Many years ago when The Hunk and I were ministering full time with a mission agency, we attended a meeting together at which a prophet was preaching and ministering in personal prophecy.
After sharing some words of encouragement with my husband, the prophet turned to me.
‘God’s got a call on your life that is totally different to that of your husband. He wants you to be really developing that, preparing yourself because He has things for you to do that will see you fulfilled in your own right as a woman of God…’
Although to an observer I was simply a young mother and wife of a minister, God used the prophet that day to express His love towards me and to remind me that He had not forgotten His call on my life.
Love is a Vital Ingredient of Prophecy
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Cor 13:2)
To prophesy is to communicate the intention and purpose of the Father.
This can be by way of simple encouragement to someone in your everyday life, or it may occur within the context of church life or ministry.
The Bible tells us that love is the prerequisite to prophecy in any situation.  Without love, the Apostle Paul says, we are nothing, and our words have an empty ring to them. (1 Cor 13:1-2)
Remembering this is vital as we develop our prophetic gifts and seek to grow in our ability to hear from God.
God’s Love is not Based upon what our Eyes see
‘He [the Messiah] will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears’ (Isaiah 11:3)
God looks beyond what is seen outwardly, to the inner heart of a person and speaks to the potential within.
My constant prayer is that I will not be distracted by what I see externally. ‘Holy Spirit, help me to see what You see.’
When the prophet Samuel went to Jesse’s family to anoint the next King of Israel, God spoke to him saying, ‘Do not consider his appearance… People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’ (1 Sam 16:7)
God’s Love is not Based upon our Ideas and Opinions
Whether negative or positive, opinions and preconceived ideas can hinder our ability to hear—and accurately share—God’s word. They also hinder the flow of God’s unconditional love through us.
This is especially true when we are ministering to people that we are personally acquainted with.
I have learned to be open to the Holy Spirit for Him to show me (and He often does)
- judgments that I need to repent of, or
- predetermined ideas that I need to set aside.
God’s Love is not Based upon our Feelings
When it comes to prophetic ministry, love is not based on an emotion that we feel, but upon seeing people from the Father’s point of view.
Here are three primary ways that we can become acquainted with His perspective:
1. Know what the Bible Teaches about God’s Love for People
We learn from God’s Word how much the Father values people—so much that He sent His Son to die for them. (John 3:16)
In the New Testament, the Father’s heart towards people is revealed through Jesus’ ministry to individuals.
For example, when Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, He did not use the knowledge He had of her sinful lifestyle to condemn her, but as the means to invite her to salvation. (John 4)
When we step into this perspective, and prophesy accordingly, we are better able to express God’s love.
2. Catch the Revelation of God’s Love Towards us
If we have not experienced God’s love for ourselves personally, we will be unable to express His love towards others.
Being aware of His grace towards me in my own humanity and weakness enables me to communicate His love and grace to others.
3. Value Intimacy with God Above all Else
We do not need to feel an emotion such as compassion to express God’s love to another. However, as we grow in intimacy with Him, He shares His heart with us.
Further, as we prepare for prophetic ministry in prayer, we can specifically seek God for His heart as well as His plans.
It is in His Presence that our hearts are changed to become like His.
We Express God’s Love in the Process of Prophecy
‘Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.’ (1 Cor 14:1)
Love should guide the whole process of prophecy.  This process includes:
- Weighing up the revelation we have received
- Ensuring that the message we share is encouraging and empowering (1 Cor 14:3)
- The way in which we deliver the word, and the timing of it
- Allowing the person room to weigh the prophecy up, and so on.
Love also requires us to seek accountability in the use of our spiritual gifts. 
God’s Love Requires us to put Others First
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)
The bottom line of God’s love is its sacrificial nature. Love places the interests and life of others above that of our own. (Phil 2:1-8)
For those of us with a tendency to blurt out whatever comes to mind, love may invite us to pause; to process the word further, or to share at a more suitable time.
And finally, for those of us who are shy and fearful—love compels us to step out of our comfort zones and speak.
 Although my key focus is personal prophecy in this article, the same principles apply to other forms of prophecy such as prophecy to churches, groups or nations. For example, see How Do You Weigh Up What The Prophets Are Saying Pt 1
 For posts on the process of prophecy, view the following:
How To Exercise Your Prophetic Gift Pt 1: Understand The Process Of Prophecy
How To Exercise Your Prophetic Gift Pt 5: Creating A Safe Environment To Deliver Your Prophecy
 Accountability is vital to providing a safe environment, not only for us to grow in our gifts, but also for people to receive a message from God. See Prophetic Ministry In Church Life: Why Have Guidelines?
For more insights on Personal Prophecy, refer to Is Personal Prophecy Biblical?
The Spirit Of Encouragement: Are You A Barnabas?
Have you ever felt God’s love through a prophetic word? Do you have any experiences or questions to share about the topic of expressing God’s love through prophecy? Leave a comment in the comments box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
I am currently preparing to go to Sydney for a ‘School of Healing and Impartation’ with Bill Johnson and Randy Clark.
It’s a funny thing, that there are ‘Schools of the Prophets’, ‘Prophetic Conferences,’ ‘Healing Schools,’ and so on. But whoever heard of a discernment conference? There are books a-plenty on the topics of healing and prophecy—but few on the topic of discernment.
When I first started to navigate my way through the mysteries of encountering the spiritual realm, I had few resources to help me. It seemed that I had ‘marched off the map.’ I did have some prophetic mentors, but not all of the advice I received was healthy. For the most part, I was alone.
Over the next few posts I am going to discuss how to grow in and exercise the gift of discernment—an area I am still learning about. If you have some thoughts and experiences you would like to share, I would love to hear from you in the comments section. If the comment box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
Seeing the Way the Father Sees
Discernment of spirits is the Spirit-given ability to distinguish whether Divine, human or demonic origins are the source of what is presented—whether it be in an atmosphere, encounter, event, or prophetic message.
Our goal in discernment is twofold: firstly, to see what the Father would have us see, and secondly, to communicate that in such a way that we represent His viewpoint as closely as possible.
When He shows us something—even if it is demonic in nature, it is because He has a purpose for us in revealing it. His heart is always to redeem and restore people and for His church to be purified and made holy (Eph 5:25-27).
Whatever I perceive in the spiritual realm, I do not want my impression or communication to be coloured by my own viewpoint, prejudices or fears. This is a danger common to all who have the gift of discernment of spirits, and one that I have struggled with continually. 
The Discerners Heart
‘In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself… he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.’ 2 Tim 2:20-21
I have come to realise that the most important thing, as I seek to grow in the gift of discernment, is to prepare and guard my heart, and to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in cleansing myself from those things that endanger the clarity and purity of His gift in my life.
Here are some qualities to seek after if you would like to grow in the spiritual gift of discernment:
1. Love for God
We need to have a passion for God and His intimate Presence. As I have said, the highest use of the gift of discernment is not to see what the enemy is doing, but to discern what the Spirit of God is doing.
When we love Him, we will desire to know His heart and to faithfully represent Him in the expression of our gift.
2. Love for People
There is a reason why 1 Corinthians 13—the love chapter—is sandwiched between Paul’s two chapters on spiritual gifts.
I realise now that it is vital I do not jump to conclusions about a person, situation or anything based on my perceived discernment without first moving into Jesus’ position of love.
When I step into judgement, I inevitably get it wrong. I grieve over times in the past when I have formed opinions about people based on ‘discernment’ and missed Divine appointments.
Love for people will also keep us in Christian community. Our gifts were never meant to operate in isolation but in the environment of a local church (1 Cor 12-14).
I want to learn to respond in faith and not fear, no matter what I perceive taking place in the spiritual realm.
It is important for us to always look for God’s positive outcome, not just to focus on the negative. God’s plan is to overturn every strategy of the enemy! I want to grow in faith and to place increasing value on looking for His redemptive purposes in the things He allows me to see.
4. Humility ( Teachability)
I have learned to be open to being adjusted about my discernment and to present and release my insights with ‘no strings attached.’
We will not always have similarly-gifted people around us to guide us in our gift. Pastors and leaders who do not have the gift of discernment themselves may be leading us.
As with other prophetic ministry, our leaders will not always respond to or act upon our revelations. God has graced them with the ability to see the bigger picture and we need to trust Him—and our leadership—in their response.
Even when we have been misunderstood or unfairly treated, it is important to keep a right heart attitude. I know that these are the times that I have learned and grown the most in my gift and character.
4. Wisdom (Balance)
All revelationary gifts need to be balanced with wisdom. Wisdom instructs us how to share what we are receiving, and also when to share, or when to hold back and pray.
People who are ‘flaky’ in their gifts are usually those who do have a gift of discernment, but have not developed the wisdom to use and communicate the gift properly (another reason is not receiving instruction on how to operate in the ministry in a way that honours God and people).
5. Purity (Wholeness)
The things that cloud my discernment often relate to areas of past hurts or circumstances that I have not responded well to. I want to grow in wholeness, so that old fears, temptations, judgments and wrong beliefs lose their hold on me (Eph 4:22-24).
The degree to which I can see clearly, and be sensitive to how the Holy Spirit would have me respond, is the degree to which I become more like Jesus—having cooperated with His Spirit in experiencing restoration in my heart.
I am still a long way from seeing what God sees, and perceiving how He sees, but my desire is to draw ever closer to that place when I am reflecting Him in my heart, thoughts, life and gifts—and that includes the gift of discernment.
Now, gotta go pack my suitcase…..
 This is one reason why, as in all revelatory gifts, it is vital that whatever we perceive is given to the opportunity to be assessed by others who are leaders or mature in the gift of discernment. As Paul said, “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 2 Cor 13:1-2
UNLOCKING THE GIFT OF DISCERNMENT E-BOOK – *NEW!*
Are you sensitive to what is taking place in the spiritual realm? Have you ever been adversely affected by a negative atmosphere?
You may have the spiritual gift of discernment.
The gift of discernment of spirits is a powerful weapon in times of spiritual warfare, and can be of great assistance when ministering freedom to individuals.
And yet many who have the gift of discernment have difficulty knowing what to do with what they are feeling or sensing.
(More details …)
For more e-books to develop your prophetic gifts and lead a supernatural christian life, visit our e-books page.
8 Signs You May Have The Gift Of Discernment
8 Ways To Grow Your Gift Of Discernment
Hunger For God: 6 Ways You Can Stir It Up
6 Tips For Exercising The Gift Of Discernment In Church Life
© Helen Calder 2010 Enliven Publishing
Now on team with David McCracken Ministries