ABCDE… of pro-phe-cy!


I’ve been learning about listening to God’s voice in my heart. Some days I rock it. Other days I don’t.

It’s been inspiring to hear from our dear friends who have spent the last year in California at this school learning about a believer’s identity, about Holy Spirit, about hearing God’s voice, and about blessing others with what they hear. It is in this context of hanging out with them and listening to stories of incredible moments of sharing God with others that I found myself in a place the other day where I heard God speak and I knew that it was a message for someone else.

Another word for this is ‘prophecy’ and before you get all weirded out and jumpy about it, let me clarify what it means. You don’t have to be a rip-roaring, fire-breathing, God-ordained ‘prophet of God’ to get words of prophecy. Prophecy is speaking out God’s truth. That’s basically it, in a nutshell. The problem is, many people have misused this gift over the years and therefore it has a pretty bad rap in some folks’ books. Now that we have a working definition in place, I’d like to clarify how it is used. A cool acronym used by my friends is the “ABCD of prophecy” – that makes it pretty easy to remember.


A – Always

B – Builds up

C – Comforts and

D – Draws near.

I’d like to add another letter, E for Encourages. Prophecy is not a “Thus saith the Lord” kinda thing. It’s not a power trip. It’s not even about you. It’s about God and about God speaking His love into someone else’s heart.

So I was at the gym using the rowing machine. And I clearly heard God speaking in the depths of my spirit. But it wasn’t a message about me, or for me. It was for the employee I had seen walking around, cleaning supplies in hand. I had noticed her as I entered the gym and had given her a little smile. Like a woman on a mission, I hunted her down quickly, before I changed my mind about doing something I don’t normally do. I finally zoned in on her and I stopped her.

Now what? I thought. How do I begin? So I introduced myself and told her that I heard something in my heart that I thought was for her.  I began to tell her the gentle, beautiful whisperings of God’s spirit within mine.

I paused and she was looking at me with a puzzled expression on her face.

“Do you know me?”, she asked. As she spoke in a thick accent, I realized that there could be a significant language barrier.  However, her question was interesting… perhaps even a little bit ‘telling’? She asked me if I knew her. Is that because some of the words resonated with exactly where she was at? Or was it that she really hadn’t understood anything I said and wondered who this loony was talking to her, (lol)?  I had never met her before so I explained again, trying not to sound too loco. I really wanted her to understand that the message was not from me, but from the Creator of the universe, the God who died for her, the One who pursues each one of us with His incredible love. Then I began again, telling her what I heard in my heart.

I paused after speaking to find that she still had a slightly quizzical expression on her face.

“Are you Christian?”, she asked. After she had established this, she asked what church I go to.  I go to a not-so-traditional-Presbyterian church and I am so blessed to be part of this very special community. We talked a bit more and she told me that she too is a believer. Then she asked me to repeat what I had heard in my heart.

I shared a third time, making sure to speak slowly and surely. And this time, it seemed that she was able to hear and to understand. Her eyes filled with tears. And she asked that I pray for her. I left, knowing that God had spoken to her heart. What a gift to be used in this way.

God is good. He longs to speak into your heart, that you might encourage and build up others.

1 Cor.14:1,3  Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy…. But everyone who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort…

Jesus, please open up the ears of our hearts that we might clearly hear your voice today. We know that you long to touch others with your love. May we be willing to be your servants. Amen


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