Deepening our Discernment Part 4

There are two more areas I want to cover in relation to discernment.

      Testing our discernment.

      Understanding that discernment develops and is the fruit of spiritual maturity (Heb. 5:13-14)  

As I look at testing our discernment I am focusing on my definition, ‘Seeing the reality that lies behind appearances.’ The other qualifier is that I want to focus on discerning what the spirit is saying and look at how to bless others with what we discern.

Years ago in a message I heard Francis Frangipane say, “The only thing we need to find problems in the church is one good eye and a carnal mind.” That expression has stuck with me as I used to be good at that and I think much of what we put forth as discernment is really suspicion and judgment. We do need to discern and deal with what is wrong but we first need to walk in love and speak life.

So, how do we test our discernment? Over the years in teaching I have done on conflict resolution a number of times I have taught about the distinction between intuition and insight and where there was an openness have shared that intuition is in fact a spiritual function (insight is a function of the mind). Very briefly I believe our soul encompasses three parts – our mind, will and emotions. I also believe our spirit has three functions – conscience, communion and intuition. I want to focus on the last one from a scriptural perspective.

11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:11-12 (NKJV)  

In the verses above in Greek the word ‘know’ refers to being aware of something rather than an acquired knowledge and in the rest of the passage we can see that this ‘knowing’ something via our spirits is an intuitive knowing.

The same Greek word is used in the passages below that refer to Jesus intuitively perceiving or knowing something.

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25 (NKJV)

When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them,
“Does this offend you?” John 6:61 (NKJV)

Now, unlike Jesus, who was always accurate, when we perceive or become internally aware of something we need to test it. In essence we become aware of or discern something in our spirit but need to test it with our mind. The process is that we discern something via intuition, a ‘gut’ feeling in our spirit that initiates a process. We then engage our mind to test it and the ‘aha’ experience, insight completes the process. In essence to test our discernment there needs to be a marriage between our spirit and our mind.

So how does this work in practice? In ministering to people, usually in a group setting, I have frequently shared with people things about their lives that I had no natural intellectual way of knowing. For example I remember sharing with someone that the Lord wanted to dance with them. I only knew the person’s name and nothing about them. The person was deeply emotionally impacted by what I said and it was confirmation of the accuracy.

I have done this numerous times and remember many of them. Once many years ago when leaving a job I shared with the manager some things I sensed in prayer that morning. He was not a believer but was interested and asked me about them later in the day to write them down. They both took place within a few months.  

A very important factor is that when I share this way, and I encourage others to do the same, I always share it as my sense of something I believe I am hearing from the Lord as I offer it to them. I often preface what I am sharing with, ‘This may sound odd.’ This is wise as on a few occasions I have not been accurate. We need to test what we discern and present it as something for others to weigh (1 Cor. 14:29). I only remember one occasion of being insistent on something and the person became angry with me. A week later they came back and affirmed that I had been correct.       

So, discerning requires paying attention to what we are hearing in our spirits and then testing that discernment with our minds. There is much more that could be said but I think this lays a basic foundation for knowing how to test what we believe we are discerning. I give the last word to Malachi from a portion of 2:16

“Therefore take heed to your spirit.”

Deepening our Discernment Part 3

In my last post I looked at basing our discernment upon the heart rather than outward appearances. Now I want to look at how walking closely to Jesus helps us to accurately discern.

Many of us pray Ephesians 1:17 asking for ‘the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.’ What does this have to do with discernment? A great deal. Wisdom and revelation about Him, in context, is actually about the Father. To know the Father is to know Jesus and the Spirit. Further, wisdom and revelation about Jesus is more than information about Him, it is an encounter with Him. It is a pulling back of the veil over our hearts so that we can encounter more of His heart. It can be painful if our heart is not aligned with His heart. 

So what happens if we have this prayer answered? If we receive a revelation of His heart we know how He feels about us, which brings release and freedom, and as our ear gets near to His heart we can also know how His heart beats for others!

Seem too simple? Perhaps it is analogous to the idea that ‘Christianity has not being tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.’ That is obviously a generalization but we live in a culture that denies the power and place of suffering and sacrifice. I’m not suggesting pursuing suffering, I am suggesting that if we deeply follow Jesus we will walk in some difficult places with Him, yet He will be with us through them and as we pursue His heart we will find His grace is sufficient. We will understand our own need for the cross and His grace and be more willing to extend it to others. We will become passionate and compassionate carriers of His heart and our discernment will greatly deepen. After all, not only does faith work through love (Gal. 5:6) so too does discernment.

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, Philippians 1:9 (NKJV)

 The Greek word translated as discernment refers to insight, perception, discernment and judgment – in the sense of being able to rightly judge something. So, if we want deeper discernment let us pray for the spirit of wisdom and revelation with a renewed understanding.

Deepening our Discernment Part 2

In my last post I referenced four areas that I want to take a deeper look at.

      Not basing our discernment upon outward appearances.

      Walking closely to Jesus to see accurately.

      Testing our discernment.

      Understanding that discernment develops and is the fruit of spiritual maturity (Heb. 5:13-14)  

I will start with outward appearances. What does it mean to base our discernment on outward appearances? It is easy to see behaviour, it is hard to discern hearts. This is the first area to grow in. We must commit to stop judging by outward appearances (2 Cor. 5:16). My qualifier is I am certainly not saying we should not address clearly sinful behaviour. I am saying we need to in general look beyond behaviour to try and see hearts.

Many years ago I read of an experience a man had on the subway. He saw a man get on with two young children. The children seemed ‘out of control’ and were bothering other passengers. He judged the man a poor parent and decided to bring this to his attention. When he got the man’s attentions he said, “Sir, I don’t know if you have noticed but your children are bothering the other passengers?” The man seemed to come around to greater awareness and responded, “I’m sorry, we just came from the hospital where their mother died.” What do you think happened to his assessment of this man as a neglectful parent? Did judgment turn to compassion?

If we are to discern rightly we can’t judge books by their cover. We need to suspend judgment and seek to understand hearts. We do well to consider whether there are things we need to lay down that colour our discernment. Do we have a history with someone that we need to lay down? Do we disagree with their doctrine? Is their doctrine our measure of their hearts?

George Whitfield, John Wesley and Charles Finney were three of the most effective evangelists in church history. Whitfield was a Calvinist (some are preordained to salvation, some to damnation), Wesley was an Arminian (all may be saved) and Finney very strongly rejected the doctrine of original sin (being born with a sinful nature). Three different theological positions. Was their effectiveness based on this area of their theology? How could they be effective with differing theologies? Each of the three had a deep love for and commitment to Jesus. They didn’t condone what was clearly sinful and all three believed deeply in the need to be born again. So while they differed in one area, in this key area they were in agreement.

So, beyond appearances their commonality was a commitment to Jesus and holiness in spite of their different theological underpinnings. If our heart is to pursue Him then Jesus can bring forth fruit through our lives not always because of our theology, but at times in spite of our theology. When it comes to discernment our call is to embrace the truth at a heart rather than head level. We need to pursue not a unity of belief in every single point of doctrine, rather we need to pursue unity around intimacy with Jesus (this will sort out a lot of our doctrine over time). Paul said,

13  till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Ephesians 4:13 (NKJV)

When we lay down our judgments and pursue His heart He will correct us, after all, the Holy Spirit is a fairly good teacher!

24 These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding, And those who complained will learn doctrine. Isaiah 29:24 (NKJV

Deepening our Discernment Part 1

I recently began reading a book by Francis Frangipane called “Spiritual Discernment and The Mind of Christ.” I highly recommend it. I have read most of his books over the last 25 years and in my opinion this is his best one. Francis is someone for whom I hold a deep appreciation and respect. While I will reference some things from his book in this series I am not going to teach from it.  

I began writing about discernment over two decades ago and defined discernment as “Seeing the reality which lies behind appearances.” Part of what I have been emphatic about over the years is that while there is the gift of discerning of spirits in 1 Corinthians 12, general discernment is not a gift, it is a skill we develop. Francis makes this same distinction in his book but refers to general discernment as a gift while functionally describing is as I would, as a skill to be developed. I found his definition similar to mine as well, “Spiritual discernment is the grace to see into the unseen.” (page 32).

I think we are basically saying the same thing. Francis just has more practical experience. I think an important point is that if we are to discern accurately there are some requirements to meet;

      We cannot base our discernment upon outward appearances.

      We must walk closely to Jesus to see accurately.

      We need to test our discernment.

      Discernment develops and is the fruit of spiritual maturity (Heb. 5:13-14)  

13  For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:13-14 (NKJV)

I will address all four of these points but my main point is that while our discernment can deepen through practice we need to actually practice for that to happen. As Hebrews says, our discernment develops “by reason of use.” I am confident we have many opportunities every day to discern, we just need to see and intentionally apply them.  

I know in my own life I have changed over the years from judgment to discernment. I used to be very good at what Francis Frangipane said, “The only thing we need to find problems in the church is one good eye and a carnal mind.” It is still an easy default position to go to.

When we actively seek to understand discernment we find a lot of judgment masquerading as discernment. Let’s take off the mask and seek His heart to guide our discernment that His body may be built up.

The Hidden Person of the Heart Part 5

I wrote that I believe strongly that our beliefs empower our behaviour. It is because our beliefs, heart beliefs, determine our actions that the scriptures say so much about our thinking. It is thus important that we embrace what Paul taught in the following scriptures.

5  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:5 (NKJV)

1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)

These two powerful passages are significant in our spiritual walk. What about that little word “let.” It highlights both choice and responsibility. Our mind is not renewed by some mysterious force acting upon us. It is renewed by embracing Jesus life and actively engaging with Him through His word and presence. So how do we do that?

A friend of mine often says things like, “We need to hear what the Spirit is saying.” Or “It needs to be mediated by the Spirit.” What I then see him do is inwardly pay attention to tune into what the Spirit is saying. In fact he is frequently in this state of inward attention. He is actively turning theory into practice. Knowingly or not he is demonstrating the truths revealed in the passages below. The hidden person of the heart functions by learning to be quiet, to become internally calm and hear His voice on an ongoing basis.

Have you ever thought of connecting the two passages below?

10  Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10 (NKJV) 11  For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:11-12 (NKJV)

This is part of ‘letting’ Jesus mind be in us guiding our behaviour. The other part is being grounded in His word. For our beliefs to align with scripture we need to know and adhere to what the scriptures teach, in particular the New Testament, as it defines how we are to live as Christians. At the same time what we learn above from 1 Corinthians 2 is that the Holy Spirit can reveal to us the mind of Christ as we learn to depend on Him and weigh what we hear against His word. After all, Paul who told us that we are to let Jesus mind be in us summed up this section of 1 Corinthians 2 by saying that the spiritually mature have “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). I believe that as Christians we all have access to His mind, the mature have cultivated a lifestyle of hearing Jesus heart and mind.

Where are we at?

The Hidden Person of the Heart Part 4

Do you know anyone who never struggles or has never struggled with sin since their conversion? It is a rhetorical question. However, that being said, how do we walk in victory in this ongoing battle?

I think a large part of the answer to that question lies in where we put our focus. If I focus on sin and failure I cause it to grow in my life. If I focus on walking with Jesus His presence grows in my life (2 Cor. 3:18). To be clear I am not suggesting there is no need for repentance when we sin, we need to be sensitive to conviction from and by the Holy Spirit and address issues. However, we will never overcome sin by giving most of our time and attention to it. Imagine being locked in a hold in Greco-Roman Wrestling. Even if you pin your opponent to the mat and hold him there you are still in contact with him and focused on him. That is not how we walk in spiritual victory.

We walk in spiritual victory by focusing on Jesus and addressing any issues the Holy Spirit highlights as they come up through ongoing and immediate repentance. In theory this is simply profound and profoundly simple yet we are often drawn away to the wrong focus. Why is that? I think we need to recognize what Romans teaches us, even though we are no longer in the ‘flesh’ once we are born again, there is still ‘flesh’ in us. What dominates is really a matter of what we feed and nurture. To understand how to nurture and feed our spirits we need to understand something about ‘flesh.’

In Romans 7 and 8 and other places the Greek word sarx is translated as flesh, carnal or carnally. Some translations refer to our ‘flesh’ in Romans 7 and 8 as our ‘sinful nature.’ However I think this translation is one reason for so many in the church failing so often in dealing with temptation. I believe strongly that our beliefs empower our behaviour. If we believe our very nature is sinful we will expect to fail. Yet we do not have two natures, we have a new nature at conversion (2 Cor. 5:17-21). There is still something in us that has a propensity toward sin but it is not our nature or identity.

18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. Rom. 7:18 (NKJV)

However, Paul, like us, had Christ within him and so he taught the value of a right focus.

6  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6 (NKJV)

The word ‘carnally’ above is again the Greek sarx. Paul’s says if we focus our minds on our flesh we produce death, if we focus on the things of Christ we experience life and peace. A clear choice with clear consequences.

Paul in his letters often focused on our identity as being ‘in Christ’ or similar phrases. He focused on our new identity and new nature and thus empowered his readers and hearers to walk in victory. When in faith they applied his teaching they could be victorious and thus their expectation and experience would be walking in intimacy with Jesus and victory over sin.

Paul was perhaps at his most pointed in his shortest letter

4  I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5  hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6  that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. Philemon 1:4-6 (NKJV) – emphasis mine. See also Eph. 4:20-24, Col. 3:1-2, 2 Cor. 5:17

Again, Paul’s point is that we walk in victory by focusing on who and what Jesus is in us. Focusing on sin and failure only leads to more of the same. So let us lock in our focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2).

The Hidden Person of the Heart Part 3

In continuing to look at the hidden person of the heart let me share an obvious aspect of our culture. In our culture there is a strong propensity to shift responsibility anywhere except to ourselves. This is not just true in the dominant culture, it has deeply infected the church. However, Jesus tells us to look to our hearts. He has a different standard, one that calls us both higher and deeper at the same time. If we embrace pursuing His kingdom first (Matt. 6:33) then we will walk deeply in truth, integrity and responsibility. We will be salt and light (Matt. 5:13-14) and be a preserving and illuminating influence in our culture. We all know people like this and perhaps we are those people already.

If we are not like this I pray we would develop the attitude of Daniel.

8  But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel 1:8 (NKJV)

Other translations say Daniel “made up his mind’ or something similar but I believe that misses the heart of the verse. The primary meaning of the Hebrew word translated as ‘purposed’ means to ‘put’ or ‘set.’ Daniel set as a seal upon his heart an overriding principle that guided his decisions and thus his behaviour. There is the expression, ‘A man makes the decision and the decision makes the man.’ This speaks to the reality of what Daniel did.

Daniel was one of the greatest examples in scriptural history of being salt and light. What made him salt and light was how he stewarded internal realities. He made heart decisions that produced the amazing influence he had. If we had been able to gaze into Daniel’s internal reality we would have seen his character rooted in the character of Yahweh. As it was his internal reality was externally visible for time and eternity. As Francis Frangipane has put it.

“It is not hard to recognize one who has spent extended time at a newsstand: his conversation overflows with the drama of current affairs. And it is not hard to discern a person who has come from a sporting event, as their face reveals the outcome of the game. Likewise, people can tell when an individual has spent extended time seeking God. An imperturbable calm guards their heart, and their countenance is radiant with light, as with the morning dew of Heaven.”

What are we reflecting to others?

The Hidden Person of the Heart Part 2

Have you ever considered what your heart is? Obviously I am not talking about the physical organ. However, our physical heart is reflective of spiritual realities. We can live without some organs; one kidney, no gall bladder, an amputated limb or other things, we can’t live without our heart. It is meant to be reflective of spiritual reality and just as Eden was, is a garden that needs to be cultivated. Consider some things the scriptures say about our heart.

Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. Prov. 4:23 (NKJV) Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. Matt. 5:8 (NKJV) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt. 6:21 (NKJV) Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. Matt. 12:34-35 (NKJV)

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12  Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13  But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14  Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15  But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. Lk. 8:11-15 (NKJV)

There is a lot in the verses above. The first injunction from Proverbs is to keep or guard our hearts. Secondly Jesus tells us that seeing Him is connected to purity of heart. Next Jesus tells us that what comes out of our mouth is reflective of what we have cultivated in our hearts. Lastly, we find in the parable of the sower that what we produce comes from our hearts and is dependent on the condition of the soil (our heart) that receives the word. The conclusion being that if we are not producing the crop that we desire in our lives we may need to check the condition of our soil (heart).

Have we allowed the soil to become hard through lack of use? Have we allowed weeds like anger, bitterness, apathy or lust to take root and grow? (For a fuller list of some weeds see Romans 1:28-31, Galatians 5:19-21 and Colossians 3:5-9). Have we sufficiently watered the soil with worship so that it is prepared to receive new seed from His word? Have we exposed the soil to the light of His presence?

If we have watered and prepared the soil of our hearts the main issue is the removal of weeds. In my own experience I am effective in weed removal when I practice keeping my heart attuned to His presence and purpose during the day. Many things seek to draw my heart away and many still do, yet when I consciously choose to set my heart upon Jesus weeds are removed and the light of His presence breaks afresh upon my heart.

Happy sowing and weeding.

The Hidden Person of the Heart Part 1

In both our current church and secular cultures we tend to focus on outward manifestations and experiences. To what end? Why not give more attention to internal realities? Consider the importance of Peter’s instruction below.

3  Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – 4  rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Pet. 3:4 (NKJV)

While the focus of Peter’s instruction is to wives in relationship to their husbands, the wise will discern that this instruction applies to all of us. Why? Simply because Peter is highlighting the importance of inward realities. Jesus said the same thing when He told His first century hearers, and by extension us,

33  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matt. 6:33 (NKJV)

So how much time do we spend developing our inner man and what process do we use? Why is it important? I think the answer to the questions I have posed are;

  • Daily,
  • We need to spend focused time drawing near to His presence, and
  • We are called to be changed from ‘glory to glory’ (what we carry from time into eternity is the character of Jesus that has been formed in us in our life on earth).

Paul prayed that the Ephesians would experience inner transformation and the prayer is applicable to all believers today. We have the same need.

16  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17  that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, Eph. 3:16-17 (NKJV)

How does this happen? Think about seeing a beautiful sunset, a painting or some other piece of art that seems to arrest your heart. Why does it do that? It resonates with something in our hearts, we are drawn to it. Are we drawn to Jesus presence in the same way? If not can we be?

We can. Part of the process is joining in Paul’s prayer above, another part is choosing to just focus on and sit with Him. We will find our hearts regularly drawn to Jesus. After all, in the midst of a very busy life as administrator of a kingdom David expressed it this way.

4  One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. Psalm 27:4 (NKJV)

In the midst of his very demanding life how did he arrive at this point? He answered that question for us. He prized Yahweh’s presence over convenience.

8  When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8 (NKJV)

Let us respond when He calls.

NOTE – a small book (12 pages) that is very helpful in this regard is an old one called The Changed Life by Henry Drummond. If any of you are interested please send me an email and I will email you a Word version.

Pursuing His Presence Part 5

I want to further pursue understanding our gifts and callings. There are some different gift lists in the New Testament.

4  For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5  so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7  or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8  he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:4-8 (NKJV)

6  And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8  for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10  to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:6-11 (NKJV)

11  And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12  for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, Ephesians 4:11-12 (NKJV)

10  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11  If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NKJV)

There are a few things to consider here. Generally the five-fold ministries listed in Ephesians 4 are viewed as leadership roles in the church while the gifts in Romans 12 are viewed as motivational, our natural bent. Another piece is that the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 support the callings in Romans and Ephesians. For example, if someone has a prophetic bent or calling they tend to function in the revelatory gifts from 1 Corinthians 12 such as words of wisdom, words of knowledge and the discerning of spirits. These gifts support a prophetic ministry or bent, though they are not exclusive to the prophetic.

As a side note, while many want to view prophesying as preaching, the language used in 1 Corinthians 12 does not allow for it. The Greek word used to refer to spontaneously speaking in tongues is the same word use to refer to prophesying. It is God’s mind in the moment not a planned or prepared sermon that is the fruit of study and research. I am not disparaging these things as what I have just shared is the result of my research. I am simply calling for an accurate application of the scriptures.

The last point to be made here is that Peter says all of these gifts are to be stewarded by the recipient for the glory of God. To that end I encourage you to join me in some things I regularly pray for from a corporate or church body perspective. The supporting scriptures follow each prayer point.

O Holy Spirit

  • Open our understanding, establish our hearts in a flow of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Yourself; enlighten our hearts to see in the spirit, bear Your burdens and discern in love.  Eph. 1:17, Phil. 1:9-11, Col. 1:9-11
  • Release grace and supplication as You intercede in and through us to bring about Your strategic and corporate purposes in the earth. Zech. 12:10, Rom. 8:26, Eph. 6:18
  • Draw our hearts into intimacy and intercession throughout the day, unveil Your divine strategy to make us effective in the demonstration of Your kingdom. Eph. 6:18, 1 Thess. 5:17
  • Release Your fiery grace and the passion and interchange within the Godhead deeply into our hearts – impart a deep, pure and abiding passion for Jesus. Shepherd our hearts into abiding in You. Ezek. 8:2-4, 2 Tim. 2:1, Acts 2:2-4, Jn. 15:7-8
  • Reveal Jesus in His passion, zeal, wisdom, power and purity – to humble us and establish our hearts in Your graciousness, dignity and strength. Phil. 1:9-11, Col. 3:16, Rev. 1:12-16
  • Awaken our hearts, stir up and release the gifts You have placed within us. Awaken within us a passion to fulfill the purposes You have called us to through Your word. Col. 4:17, 1 Tim. 1:18, 4:14-16, 2 Tim. 1:6, 2:1, 4:5