WFTW Body: 

1 Cor 14:39 "Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy..."

1. Definition- 1 Corinthians 14:3 - Prophesy speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation (encourage/strengthen/comfort (NLT)). This is the definition of new covenant prophesy. Hebrews 3:13 calls us to encourage one another and lift them up in love. Focus on encouragement primarily first. The goal is to lift people up, pick up discouraged people - that is the best way to keep people from being hardened by sin as Hebrews 3:13 says. If we can learn to do that well, then the Lord can also speak words that will challenge/exhort/convict of sin at the right time too. Prophesy is better than the gift of speaking in tongues because it edifies others in the Church whereas speaking in tongues edifies only the one doing it (1 Cor. 14:4).

2. Prophesy is for everybody - we should all aim to have the gift of prophesying. See 1 Corinthians 14:31 - every person in the church can prophesy. It's not just for men, sisters can do this as well. 1 Corinthians 11 says that when they do this, they must have their heads covered, which is to emphasize that God's glory is what we want to stand out in the church, and not man's glory (1 Cor. 11:7).

3. Keep it personal- When preparing a word to preach, make sure it is you're your personal experience and NOT A THEORY. Jesus spoke only about what He had first practiced ( Acts 1:1 talks of all that Jesus DID ['did' comes first] and then taught [taught comes second]). We must beware of preaching theories! If you have nothing new to preach, it is better to repeat what you have already preached than to say something you haven't experienced in your life. The authority of Christ will back up only a life that is lived in Him . When studying the word of God, we need to study it, first of all, for our own life and not to preach to others. Sometimes it is good to keep some personal experience in mind and speak on what the Lord taught us through that, even if we don't share the specific experience itself.

4. Have a heart of humility - Don't share with self-confidence and don't preach AT people. I do not want to give others the impression that I have everything figured out. Instead, prophesy only according to the level of your faith (Rom 12:6). Let us always speak with a heart of humility, lifting up only Jesus. John 12:32. When Jesus is lifted up, people will be drawn to Him (and not if we lift ourselves up). I've said many wrong things in the past that I regret. But what I regret the most are what I shared with pride. So pray much that the Lord will help you to have a heart of humility when proclaiming His Word.

5. Put no confidence in the flesh - Philippians 3:3 "We are the true circumcision who put not confidence in the flesh". If you lack the boldness to speak publicly, don't shrink back, but seek the Lord to strengthen you. If you do have the natural ability to speak publicly don't rely on that; but depend on the Lord always to strengthen you. Faith and dependence on the Lord are essential always.

6. Prepare and Pray- Pray ahead of time, asking God to give you wisdom on what to share (James 1:5), and for the Holy Spirit's power, as you speak, to enable you to speak in the right spirit and with the right motives (Luke 11:13).

Make it a practice also to pray after you finish. Pray that the seed sown will fall on some good ground and that folks will be blessed, and that the Lord will keep you from pride when others appreciate what you have shared, and also keep you from discouragement if nobody appreciated what you shared. What matters most is whether you spoke what the Lord wanted you to speak, and spoke it with humility. If you did that then God would have been glorified - and that is what matters the most.

7. Spend time preparing - Those have struggle to speak should be organized in what they say, stick to the time given, and stick to the main point being stressed. If you write down what you want to share, then you will be able to stay the on point and stick to the time given. You must work hard beforehand. The Bible says that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). Proverbs 13:4 says that the soul of the diligent will be made fat. God rewards hard work. 1 Corinthians 14:40 tells us that "all things should be done properly and in order". So seek to speak clearly and in an orderly way.

We must present God's Word in a way that people can receive easily, just like a good chef would work to prepare a meal that people can digest easily. We should be willing to repeat something if the Lord wants us to do so; and not always seek to speak on something new. What the Lord has laid on our heart may not seem to be super-exciting. But if we are confident that we are sharing (to the best of our knowledge) what God wants us to share, we can be sure that the Lord will be pleased.

8. Keep it simple - Jesus was so simple when He spoke - He was so practical and His words were easy to understand. The truth can be lost when people use clever words and oratorical skills. We should speak in such a manner that even a child can understand and get something out of what we speak.

9. Know when to stop- Jesus did not drag His messages on and on. The sermon on the mount was about 20 minutes in length. God can deliver a powerful word in a very short time! Speaking too long can make it hard for most people to digest and can make people lose attention. Quality is more important than and quantity . Eccles. 6:11 says, "The more words you speak, the less they mean. So what good are they ?" (NLT) Very few people have the ability to hold people's attention for a long period of time. It is better to speak in short words what the Lord gives us to speak than to have people looking at their watches and losing interest, when we speak (Luke 14:8-11).

10. Don't fear or be timid but be bold - 2 Timothy 1:7 God has not given us a spirit of timidity or fear but one of boldness. We are bold because of Who Christ is, and because we have seen what He has done in our lives. God can use even our imperfections and bless others through them. If we do the little we can, God will do what we can't and bless what we speak. If we are simply faithful to fill the barrels with water (as at Cana), then the Lord will turn the water into wine John 2). We can be bold to trust God to do this. God can bless others through what we share.

11. Aim to prophesy from the heart. Don't teach teaching from the head. The Bible says that all can prophesy (1 Cor. 14:31) but not all can be teachers (1 Cor. 12:29). Teaching is important, but very few brothers are called to be teachers; and if God has not given us such a clear calling, we should be careful not to teach, 1 Corinthians 8:1 says that " knowledge can make people arrogant". It can make you look down on others. It's not just what we saying that is important, but how we say it (and with what motive). If you don't have the good of others in mind, you will tend to focus on knowledge, doctrine, and other things that stimulate people's minds and entertain them!! We should always seek to lift people up and challenge them.

12. Eagerly seek the gift of prophesy out of love of others - 1 Corinthians 13 - Do everything from love - The best act without love is worthless. 1 Corinthians 14:1 Love should be our highest goal - we must seek for the gift of prophesy out of love for the church, and a desire to build others up and help them. This should be our motive always.

As Zac Poonen has said, "The two things a servant of God should always have in his heart are God's Word and God's people".

13. Prophesy even in your personal conversations - Prophecy is not limited to when we speak to the church. We can prophesy even in our conversations with others. It could be just encouraging someone over the phone or through a text message, or while sharing with someone in their home. Encouragement is prophecy, and we should try to encourage people every day (Hebrews 3:13). That will keep the people we love from being hardened by sin. If we want to bless others this is how we can do it. We must keep our eyes open for opportunities. If the Lord spoke something to us something that blessed us, then bless someone else also with it. There are times which are not the right time to share (Prov.27:14), for example - when your wife is tired and sleepy. Let her sleep! You can write down what you want to share so that you don't forget - and then share it later, when she is relaxed and ready to hear. Sharing the right word - at the right time - will bring the most blessing to others (Prov. 15:23).

Seek earnestly then to prophesy - for the glory of God!!