When my wife entered college, she was not walking with God. One weekend she reluctantly agreed to go to a Christian ministry retreat with a group of friends. She went for the social aspects, completely uninterested in the ministry ones. So she tried her best to tune out the speakers. At the end of one talk, the subject of which she can’t even remember, the speaker asked all attenders to pair up and pray for one another. Veronica was sitting next to a young woman she had never met, and when the girl asked what she could pray for, Veronica wanted to crawl into a hole. Veronica had not paid attention to the first word of the speaker’s talk. But as this young woman prayed for Veronica — a young woman who knew almost nothing about her — she began to call out with great specificity Veronica’s fears, questions, and sins. And she then began to pray the love of God into her life.
Veronica left the meeting immediately, deeply disturbed. She felt exposed and ashamed. But also deeply broken and sure that she had been in the presence of God. That night, alone with God, she repented of her sin and re-embraced Christ’s offering of forgiveness. The young woman who prayed for her that night had no idea what she was praying. God had given this young woman, I believe, “words of knowledge” about Veronica that God used to make his Word come alive in her heart.
This is the gift of prophecy.
Prophetic speech, Gary Tyra says, was one of the “secrets” of the early church’s incredible evangelistic success in their highly pluralistic, antagonistic environment, much like ours today.
J. D. Greear, Jesus, Continued…: Why the Spirit inside You Is Better than Jesus beside You(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014).
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