(June 17, 2022) Robert McQuillan encourages a Pentecost enquirer…

Dear Dr Robert

Thanks for sharing last month about Pentecost Sunday. Please tell me about what’s called either ‘a word of prophecy’ or ‘a prophetic word.’ Jonno.

Dear Jonno

Either term is acceptable. In brief, prophesying means boldly speaking an encouraging, timely word from God to bless people –
a) One on one, not just face-to-face but via phone/email/Skype.
b) To your church on Sundays (as was generally expected years ago!), or at other church meetings even business ones.

As one of the Holy Spirit’s nine supernatural manifestation gifts (1 Corinthians 12) it can operate anywhere, anytime. Like the accompanying gifts word of wisdom and word of knowledge, it’s spoken in faith (itself one of those nine ‘operational gifts’).

This means that you must know the Holy Spirit personally eg through an intimate relationship of prayer, reading God’s word, trust and experience, whereby you just know that know that you know it is the Holy Spirit taking over and using you to bless, encourage, challenge some individual, or your church in general.

Of course, this must be handled correctly in church circles, not interrupting a preacher or worship leader (1 Corinthians 14:34)! And is subject to other prophets (verse 33). Just be yourself and allow the Holy Spirit  to use you. Avoid saying old-time catch phrases such as ‘Thus saith the Lorda Goda…’ or ‘God would say this…’ No! Honour God… perhaps by beginning with ‘I feel that the Lord  would say…’ or ‘I sense God would…’ You’re His servant, not God Himself!

Note Paul’s explanation in 1 Corinthians 14 of this gift’s 3-fold benefits: Strengthening, encouragement and comfort.

  • Strengthening… sometimes translated edification, a word connected with architecture and has to do with ‘building up.’That’s something every Christian needs.
  • Encouragement… or exhortation. This links 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.
  • Comfort… or consolation. This word that’s akin to encouragement, relating to the work of the Spirit who is known as the great comforter John 14:26 (Jesus calling him the parakletos  – the comforter, consoler, advocate). It’s not only on the loss of a loved one when Christians need divine comfort!

All this can lead to other questions, Jonno. But I’ll only refer to one that’s often asked (maybe you have in mind)… ‘Who can operate this gift?’

Many Christians wrongly think that only those in church leadership can move in this ministry. The reality is that every Christian has the potential to speak prophetic words but what often, or eventually, happens is that one discovers it has become part of one’s ministry unto the Lord.

In truth the prophetic word is really needed in church circles today but so few Christians let alone  departmental leaders and ministers dare to flow with the Spirit or they don’t know how to, or they allow something (restrictive church order?) or someone (who doesn’t know the Spirit or scripture?) to hold them back from operating in this essential gift.

And what did some biblical leaders have to say?

  • Moses’ great desire was this: ‘I wish that all God’s people were prophets…’ (Numbers 11:29).
  • Dr Luke in Acts 2:17-19 recalls the words of Joel 2:28-29 and points out that in the church age God would pour out His Spirit and ‘your sons and daughters will prophesy… even on my servants, both men and women… and they will prophesy.’
  • Paul strongly urges the seeking of and usage of this gift that is absent in so many churches today, even Pentecostal ones: ‘Eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy‘ (1 Corinthians 14:1). And, combining verses 31 and 39, ‘You may all prophesy… Therefore, my brother and sisters, be eager to prophesy.’

Sorry, Jonno, but this has become a sermon, a teaching, but then the Holy Spirit and His ministry is my favourite subject, one I’ve lectured on in Bible colleges! So I’ll just add a few more points to encourage you to dare to be bold!

Eager’ is a word that signifies ‘feeling warm towards, to desire covetously (in the right sense, of course)’ In other words, one has to be drawn to this gift and feel warmly and strongly about operating in it. And understand the reason for it… ‘so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged’ (1 Corinthians 14:31).

To emphasis what I’ve mentioned above about a personal relationship with the Spirit, operating in this gift requires some basics such as …
1) Being a Spirit-filled Christian of course with God’s Holy Spirit in charge within.
2) Ensuring all known sin has been dealt, that we’re clean channels for the Spirit to flow though.
3) Building a deepening, trusting relationship with the Holy Spirit.
4) Knowing the balance of the word of God through daily meditation and study.
5) Having total confidence in the Spirit and knowing that it is he at work, not us.
6) Daring, as He prompts to open our mind and mouth and speak boldly.
7) Willingly trusting the Spirit, that we are hearing from Him and allowing Him to use our voice.

Here’s a thought to get you thinking…

I also mentioned above the accompanying word of knowledge. These Holy Spirit gifts can be used to bless even nonChristians! When chatting to strangers, at times one senses to speak supernaturally into their life with a word of knowledge. This might lead to giving even them a prophetic word and could lead to their salvation! Strangers to Christianity are amazed how you could possibly know about them, their situation.

May you have a week of discovery in Christ!

Got a question for either Dr Robert or Pr Maureen McQuillan? Email to   

One comment

  1. These gifts God that has given may not be as ‘well used’ as they once were by God’s children but that is not of God’s doing and I agree, He is still willing to give good gifts to those who ask.

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