Chapter 01 – Spiritual Hearing
We looked in the last section at how the prophet functions as a seer. But the prophet doesn’t only see things in the Spirit. He or she also hears from the Lord.
In this section I would like to look at how the prophet hears from God, and the part that this plays in the Prophetic Ministry.
Firstly you need to realize that seeing visions and hearing from God is not only for those in the Prophetic Ministry. All believers are able to see things in the Spirit and hear from God.
This was not true in the Old Testament, because the internal anointing of the Holy Spirit did not exist yet. So when God revealed something to a person, He did it only to those whom He chose.
When someone in the Old Testament began to get revelation from God, they were thought to be prophets. Only the prophets were able to do this. So if you were an ordinary person and you needed a message from God, you looked for a prophet.
The New Testament Believer
The New Testament believer has the Holy Spirit living inside of them and can tap into the internal anointing of the Holy Spirit and hear God’s voice. You do not need a prophet to be able to hear from God in this way.
What makes the prophet different is the same thing that made an Old Testament prophet different. The prophet gets revelation from the Lord via the gifts of revelation. This comes more from the external anointing than from the internal.
To help you understand the difference between the prophet and the ordinary believer, I would like to show you how you can hear from God as an ordinary believer first. Then I will show you how to hear from God as a prophet.
Revelation on Tap
The internal anointing exists in the spirit of every believer, and it is available for us to tap into at all times. You do not need to wait for God to do anything special or move supernaturally to receive from the internal anointing.
There are some simple ways that every believer can tap into the internal anointing and receive revelation.
Because you can do this, that does not make you a prophet. It simply means you are born again and have learned to tap into the anointing of God that is within you.
When God adds the prophetic dimension to this anointing, you will still receive revelation this way, but it will come only when God gives it. It will come to you suddenly and outside of your control. And you will know it is the voice of God.
The biggest problem that any believer has in hearing from God is the ability to hear God’s voice. Remember we are speaking here about a spiritual manifestation of the sense of hearing.
We saw that the sense of sight is always the strongest, and that the greater part of revelation usually comes to us in pictures. But this is not always the case. Sometimes you receive revelation by hearing in the Spirit.
The first time I ever experienced this strongly was that night when the Lord told me to leave my church. His voice was speaking so strongly in me that I could almost hear Him speaking out loud.
The Voice of Your Own Spirit
How can you hear the voice of God? He speaks most of the time through your human spirit. When He does this, it comes to you via the internal anointing. This means that the words come up from deep down inside you.
But God can also speak to you externally, and when He does this, He moves directly on your body, using the external anointing.
When this happens, God is not speaking via your human spirit, but He is speaking to you directly in your mind. This is much stronger, but it is never overpowering. God never imposes His will like Satan does when he attacks your mind.
When God speaks to you via your human spirit, it happens like this:
1. The Holy Spirit is living inside your spirit and He speaks to your spirit
2. Your spirit then passes this message to your mind via the sub-conscious
3. An idea or picture appears in your mind from nowhere
This kind of thing happens all the time. It exists in every human being and not just in born again believers. But a Christian has the Holy Spirit to help them.
A person who has developed the ability to listen to their spirits more closely finds it easier to ‘hear’ what their spirit is saying to them. But how can you do this?
God gave us as believers a tool to help us hear the voice of our spirit more clearly. It is called speaking in other tongues.
I am not talking about giving an utterance in tongues in a meeting with interpretation, but just speaking in tongues in your private prayer.
When you speak in tongues you create a bridge between your spirit and your body, but it bypasses your mind. However, when you pray in tongues for a while, the flow that is taking place begins to affect your mind.
If you have tried this you will know what I mean. When you first start out you might not feel anything, and your mind can be blank or filled with other things. But after a while you can feel something happening down there.
If you spend long periods praying in tongues, then you start to learn how to recognize the sound of the voice of your own spirit. And you will find it easier to allow influences from your spirit to come up into your mind.
When your spirit speaks, you recognize the voice and listen. Otherwise it is like all the other voices around us that we ignore all the time.
Christians who do not believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit or speaking in tongues find this difficult. But even many Spirit-filled believers have this problem, because they do not speak in tongues much.
Ways of Hearing Your Spirit
When you hear with your spirit you will hear words. Seeing with your spirit always produces pictures, but when you move to hearing, you always get words.
How do you hear these words? Can you hear someone speaking to you audibly? No, we are talking here about receiving something internally, not externally.
If you practice this you can learn to hear words from deep down inside, in the same way you see pictures. Try it some time. Close your eyes and allow things to come up from your inner man.
You will find that if you listen you will hear words, just as you see the pictures that come to your mind. Try ignoring the pictures for a bit and see if you can hear words in the spirit.
Words are the language of the spirit. When God sent His word into the earth He did so using words. I have covered this idea in some detail in my books on The New Way of Blessing.
All words that we speak as humans come from our spirits within. This also means that the words we speak contain an influence or a power that is spiritual in nature.
How can we communicate using words? There are two main ways that are available to us. We can either speak them out loud, or we can write them down.
Thinking words is not an easy thing to do, unless you imagine yourself hearing someone speaking the words. Because when you hear something physically, you receive far more than just the words.
There is the pitch of the person’s voice, their accent, their emotional expression and many other influences all mixed together. The same words spoken by two different people may sound totally different.
But when you receive words from deep inside, they do not come out the same way. You only get the words, and they usually come out in a kind of monotone. You have to add your own pitch, emotional expression and accent to it.
Hearing through Verbal Expression
When you talk you create a bridge between your spirit and your body. This is similar to speaking in tongues but not the same. Here you are also using your mind, emotions and will.
However, you will find a similar thing taking place to what happens when you speak in other tongues. While you are speaking, you may find ideas popping into your mind that come unexpectedly.
Something pops up from your spirit and into your mind, and you find yourself thinking of something that was not there when you started out. Some of this may come from your memories of the past, but some of it also may come from your spirit which lies deeper inside.
This is not the only time you will experience this. If you have read the Way of Blessing you will remember that I showed that what is in your spirit can be expressed in both words and actions. So actions also have the power to release influences from your spirit.
Have you ever noticed what happens when you are doing something that does not need you to think much? You put your mind into neutral, and while you are busy suddenly ideas start coming up into your mind.
You could be standing in the kitchen washing dishes, or doing some physical thing that frees your mind to wander. Have you not noticed that as you do this, things often pop into your mind unexpectedly?
If you can speak or carry out any bodily action, then you can hear the voice of your spirit. It is while you are speaking words and doing something that your spirit pours out information.
I am not even talking yet about prophetic revelation or flowing in a prophetic ministry. I am talking about something that is available to every one of us.
And if you are a believer, then you can hear from your spirit in this way. If you have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and can speak in tongues, then you have something extra that you can use.
But there is another tool that you can use apart from speaking to someone or even speaking in tongues. You will probably use this tool more than anything else. So I would like to show you how to use it.
You cannot always find someone to speak with and you cannot always find something to do. But you can pour out words any time even if you are alone. I am of course speaking about a wonderful tool that we have called writing.
Hearing through Writing
When you write, you always put words down in the form of text. You can do this using a pen or pencil and writing on paper. And now with the marvels of modern technology, you can write on a computer screen using a keyboard.
What you do when you write, is you release words and actions together at the same time. While you are writing you are doing an action, and what you are writing is in the form of words. So you do the two together.
This makes writing one of the most powerful ways of tapping into your spirit. Yet many folks hate expressing themselves in writing. They would rather speak to someone face to face than to write them a letter.
With the coming of the computer age and email, more people have learned to write. Because of this, many have learned to tap into their spirits in ways they have never done before.
I will share in the next chapter how you can use all of these things to hear from God and flow out in a prophetic ministry. But for now I want you to see what you can do just because you are a normal human being. And even an ordinary Christian can do amazing things.
Writing down your thoughts and inner desires and ideas in writing is something that many people do. And because it has become a common practice, this has been given a name. It is called journaling.
I first heard this term only in a Christian context and thought that it was a process that only believers could carry out. A teacher by the name of Mark Virkler was one of the first to use this term for Christians. He taught believers how to write down what they felt the Lord was saying to them.
But you will hear about journaling even in the world amongst unbelievers. If you have read the self-help teachings of the world or listened to teachers on success you may have heard this term. It is an ability that all human beings have.
That is because all human beings have a spirit. Unbelievers do not see this as a process of tapping into their spirits. They are not even aware of the fact that they have spirits. And their spirits are dead towards God anyway.
What they tap into when they journal, is all the resources that they have gathered up in their sub-conscious mind. And when they sit down to journal, they express their thoughts and ideas in writing. Most of the time what comes out is what they have fed in there through the materials that they have studied.
Believers have something more, because they have the Holy Spirit living inside their spirits.
So when you begin to journal as a believer, you tap into your spirit as well as the sub-conscious. And when you do, you will also receive some of what the Holy Spirit has put into your spirit.
So if you want to hear the voice of God, this is one of the best places to start. If you can develop a greater sensitivity to the voice of your own spirit, then you create a channel that God can use to speak through you prophetically.
How to Journal
As a Christian I like to think of journaling as me having a conversation with the Lord. So when I journal I sit down with pen and paper or a computer screen and I imagine Jesus sitting by me.
The first thing I write is what I would like to say to the Lord. If I have a question I would like to ask Him, then I write my question down in my journal.
Sometimes it helps to combine your journal with a diary of what has been happening in your life. I find that as I write about some of the things that have been happening, I start to get into a flow of words from my spirit.
I might even record some of my dreams, if I had a clear dream or night vision that I do not fully understand. Then when I have finished recording these things, I begin to talk to the Lord. I tell Him that I love Him and just say what comes into my mind, as though I was having a conversation with Him.
The next part is where you have to learn to hear words from your spirit. You have said what you want to say in writing, and the act of writing with the words starts a flow coming from inside. So the next thing you write will be what comes up out of your spirit.
I like to imagine what the Lord would say to me, and I try to write the words that come up out of my spirit. This is one of the best ways of practicing prophetic ministry, because you learn to shut out what is going on around you and listen to your spirit.
At first you may hear the Lord speak words of encouragement to you. He might tell you that He loves you and that you are special to Him. But as you continue to write, more will come out.
You may find yourself beginning to write the words of a prophecy. This is the Lord speaking to you, but it starts to come out just like a word of prophecy. And you will find that when this happens, you begin to write fast as the words start to pour out.
And just like it happens when you speak a word of prophecy, you will probably find that it will flow for a while and then suddenly stop. The great thing about it is that you now have a written record of the prophetic word that the Lord gave you.
And if you get good at this, you will find it easy to also minister to others like this. You will find that as you write a letter to someone, the spirit of prophecy may come on you while you are writing. Then you write out a prophetic word for the person and tell them what God is saying to them.
Writing is certainly one of the most powerful tools you can use to help prepare you for flowing in the Prophetic Ministry.
Chapter 02 – Prophetic Hearing
In the last chapter we looked at how you can hear from your own spirit. We saw that this is accomplished using words and actions. We also saw that this was built into all human beings, and not only for Christians.
However, when a person is born again, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of them. Then when you hear from your spirit, there is a chance that some of what comes out of your spirit is coming from the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately a lot of what does come out also comes from the inner store of your memories and past experiences and studies. The sub-conscious mind is full of data, and when you tap into the inner person, this is the first thing that comes out.
So when you begin to speak in tongues, the first thing that comes to your mind is all the stuff you have been pushing down there. After a while this clears, and you begin to get a flow from deeper down inside your spirit.
The same thing happens during conversation. And if you keep talking for a long time, eventually you will begin to get some kind of spiritual influence popping up into your mind as you speak.
This also happens when you are carrying out an action that does not involve the mind a lot.
So words and actions together are a powerful way to tap into your spirit. And we saw that writing is a process by which we can combine both words and actions together to create a very powerful way of tapping your inner resources.
If you wish to flow well prophetically, you need to develop your capability in this area. In other places where I have taught on this, I showed that your spirit is like an underground stream. And you have to sink a pipe down into that stream in order to tap the water that is there.
Once a pipe has been sunk down there, however, you now have a capacity to receive from your spirit at any time.
This means that you have now given the Holy Spirit something to work with. And any time He wants to send something out of your spirit, He has a channel through which He can do it.
The Power of the Word
The pipe can be made wider by filling yourself with the Word and Scripture. This also improves your ability to hear from your Spirit. So if you want to have a greater flow from your spirit, one of the best ways to do this is by filling yourself with the Word.
You can do this by memorizing Scripture, or meditating on Scripture, as God told Joshua to do. This is similar to making your pipe wider. And the reason for this is that the Word helps you to understand what comes out of your spirit.
If you receive impressions from your spirit, either in the form of pictures or words, these might not make sense to you. However, if you have filled yourself with the Word, they become easier to understand, and you can more easily identify when God is speaking.
When what comes out lines up with the Scriptures, you can hear the same voice in those inner words that you hear in the Word. You can tell right away that these are not just words from your sub-conscious. They are coming from the Spirit of God inside of you.
Setting Up Your Windmill
In my illustration of sinking a pipe down into your inner river, I also like to include the picture of a windmill on the outside. In the natural when a pipe is sunk down into an underground stream, it is connected to a pump which is attached to a windmill.
Then, all that is needed for the water to come out is for the windmill to start turning. But this will not happen until the wind begins to blow. All you can do is sink down your pipe and set up your windmill, but you cannot make the wind blow.
The wind is the external moving of the Spirit of God upon you. And when that wind begins to blow several things start to take place inside of you.
You will find out that flowing prophetically is just like that. The only thing that you can do to be used by the Lord in prophetic ministry is to make yourself available to Him. And you can learn how to tap into your underground stream, using some of the ways I described above.
Now you must wait for the external anointing of the Holy Spirit before you can do anything more. Sure you can tap into some of the water through journaling and even through praying in tongues. But the real gusher only comes when the wind begins to blow.
You will find that this is always how God works when He uses you in any kind of ministry via the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You will remember in my teaching on Fulfilling Your Ministry Gifts, that I explained the importance of knowing the difference between natural gifts and supernatural gifts.
(If you have not read my books Fulfilling Your Ministry Calling and Using Your Ministry Gifts I would highly recommend getting them to fully understand what I am talking about here.)
The gifts of the Spirit that are used in anointed ministry are always supernatural and external. They only operate in those who have walked through the doorway of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
In fact the baptism also gave you the ability to sink down your pipe, by giving you the ability to speak in tongues. But now that you have entered that door, you must embrace the gifts of the Spirit and learn how to use them.
I also covered most of that in my book Developing Your Ministry Gifts.
You should now be in a place where the following things are true, before you can fully flow in the Prophetic Ministry:
a. You should have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit
b. You should have received and entered into functioning in the spiritual gifts of prophecy and at least one of the revelation gifts.
c. You should have learned to tap into your spirit through spending much time in prayer, especially praying in tongues
d. You have made yourself available to the Lord and to other believers to be used as His instrument of blessing.
Once these conditions are in place, you are ready now to begin functioning as a prophet in ministry. You have set up your windmill and are waiting for the wind to blow.
Knowing How and When to Respond
There is one more thing that is needed, even when you have all of this in place. You need to know how and when to respond to the wind when it begins to blow.
How do you know when the Holy Spirit is moving upon you and blowing His wind? You will know this by the operating of the external anointing via the gifts of the Spirit.
Remember that the internal anointing is something that you feel only deep down inside, and it does not affect you outwardly. But the external anointing is very outward, physical and real. You feel it on your body as it comes upon you.
When God begins to use you in the Prophetic Ministry you can expect some kind of external manifestation to come to start things off. The Lord will probably put a vision or words into your mind.
This is the first sign, out of nowhere, that something is about to take place. God gives you something to start with, and you must respond to that before you get any more.
If you have ever operated in the word of prophecy, you know that it works that way when you first start out. The Lord gives you a few words or a picture, and perhaps a strong urge inside to speak. This is an external anointing, and it means that the wind is beginning to blow.
But before anything more happens, it is up to you to do something with this. If you ignore the revelation, God will not force you to act on it. He will continue to gently bring it upon you, urging you to take the next step.
What is the next step? It is yielding to the Spirit of God, and allowing Him to now fill you from inside and cause the water to pour out. The windmill is ready to turn, but you must release it from inside or nothing will happen.
Let me give you an example of how this could happen. You could be sitting sharing with someone, perhaps in a group or you may even be praying together. And you suddenly sense the Holy Spirit telling you to minister to someone.
Perhaps He gives you a simple picture or a few words to use. And that is all you get. Now if you are like most people, you will probably wait for Him to give you more before acting on this. In fact you may even try to push this thought back and ignore it.
But all that the Lord has done is to give you a direction to follow. He has come upon you by His Spirit and told you to go and minister to that person. And until you do this, you will not get anything more.
However, if you step out in faith and go and pray with the person, or tell them what you have received so far, something amazing begins to take place. Suddenly a surge of power comes up from inside you, and you may find yourself saying many things that you did not think of.
You may find yourself praying and decreeing over them. You could begin to speak a word of prophecy. Or you could find yourself telling the person something that you had not thought of before. And as you speak, the Holy Spirit gives you wisdom and words to speak.
By the time you are done, you realize that you have ministered prophetically to someone, and it all came out as you stepped out in faith to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
If you are too afraid to step out boldly and do this, you may find that you never fully get into the flow of the prophetic. You will also tend to rely only on the thoughts of your mind.
Many budding prophets have made this mistake. They think that they have to get the whole message in their mind first before going to share with someone. But most of what comes into their mind is their own thoughts and ideas.
Prophecy is not God giving you a message to give to someone else. It is God using you as a channel to speak through as you make yourself available to Him.
Now there will be times when the Lord may give you a word to go and give to someone. But that takes more maturity and experience, and often it means you should move up into the higher levels of the prophetic.
Some of these functions are available only to those who have been placed into prophetic office.
This book is not designed to address prophets at that level yet. I am trying to help you flow in prophetic ministry first. Once you have learned how to do that well, then the Lord will raise you up if He has called you to the higher office of prophet.
So for now, I suggest you learn how to tap into your own spirit, and you reach out by faith to receive the necessary gifts of the Spirit to flow in prophetic ministry.
Once these are in place, you will go through a training phase, during which the Lord will give you opportunities to minister to others. And along the way you will make many mistakes and often get it totally all wrong.
Do not worry about this; it has happened to everyone who has flowed in this ministry. Just press on and learn how to do it right. You will soon become proficient in the Prophetic Ministry, and the Lord will use you to be a blessing to many.
I will continue to share more principles on how to do this right in the rest of this book. I hope that you are getting a clear picture of what is involved, so that by the time you get to the end, you will have all that you need to be a prophet of God.