting me at the point of the decision. Also, after God made me aware that it was Him speaking through my boss, I was never asked that question again: My boss stopped asking me about my emails that very day.
Now, some of you reading this may be thinking, “He never prophesied before this?” Yes, I have. In fact, I had done so many times before. But I only did so by the sending of the Holy Spirit. He would say, ‘tell so and so this’, and I would. It was never by my choice, it was always by His: He always initiated my actions. So this was quite different for me. Or was it?
Preachers Do It too!
To better help me embrace this idea God made something else clear to me. He showed me that I had been operating at this level for quite some time but I was not aware of it. You see, people frequently ask me questions. I mean, like all the time. And these questions come from everywhere (online and in person)— from Christians, non-Christians, supervisors, pastors and preachers, and strangers; I get questions from everywhere. In addition, most of the time the questions are very complicated. Though they are complicated, I can hardly remember one that I could not answer. The reason being that I have always looked to God for the answer. I literally, upon hearing the question, tune in and look for an answer. And I can honestly say that God has never ignored me. Every time I looked to Him there was an answer. This is the secret to my wisdom—it is not my answer that I give, it’s His! It is called the gift of the word of wisdom. People have called me a brilliant and gifted mind. But it is not my mind that is great. It is my ear. I am no more intelligent than anyone else, I’m just good at listening to God. That is why I seem to have a wealth of deep knowledge and wisdom on so many subjects. Even this series of articles in nothing more than God answering a question for me. I ask, then I wait for the answer, and He satisfies my request. It is that simple.
As time went on, I started to realize that I was not the only one operating ignorantly in choosing to speak for God. People actually do this all the time. Every Sunday some pastor stands before an audience to share a word or idea that he believes God wants him or her to share. In fact, they say “God has laid something on my heart to share with you today.” Also, when the person finishes speaking they immediately make the assumption that God will meet them at the pulpit the following Sunday. They put a demand on God to speak and they assume in advance that He is going to do so. Likewise, people keep coming back to the church every single week with the expectation that God is going to speak to them via the pastor. The same can be said about visiting preachers. A lot of them make commitments to come share the word of the Lord with churches that invite them to speak. Sometimes the appointments are made a year in advance. Nonetheless, not one preacher doubts that God is going to give him or her a word for that congregation, despite the fact that they committed Him to speak a year in advance. Because the truth is, once we accept the call of God to speak for Him we give ourselves permission to access the grace He provides us to get the job done.
Many new preachers struggle to be secure in their preaching. They are often not insecure about their ability to speak. In most cases, they have been trained in the dynamics of preaching and teaching. They have learned how to study the Bible, explain it; how to use their words correctly; how to use proper body language; how to use illustrations to make things clear; they have learned the mechanics of preaching. Again, their struggles are not with the mechanics of preaching. Most of the time their struggles have to do with whether or not what they are preaching is the will of God. Most times they are sincere about their call and they want to serve God by serving His people, speaking only His word. But in most cases, preaching classes don’t teach preachers how to hear from God. That means that a lot of them are lacking in confidence in this area. Hearing from God is something they are expected learn on their own. A mature preacher, however, comes to terms with the fact, that with the calling of God comes the equipping as well. Mature preachers know that God has given them an anointing to speak and will with that ability provide a word in their mouth. Therefore, they make commitments to speak and expect God to meet at the pulpit. Then they confidently declare, “Thus says the Lord!”
I have personally never sought God for a word to preach or teach. Likewise, I would not know where to begin. I’ve never had to pray for one. I’ve never had to fast for one. I’ve never had to beg for one. It just comes to me. Remember in prophetic tip #2, The Word of the Lord Came to Me Saying… If God has called a preacher, the word will come looking for him just as it did Jonah. With the calling of God come the equipping of God. Just imagine being a prophet with no revelation. It does not make sense. Again, once God calls you as a prophet the revelation will come and you will have no control over it. The only control God gives us in the matter is whether or not to obey. This is where choosing to prophesy comes in. But as for providing the resources to get the job done, He takes care of that Himself. So God will ensure every preacher has a word and most preachers expect God to keep His end of the deal.
Now to be fair, there are quite a few preachers who don’t seem to care if what they say comes from God. In their minds, as long as it is from the Bible they are ok. And I have heard this given as advice to aspiring preachers. Some are even in the habit of constant sermon writing. They study a passage and write a sermon. But other of us, specifically those of us who believe in the prophetic, approach preaching differently. We don’t want to just say any ole thing based on a passage from scripture. We want to ensure that the people of God hear exactly what they need to hear. One of my dreams is that I will be able to teach a class on hearing God’s voice to aspiring preachers. Again, I don’t believe in random preaching. I believe the word of the Lord is specific to each group.
Recently I went to a restaurant and ordered something that I did not know was spicy. Spicy food and I don’t get along so well. It was not long after the first bite that I realized my mistake. However, because the dish was so good I continued eating. After a while, my mouth felt like it was on fire, so I reached for my drink. The problem, however, was that it was a soda. Nonetheless, I needed something cold to drink and so I took a mouthful of soda. To my surprise, the burning sensation in my mouth got worse. From the experience, I learned a valuable lesson. Having something to drink when you are in need is not the same as having something you need to drink. Likewise, a word from the Bible is not necessarily a word from the Lord. A word from the Bible can be edifying, clarifying, and even inspiring. But a word from God will speak very specifically to a person’s situation. And that statement is not to downplay the Bible. However, it should be noted that many, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other Christian cults preach from the Bible. What they can’t do, however, is give a genuine word from the mouth of God.
As it relates to choosing to speak for God, I could say that the principle of choice is applicable to using all of the spiritual gifts. No one waits to serve, yet serving is a supernatural gift (Romans 12:7). No one waits to teach. Churches are flooded with teachers of all sorts from the pulpit to the Sunday School classroom. Yet, no one dare expect God to leave them without a manifestation of their gift. We only seem to have this faulty thinking as it relates to prophecy and operating in healing. So yes, the choice is yours. Likewise, it should be noted that preachers do it too!
Look for Something to Say
One thing that is common to both the preacher who purposefully hears from God and the one that inadvertently hears from God, is looking. No one who stands before the people of God lacks the understanding of “looking” for something to say. If you are going to teach at your youth service, you will need something to say. If you are preaching before your congregation, you will need something to say. If you are the visiting preacher, you will need something to say. No matter what the situation we all understand that it is hard to speak to person or group if you have nothing to say. That is why the most popular response to being asked to speak is, “What do I say?” or “What do you want me to talk about?” This tells us that there is some responsibility on the part of the speaker to find something to say.
The same is true of prophecy. Because prophecy is often given in the moment it can be very intimidating to know where to start. There is nothing more nerve-racking than making the declaration that you are going to give out prophetic words later. From the moment you make the announcement people are expecting you to have something to say to them. But keep in mind, that it is really no different than getting a word to preach, you will need something to say.
Getting something to say requires looking for something to say. Habakkuk 2 teaches us the power of looking. After God had burdened the prophet’s spirit with what was happening in his community, the prophet set himself to seek God. In other words, he made a conscious decision to hear the voice of God for the situation. Habakkuk 2:1 reads, “I will stand my watch. And set myself upon the rampart, and watch and see what He will say to me…”
Habakkuk says, “I need to hear from God and I am going to position myself to hear.” He starts by getting still. He says, ‘I am going to stand my watch.’ That means that he was going to get alone where he could hear. Then he says something really important to our discussion; he said, “I am going to watch and see what He will say to me.” Again, this is an example of intentionally choosing to hear a prophetic word from God. And he also teaches us that he has established a “place” where he knows that God will speak to him. That is denoted by the use of the word “place.” He says, “I need to hear from God and I know where to go to hear Him speaking.”
This has two meanings. One it speaks of a physical place, and two, I believe it represents a spiritual place. The physical place tells us that sometimes God is heard when we are alone. The spiritual meaning is that sometimes we hear God when we are alone. Now, follow me. We understand what I mean by getting alone in a physical way. But it is also possible to get alone to a spiritual place even though we are surrounded by people. All really prophetic people know what I mean.
Most of the time prophecy is birthed from a place within us that we have come to know as our “alone place” with God. Likewise, we find it when we spend time alone with God in a physical place; through prayer, meditation, and study. After a while, that spiritual place becomes a place that you can go to no matter where you are. I call it the art of being alone in a crowded place. It is possible to be surrounded and still be alone. I hope this comes across clearly.
Most prophetic people call it being in the “spirit.” And when we are in the “spirit” we can see and hear things that God wants to show us. For me, I literally begin to experience both the natural and spiritual realms. As time has passed, I have even learned how to choose to become aware of God’s manifest presence. It is a skill that takes time but it is achievable. Again, the starting point for learning how to get to the spiritual place, is by practicing in a physical place.
The reason the physical place is so important is because it trains you to do a few things. One, it trains you to become sensitive to the movement of the Spirit of God. And two, it trains you to expect God to show up. In fact, the act of looking is really the sign of expectation.
If I were to tell you to meet me at the train station at 2 o’clock P. M., you would be there. If I were not there at 2 o’clock you would begin to look for me. You would wonder where I was. If 15 minutes had passed you would really begin to look. What is making you look? It is the expectation that I will arrive at some point. So expectation is expressed in the action of looking.
This scenario is exactly what is happening in Habakkuk 2. The prophet has decided to meet with God and so he has gone to a place to hear. Then we watched (which means he expected something) and looked (positioned himself to receive).
Examples of Lookers
The Bible is full of examples of lookers. Elijah is my first example of a looker. In 1 Kings 18, he experienced a victory in his ministry. He had allowed God to use him to turn the hearts of Israel back to God. And he did so by performing one of the most dramatic miracles recorded in scripture. But at the other end of this historic moment was a threat against his life from the queen. In a moment of panic, he ran for fear of losing his life. Eventually, he decided turned to God for shelter. And in 1 Kings 19, he is found at a mountain called Mount Horeb. At first, it appears that he had chosen a random mountain to go to. However, a little research revealed that Mount Horeb was also the mountain where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. It was also where God first appeared to Moses in a burning bush. It was a place where the prophet knew God would meet him. It was the mountain of God. What took him to that place? It was his expectation. He set his eyes towards a place where he knew God would answer, and it paid off.
Then there is David. In 1 Samuel 30:7-8, he shows us the power of expectation. In this passage, David was on the run from King Saul. While trying to save his life word comes to him that a certain city is going to be ambushed. Then David asked for a priest’s ephod and ask God a question. What made him ask for the ephod? It was expectation that made him ask. He took action to prepare himself to hear from God, and it worked. There are others examples of this in David’s life (See 1 Sam. 23:1-5, 2 Sam. 2:1).
If You Don’t Look, You Won’t See
It should be obvious that if you want to hear from God, you should expect to hear from God. But believe it or not, it is the most common reason for why people don’t hear from God. Plenty of people pray. But few believe that He will respond to them.
There is a great example of this in 1 Samuel chapter 3. Most of us know the story of Samuel’s calling to the prophetic office. It is a common passage of scripture. But how many of you know that God reveals a great truth about “expectation” and “looking” in the passage.
For those unfamiliar with the passage, I will give a brief summary of the story. At the time of Samuel’s call to ministry, he was just a young boy. He had been given to the service of the temple by his mother who lent him to the Lord—for the entirety of his life! During his service in the temple, he was under the supervision of a priest named Eli. Eli had gotten himself into trouble with God because his sons were stealing from the offering and sleeping with the women. Sounds oddly familiar, doesn’t it! Well, anyway, because he had lightly disciplined his sons God was angry with him and decided that death was to be his penalty. His penalty was also the loss of his legacy in the priesthood. The prophetic word regarding his demise was first given by a prophet sent to Eli. But God wanted to establish this word in a second prophecy. That prophecy came to Samuel. The word Samuel received from the Lord was not only his first prophecy but his introduction to the call of the prophetic.
Before God gave Samuel his first prophetic word the Bible give us an important piece of information. It says that Samuel ministered before the Lord but did not know Him. For the word of the Lord was not yet revealed to him. That was important to make the rest of the story make sense. You see, when God finally called upon Samuel the young boy could not properly respond; Notice that I said “properly” respond. Samuel actually had no problem responding to the voice of God. In fact, God called him three times and three times he got up in response to what he heard. So his ability to hear the voice of God and respond to it was not the issue. The problem was with his expectation, and his expectation controlled where he chose to look for the answer.
The Bible tells us that God called Samuel three times and three times he went to Eli. Then Eli does something key to the story. He said, “When He calls…” He points him to God. To get Samuel to look in the right direction he uses the word “He” noting that it was not he (Eli) that called the boy. That is like taking a satellite dish and pointing it in the direction of the right signal. Then he does something even more important. He says “When He calls again.” In other words, he was saying pay attention Samuel and keep watch, He is going to call to you again. That is expectation. So if looking in this scenario is like turning the satellite dish in the direction of the right signal, then expectation is sitting on the couch pushing the power button and waiting to see the picture. Can you see how important looking is now?
Here is something else to consider. God called Samuel three times and three times Samuel went in the wrong direction. Three times he missed it because he was not looking for God to speak to him. But once his eyes were refocused and his expectation was raised he heard God clearly. Plus, he heard him in a place where he was “alone.” He heard him when he went to his place of rest. But notice that even though Samuel was alone, he was not alone! Both he and Eli were in the house. It was because he did not know how to be still in a crowd that he kept missing God speak to him. But once Eli corrected Samuel’s focus he was suddenly able to ignore Eli’s presence. He learned how to be alone with God spiritually without being alone physically! Are you seeing all of this come together yet?
Moving in the prophetic is like being aware of an internal satellite dish. You learn how to turn it in the right direction, wait to receive the signal, and you learn how to tune out the world and be alone with God long enough to receive His message. I can be right in your face and alone with God, seeing things, hearing things, and feeling things. I can be in a conversation with you and be listening to Him. I can be preaching to a crowd and alone with God getting instructions for what to say next. That is because it is possible to be alone with God even in a crowded restaurant. Doing so means taking the time to be alone with Him physically while you learn how to tune into Him spiritually. So don’t neglect spending alone time with Him. I promise you that learning how to tune in anywhere will be of great benefit to you.
Reading The Bible With One Eye Open
Being able to live with an expectation of God speaking boils down to your understanding of the subject. One thing Eli did that changed the situation for Samuel was ensure that Samuel was well informed about who was speaking and how to respond. I know that it seems like Eli said little to nothing, but those few words of advice (wisdom) forever changed Samuel’s life. In fact, he learned to hear God with such precision and clarity that the scriptures said that God let none of his words fall to the ground (See 1 Sam. 3:19). That means that everything he spoke came to pass. Wow! Wouldn’t we all like to be able to say such a thing? So what you know has a great impact on how you perform.
Up until God had spoken to me about choosing to prophesy, I had been resistant to the teachings of a particular well-known prophet. His name was Prophet Bill Hamon. He was the first person I had ever heard address the issue in such a way. I resisted his teachings even though I had friends who operated in the prophetic by making a decision to do so. They learned how to do so via Hamon’s teachings. I resisted his teaching because I did not see a clear biblical pattern for such behavior. I had only seen or noticed the passages whereby the prophet was sent with a word. After speaking with God on the issue it was revealed to me that there are many passages where people prophesied by choice. There was Moses in Numbers 9:8 who said to a couple of fellas in a moment of need, “Stand still and I will see what the Lord will say concerning you.” There was the time Elisha was requested to stand before two kings (See 2 Kings 3:11-20). In response, he asked for a musician and the Lord gave him a word for the kings. There was the instance where Macaiah spoke at the request of the king (2 Chron. 18:4-22). There was even the time that Balaam sought God and God spoke to him even though he had bad motives (Numbers 23-24). There was David, of whose example I used earlier. There was Samuel who purposely went to bed expecting to hear from God. There are plenty of examples of people making the choice to make themselves available to hear from God for others. I just could not see them. I call that reading the Bible with one eye open. I have discovered that it happens a lot in the Body of Christ.
I am currently working on a book to address the subject of whether God still speaks. There are so many people who think it is offensive that we say that He does. Part of the reason they are so offended is because they read the Bible with one eye open. Recently, someone responded to the last article in this series with suggestions. One of them was to be careful of pride. His assessment of me being prideful was due to the fact that I believe God is still speaking. He believed that to be an offense to the closed canon of scriptures. In his respectful ranting appeal, he used several scriptures as he attempted to persuade me that God said everything we need to know in the Bible. The problem was that the scriptures he used were taken out of their context. Plus, they were one-sided. Likewise, because he had not taken the time to research the whole counsel of God on the issue, it was easy to prove him to be wrong.
I try my best not to argue with people regarding the scriptures. Besides the fact that the Bible tells us not to do so (See 2 Tim. 2:23), I have discovered that God’s wisdom flowing in my life can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming in a disagreement. Usually, people feel a bit belittled and outgunned. And it does not help the matter if I have an attitude when engaging the disagreement. Therefore, I do my best to lovingly correct those in opposition to my point of view (See 2 Tim. 2:25). The goal is never to win the argument but to provide solid counsel. So that is what I did when I engaged this guy. I very patiently, while carefully choosing my words, showed him what the scriptures say about the matter. Eventually, he went away. However, I want to point out that the root of his problem was in his taking a position first then finding scriptures to justify it. That is how we have come to so many errors in so many of our doctrines. That is why I could not operate prophetically with God effectively.
This goes back to expectation and looking. I was looking in one direction and I saw all the scriptures that justified me going in that direction. Then God gave me counsel that allowed me to see the whole subject. That was enough to correct my vision.
James said it this way, “If a man lacks wisdom (understanding of something) let him ask of God, who gives to all freely and without reproach. But let him ask in faith doubting nothing for let not that man think that he will receive (hear) anything from the Lord, for he is a double-minded man unstable in all his ways” (See James 1:5-8).
The key to getting wisdom from God in this passage is two-fold. It is “lacking” and “asking”. Lacking means that I acknowledge my own ignorance of the matter. Asking means that I am “expecting” an answer. I tell people all the time, God likes a blank canvas. Sometimes people find themselves in the situation of innocently going against God because they approach the scriptures to justify their particular point of view, instead of going to the scriptures to measure their point of view. I have discovered that if you go looking for a specific answer you will often get an unbalanced truth. But if you go to God and say “Lord, I don’t know. I don’t understand.” His Spirit will lead you into the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
So looking for something to say means first learning how to look! There is a lot more I could say about this issue of looking, such as what to look for. That, however, would make this series way too long. In light of that, I invite you to pick up one of my books or any other good book on the subject of hearing God’s voice and learn about what you will see and how you will hear when God responds.
This is the last article of this series of Prophetic Tips. I hope that you enjoyed it and that it has given you the understanding that will allow you to move forward. Thanks for taking the time to read it.
Welcome to Doing Life On Fire!