When I say the word 'prophecy,' what do you think of? Do future predictions come to mind? Individuals such as Elijah, Isaiah and Ezekiel? That would have been my answer some time ago, however, I have had a sort of thinking shift recently. Those of course are major prophecies, but from what I have been reading, there is something more...I will share, and you decide!
The following passages are those that have made me question my views:
"14 For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so.
15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your [a]countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16 This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ 17 The Lord said to me, ‘They have [b]spoken well. 18 I will raise up a prophet from among their [c]countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him." --Deut. 18:14-18
10 and to another the [a]effecting of [b]miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the [c]distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. --1 Corinthians 12:10
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. --1 Corinthians 13:1-2
Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one [a]understands, but [b]in his spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. 4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.
6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching? --1Corinthians 14:1-6
So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and [k]ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an [l]ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you. --1 Corinthians 14:22-25
Is it just me, or do these verses treat prophecy as if it is a regular occurence within the church? Yet these verses remain mysterious to us! Paul clearly tells his readers that he encourages them to prophesy for the edification of the church. Surely, this is not just the future-telling prophecy that we have in the little boxes of our minds.
Testiment, these prophecies often required a type of divination or direct revelation from God. But is that necessary now? Is not discerning the needs in the life of an individual and speaking the Word of God into his/her life situation a type of prophecy? Have you ever been in a situation when you are listening to someone's problem, not sure of the advice to give, but a Scripture comes to mind that you believe will encourage and enlighten them? Is that not prophecy for the edification of the church?
I believe that when we speak God's Word into the lives of his people with the guidance of His Spirit, then we are prophesying. We are letting His people know His Word and Will for them. If it isn't prophecy, it isn't any less important. As God's women, as those who are entrusted with the knowledge of His word, we must use it to impart His love on others. Whether prophesying or not, go forth today and try to speak God's Words into the lives of those around you!