What is the “Gift of Prophecy” Spiritual Gift? Discover Its Purpose and How to Activate It

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit… to another prophecy…”—1 Corinthians 12:7-10 (emphasis added)

The Bible says to “pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophecy” (1 Corinthians 14:1). If you are a born-again Believer, you have access to the spiritual gift of prophecy. It is a gift from the Holy Spirit given to plant and sow God’s Word of truth in you and others. Because the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence within you, He has the right to release the spiritual gift of prophecy as He wills.

Discover the gift of prophecy, where it comes from, and the purpose it serves Believers and the Body of Christ. 

Why You Need to Understand the Spiritual Gift of Prophecy

The gift of prophecy is always rooted in Jesus Christ and the Word. Prophetic words point to God, His character, His power and glorify Him in some way. They either encourage or redirect humanity to continue following or repent and turn to God. 

Prophetic words never contradict the Word of God. Understanding the spiritual gift of prophecy is critical because as we enter the last days of the end times, we will need God’s Word to help us persevere and live by faith and cancel the assignment of fear the enemy has unleashed on the earth.  

Prophesying God’s Word over your family, friends, businesses, jobs, homes, and self sends out God’s angels to keep you and those you are connected with in accordance with God’s will in His ways so that you don’t “dash your foot against a stone” (see Psalm 91:11:12). 

Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians encourages us to hold on to the hope of Jesus’ return and our future resurrection with Him and comfort one another with these words (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Say–or prophecy–these words to yourself and others often. 

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul also tells us to redeem the time because the days are evil, be wise, filled with the Holy Spirit, and speak–or prophesy–to ourselves in psalms, hymns, spiritual song, making melody in our hearts (see Ephesians 5:16-19). Continuously speak after the Holy Spirit rather than the flesh. 

It is important to understand the gift of prophecy because as the days grow dark, the light of God will need to penetrate every facet of our minds, wills, and emotions, and this spiritual gift helps us do that. 

The Gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12

First Corinthians 12:7-10 lists nine gifts of the Spirit. It is important to remember that the Holy Spirit imparts gifts to Believers as He wills.

  • “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.—1 Corinthians 12:11 (emphasis added)

The Holy Spirit, our Advocate, Counselor, Teacher, and Guide, is the distributor of the gift of prophecy. It is not given to you because you earned it. You can activate it, and God wants you to steward it well, speaking after the covenant in love and truth. The Holy Spirit permanently resides within you, meaning you have spiritual gifts that God intends to use to unlock your Kingdom destiny. 

What is the Gift of Prophecy?

Specifically, the gift of prophecy is when a Believer has a supernatural ability to discern, reveal, and proclaim the truth in God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

It is important to understand that the gift of prophecy is not “foretelling of the future,” as many think. Instead, the gift of prophecy is an encouraging word and is meant to bring clarity to its recipients or a return to the Father’s heart (repentance).

This gift is also not exclusively reserved for those with the title of a prophet in a church setting or ministry. Believers have the power to operate in the gift of prophecy. However, many do not recognize this supernatural power within them.

An Example of the Gift of Prophecy in the Bible 

A biblical example of a manifestation of the gift of prophecy is in the book of Acts. The apostle Peter discerns the dishonesty of Ananias. Peter then reveals it and proclaims God’s truth surrounding the situation.

  • “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.’”—Acts 5:1-4

Peter was able to discern and then remind Ananias of the truth of his situation. This word was given to steer him into righteousness.

What is the Purpose of the Gift of Prophecy?

A tall man with his hands in the air facing the sunset - asking himself, “What is the gift of prophecy?”

The purpose of the gift of prophecy is to bring glory to God by building up and edifying of Believers. 

  • “Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.—1 Corinthians 14:12 (emphasis added)

This is done by revealing God’s holy character through the truths revealed to those operating in the gift of prophecy. Though the gift of prophecy often comes with redirection, it will always bring comfort and healing to those it is intended for.

Are you one of God’s chosen with the gift of prophecy, illuminating His truth? If so, know He is faithful to equip you with all the spiritual tools necessary to carry out your spiritual assignment. 

Does the Gift of Prophecy Work with Other Gifts of the Spirit?

Yes. Quite often, when someone is operating in the gift of prophecy, that gift is working in unison with other gifts of the Spirit, such as a word of wisdom or knowledge. However, the gift of prophecy can also stand alone to do the important work of proclaiming God’s character to the world.

Ways to Activate the Gift of Prophecy

To carry out the prophetic work of the Holy Spirit, you must be willing to set aside your ideas and mindsets and align with God’s truth. In other words, you cannot come into agreement with doubt, fear, or unbelief and expect the gift of prophecy to manifest. Speaking truth requires bold confidence. It also requires a commitment to study God’s Word and allow it to flow in and through you to others. 

Are you ready to be the king and priest God has called you to be at this hour? 

Carefully and prayerfully ask the Spirit to expose any obstacles that may be standing in the way of the gift of prophecy manifesting in your life. Then A.C.T.—apply, change, and transform.

  • A- Apply: Apply the truths that are being revealed to you. Faithfully seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and discern His wisdom through time spent in His presence. Finally, repent for anything that feels unresolved.
  • C- Change: Make the necessary changes in your life that will allow your spiritual gift of prophecy to manifest. Ask God to reveal what, if anything, is standing in the way of your ability to operate in the gift of prophecy and be obedient to His instruction.
  • T- Transform: Allow the Holy Spirit to nudge you into action that will transform your mind, will, and emotions.

The Takeaway

The gift of prophecy is when a Believer is given the ability to supernaturally discern, reveal, and proclaim God’s truth to other Believers. This gift is meant to build up others and does not operate with the intent of condemnation but rather a conviction that brings about change and a transformation within an individual to reflect more of Jesus in their lives.  

The gift of prophecy can work in unison with other gifts, such as word or wisdom and knowledge, but can also operate individually. The primary purpose of the gift of prophecy is to act as a trumpet declaring God’s truth and aligning Believers with His righteousness.