Prophetic Activation Exercises

Prophetic Activation Exercises
This is a collection of group exercises that will help you learn to hear the voice of God more clearly for yourself and for others. No matter if you're a complete beginner, believing you've never really heard the voice of God, or one who has already ministered to people prophetically for years, they will sharpen your spiritual senses. Feel free to use these exercises for your personal training and also to equip others.

Pursuing the Prophetic

  • The Scripture challenges us to pursue the gifts of the Spirit and puts a special emphasis on the prophetic. If we are called to seek after those gifts, then it's clear that we will end up with less if we don't.

    1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. (1 Cor 14:1)
  • While every Spirit-filled believer can prophecy as a general grace God gave to the entire Church (Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:15-18; 1 Cor 14:31), the measure we experience the prophetic and are able to walk in it is determined by our hunger. If we can live without it, we most likely will.
  • While pursuing the prophetic includes many different aspects like praying for it (Mt 7:7-8; James 4:2), opening our hearts to it, joining a community that actively desires increase of the prophetic, and positioning ourselves to receive more from Jesus, I want to focus on the practical aspect of exercise here.
  • Paul exhorts us to test every prophecy which includes the possibility of failure. Prophecy in the New Testament is different to the Old Testament in the way that it not only knows the difference between true and false prophets, but also true and false prophecies. While now every believer can flow in a general grace of the prophetic, we certainly don't walk in the same authority or demand of infallibility. Almost everyone has had a situation where we believed that God spoke to us and later we found out that He didn't. So even a person operating in a divine gift of prophecy can sometimes simply mess things up. Paul tells us to be aware of that. But it doesn't make you a false prophet (who are most notably defined by sinful motives, ungodly character and bad fruit). Notice that Paul wants us to test everything, not everyone.

    20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. (1 Thess 5:20-21)
  • To distinguish true and false prophecies, we have the written Word of God, the gift of discernment (not the gift of suspicion), but also exercise. Although this might seem unspiritual to some, it's a biblical concept. We mature in discernment by training our senses through exercise (by simply using the gift). We get to know the voice of a friend simply by hearing it and will eventually be able to recognize this one voice even when there are many others at the same time. That is what we intend when we talk about prophetic activations: getting to know the gentle voice of God more and thus being able to discern it from all other voices more easily. We truly need to “learn” how to tune in to God.

    14 … who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Hebr 5:14)
  • For more information on the prophetic please also check out my article “Introduction to Ministering in the Prophetic”.

What Are Prophetic Activation Exercises?

  • Prophetic activation exercises are small group activities with the primary purpose of practicing to hear God's voice and to grow in the prophetic by ministering prophetically to one another. They focus on equipping through practice, although short teachings and responses to questions will definitely be an irreplaceable part of them. Since no or only basic background knowledge is necessary, they are suitable for beginners as well as the advanced in the prophetic.
  • Practice in small groups creates a place where such things become normal. We can grow in confidence and experience aspects of God's kingdom that are not always a reality in our home church. Therefore, they are a good way to establish a prophetic culture.
  • Positive prophetic experiences in a safe environment cause our faith to grow and equip us to walk in our gifts in other places with the expectancy that God is going to move through us.
  • Often we fail to hear God's voice because we do not know how God is speaking to us. Prophetic activities broaden our understanding and sensitivities to the way God uses to talk to us.
  • Prophetic activation exercises are meant to equip with practical tools for hearing the voice of God. Eventually you will be able to utilize those tools in every sort of situations: during ministry time at your local church, in everyday life conversations with others, while writing emails or simply praying for others in your private time with the Lord. They will help you flow in the prophetic in your everyday life.
  • Most importantly, prophetic activation groups provide a place where you can hear the voice of a loving God who so desires to share His love with us. In those places, we experience how much He loves us while we minister to others and others minister to us. This will tremendously refresh and deepen our personal relationship with God. Becoming a friend of God, being able to hear His voice and having real conversations with Him – that is what it is all about.

Basic Activation Exercises – Activating the Prophetic

  • This is a list of some basic activation exercises which are good to start with. They also resemble the most common channels through which God talks to us.
  • The majority of those exercises focus on one specific channel of how God talks to us. We need to realize that by doing so in practice we are not limiting God but sensitizing ourselves to specific ways in order to grow more comfortable and confident in them. Still we don't want to pick our favorite way long-term. Although for a season God may use one or another way more, limiting ourselves to our favorite method will eventually cause us to miss much of what He has to say. In His creativity, God likes to use all kinds of ways to talk to us.
  • Using Categories – Choose a certain category as a guideline for this group exercise (e.g. colors). Then everyone asks God what specific item within this category the person on their right represents (for instance color → red) and then ask Him why (prophetic interpretation).
    • Basically we ask: 1) Jesus, what color is the other person like? 2) Why? What does that mean? What do You want to communicate?
    • I found that this is the easiest way to get started in the prophetic for those who are completely new because it already limits the options down to a few. Often we don't hear God's voice because we don't tune in. Limiting the options helps us to know what to tune in to and what we can expect God to talk to us about. However, reducing the choices for the first step does not at all narrow down what God eventually says in the second step.
    • This is not manipulating God. It's taking the first steps. A toddler is still walking even though he is holding onto the hand of the father. It's completely the same here. It's a sort of prophetic “walking aid” and God knows we need it, especially in the beginning.
    • Biblical categories: book of the Bible (or just NT/OT), person of the Bible, spiritual gifts (Rom 12; 1 Cor 12), five-fold ministry (Eph 4:11), psalm, four gospels, 12 tribes of Israel (Gen 49), ...
    • Other categories: animal, color, season, weather, movie/comic character, form of water, fruit, room in a house, building, country, continent, state, ...
  • Scripture – Ask God that He would give you a Bible verse for the other person. Then ask Him for one specific aspect/word/part of this verse that He highlights for the one you are ministering to. Then ask Him what He wants to tell the other person through it.
    • One of the pitfalls with this option is that people start to preach the Word. We don't want to explain the other person what the Bible verse means but what God wants to say through this verse to the other person. It's a prophetic exercise in which we want to hear the personal message that is on God's heart right now specifically for the one we are ministering to.
  • Picture – Ask God to give you an inner picture (or vision = animated picture) for another person. Ask Him what He wants to tell them through it.
  • Emotional Feeling – Ask God to let you feel a certain emotion. Then ask God what it means for the other person, what exactly He wants to say through that.
  • Physical Sensation – Ask God for a physical sensation and then what it means.
    • God often uses this way to highlight body parts that He wants to heal in the one we are praying over. We might for instance feel a sudden light stinging pain in our left knee while praying for someone. God might want us to pray for the left knee of the other person. As you simply share it don't be surprised when they confirms that they have complications with this specific body part. This happens very often because God likes to raise our faith through such an occasion.
  • Word of Knowledge – This means we want God to give us a specific word of phrase for the other person – like a word suddenly popping into our minds. This can be anything and talk about anything (for example a street name, a number, one single word, a sentence, even a song). In a second step ask God what He wants to tell the other person through it.
    • Don't forget that it can have literal and/or symbolic meaning.
    • God can refer to past, present and/or future.
    • Sometimes it can be enough to share what we got and the person we are ministering to will directly understand what it means, especially if we simply don't seem to get an interpretation.
    • Even though God likes symbolism and enjoys speaking even through very strange things, don't get weird here.

Intermediate Activation Exercises – Improving the Prophetic

  • The purpose of these intermediate exercises is to progress in the use of the prophetic. They are based on the basic methods we have learned in the previous chapter but intend to help us improve specific areas of the prophetic (which is underlined in each description).
  • Any Way – Here simply all of the above methods (the basics) are applicable. The purpose of this exercise it to help us stay sensitive to multiply channels at the same time as we eventually don't want limit our focus to one single way while ministering prophetically.
  • Favorite Way Excluded – This exercise is very similar to the last one, but here everyone is asked to purposefully exclude the channel through which they hear God speak most easily. As mentioned earlier we all are tempted to pick our favorite method. This exercise is supposed to avoid that by encouraging us to grow more comfortable in the ways different to those we prefer. It will help us to be more attentive to the variety of the ways God talks to us.
  • Journaling – Ask God for a short prophetic sentence, message, just one sentence with no more than 20 words. Write it down. Then ask God to highlight one single word of this sentence and ask God for more understanding of this word. Integrate those meanings into the start-sentence. The purpose of this exercise is to pursue deeper understanding of what God shows us, rather than just delivering the message right away. We want to value what God shows us and seek Him for more understanding of what He speaks before we move on to something new. By doing this we increase accuracy and impact of the one prophetic word we give.
    • This exercise can be repeated with the same beginning sentence.
  • Meditation in Silence – This exercise is very similar to the last but a bit more advanced in that it skips the writing down part. We ask God for a prophetic message, picture or whatever and then meditate on it for 5 or 10 minutes. We don't give it right away. We explore it with Jesus by asking Him to show us more about every single aspect of what He initially showed us. The purpose of that is to help you stay focused on one prophetic word for a longer time and to go deeper in it. You will be surprised about how comprehensive your prophecy will be after 5 or 10 minutes.
  • “God, what do You think of me?” – Everyone takes a sheet of paper and a pen. We start with writing down a personal question (a very good one is “God, what do You think/feel when You look at me?”) and then we get quiet, listen and write down everything that comes to our minds. The purpose of this exercise is to grow more comfortable hearing God for ourselves which will tremendously enrich our private time and relationship with Him.
    • One of the biggest challenges in hearing God's voice is to discern it from our own thoughts. This is what God's voice sounds most similar to because the Holy Spirit dwells within us and so He speaks from the same direction that our own thoughts come from.
    • Many will hardly write down anything because they constantly think it's their own thoughts. They block themselves. A much better approach is to write down EVERYTHING that comes to our mind after asking Jesus the question. Don't try to discern right away, just write it all down. Don't look at the paper for a day or two and then read it again. It will be much clearer to you now what was really God and what He was not.
  • Past, present, future – Prophetic words don't only reveal the future, they can also interpret the past and give understanding for the present. Pick one of these three and let everyone ask God for a word for another person pertaining to either their past, present or future. Example: "God, what moved Your heart about the childhood of person xyz?" or "God, is there anything You want to tell this person about their current situation/circumstances?"
  • Unknown Person – Often we are tempted to prophesy out of what we know and see. Especially among friends, prophesying can be a tough thing because we already know them so well. This exercise is meant to avoid this pitfall and to help us get comfortable in using the prophetic without knowing the person.
    • Method 1 – The leader will secretly assign one person in the group as the target for prophetic ministry. However, the leader won't tell anyone who he or she picked. Then the group begins to prophesy over person xyz not knowing who they are actually ministering to. Only at the end the leader will reveal who was chosen. However, often the assigned person will have already realized by that point that they were prophesying over him or her.
    • Method 2 – This is just another method for the last exercise: In an even-numbered group let everyone draw a lot with a number that they will keep a secret. This will be their number. Then collect the lots and let everyone draw another number. This will be the number they will prophesy over. (Repeat if someone drew their own number.) Now everyone has time to ask God for a prophecy for the second number they drew. When sharing, let one after another say first the number and then give the prophecy (without the addressed number revealing that it's them). Only when everyone finished, let people reveal which number they were and how accurate the prophetic word was they received.

Advanced Activation Exercises – Growing In The Prophetic

  • This collection contains exercises that are best done with a group that has already had some experience in the prophetic as these exercises combine aspects of the basic and intermediate activations. They tend to be much closer to prophetic ministry as it may occur in a group or even congregational context and will empower us to flow with others in corporate settings.
  • Building on Prophecies / Team Ministry – The previous exercises were primarily done in groups of 2. However, you can open them up for team ministry. Out of the group of two, the partner publicly gives a prophetic word for the other person. After that, it will be open for everyone to build on that specific word by adding meaning, depth, interpretation, application and so on. This will help grow in ministering prophetically as a team to one person.
  • Receiving Corporate Words – Instead of ministering to individuals, this activation is about speaking to an entire group. This can also include that the word is addressed to individuals within the group but is primarily focused on the group as a whole. It's similar to when a pastor gives a word of knowledge from the front and then invites people to come up for prayer. Here the prophetic word can be instructions to pray for a certain person in the group (or anything else), a certain corporate word of wisdom regarding the group, or even a specific word addressed to a person within the group (even when it's not clear yet who it is). This exercise is designed to help us make the step from ministering to individuals to ministering to a group or entire congregation.
  • Prophetic Prayer – Form groups of two (at best people who don't know each other so well). One person is praying the other is receiving. The praying person gets silent and listens to what God is saying. Then, without the other person having said anything, you just pray what you feel God is showing to you over the other person. Take time to focus again, be silent and hear again during the time of prayer. It's ok if there is silence for some time. Do this for 5 minutes, then switch. This is less about prophesying than about growing in prophetic intercession (= praying what God tells us to pray), which will enable us to pray over others more powerfully.
  • Focus on “How” - Deliver a prophetic word and watch the way you deliver it, try to do it as integratively as possible (voice, face expressions, gestures and so on). The purpose of this exercise is increasing coherence of what we say and how we say it, thus making it easier for people to receive our prophecy and decreasing doubt and distraction. We don't only want to deliver a message, but also the heart of God (feelings, hope, mercy, love, …) that He carries towards this person.
  • Free Prophetic Ministry to Volunteers – You are going to prophesy as a team of 3 or 4. Previously, find people outside of your group and ask them if they would volunteer for your group for 10 minutes and in return receive a blessing. As a team minister prophetically to the volunteer for 10 minutes, while all the volunteer has to do is sit and listen. Place specific emphasis on flowing together as a team and building on each others' prophecy as long as the Spirit speaks. Pray before the session and after it. Give the volunteer the ability to give feedback and ask questions if necessary.
    • For reasons of memory, ease, later testing and accountability it is recommended to have one person in your group write down the main points and hand it to the volunteer at the end. Even better is to record the whole session and send the audio file to them.
    • It needs good preparation and empathy as you begin to minister to people who perhaps have never experienced prophetic ministry before. Shortly explain what you are going to do and the biblical foundation for it. Reduce prejudices and make them feel comfortable.
    • Please review the basic principles and values for prophetic ministry before you take steps outside of the safe boundaries of your practice group.

12 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this information. I really appreciate it. Continue to share the gospel.

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  2. That is great revelation on to activate your prophetic giftings, now I have gotten some knowledge and can prophesy in capital letters, may God bless you and the ministry and more revelation in Jesus name

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  3. This is a wonderful resource! Thank you for the teaching in the previous article and then sharing how to practice the prophetic in a small group setting. I'm going to lead some prophetic activation activities with my small group!

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    1. That's awesome! Glad to hear you're starting your own group! Many blessings when you come together to hear His voice!

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  4. This sound like some kind of occult party game. I doubt that it`s God you are hearing from.

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    1. I don't believe in a God who gives me stones when I ask Him for bread.
      And I also don't believe that the devil beats God in His capability or willingness to talk to me.

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    2. I agree with you that God is good, he gives is good gifts and wants our attention. Put I don't think you can use it as a blanket statement to engage in whatever spiritual activity that you choose, and claim that it's from God.

      I have a really hard time reading this article and see that you are seeking to talk to God, you want to "activate" and "improve" the prophetic ability in yourself. Asking God to reveal what "color" other people are, the speak "prophetic" over a secret person. This really resembles New Age or occult seances.

      I belive that God gives us his gifts as he se fit, to equip us for service and to strengthen us. And I think that you can pray to receive gifts that you want, but also that you have to accept a no. Coming together like this to "activate" a gift, and to learn techniques on how to enable a gift, thats really risky business. It would be ridiculous to form groups to practice and activate speaking in tongues, and this is equally ... strange.

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    3. The exercises here in this article are nothing else but asking God questions and expecting Him to answer. This is a fundamental principle of biblical Christian living, prayer, and any relationship in general.

      Again, the issue boils down to whether or not you believe that God lets His children find the devil when they seek Him.

      John 10 paints a very clear picture of God's eagerness to speak to His sheep and to lead them well, and of the sheep's ability to discern God's voice from the enemy's.

      "But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers. ... My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." (Joh 10:2-3,27)

      To your other points:

      1) In 1 Cor 14:1, Paul exhorts everyone(!) to seek after the spiritual gifts "but especially that you may prophesy". I'm not going to disobey.

      2) Saying that there's no need to grow in your God-given gift is like saying God gave you a mouth but you never need to learn to talk.

      3) You may find it weird to have groups of people who grow together in the prophetic, but we already find prophetic communities in Samuel's days in the Old Testament (see for instance 1 Sam 19:1–24).

      "Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances." (2 Thess 5:19-20)

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    4. Thank you so much for your answer!

      I think that growing in your God-given gift is learning to trust God on when and how to use it. To recognise the voice of the Spirit whenever he wants you to use your gift. I don't oppose that there is a need to grow.

      Now if I asked my friend to put a secret object in a box, and I asked God for prophetic revelation so that I would know what was in that box; do you think God would answer that? Why / Why not?

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    5. "To recognise the voice of the Spirit whenever he wants you to use your gift", exactly that's what those exercises are for. To grow in confidence that God actually talks to us and to learn to discern His voice. Again, exercise might sound unspiritual, yet as outlined in my article, Hebr 5:14 shows that your discernment grows "through practice".

      Paul's urging everyone to pursue the prophetic in 1 Cor 14:1 underlines that God wants to speak more than we expect. If that weren't the case, Paul wouldn't have urged them to tune in more.

      And though I do agree that not everyone has a noticeable prophetic gifting, I believe that every born-again believer has the ability to hear God's voice. Joel 2:28-29 also underlines that the pouring out of His Spirit on all flesh (beginning with Acts 2) will result in a widespread increase particularly of the prophetic in contrast to the more singular giftedness we find in the Old Testament prophets. As you said, there are times when God doesn't answer. I agree with that, and in the groups that I host I always say that everyone is free to pass when they don't get anything (because we want the real deal and not some fleshly stuff that's made up by yourself). But biblically (see verses above) and even from my personal experience (and that of countless others) that's an exception (though some Christian circles prefer picturing God as the God who's mostly silent, a notion with which I heavily disagree).

      Regarding the exercise that you brought up: See, you won't find an exercise like you described in my list above. It's because I don't believe in self-exalting exercises that focus on showing everyone how awesome my gifting is. The exercise you made up seems to have this primary benefits of showing everyone how accurately I can prophesy, rather than being Christ exalting and serving others by hearing what God thinks and feels about them. Spiritual gifts exist to build up others, not to make yourself great. The prophetic exists to share the heart of God (that's why the end goal in those exercises isn't "colors" but His thoughts, plans, and purposes - see Step 2 of that particular exercise above).

      The groups and group exercises I outline here always focus on serving one another and building one another up, on growing in discerning God's voice together, and on growing in confidence and in the experience that God really listens when I speak and that He really responds when I ask.

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    6. I really appreciate that you spend your time answering this, even though my approach is a bit harsh. I know that the Bible speaks of pursuing the prophetic gift, but it doesn't give clear instructions on how to do that. So it's a bit of a puzzle. We can also see that we cannot learn the gifts but we receive the gifts that the Holy Spirit wants to give us. 1 Cor. 12:11:"All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills."

      I think that the prophetic gift is something that calls for a lot of discernment because it's double dangerous, there is a really clear danger of manipulating other people as you claim to speak om behalf og God and you can be so anxious to hear from God that it becomes more important than the Bible.

      I have read, and re-read your article and answers, and I see that we won't agree on this. I still think what you are outlining is spiritual "games" that isn't very different from my example. I would never engage in such activities even though I believe in all the gifts mentioned in the Bible. But I have a better understanding of how you are thinking.

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    7. Thank you for reading the article and taking the time to respond as well.

      Yes, the prophetic, just like any other thing on earth, poses certain risks. That's why we have rules to compensate those risks as best as we can.

      What I have to say is that I come from a Christian background where people don't believe in the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. I'm probably more careful in that area than the usual charismatic Christian you might come across.

      I also wrote an article in which I outline a few of the do's and don'ts of the prophetic. See here: https://yearningheartsjourney.blogspot.de/2011/05/introduction-prophetic-ministry.html and https://yearningheartsjourney.blogspot.de/2013/10/practical-tips-for-prophetic-ministry.html

      What I don't like is when people over-mystify the spiritual gifts to a point where they become so esoteric that people can neither relate nor will ever pursue them. They often make it seem something so ungraspable, that consequently no one ever actually obeys 1 Cor 14:1 and pursues it. What I want readers to take away from my articles is that hearing God's voice isn't something reserved for a small spiritual elite (Rom 8:14) and instead help them to take the first baby steps to grow in it. Whether or not someone actually does take them is up to the individual.

      Concerning the testing of prophetic words: The primary person testing a prophetic word isn't the one giving it to another but the one receiving it (1 Tim 5:20-21). Paul commands people to test every word, which is everyone's responsibility. But I often feel like the lack of biblically sound teaching and the experience of the prophetic in many churches leaves people immature in how they treat a prophetic word. If you don't know how the prophetic works and if you haven't experienced it in a church setting where people are mature, you're most likely to take any prophetic word as God's word, which will hurt you in the long run. In my other articles I also underline the importance to not claim infallibility for yourself by not using "Thus says the Lord" when you share an impression you have for someone else.

      I hope that those things show that I have put significant thought into how the prophetic can be implemented in a mature, safe, and biblically sound way. You personally might not agree with everything or most of it even, but I can assure you that I am very careful in how I do things and very eager to please the Lord in all things (2 Cor 5:9).

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