This week, I recorded a thought on my Twitter feed: “A healthy prophetic word will include an element of self-indictment.”
The day after I shared that sentence, I was reading in Ezekiel and came across verse ten in chapter three, “Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself.”
Some people will use the phrase, “I am carrying a prophetic word.” Prophetic words are carried, but they also need to be personally processed by the one carrying the word before they deliver it.
Prophetic words are first captured in our hearts, as Ezekiel mentioned. These prophetic words then migrate outward from our innermost being passing through our soul and finally they are expressed through the physical delivery systems of voice, writing or creative imagery.
The word of prophecy God deposits in our heart will many times strike an obstacle still embedded in our lives on its way out towards expression. These obstacles can be our pride, our limited understanding of a complex situation, immaturity or unconfessed personal sin. The personal processing of these prophetic words provides the deliverer of the word with an opportunity to be healed. Long-term effectiveness in prophetic ministry requires the prophetically inspired person to first examine their personal obstacles before they deliver the word God has given them. This keeps prophetic ministry healthy and balanced.
It is in this outward passage of a word, from our heart to the hearer, that we have an opportunity to experience humility. In the act of personal examination we are tenderized and humbled. This process adjusts our attitude to not think of ourselves as living on a higher plane than those to whom we have something to say.
In this process of humility the word we deliver becomes encased in the love of God and its delivery will express His heart and motives more than it will expresses our will or our need to share the word. All true prophetic ministry should reflect the heart of a loving Father. We can’t do this if we are puffed up with pride and unwilling to deal with our own personal issues.
This personal integrity check before we give a prophetic word is what God was referring to when he said to Ezekiel, “Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself.” This is also what I think Paul was referring to when he told the Corinthian Church how a prophetic gift should function, “But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.” (I Cor. 14:3)
True prophetic ministry is not exclusively for the recipients of the word; it is also for those of us who deliver prophetic words. As we process what we are about to speak, we use the processing of the word as an opportunity for us to take a closer look at our own lives and become a more humble and compassionate delivery system for the word of the Lord.