The call of the prophet and the gift of prophecy is one of the spiritual gifts that is explored in my work of supporting the spiritual awakening and self-actualization of change agents. Discerning our gifts and how we are called to use those gifts makes up a significant part of that process. As one who has this gift, I can attest to the gift as well as the curse of possessing and sharing this gift.
Defining the Prophet’s Gift
In my online course, What is Your Magic, I offer the following definition of a prophet as described by Albert Nolan, a Dominican priest in his book, Jesus Today – a Spirituality of Radical Freedom (Orbis Books, 2008):
Prophets are people who speak out when others remain silent. They are watchful of the areas in need of reform in their own society, their own country, or their own religious institutions. True prophets are men and women who stand up and speak (or act) out about the practices of their own people and their own leaders – while others remain silent. True prophets are not part of the authority structure. Prophets are never appointed, ordained or anointed by the religious establishment. They experience a special calling that comes directly from God, and their message comes from their own personal experience of God. (pp. 63-67)
In my experience one who possesses the gift of prophecy has the ability to:
For the prophet, seeing goes beyond what can be perceived through mere physical vision. One with the gift of prophecy has the ability to see the truth beyond the material. Here we are able to see…..really see. The prophet sees what is before them, while also seeing the subtle inter-weavings of all that is around what they are able to see. Prophets are able to see the connections, what led to what they are seeing and what will continue to unfold from what they are seeing unless significant change takes place. The seeing of the prophet includes material things, human actions and interactions, the energy and emotion of what they are seeing. A prophet can identify what is “of the good,” and what is not.
In their ability to see, prophets can also read. This most commonly presents itself in the ability to read people – to see beyond the mask that every person put out into the world, beyond the projection of what people want others to think or believe about them. The prophet sees the truth. We see all that people are trying to hide from the world….but we also see their gifts. We see the potential within every human being and how the masks they were are blocking the fulfillment of that potential. The most challenging aspect of this ability in the prophet is that while most are not consciously aware of the fact that they are being SEEN, unconsciously they do. For those whose “survival” depends on their ability to be seen in a certain light, the prophet becomes “the enemy,” not because of something they’ve done, but for who they are. This is one of the curses of the gift of prophecy.
In addition to seeing the truth beyond the illusion, prophets hear the truth beyond the words. Regardless of the chosen words or their intention, the prophet hears what people are really saying. If someone says, “It’s a great day,” but truly feels elsewise, the prophet will know it. The prophet hears the truth beyond every subtle deception for under the gaze of the prophet no one can hide. Again, this sometimes proves to be one of the challenges for the prophet.
Like a Geiger counter or seismic graph, prophets have the ability to feel. We feel the energy of the world and its movement. We feel the energy within and embodied by every person or situation we meet. We can feel whether the energy is of expansion and love, moving in the direction of “the good,” or if it is the energy of fear and constriction moving toward harm. We feel it and we know it.
Discernment is perhaps the greatest gift of the prophet and one cannot be a prophet without first possessing and honing this gift. Discernment is the process through which we determine (in everything we encounter) what is “of God” and what is not. Through discernment we are able to identify what is based in fear, power, deceit, or control, and what is rooted in love. Anything that is not “of love” is not “of God” and it is the prophet’s job to make that fact known to the world.
For additional reading on the gift of prophecy check out these articles:
The Prophet’s Curse
Herein lays the challenge of being a prophet and the curse that is inherent in the gift. A prophet has no purpose in only seeing, reading, hearing, feeling and discerning. The purpose of the gift of prophecy is to heal and change the world. The world cannot be changed if what the prophet knows is not spoken. The prophet must speak what they see, read, hear, feel and discern (subtlety is allowed). The problem is that more often than not, those to whom the prophet is called to speak “Can’t handle the truth.” Acknowledging the truth would require change and if there is one thing human beings fear more than death, it is change. As a result, this often leaves the prophet as simply another “voice crying out in the wilderness…” and in my experience, “speaking only to sand.”