So you are in this place where you have a passion in your heart, and you see what’s being done to the Church of God and you get frustrated. Sure, you flow in this little gift of prophecy and it is so cool to hear God.
Obviously, the pastor doesn’t know what he is talking about. He is analytical and is always trying to figure things out instead of just moving with the Spirit.
Now, you feel called of God to stand up as God’s prophet for the hour and you have it in mind to walk yourself up to that pastor and give him a “thus saith the Lord.”
You are deceived into thinking that he will say to you, “Welcome! Please come on in. I have been waiting for you. Wow! Thank you! I just needed that correction! I was just sitting here this morning asking the Lord to send me somebody to walk through that door to slap me!”
Prophetic Training – Elijah's Story
Well, that is a bit how King Ahab felt when Elijah strolled into his throne room one day with such a word. Elijah got the same welcome you did... he had to run for his life. Ahab wanted to kill him.
And you sit there praying, “Lord, where did I miss you? Lord, was that not your word?”
Perhaps so, but we need to work a little bit on your delivery. God also needed to work a little bit on Elijah’s delivery. Although he was a prophet speaking for God, I wonder if he could have not used just a smidge more wisdom.
Every single prophet that has “been there” is nodding in agreement with me right now. The first reality you need to come to, is that maybe you are the one who needs change here!
Here is Elijah, he has this “glory hallelujah” moment, and he is expecting the heavens to open, but has to run for his life instead.
God needed to change him and needed to take him through a series of seasons so that he can be equipped to fulfill a greater task.
Maybe, when Elijah first started out, he had this great idea, “Well, God has called me to be a prophet to the nations so therefore I am called to go and prophesy to all the kings and tell them what to do. That’s what it is! I am called to go to say, ‘thus saith the Lord,’ to this and that person.”
Being a prophet means becoming a vessel that God can use. It means doing more than walking around and just giving prophetic words.
Later on in this book I will share what the exact end goal looks like for you. Right now, however, I want to share the seasons that God will take you through from the moment that He fully confirms your prophetic calling and releases you into training.
I am sure Elijah had been close with God and knew the Word, but there came a defining moment in his life where he faced Ahab. From then, things started happening in his life - a string of events that set the stage for centuries to come.
It is only at the end of these seasons that we see something being established in his ministry. It’s only after these phases that we see Elisha coming into the picture.
At the end of these seasons, God released him to anoint kings and do what God had really called him to do.
Now wouldn’t you think that if he had it together from the beginning, God would just have immediately sent him to go and anoint the kings, and get a hold of Elisha?
Your Next Season
In the same way, when the Lord calls you, there are some seasons to pass through. We have already spoken at length about the preparation phase of the prophet. I shared that this phase ends when you get a conviction of your calling and you are released into prophetic training.
I am going to pick up from there, and lay out each of these phases very clearly. So if you have received a clear conviction of your calling, and the Lord has released you into training, then get prepared for these seasons ahead.
No matter how many countries I travel to, and how many prophets I meet, those who have reached prophetic office have faced each of these seasons. So identify where you are at and take everything from each season that you can.
Making the Transition
Now up until this point you likely functioned in prophetic ministry. Perhaps you found a nice home church and settled in (as settled as a prophet gets anyway). You were of use and even had a few comfortable moments.
Then something happened. You started getting a stronger conviction of your call. You needed more. You wanted more. The level of maturity you had was not good enough. You felt a drawing from the Lord for more training and to become more than what you were.
This was usually coupled by you making a few mistakes. You upset a few people and did something that messed up the picture completely. Your circumstances start to shift.
Perhaps you are an Elisha prophet and an Elijah calls you to training. Your first thought about rising higher is exciting. You think to yourself, “This is going to be amazing! I am going to be challenged, but I am going to get more anointing! I am going to be the best prophet this church has ever seen.”
It is right after that, that you will face-plant a wall and so... your training truly begins. Welcome to prophetic training! It will be a string of phases and seasons that will shape you into the prophet you are called to be.
Well how else did you think it would happen? If you could function at that level of authority already – you would have no need for “more.” It is because you need that “more” that pressures come on you to bring it out.
Each prophet can identify this “switch” from preparation to training. It is a change from just functioning in the gifts, to having a burning desire for the authority of the prophet.
This is coupled by a sudden shift in circumstances and an increase in pressure.
Feeling the burn? Then press on and let us navigate each phase of training together!
1. Phase 1 – Brook Cherith
What is the first thing that happened to Elijah after his glory moment with our senior pastor?
It says in 1 Kings 17:5-6,
So he went and did according to the word of the LORD [Yahweh]: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that [is] before Jordan.
And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
Where is the crowd now? Where are all the people that are asking for that great prophetic word?
You know, you have this crazy idea... you rise up in the Church and your prophetic ministry starts to flourish. You start seeing yourself doing things for the Lord, and you just can’t wait until you are at that stage where God can use you more.
So, you utter those famous words, “Lord, use me! Lord do anything! I am prepared to pay any price!”
You feel the word of God and you step up to your pastor and then the next thing you know - you find yourself out on the street, hanging out at Brook Cherith.
Elijah didn’t even have a companion at Brook Cherith. He had only ravens for company and water to feed him. The first thing that will happen when God releases you into prophetic training proper, is that He is going to remove you from the circumstances that you have been in.
1. Everything Will Begin to Die Down
He will take you to a quiet place and your ministry is going to die!
“Oh Lord, can’t you just train me up in the position I am in? Just use it and I can go through the transition and still be the hotshot at church. I can still stand up and prophesy. I can still stand up and do the stuff. Please just do it on the side. Do it in the back room, Lord.
“You know, I can just die quickly before each meeting and then I can still come in and be God’s man for the hour!”
Nope – it didn’t happen that way for Elijah and it won’t happen for you! The first season you will face will be a season of isolation. Take a note of these points that I am sharing here, because they will come to pass.
The first thing is that your ministry will die down. Suddenly doors will shut, people stop calling and you start wondering to yourself, “Lord, did I miss you? I was up on the hill a minute ago and now suddenly... there is nothing!”
You got this fantastic word, “I have called you to be a prophet to the nations. I have called you to set my people free,” and it sounds so wonderful. You are ready to get in there and do the stuff.
The next thing you know, there you are, all alone, a bunch of stinky birds. Nobody cares or calls. You are out in the middle of nowhere, and you start wondering to if you really heard God.
You wonder if you missed it, and you are not sure what you are doing there! Your first tendency will be to try and scramble back to what you know. You will try to grab onto what you are familiar with. You will try and push it. You will try to join another church or get hold of another ministry. You will try to get a hold of what you are comfortable with.
Do you think it was cozy for Elijah to hang out at Brook Cherith? Out there in the middle of nowhere?
Now personally, I am just not one of those “let’s-go-and-pitch-a-tent” kind of people. My style is more toward the fancy, in-room dining, and poolside service. My husband - he can hike and do tents, but I’m just not like that.
My heart goes out to poor Elijah there. He probably didn’t even have a tent. He was sitting there all by himself. He didn’t even have anybody to complain to. He didn’t even have a wife to nag him... poor man.
However, it is only when you are taken out of everything that the distractions are removed. You cannot hear the voice of God, and hear what He truly has for you when there are so many distractions in your life that are coming in the way.
The reason why He can’t raise you up in your current circumstance is because if you have ever been in ministry, you know that the one thing that you don’t have - is peace and quiet! There is never a quiet moment in the middle of ministry.
There is always somebody wanting a word or needing you for something.
So you squeeze God in when you can. God reverses the order though in this very first season of training and this is indeed the foundation of the training you will go through.
If you don’t go through this season, you won’t pass on to the others and you won’t rise up to prophetic office.
You will never be sure of the voice of God in your life. You will always doubt and wonder. You will always hope you heard God, because you cannot be sure of yourself. You will continually be dependent on others to hear from God. That is why God removes the distractions.
God is Calling you to Cherith
The first thing He does is take away all the noise – all the ministry opportunities. Suddenly you just don’t feel led to go to church. It’s not like you have a problem with the people, but it’s just that you are drawn into the presence of the Lord.
Maybe you still hang around people for fellowship, but somehow you just feel to tone things down a little and to step aside a bit. You are not sure why. God is calling you to Cherith.
The call to the brook comes from deep within. The dramatic start to your training might have begun with a conflict and “Ahab” chasing you out, but the call to Cherith is a sweet still voice within.
4. Death to Your Ministry Ambition
It is a place to be silent. This is a time where God will remove from you, the ambition of ministry. I often say to people that God needs to take away the need to minister.
You say, “Well, I don’t have a need to minister!”
Okay... then let me take away all your ministry opportunities and then let us have that conversation again. It is very easy to be bold while you are in ministry. It’s very easy to know who and what you are while you are pouring out.
What if you lost it all right now though? What if nobody looked up to you? What if nobody wanted to hear your prophetic words and nobody was interested in what you said? What if nobody cared and you were alone in the middle of nowhere in a room with four walls - would you still be a prophet?
Would you still be content with nothing but Jesus? Or does your ministry fill a need in you that only the Holy Spirit should be meeting?
Here is some truth - you won’t know that until it’s taken away. You are saying, “Lord, come to me in this time where I am busy and reveal yourself to me, within my situation.”
He says, “If I could have revealed myself in this situation, I would have already! But the situation you are in is blocking my voice.
“I can’t reveal myself in this, so I have to take you out of it so that you can hear me in a way that you have never heard me before. If you could hear me here, you would hear me here, but you can’t... so move!”
5. Face-to-Face With Jesus
It is one of the most life-changing seasons you will ever experience because it is here in this quiet place, that you come face-to-face with Jesus. This is the foundation of your prophetic call.
Without this, you haven’t even begun the first step in your prophetic walk. You haven’t begun to understand what the prophetic purpose is, and you haven’t begun to fulfill even an iota of it. A main focus of the prophet, is to reveal Jesus to His people.
Just because people are born again, doesn’t mean that they know their Savior. Consider any of your relationships - the good ones have taken some investment. If you are married and have a family, you know that relationships don’t just “happen.” Not in the natural, and not in the spiritual either.
Although you may know the person and be familiar with them, it takes a season of really getting close, to truly know them. In a marriage relationship, this is even truer.
A Relationship Takes Time to Build
When I first got married, I thought I knew my husband. However it was only when we were married for 17 years that I could say with confidence, “Now I know my husband!” It seems that each year we are together, I get to know him a little bit more. Now, if this is true with someone that I can touch and see, how much more with the Lord Jesus?
With so much emphasis being put on the gifts of the Spirit, we have quickly bypassed the relationship aspect of our call. Without a relationship with Jesus, the gifts of the Spirit are meaningless.
It would be like me driving around in a Mercedes my husband bought me, wearing the big diamond ring my husband also bought me, but not having an intimate love relationship with him.
What’s the Point of It All?
I can have all the goods, but if I don’t have a relationship, what’s the point of being married? We have trained the body of Christ to prophesy and flow in the gifts of the Spirit... they got the diamond ring and all the treasures. I ask you though, without a relationship with Jesus, what is the point of it all?
What if God took all those things from you? Say you lost the ability to prophesy right now. Say you lost the ability to hear the voice of God and all the financial and spiritual blessings that you sought Him for. Would you still know your Jesus?
Would you still follow His tender voice? Would you still know when He was calling you aside and whispering in your ear? Without all the things that satisfy your flesh, would you still know when He was telling you how He feels about you... would you still be able to feel His heart and His passion for the Church?
Could you receive the Lord for His name’s sake and not for the blessings He offers?
Would you be able to smell that sweet fragrance when He calls you into the bridal chamber?
This is the core of what this season is about. You need to know Jesus intimately, not just as your savior, but as your groom.
6. Discovering Your Secret Place
You came to know Him as your savior when you got born again, and He was there to meet your need. He healed you, and He turned your life upside down. That is fantastic, but the kind of relationship He wants with you now, will fill you up so much more on the inside.
When I went through this season in my prophetic training, you could put me in a room with four walls and nothing else and I didn’t care. I was so content and at peace with just being with Him. By feeling Him there, I didn’t care if the world around me fell apart.
During this time the Lord showed me a picture of a cave hidden behind a waterfall. He pointed to the cave and beckoned me to come inside.
A Place to Hide
He said to me, “You will have to leave the outside and leave everything there and come into the secret place where no one can see you. Where you can’t take hold of anything but me!”
It got to a point where I was just so content to just stay there. That’s when He said to me, “The purpose is not just for you to stay here, but to come and become so saturated, that when you go out, you take Me with you!”
What are we called to do as leaders? It is to represent Christ to the Church. Have you noticed that after a couple has been married for a few years, they start to talk the same way? Sometimes they even start to look alike... one starts a sentence and the other finishes it. You see them as one.
Well, that’s what the Lord wants with you. It’s not enough to know His Word - you have got to live His Word. It’s not good enough to just prophesy, you have to feel Him in every fiber of your being. You have to become that prophetic word. You have to become Christ.
Aiming for Perfection
The Word says, that when that which is perfect has come, that which is in part is done away with (1 Corinthians 13:10).
The gifts of the Spirit are amazing. Hearing God through dreams and visions, and prophetic words are some of the best perks of being a prophet. However let’s not make ourselves dependent on these things.
Let our dependence be in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Let Him be our foundation instead of our abilities and our works. Let His finished work on Calvary be our boast.
When that is our boast, we are conformed to the image of Christ. Now how can you stand up and preach to the people of God and say, “You need to be conformed to the image of Christ and not be conformed to the traditions of the world,” when you don’t even know the voice of your loving Savior?
7. Know Him to Become Him
The only way to become Him, is to know Him. It’s to have a face-to-face relationship with Him. When you know Jesus in this way, you see the world with new eyes. You see His people with new eyes, because you are not seeing them through your own misconceptions anymore.
You are now seeing them as Jesus sees them. You don’t even need to ask the Lord anymore, because you just see them as He sees them. You have become Christ. He begins to live His life through you. Is that not what sanctification is all about?
What is the purpose of the death? What is the purpose of the travail? Is it not to give birth and be transformed into the image of Christ?
Are you not meant to be a light in the world and a city on a hill, the salt and flavor of the world?
How do you think you will achieve all that? Do you think one day somebody is just going to come to you and say, “Have some salt here. Become a city set on a hill there.”
No! I don’t discover intimacy with anybody just overnight. The longer I get to know someone the closer I get to them, and the more we receive from each other. If this is true of our natural relationships, how much more with God?
Don’t Rush This Season
We are so busy doing the business of serving God that we forgot that this begins and ends with relationship, and not with semantics.
That is why even before the deaths and the stripping begin, God will call you aside into this season of silence.
If you skip this season, you are not going to make it the rest of the way. Trust me, the next season will be knocking on your door soon enough. If you don’t have the stability of your relationship with Jesus, you won’t make it.
When we face hard times in our lives, it is the people we love that get us through. It is those that are close to us that give us the strength to carry on. Jesus is calling you into such a relationship.
If God is calling you to be a prophet, this is the first step towards your calling. So then when you face the travail and those hard times, you know you are not facing them alone. You are facing them with, through, and in Jesus.
This brings such a peace. Although it may sometimes hurt, it brings a peace. If you have been going through death after death, struggle after struggle, and thing after thing happens to you and you are feeling confused and frustrated, you need to go back to Brook Cherith.
You need to go back to season 1 and enter into the peace of the Lord. You know what the best way we can teach the body of Christ to discern spirits and to know what is of God and what is not is? It is simply to introduce them to Jesus and to help them to develop a relationship with Him.
Relationship Revolution up Ahead
Many of you have had difficult marriages, or difficult relationships. I daresay that nearly everyone reading this has faced a time in their lives when they wanted to give up. You have been in a place where it’s just hard and you just want to walk away.
At times it is also possible that things just become dry. Then, there are those who even in the middle of all of that, come to a place of falling in love all over again. This is where the Lord will take a marriage and He will cause that couple to fall in love all over again. They will then start from the beginning.
That is exactly what the Lord is calling you to right now. You have been walking a hard road. You have been pushing through, but you have forgotten your first love.
Do you remember how saturated you were when you first got born again? Do you remember the peace and the truth that just flooded you? The butterflies and excitement in your stomach? The hopes and ambitions? That passion doesn’t have to stop!
Can you Feel the Call?
Jesus is calling you to that again - to fall in love with Him so that you get butterflies in your stomach when you think about Him. When you tear up just when you consider who He is to you!
Do you want to be a testimony? Do you want to fulfill your destiny in the Church? You could just stay in this phase and you would be accomplishing more than I see the Church experiencing right now through the prophetic ministry.
You would be the face of Jesus and the Church needs to see that - not yours. They don’t need to pay $1000 for a prophetic word - they just need the face of Jesus!
They need to know He is there and what He looks like – they need to hear what He sounds like and that will come from you, out of your mouth.
So you better make sure that when you stand up that you are speaking Jesus, showing Jesus, and not your own agenda.
That is why training begins with this season. He doesn’t just start with the stripping and the smacking. He starts by calling you into the secret place and filling you up on the inside, and bringing you to a place of romance and intimacy.
It is a honeymoon. At first though, you may not be so happy. You had your whole ministry going for you. You had a whole plan for the next five years, had it all together and then next thing you know, you are all on your own. You are frustrated and you yell at God.
The Lord says, “Would you just sit down, and come into my secret place?”
When you finally settle down and embrace this season, you will say, “Lord, what took me so long?”
You know why? You think you have to keep running. You think you have to keep doing. You think that if you are going to fulfill the call of God, you better start ministering and keep prophesying.
Then you wonder why you are running dry? What you are doing should stem from a place of rest in His intimate presence.
It’s only when you get through this season of peace and of really coming to know Him that the next season of training will begin.
Clear Signs of Cherith:
Ministry doors close
You find yourself isolated from ministry, friends and family
Your desire for ministry fades
You enter into a face-to-face relationship with Jesus
You experience your own “secret place” with the Lord