God desires that everyone comes to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). So let’s look at 12 powerful principles that will help you continue to grow in the spirit of revelation (Eph. 1:17-19) as a prophetic lifestyle. These concepts can also apply to families, congregations, denominations, cities and nations:
1. Research your foundations. Asking great questions leads to finding great answers. Probe into the roots of your heritage with questions like: What is my family’s history, ethnic background, religious heritage and so on? Who were the founders of my city, nation or church? What were their goals, visions, purposes and origins?
Researching your foundations can help you know how to build properly and what potential opportunities may exist for personal growth and development. Study to show yourself approved.
Research the question: What does my name mean? Then redemptively turn your name into a promise as a tool of discovering your prophetic destiny. Claim your generational inheritance and call forth blessing. Remember, the power of a blessing is greater than the power of a curse.
2. Pick up the baton. Not all promises have to be received directly by you or by your generation. Receive the inheritance of those who have gone before. Daniel 9:2 shows an example of receiving the baton of promise from a previous generation—given in Jeremiah 29:10: “When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, in causing you to return to this place.” What are the unfulfilled promises that have gone before you? Research them, pick them up and seize them for your life and generation.
3. Gain insight from others. Particular gifts of the Spirit such as the discerning of spirits, the word of knowledge and the gift of prophecy are very valuable here. They will assist you in determining specific points the Lord wants you to know as you seek to grow in revelation. Reach out to trusted intercessors and find out what they are discerning. What are the current-day revelatory promises? What are trusted prophetic voices saying?
4. Walk in unity and accountability. Each person needs to walk in a committed relationship with a local expression of the body of Christ. This will greatly assist you as you grow in your specific destiny. What are your authorities saying? Are you walking in unity and counsel with others? We must each find confirmation, wisdom and counsel through the safety net of walking circumspectly with others.
5. Kneel on the promises. Take the confirmed, authentic promises of God in scripture and remind Him of His Word:
“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, who shall never hold their peace day nor night. You who remind the Lord, do not keep silent; give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a glory in the earth” (Is. 62:6–7). Pray these precious promises into being. Humbly yet boldly lay hold of God, and do not let Him go until you see His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth (and in your life) as it is in heaven. Give birth to these promises, for Jesus’ sake.
6. Proclaim the promises. We are not called just to discern darkness; we are called to turn on the light. One of the powerful ways of doing this is through the power of proclamation. We can join praise with prayer and pronounce “to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (Eph. 3:10) that the power of the blessing is greater than the power of the curse. By announcing God’s Word, we release individual and corporate declarations of the will of God. Watch faith ignite and destinies unfold.
7. Act in the opposite spirit. There is nothing that stops growth more quickly than the poison of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. When hurt or wronged in any way, forgive. Forgiveness is letting your desire for justice go because you trust the God of justice to make things right in His way and His time. One way to respond when this happens is to act in the opposite spirit. What does this mean? If the enemy tempts you to hate, then sow deeds of love, forgiveness and kindness. Turn the tables on the enemy by doing the servant works of a disciple of Jesus Christ.
7. Write it down. Habakkuk 2:2 gives us the details and reason for doing this: “Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he who reads it may run.” Writing down God’s promise ensures that it will be kept before your eyes and properly passed on to the next generation.
8. Step out. Nothing takes the place of stepping out of your comfort zone and onto the end of your personal limb. Remember that faith is always spelled r-i-s-k. We must formulate practical plans of implementation, wait on God, get His mind and timing on the matter—and then get up and go, obey and step out.
Some people need to hear words like wait, listen, pray, and slow down. Others need words like get up, get going, rise up and do something. Eventually we must add works, or corresponding actions, to our faith (James 2:14–26). So in order to grow and seize your prophetic destiny, step out.
9. Pursue God. Growth takes time and patience. We are programmed in our culture to expect instant results, so we must set our minds and hearts toward persistence and perseverance. Our prophetic destinies lie in knowing the God who designed them. Give yourself wholeheartedly to the pursuit of knowing Him in all His fullness; then He will surely reveal who He has created you to be in the midst of your pursuit. Our goal is not the plan, but the Man, Christ Jesus.
10. Understand the nature of the prophetic. Knowledge is not our primary goal; prophetic revelations are signposts pointing the way to the One who is the answer. We want more than information; we want intimacy with God! Here are some related guidelines.
• Few words are declarations that something will automatically come into being. Most words are invitations to respond to God with conditions that must first be met.
• Few prophetic words are immediate, “now” words. Most help us in the process of growth and becoming.
• Few prophetic words get us out of a dilemma. They are used to shed light, comfort and encourage us to continue on. There are no shortcuts with God!
• Focus not on the promise but on the God who promised. Direct your faith onto the God of the Word. When our faith is misplaced, it produces fantasy and unreal expectations.
• Realize the clarity and cost equation. What God counts as significant will often arouse great opposition from the enemy. Paul was warned repeatedly of how much he would suffer for Christ’s sake. Every promise contains a cost.
• Give room for “time lapse.” As most words are invitations toward an end, there is a duration of time in between while the person is being prepared for the promise that is on the way.
11. Hold fast to what is good. Moving in the spirit of revelation and the prophetic is well worth the journey, even though there are valleys along the way. Great benefit will come as we cultivate the character we need to carry the revelatory gifts. “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, exhort you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you were called.” (Eph. 4:1) 1 Thessalonians 5:21 urges us to “Examine all things. Firmly hold onto what is good.”
12. Pray for increase. Father God, thank you for the revelatory grace on my life. What a wonderful gift. You are the gift! In any areas where I have stopped growing, I ask that You would initiate new growth again. Lord Jesus, I want to continue to grow in genuine prophetic ministry representing Your glorious image and the testimony of Jesus. Empower me to walk worthy of the calling with which I’ve been called. I choose to forget what lies behind, reaching forward to what lies ahead and pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. I’m holding fast to what is good, Jesus—You! Amen.
James W. Goll is the president of Encounters Network, director of Prayer Storm, and coordinates Encounters Alliance, a coalition of leaders. He is director of God Encounters Training, an e-school of the heart, and is a member of the Harvest International Ministries apostolic team. James is the author of numerous books and has also produced multiple study guides and hundreds of audio and video messages. This article was excerpted from his book Radical Faith, Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2011. Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved.