|A prophet must be
called by God. The initiative in making a prophet always rests
with him. It is not a ministry that anyone can take up. Only a
false prophet dares to take up this ministry for himself. The true
prophetic ministry always begins with a call from God. Isaiah had
a very dramatic call (Isaiah 6:1-8). He needed this to sustain him
through a difficult and disappointing ministry.
Jeremiah’s calling came in a specific
word from God when he was quite young.
The word of the Lord came to me,
saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a
prophet to the nations." "Ah, Sovereign Lord,"
I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a
child." But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am
only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say
whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am
with you and will rescue you," declares the Lord. Then
the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to
me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I
appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down,
to destroy and overthrow, and to build and to plant" (Jer
Amos was going about his business when he
received his call. He was not from a prophetic family and did not
expect or desire a prophetic ministry. Prophetic ambition can be
Then Amaziah said to Amos, "Get
out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread
there and do your prophesying there. Don't prophesy anymore at
Bethel, because this is the king's sanctuary and the temple of
the kingdom." Amos answered Amaziah, "I was neither
a prophet nor a prophet's son, but I was a shepherd, and I
also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord took me
from tending the flock and said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my
people Israel.' Now then, hear the word of the Lord . You say,
" 'Do not prophesy against Israel, and stop preaching
against the house of Isaac' (Amos 7:12-16).
Only God can call a prophet. It is a
sovereign choice of God. He can call anyone. The call often
comes suddenly (Tom Marshall- The Coming of the Prophets).
Before there is a prophet in making,
there is a royal command. Most likely the things and the men
that are not are chosen for the task to nullify the things
that are, 1 Cor 1: 28. Prophets are commissioned, sent by
royal command. Prophets are ambassadors - speaking and acting
on behalf of a peculiar nation not belonging to this world.
They are seldom welcomed, at least not by the undisciplined,
disobedient crowd. He is certainly recognised, but rarely
accepted. To label him a recognised prophet is to disarm him
and lock him into the system that he is sent to confront (Lars
Widerburg - The Forthtellers).
He had the greatness to obey a call to
service, which was contrary to all natural instincts; yet he
went on and served his Lord over many years (Milton Smith -
If we have a true ministry, opposition
and failure will not deter us- we must continue to minister
because of the inner compulsion which results from God’s
call (Milton Smith).
The heavens were opened and I saw a
vision of God. The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel. The hand
of the Lord was upon him. These three words: vision, word and
hand became experiential in the life of this young prophet in
the most tragic hour of his nation's history (Milton Smith).
God revealed himself to Ezekiel in
personal encounter. The rabbis who insisted that no one under
the age of thirty should read this part of Ezekiel’s book
were conscious that they were standing on Holy Ground. So was
Ezekiel; he could only fall on his face as dead (Milton
This was the setting of his commission
to prophesy and from it carried with him through the whole of
his ministry a sense of awe and holy fear. It is the true
prophet’s hallmark in every generation. The false prophets
can chatter glibly about God, because he has never met him.
The man of God comes out of his presence indelibly marked with
the Glory of his God (Milton Smith).
The man of God was just that - he was
a man of God. Those God uses call themselves what God calls
them. Not more than that. Not less either. This man may well
have been called to be a prophet, but the appointment had not
yet come - and he did not use the title. We would do well to
observe this principle today (1 Kings 13:1)
Prophets are commissioned, sent by
royal command. Prophets are ambassadors – speaking and
acting on behalf of a peculiar nation not belonging to this
world. They are seldom welcomed, at least not by the
undisciplined, disobedient crowd. He is certainly recognised,
but rarely accepted. To label him a recognised prophet is to
disarm him and lock him into the system, which he is sent to
confront. A true prophet is not an attraction in crowded
auditoriums (Lars Widerberg - Aspects of the Prophetic office
– The Forthteller ).
Prophets may resist their calling, as
Jonah did his- with dire results. (John and Paula Sanford -
The Elijah Task p.46)
Calling from God is essential for every
Christian ministry. Acting without calling is presumption. Calling
is particularly important for the prophetic ministry. The prophet
who is not called is self-appointed and self-appointed prophets
are very dangerous.
Such election is far tougher for the
prophet. Not only may a man not become a prophet unless God
calls, he may become a prophet only by responding in obedience
when He calls, as He calls (John and Paula Sanford - The
Elijah Task p.42).
Prophets are always called in many
different ways, at different times, and under different
circumstances (John and Paula Sanford - The Elijah Task p.45).
The proof that a prophet has been called
is the fact that his words are effective and fulfilled. A good
example of this is Samuel.
All of Israel knew that Samuel was a
prophet, because the Lord was with him and let none of his
words fall to the ground (1 Samuel 3:19,20).
Calling comes from God, but it will also
be confirmed and encouraged by other Christians. A calling that is
not recognised by other Christians is often self-appointed and not
a true calling.
Marks of a Prophet
- zeal for God's will.
- foresight into God's plan.
- insight into God's plan.
Call is confirmed by preparation. Those
whom God calls are also prepared by God. There is often a long
time gap between God’s calling and entry into ministry. This
calls for patience. Preparation may take a lot longer than we
expect, but God’s standards are high.
After every calling and envisioning
comes a time of death and burial. It is called preparation, as
the Lord puts our call on the shelf and deals with who we are
as people. During this "in the ground" time, the
reality of the call leaves us for a time. Therefore, when
suddenly someone begins to restate our call prophetically, it
may be the time when the Lord is opening doors and making
things happen (Graeme Cooke Developing your Prophetic Ministry
Those with a prophetic calling must be
prepared to pay the price. It is not just at the end, but all
throughout in a special experience in humiliation and
self-deprivation, which is uniquely known to prophets (Art
Katz The Heart of a Prophet).
Young prophets should be careful about sharing the words of
confirmation that the Lord has given about their calling to the
prophetic ministry. Most people will see this as boasting. They
should only share these words with those who are close and who
will understand them. The Lord gives these words to encourage the
prophet, not to authenticate their ministry.
Prophetic people should avoid saying, “I am a Prophet”, as
it makes them sound arrogant. If you are a prophet, God will
authenticate your ministry by fulfilling your words, as he did
with Samuel (1 Sam 3).. It is better to wait and let the people
say, “He is a prophet”, because they see your words are
witnessed and fulfilled by the Holy Spirit.
Wife of a Prophet
Some prophets will be single, but many will be married. The
wife of a prophet often carries a heavy burden.
Men called to the prophetic ministry are usually very thick
skinned. They need to be to fulfil their calling.
I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will
make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint (Ez
Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a
bronze wall to stand against the whole land-the kings of Judah,
its officials its priests and the people of the land (Jer 1:18)
The wife of the prophet is not a fortified city. She is a
precious vessel (1 Peter 3:7), who is vulnerable to attack.
Because opposites attract, she is quite often a very sensitive
As the prophet moves into his calling, he must put protection
in place for his wife. She needs to be surrounded by loyal and
sympathetic friends, who understand her struggle and can provide
encouragement and support. His calling to be a prophet must not be
put ahead of his responsibility as a husband. His wife must not be
sacrificed on the altar of the prophetic ministry.
When he receives a hard word, the prophet should have
wrestled with God and gone through a process to be sure that the
word is correct. His wife will not have gone through that process,
so she will not be so sure that the word is right. She will
remember the times that her husband has been wrong, whereas he
will have pushed these down into a memory hole, so he can get on
with his ministry. She will remember the harm done, and be
concerned that he could be wrong again, so it will be difficult
for her to share the same confidence in his words. He will need to
understand this fear and help her to understand why he believes
the world is right. She will need to trust him, for better or for
People are often intimidated by a prophet. If they disagree
with what he has spoken, they will often be scared to challenge
him. Many will take the easy way out, and share their concerns
with his wife, hoping that she will pass them on to her husband.
This is a bad practice. The wife should point out that her husband
is teachable and encourage the people to take their concerns to
him directly. The elders should advice the people in the church
not to mess with his wife, if they have an issue with the prophet.
Prophets tend to be very black and white, so they can easily
hurt people. When a young prophet is starting out, he will not
even be aware that he is doing this. Some will not worry about
people being hurt, even if it is the fault. The prophet’s wife
will be much more sensitive to what is happening. She will pick up
on all the unnecessary hurt and pain that he has caused. The
prophet needs to learn from his wife. He should ask her about how
people are responding to the way he speaks. He should use her
advice to learn how to speak the truth in love.
Being a prophet is a tough calling. The wife of a prophet
knows his integrity and the cost of his ministry, so she can be
his main source of encouragement. Hopefully, she can build a home
that is a place of refuge during times of stress.
The experience will be different for husbands of prophetesses.
Their main challenge will be to ensure that their wives are not
overworked by the church. The will need to check that Christians
are not taking advantage of their wives good nature, when they
should be seeking God for themselves. When a prophetess is
attacked, her husband should stand beside her to protect from