If your prophetic promises seem idle, it may be time for you to take action.
BY ELIZABETH ARIEL
Two and a half year earlier God told me that I was going to have a girl. I was excited when I became pregnant shortly thereafter, since we already had 2 boys. So, when a beautiful, wailing boy emerged 9 months later, I was surprised, or rather, shocked. As delighted as I was about my new son, the question lingered: what had happened to God's promise?
As I held that little pair of never-worn baby socks that I had brought to the hospital for the birth of my third child, my heart cried out to God: "God you promised, and I am holding you to it. I'm asking for, not just one, but 2 daughters." I wanted my daughter to know the companionship of a sister. I had gone from bold to brash. I was asking for a double portion.
That became the prayer of my heart for a season. I tacked the pink-rimmed socks, that had weathered the heat and cold of the attic, to my bathroom wall. Every time I saw them, I reminded God of His promise to me.
Then one day as I was sweeping the kitchen I asked God, "Do I need to keep praying this prayer, or have you already taken care of it?" I heard God's answer in my spirit, "I've already taken care of it." That night when my husband came home from work, he announced that he was open to having a fourth child.
God kept his word, and also gave me the bonus I asked for. A year later my blue-eyed daughter with copper-colored hair was born, and two and a half years after that, God gave her a matching sister.
Through this process I learned something about prophecy: Prophesy can be a tool, a test, and an invitation. Receiving and believing a word is only the first step. Once God has spoken, that word requires a response from us, and how and when God fulfills it, often calls for perseverance on our part.
Once God has spoken, that word requires a response from
us, and how and when God fulfills it, often calls for
perseverance on our part.
It is not merely a piece of knowledge about what is to come, but it is like a newly conceived child that must be nurtured from seed to a fully formed being. It is often concealed for a season until it is ready to be birthed.
The Bible offers ample accounts of people who labored with God to bring prophecies to birth. Daniel was one such man. He was an exile, but he had heard Jeremiah's prophesy about the return of the Israelites to their land after 70 years. So, as the time drew near, it was on his heart and mind.
He didn't sit back and just wait for it to happen. Instead he went into mourning and repentance on behalf of his people. He prayed with sackcloth, ashes and fasting as he joined with God's heart and became the intercessor to co-labor with God in the birthing process.
God is calling us to join with him today in
His desires for our generation.
The prophets in Elijah's time were spectator prophets. They received the word - that Elijah was going to die - and they stood at a distance to watch. They even spread the word.
After Elijah was gone, they wanted to find his body. These men only hoped to memorialize a movement and a man. They had knowledge without understanding. They knew what God had said, but they didn't understand how to properly partner with him.
Elisha was of a different heart. He couldn't bear to see the move of God die with Elijah. Instead he wanted to see MORE and he insisted on being a part of it. He would not leave Elijah even though it would have been a very hard thing to see his master and mentor die, and Elijah, himself, sought to dissuade him. Three times Elijah tested Elisha's resolve by saying, "Please stay here," but Elisha refused to leave him.
To the prophets, death was the promise. To Elisha, all that Elijah represented was about to be lost, and he was in hot pursuit of this mantle. He knew that there was a blessing to be received in the departure, and he was out to get it. The prophecy only spoke of the event, but Elisha saw it as an invitation.
The one who stubbornly pursues God's kingdom purposes, and will not settle for lesser blessings, is the one that God can entrust with a double portion. Elisha was such a man.
We can easily have knowledge without understanding; we know the promise, but don't understand how to use it to reap the reward. Elisha was hungry for the blessings. So, when the opportunity came, he recognized it.
Our level of hunger will propel us into the place where we can receive. Hunger opens the door for understanding to come.
Joseph also was a man who wouldn't allow his prophetic dreams to be stolen from him. God showed him that one day his whole family would bow before him in honor. At the time this didn't seem like a far-fetched fantasy Joseph was the favorite son of his father and had many honors heaped upon him. But instead of moving in the direction of his prophesy, his life took difficult and bleak turns.
Out of favor with his brothers, he was sold into slavery and then finally landed in prison on false charges. His life had gone into a hopeless slump and Joseph could have easily descended with it, into doubt, disillusionment, and despair – all of which lead to a helpless, hopeless, passive state.
Joseph persevered with his dreams – striving for excellence and being faithful even though he was enslaved.
After he had passed through years of testing, he emerged from prison, ready to walk in the reality of God's promise. As Psalm 105 says, "His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron; until what He had said came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him."
Joseph also knew how to respond proactively to prophecy. Once he had been released from prison to interpret the king's dream, he understood not only what the dream meant, but also how to partner with God's heart. He knew the prophetic word was fixed by God. Famine was certain and no amount of prayer would reverse this heavenly edict. But he didn't throw up his hands in helplessness.
Instead of focusing on the disaster, he looked at God's mercy: God had forewarned them and given seven years of abundance first so that they could prepare. We need to find the flow of God's mercy, especially when a word is foreboding, and jump in. Joseph was quick to see hope and provision in the word, and his vision saved a whole region of the world from starvation.
Each of these men internalized the word they heard. They meditated on it; they responded with their hearts, not just their minds; and they took action at the proper time.
When we receive a word from the Lord we need to do the same. After we test it, we need to write it out, so that we can remember it. Sometimes it is helpful to write declarations based on the word given. We can couple these declarations with scriptures that fit.
Speaking these words over lives and situations is a powerful way to co-labor with God in what he is doing. It is also important to ask God how we should respond, and then flow with what He puts in our hearts. To do anything less is to despise prophecy.
When we value His words to us, He is honored, and He reveals more.