We need more Prophets!

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11)
 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.  (Ephesians 2:19-22)
27 Now in these days, prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). 29 So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul. (Acts 11:27-30)
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.”  (Matthew 10:40-41)
The coming of the New Covenant marks a major shift in the activity of the Holy Spirit. After Jesus ascends to heaven and the Day of Pentecost arrives, the Holy Spirit no longer seems to anoint lone individuals for specific one-off tasks. Those Old Covenant days are over. The Holy Spirit now comes upon all of God’s People as a Body, and he remains on them forever (Acts 2:17-18&39). As a result, every Christian can prophesy through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We are all encouraged to do so in 1 Corinthians 14:4-5. At the same time, Ephesians 4:11 tells us that Jesus gifts his Church with individuals who are clearly recognised as prophets. One example of this is Agabus, in Acts 11, who is a gifted prophet, mentoring a wider team of emerging prophets. Another example is the four daughters of Philip the Evangelist, in Acts 21:9, who appear to have had a very noteworthy prophetic ministry. Ephesians 2 tells us that the Lord Jesus builds his Church on the foundation of ‘prophets’, and not just of ‘apostles’. There were recognised ‘Ephesians 4 prophets’ who inputted into local churches in the New Testament. We need them too!

But if all can now prophesy, why do we need to recognise ‘Ephesians 4 prophets’? Do they just prophesy with a bit more accuracy and weight than the rest of us? The Bible seems to suggest that it’s far more than this. The inference in the New Testament is that ‘prophets’ were those who worked alongside ‘apostles’ to lay solid foundations for local churches. Prophets help to shape and build local churches. They not only prophesy about things that will happen in the future, as Agabus did, but they also lay prophetic foundations, teach big picture themes, interpret Old Testament themes in the light of the Gospel and – crucially – they equip the local church to become prophetic too. Just as apostles help churches to become apostolic, so too prophets raise up prophetic communities.

Jesus encourages us in Matthew 10 that churches which welcome prophets will receive a prophet’s reward. We need prophets right now, as Everyday Church, to remind us of the things we have forgotten. Prophets are given remarkable insights by the Holy Spirit into how we might have become ‘stuck’ in various areas. Prophets are empowered to correct imbalances in our thinking and in our church structures, especially where we have become cautious and inward-looking. Prophets are also able to stir up the prophetic gifts that are already at work among us, so that our meetings become less predictable and safe, and become more prophetic and spontaneous. Let’s pray for more prophets to be recognised and welcomed into Everyday Church. Prophets are seriously good news!
1)  If we can now all prophesy, then why do you think it’s still essential to recognise people who are clearly prophets? How do we recognise them and give them a wholehearted welcome?

2)  What would Everyday Church look like if we were shaped more by the prophetic? If all we receive is the input of apostles and pastor-teachers, then how might we become imbalanced?

3)  Why do you think we can be nervous of the prophetic? How can we learn from bad experiences that have made us wary, while becoming more and more open to great prophecy?
Father God, I’m so grateful for prophecy. I’m so glad that you speak to us, not just through the Scriptures, but also through prophetic people. Please would you raise up more prophets? Please would you stir up Everyday Church more and more prophetically? And Lord, please raise me up to prophesy more and more often too. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
Join our online service at everyday.online