(March 14, 2021) Robert McQuillan responds to a young man’s question …
Dear Dr Robert
I have a question. Can you tell me what is a word of prophecy?
Jono (Not real name)
Prophesying means a Christian (not necessary only a church leader or minister) under divine inspiration from God boldly bringing a word – a message, short or longish – to bless and encourage people. Paul mentions it in 1 Corinthians 12 as being one of the nine supernatural manifestation gifts of the Holy Spirit (Hence the divine inspiration aspect, not from one’s imagination ‘making things up’ just to please, win favour or misguide).
It’s a gift that’s used in faith (itself one of the nine gifts), believing that we’re being directed by the Holy Spirit. Generally used in church circles it can operate anytime, anywhere, anyhow eg I’ve been led to give prophetic words to people not only while preaching or praying at prayer lines, but in phone conversations, in offices and marketplaces. And even to non-Christians who are aware I couldn’t possibly know anything about them… which can lead to open doors of sharing the gospel.
(Without trying to confuse you, Jono, I would add that although initially a vocal gift, for decades I’ve been led to write in both letters and emails encouraging, meaningful messages of prophecy to friends and ministers that have blessed them).
I like the simple way Paul explains prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14:3 – Words with three-fold benefits: strengthening, encouraging and comforting.
Or sometimes translated edification, this is a word connected with architecture and has to do with ‘building up.’ That’s something every Christian needs (indeed in these troubled days, everyone).
Or exhortation, linking with the ministry of the Spirit whom we can rely on to encourage us in dark times and spur us on to great achievements. This too is something Christians need regularly.
Or consolation. This word is akin to encouragement, also relating to the work of the Spirit who is known as the great comforter John 14:26 (Where Jesus called him the parakletos – the comforter, consoler, counsellor, intercessor, advocate).
But this is not only comfort over the loss of a loved one when deep, warm inner consolation is needed, it can boost us at any time when we need encouragement, inspiration to keep on keeping on as it were.
Oops… I know you’ll now have other related following-on questions you’ll want ask: Feel free to do so. Meantime you’ll find Brian Bell’s article this month about prophecy interesting… here.
Got a question for either Dr Robert or Pastor Maureen McQuillan? Email to OnlinerConnect@gmail.com (Their Encouragement March article is Dark-Nights-of-the-Soul)