Halloween-themed decorations and festivities are popping up everywhere.
Halloween is an event that I choose not to celebrate as it promotes evil, death and fear. While I do like a good suspense thriller and even forensic crime documentaries…it needs to be from the perspective of good and justice triumphing over evil for me to enjoy.
Reveling in deeds of darkness is something that is at odds with my faith and I’ve found that celebrating life and the triumph of good is much better for my mental health.
Having said that, this halloween season does surface the universal beliefs of good versus evil and the supernatural. It appeals to a lot of people who don’t embrace the same belief system as I do. As limited humans, we all long for power that elevates us from our limitations to expand our realities.
Many people think that witches, spells, wizardry, fortune-telling, and other sources of supernatural activity are the way to find this elevation of the human condition.
Did you know that there is a greater supernatural power available? A power that supercedes the realm of darkness and leads to life, not death? I know this because I’ve experienced it personally. It’s a power that improves mental health and causes personal growth.
Prophecy Versus Powers of Darkness
One such supernatural gifting is the gift of PROPHECY. This is not to be confused with fortune telling, palm/tea leaf reading or consulting of the dead which is typically done directly in exchange for money. Very often, those counterfeit displays of power are fraudulent schemes rather than supernatural expressions.
The Bible acknowledges both the authenticity and the potential fraudulence of these activities. Passages even refer to certain situations where biblical characters interacted with such practitioners. The references are never in a positive light. In the divine book of good and evil, these “gifts” are definitively labelled as stemming from the power of darkness.
The gift of prophecy, in contrast, is a gift of encouragement that comes from the Holy Spirit and is recorded in a very positive light.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
There are whole teachings on this subject but the very short answer is that the Holy Spirit is part of God that comes to live inside us after we become born-again believers in Jesus Christ. It is our job to invite the Holy Spirit to fill us as an internal power of life and light.
The churches I grew up in were Pentecostal in nature so I was exposed to the concept of the Holy Spirit at an early age. At seven years old, I lined up with the other kids in my Sunday school class to receive the Holy Spirit and the gift of “tongues”; a heavenly language that no-one including oneself can understand. Only God knows what you are saying unless another believer is granted “the gift of interpretation”.
Receiving My Gift in 1977
My Sunday school teacher put his hands on my head to pray but nothing happened. He asked me to open my mouth and try to just let the new language flow out of me but I froze. I’ve never done well with being put on the spot to do something new in front of others.
My teacher wisely reassured me that I had received the Holy Spirit because he had prayed and I had voiced a willingness to receive. It was a matter of faith to believe that I had received God’s gift because of my obedience in asking for it. He said that I should continue to step out in voicing my heavenly language in private and that it could take time for it to develop.
I remember going home and up to my room to change out of my church clothes before lunch. In the midst of that routine wardrobe change I contemplated what I had learned and asked for that morning. I decided to open my mouth and found myself falling to my knees praying aloud with my brand new heavenly language flowing off my tongue. I had not only received my gift of the Holy Spirit by faith but I had been blessed with the EVIDENCE of being able to speak in “tongues”! I was so excited!
I use my gift of tongues to pray both in private and in corporate prayer meetings. It is a spiritual language from the Holy Spirit that bypasses the logic of the mind and goes straight to the ears of God. Its secrecy is supposed to be like a form of encryption to keep the devil and his demons from intercepting the prayer and interfering with its outcome. It’s also a form of prayer for those moments when you don’t know what to pray.
I had limited exposure to the other expression of the Holy Spirit called prophesy but my main experience was in church meetings where someone would speak in their heavenly language and then it would be followed with an interpretation in English so everyone would know what had been said.
The messages were typically exhortations for the church to live holy lives, seek God and in return would be promised blessing.
Later in life I was given “personal prophecy” a few times and I wish I had the tape recordings of those prayers but I lost them as media progressed from tapes to CD’s to digital formats.
More recently, I visited the International House of Prayer in Kansas City for their 8-day Immerse program. This is a trip I have taken two years in a row and always in autumn. IHOPKC is a multi-faceted ministry that focuses on worship and prayer to God and ministry of the spiritual gifts to those who come to worship and pray.
I have never experienced anything like it.
What is IHOPKC?
Musicians and singers from all over the world gravitate to IHOPKC to use their gift of music to worship God. The 24-hour prayer room literally has groups of musicians, singers and prayer leaders file in and out every couple hours continuously day and night. It never stops except for a brief few hours once a week where the worship is moved to an evening church service so much needed maintenance and cleaning can be done in the prayer room.
While the stage is filled with musicians offering their worship continually, the main area of the prayer room is filled with visitors, both local and international. There are designated prayer leaders who pair with each worship team but anyone can get up and participate in leading prayer at certain times.
On the peripheral of the main prayer room are a series of small prayer rooms that allow individuals or groups to pray together for certain purposes. These rooms are also where prayer volunteers minister personal prophecy for those who seek it.
The amazing thing is that you don’t have to travel to Kansas City to visit the prayer room. The prayer room is streamed on the internet 24/7! One of my favourite things to do is to wake up early, grab a coffee and stream this live video to provide an atmosphere of prayer in my living room. Even if I tune it down very low, I feel as though I am with a group of other worshippers and it helps me focus on my own worship and Bible reading.
What is IMMERSE?
Immerse is an eight-day program in which IHOPKC leaders provide approximately 20 hours of teaching, 20 hours in the prayer room and light-hearted group fellowship. The teachings revolve around a monthly topic and include instruction in their “Prayer Tools” which help provide structure to the time spent in the prayer room. The group fellowship allows for meeting like-minded prayer participants.
As participants of Immerse, we were given a special time to line up for personal prophecy during our visit. On my first Immerse, I was completely unaware of this part of our itinerary. I remember being guided to a seat and given a number and wondering what it was for. When I realized the intention, I felt a bit nervous about having complete strangers pray over me and give me a personal word from God.
I was even a bit cynical, as many are, as to whether the message spoken over me was truly from God. Unfortunately, there have been abuses of supernatural power in the Christian community and it has cast doubt on the authenticity of spiritual gifts.
I was taken into a personal prayer room with two other individuals and an elderly couple greeted us. The worship from the main prayer room could be heard mutely and we were invited to use our devices to record them as they prophesied.
Since one of the people with me was a friend, I listened with rapt attention as she was being prayed over and realized that their words over her were very accurate to what I knew about her.
When it was my turn I braced myself but quickly realized I was being blessed with the most encouraging, gracious words that I had ever heard. They went straight to my heart. I’m so glad I recorded that 10-minute prophecy because I played it over and over for weeks. Those words ministered to me repeatedly in a way I had never experienced before.
Melissa's 2017 Immerse Prophecy
I didn’t know what it all meant but it sounded wonderful and gave me hope during a dark season of my life. The words, “I love who you are, I love the decisions you’ve made, I love what you’ve done with your life” felt like a lavishing of unconditional love and I treasure them in moments where I feel completely unloveable and unworthy. It is as though they are calling out everything good and filtering out all the bad. I can’t count how many times I have listened to this prophecy and been comforted and encouraged by it. The result is a renewed desire to trust and press into the things of God. I still don’t know exactly what this particular promise means…especially the part about my Esther mission…but recently I read a prophecy by Lana Vawser on Facebook that also mentioned Esther missions beginning soon. I felt as though these two words were linked for me.
I was also given another word by Corey Stark during our morning worship and ministry time. This one was spontaneous and unexpected so I didn’t think to record it but I jotted it down as soon as I could afterward.
“A shift is coming. You have been pigeon-holed into a confined role but you are bigger than that. A shift is coming and it will shock people because they didn’t see those gifts hidden in you. It will surprise even you.” – November 6, 2017
I treasured those words. I felt that there was something yet uncovered in me that was longing to be released but had no idea what that could be at the time.
I’d always wanted to write a book but it was as though I hadn’t received my message. It wasn’t until I took a risk to step out of the safety of my employable gifting to make space that inspiration and creativity began to flow. Now that it’s started, I see it growing, not diminishing.
I just want to take a moment to thank God for this gift. It truly is from Him and I want the glory to go to the One who has blessed me by taking my limited skill and making it beautiful in HIs time.
The more I rest and accept His gracious love as a Father over a precious, valued daughter, the more joy and freedom of expression I experience. God is so good!
The following year I went back for another Immerse and this time I was fully aware that we would be visiting the prophecy rooms. Having not had fulfillment of my initial prophecy yet I wasn’t sure what would be spoken to me this time. In months just prior to my visit, I had decided to quit my job and take a year sabbatical to make space for rest and seeking God for my life.
Melissa's 2018 Immerse Prophecy
You can imagine my delight when this personal prophecy affirmed my decision to set apart time for rest and prayer. In the second portion of the prophesy I was given another future promise that I didn’t fully understand at the time. NONE of us knew that less than a year later I would be encouraging others in their dreams to write and publish what God had put in their hearts.
Ever since I published my book in August 2019, I’ve had wonderful, private conversations with people who also nurture a desire to write and publish. They are sharing their stories and their dreams with me and I find myself encouraging them and wanting to impart what I’ve learned to help them in their journey. It’s been a privilege.
Again, I share this to point everything back to God and His work in my life. I am not a perfect Christian…I am very flawed in many ways. This is proof that if you love God and seek Him, even in your imperfection, He has a promise to fulfill in your life. Something that will glorify Him and achieve His purposes for the body of Christ.
Part of the mystery of prophetic promises is that as much as you THINK you understand what it means, you should not try to force it to come to pass and you are likely to look back at it later only to realize it took on a meaning and fulfillment quite different than you expected. On that same Immerse I had a strong compelling to buy a keyboard and teach myself to play and sing worship songs in my private worship time. I was obedient to that and over this past year my feeble worship has grown stronger and more prophetic. It is still completely private other than the odd share because of the infancy of my gifting but I wonder if that too will be part of a future emerging that I never saw coming.
Private Worship & Prayer/Prophetic (amateur and raw)
The purpose in sharing this personal worship and prayer recording is not to gain admiration for myself. The effect would likely be the opposite. My music gifting is very weak and limited. Having said that, I know it is special and contains power…not because of myself but because of WHO I am worshipping. If you recall in the Bible, Naaman the leper was instructed to wash in the Jordan river which as known to be dirty and inferior to other rivers. (II Kings 5)
Sometimes healing comes from unexpected sources. That is why I share my weakness with you and believe that the Holy Spirit will minister to you in spite of it.
Beware Prophecy Addiction
Personal prophecy is so encouraging and almost intoxicating that is easy for believers to start seeking it excessively. I remember passing a fellow Immerse participant who was lining up the following day for another visit to the prophecy room. I recall thinking that I couldn’t imagine adding to the words I’d already been given. They were more than enough to “chew on” for the time being.
We should not become prophecy seekers and approach this gift lightly or like these ministers are a Christian version of fortune tellers. The gift is sacred and is meant to be interpreted in the light of scripture. True prophecy will never violate God’s written word or direct someone to sin. Prophecy is only a small way to hear from God. There are many other ways to get His direction for your life.
I hope you will be encouraged in knowing that you can receive a special word of encouragement from God through other believers who have dedicated themselves to ministering in this way but you don’t have to depend on that. God is speaking in many ways and through many things if you are quiet enough to listen. Are you listening? Do you want to hear His voice?
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