For many people the word prophecy triggers strong visceral responses. Sometimes those responses are based on misunderstanding or experiences that were negative, confusing, or hurtful. Sometimes those responses are formed from a hodgepodge of bits of information without a foundation of biblical teaching. Sometimes those experiences create confusion or fear, but I think the Lord would want each of us to understand the truth on this subject.
Whatever your background or understanding, Debbie Kitterman’s new book, The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement, Hearing the Words of God for Others, is a book that includes clear descriptions of what prophecy is, what the Bible says about it in both Old and New Testaments, and her own journey with prophecy. Whatever your own background, this book presents a balanced approach to this topic.
Debbie is passionate about how prophetic encouragement can result in encouragement to others. Here is her definition:
“The spiritual gift of prophecy is speaking Holy-Spirit inspired words of edification, exhortation or comfort to individuals. Prophetic encouragement is something every follower of Christ can give to others in his or her day-to-day life. This simple truth opens our eyes to the ordinary nature of prophecy, which breathes life, love, and hope into the dry places of our lives.”
Prophetic encouragement begins by having an authentic relationship with God, spending time with Him, knowing Him through the Word, hearing from Him, listening to Him, and responding to Him.
It develops not only through going to church, worshipping, reading the Word, and praying, but also experiencing a two-way conversation with Him that is personal and intimate. Within such a relationship, the Lord speaks to us through many means. We can sense Him through creation, music, stories, messages, and as He speaks to our hearts. He wants us to know Him as He is.
Often our view of God is impacted in ways that cause us to see Him as impersonal, distant or indifferent. When we see Him in those ways, it affects everything about our relationship with Him. When the curtain was torn from top to bottom in the temple on the day Jesus was crucified, it represented the end of the separation between God and His people. He didn’t just want us to have knowledge about Him; He wanted us to know Him.
You may be thinking this is outside of your experience, but let me suggest you consider if the Lord has ever brought to mind a scripture passage for you or someone you love that felt so personal that it encouraged and comforted your heart or theirs. That is likely true for many of us if we have known the Lord for any length of time.
Perhaps you have had someone come to mind seemingly out of nowhere and took time to pray for that person, call them or go see them only to discover the person was in need of your prayers or words of encouragement. God led your interaction, words, and actions through the prompting of the Holy Spirit within you. That can be an example of the prophetic at work because the prophetic as we see it played out in the New Testament is about God’s heart of love extended in relationship. He wants us to reveal His nature to us.
Debbie sums up the focus of her book this way:
“The focus of this book is the spiritual gift of prophecy as it is portrayed in the New Testament, which is rooted in encouragement. It is not on the Old Testament story of prophets and foretelling. God wants us to communicate with us in the same way He did with Jesus when He walked on earth. Jesus’ relationship with the Father is prophecy in action…”
I think the balanced insight Debbie shares in this book will bless anyone who reads it and allows the Lord to reveal the truth of His heart of love and encouragement for each one of us.
Chosen Books provided me with a pre-release copy of this book that I have been blessed to read before the book is released August 21. I hope this review can give you a glimpse into this topic and Debbie’s heart. My pre-ordered copy is one I will be sharing with someone else the Lord brought to mind.