we all have the capacity to prophesy as we eat, drink, and enjoy the Lord

we all have the capacity to prophesy as we eat, drink, and enjoy the Lord - for all can prophesy one by one that all may learn and all may be encouraged! 1 Cor. 14:31 says, For you can all prophesy one by one that all may learn and all may be encouraged. This shows us that we as believers in the Lord have a capacity that enables us to speak for the Lord and speak Christ to others. We need to see that the divine life in us has such a capacity, and we need to practice to prophesy!

As we eat the Lord, enjoy Him, drink Him, breathe Him in, and meet with the saints, there’s something bubbling in us, some words that are coming out of us for building up! As we practice to speak in the meetings again and again, we are perfected in our prophesying for the building up of the church as the Body of Christ.

for you all can prophesy!

I am so glad this verse is in the Bible! This shows us that we not only have the obligation to prophesy (see 1 Cor. 14:24) but we also have the capacity to prophesy (v. 31). Just as in our human life we have certain capacities like tasting, breathing, touching, smelling, hearing, and speaking, so in the divine life in us there’s a capacity to prophesy.

The capacity to prophesy is in the divine life in us – we just need to develop it until it becomes our ability. There’s another life in us which, whether we can / like / can’t / don’t like to do this in our natural man, this life can prophesy! As we daily grow in life, we daily need to develop our ability to prophesy for building up!

Right after someone receives the Lord Jesus into his heart, he wants to speak about this wonderful One he received! As he begins to speak in the meetings of the church, his speaking function develops. It is very important that we all practice speaking for the Lord – we learn to prophesy by prophesying, by practicing constantly.

As we enjoy the Lord personally and corporately, as we attend the meetings and are being instructed and perfected, our ability to function by prophesying is being developed. Don’t stop speaking and don’t listen to the thoughts that your speaking was “poor” or “bad”  – another member in the Body has received life and was encouraged through your exercise to dispense Christ!

eat, drink, enjoy, and speak Christ!

This is our normal Christian life – we daily eat Christ, enjoy Christ, drink Christ, breathe in Christ, and speak Christ for the building up! It is very important to spend time with the Lord in His Word, enjoy Him every day, and then exercise to speak our enjoyment in the meetings.

The goal of our enjoyment of Christ is that we may minister Christ through prophesying in the meetings, and that we would help others develop their function to prophesy. When everyone speaks in the meeting, the riches of the Body of Christ are expressed. We don’t just speak words that encourage people – we speak spiritual words coming from the Spirit of life, which give life to those who hear!

We can all testify that this is our experience in the church life in the Lord’s recovery. Today the Lord is recovering each one’s function to prophesy for the building up of the church. Even the new ones, as they enjoy the Lord and touch Him in the Word or in the meetings, they have a function to minister Christ through prophesying!

It is so sweet when you come to the meeting and the saints are standing up one by one to prophesy from their enjoyment in the Word during the week. Personally, I am looking forward to each Lord’s Day prophesying meeting, where there’s no leader or pastor to direct us, but we all exercise our spirit and our capacity to speak for God and to speak God forth!

three constituting elements of prophesying

In the book, Prophesying in the Church Meetings for the Organic Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, brother Lee points out three constituting elements of prophesying. Firstly, we must possess a knowledge of the Word of God (the human element of learning; see 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Ezek. 3:1-4). The second element is the instant inspiration of the Holy Spirit (the divine element of inspiration; see 1 Cor. 14:32, 37).

Thirdly, we need to have a vision concerning God’s interest and His economy, the church as the Body of Christ, the local churches, the world, the individual saints, and ourselves (the view through the enlightening of the divine light; see Eph. 1:17-18; 1 Cor. 2:11-12).

Thank You Lord Jesus for the capacity of the divine life in us to speak! Lord, make us those who are not silent or deaf but speak Christ in the meetings. Keep us eating You, drinking You, enjoying You in Your Word, and praying over the words of the Bible, so that we may have Your word deposited into us and constituted into us. Lord, we want to cooperate with You as You inspire us to speak in the meeting, out of our enjoyment of You!

References and Further Reading

oh that all the Lord’s people would prophesy, speaking God for the building up!

oh that all the Lord's people would prophesy, speaking God for the building up!The high peak of the God ordained way to meet and to serve in the church is prophesying for the building up of the Body of Christ. We all need to learn to take the lead not only to enjoy the Lord, love the Lord, and experience life to minister life, but also to prophesy for the building up of the Body of Christ.

The Bible says that, He who prophesies builds up the church (1 Cor. 14:3) – it doesn’t say that he who brings hundreds to the Lord builds up the church or that he who does great things for the Lord builds up the church. It is through our prophesying that Christ can be dispensed into all the saints for the organic building up of the organism of the Triune God, the Body of Christ.

oh that all the Lord’s people would prophesy!

When someone told Moses that there were 2 more people that “were not in the meeting” and were prophesying in the camp, Moses cried out, “Oh that all Jehovah’s people were prophets, that Jehovah would put His Spirit upon them!” (Num. 11:29) Moses desired that all the people of God would be prophets – that all would speak for God and speak God’s word!

To prophesy does not necessarily mean to predict the future, but to speak for God and speak God forth into others. Aaron spoke for Moses and he was Moses’ spokeman – today we speak for God, not our own words but God’s words, that we may be God’s spokesman! This is what God desires and also what Moses desired – that all God’s people would prophesy, that all would speak for God and speak God forth!

To prophesy is not simply to stand up in the meeting and share an experience, a story, or something inspiring; to prophesy is to speak for God and to speak God forth so that you may minister life to others for the building up! We need to earnestly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that we would prophesy (1 Cor. 14:1).

The whole chapter 14 in 1 Corinthians stresses one thing, treasures one thing, uplifts one thing, recommends one thing, and exalts one thing – prophesying! This is the topmost gift, the excelling gift, for the building up of the church. The excelling gift God has given to us for the building up of the church is prophesying. Why do we say this?

  1. Prophesying is excelling in revealing God’s heart, God’s will, God’s way, and God’s economy to His people. When we speak for God and speak God forth, God’s heart is revealed, we see God’s will and His way, and we have a clear vision of His economy (1 Cor. 14:26).
  2. Prophesying is excelling in convicting people, exposing people’s real condition, and showing people their real spiritual need. If we all prophesy for the building up of the church, and an unlearned or unbelieving person enters, he will be convicted and exposed by all, his spiritual condition will be exposed, and he will admit, God is among you (1 Cor. 14:23-25)!
  3. Prophesying is excelling in speaking forth Christ to minister and dispense Christ to people for their nourishment. A sea story or an interesting experience we share with others doesn’t nourish others, but when we prophesy we speak Christ into others to dispense Christ into them for their nourishment.
  4. Prophesying is excelling in building up the church in an organic way as the organism of the processed Triune God for His fullness, His expression. As Paul says in 1 Cor. 14:12, this is the most excellent way to build up the church as the Body of Christ.

Christ prophesied: He spoke God’s word

Moses prophesied in Deut. 18:15 that God will raise up another prophet from among the people of Israel and everyone should listen to Him, and Acts 3:22 applies this word to Christ. Christ prophesied for God by not speaking His own word but the Father’s word (John 7:16), thus seeking not His own glory but the Father’s glory (John 7:18).

Again and again we see that the Lord Jesus didn’t speak of Himself, but the Father who sent Him spoke through Him and His words are eternal life (John 12:48-50). It is the Father who abode in Christ that did His works (John 14:10). This is the real prophesying – not speaking our own words but God’s word, speaking for God, and speaking God forth.

the meaning of prophesying

What does it mean to prophesy? This whole week we will spend on this topic, and we need to see in a fresh way that to prophesy means to speak for God and to speak God forth. The proper, real, and successful prophesying dispenses God into people and builds up the church as the Body of Christ. It is through prophesying that the church is built up.

We need to learn from the Lord Jesus and spend adequate time with the Lord to be infused with His Word, have an inward burden, and even have divinely given words that express and interpret that burden. We speak not our own words, but the Lord’s Word for His glory and for the building up!

We need to practice to prophesy – we shouldn’t just prophesy in the Lord’s day prophesying meeting, when we all get together to speak. All throughout the week we need to practice prophesying! With our friends, at work, with our colleagues or classmates, we need to take the lead to speak God’s word and speak God into people.

As we enjoy the Lord and experience Him daily, we build up a history before God, and there’s an inward burden for us to speak. We need to cooperate with the Lord within us who wants us to speak by seeking the Lord’s face to have the divinely given words that will express what He has put in us. Amen, we all need to practice to prophesy!

Lord Jesus, cause us to see the importance and the real meaning of prophesying! Put in us such an aspiration and a deep desire that we would prophesy for the building up of the church! Lord, we want to learn to prophesy by practicing to speak forth God and speak God into people. May we learn from You, dear Lord, to spend time with You in the Word that we may speak forth Your words for the dispensing of God into man.

References and Further Reading

Our God is a Speaking God, and He desires to speak to us, in us, and through us!

Hallelujah, our God is a speaking God! The reason we speak for Him is because He is speaking in us all the time – and He wants us to cooperate with Him! Our God is not a dumb God – He is always speaking, and the highest & greatest speaking of God in the whole universe is the Bible! Hebrews 1:1-2 says,

God, having spoken of old in many portions and in many ways to the fathers in the prophets, has at the last of these days spoken to us in the Son.

Our speaking God desires to have a speaking people – He spoke to the people in the Old Testament and He gained some to speak for Him, and now in the New Testament age, He spoke in the Son and He speaks through His believers! If you want to have God’s speaking, come to the Word of God and come to the church – you will hear the logos (written word of God) and the rhema (the instant spoken word of God)! However, traditional Christianity has suppressed the believers’ portion – “one man speaking and the rest listening” is prevailing in such a way that this is what most believers expect to happen when they meet together! We all need to rise up and overthrow this custom – we need to speak for God, speak God forth, and speak God into one another! Actually, the Spirit mingled with our spirit is always ready and expects to speak with us and in us / through us, but many times we don’t cooperate with Him! We’re afraid that we will “lose our face”, we will make a fool out of ourselves, we will say something wrong, or maybe we think we have nothing to speak. But as long as we cooperate with the Lord when we come to the meeting – to speak for Him – it is OK!

In a good sense, it doesn’t matter whether we speak properly or wrongly, or if we speak well or poorly – what matters is that we speak! When we speak for God, He is happy! When we exercise our spirit to speak something for the Lord and with the Lord, something that we enjoyed in our fellowship with Him, God is happy and we are happy! By practicing to speak in this way, we are learning to prophesy – we are learning to speak for God, speak forth God, and minister & dispense God into people. This may not be our disposition naturally – we may be quiet people by disposition, but we need to stand against ourselves. The way to overcome this obstacle is to be against our natural man with our disposition and habit. When we were regenerated, we received another life – the divine life – and now whether we do something or we speak something, we need to do everything by this another life! When we speak for the Lord, when we prophesy to build up the Body, we need to exercise our spirit and stand against ourselves – we speak not from ourselves or by ourselves, but we speak from the Lord and by the Lord! Our natural man is on the cross, and we are raised together with Christ, living a new life with Him in His resurrection life! In His resurrection life and by His life we speak!

And one more thing – prophesying is the function of the overcomers! The overcomers speak for God! In the Old Testament, the overcomers were the prophets; in the New Testament age, the ones who overcome speak for God! Prophesying makes you an overcomer! For us to overcome the degradation in the church and even our own failures and degradation, we need to learn to cooperate with the Lord and speak for Him! [sharing from the morning revival about, The Need to Have a Fresh Vision of the Lord’s Recovery, with quotes mainly from, The Practice of Prophesying, by brother Witness Lee]

Lord, we want to be the overcomers! Make us the speaking ones – a reproduction of our speaking God! Lord, speak in us and speak through us! Even if this is against our disposition, Lord, we want to stand with You! Thank You for Your divine life in us – we just want to cooperate with You by living by this life! Lord, speak today in us! Make us the prophets of today, those who speak for the building up of the Body of Christ!

for we all can prophesy one by one that all may learn and all may be encouraged

Hallelujah, we all can and we all should prophesy “one by one that all may learn and all may be encouraged“(1 Cor. 14:31)! As believers in the Lord, we are now learning to speak for the Lord and to speak the Lord forth into people – it is a learning process that will take our entire life to complete! First of all, we need to read and know the Scriptures literally – we need to know the Word of God and be acquainted with the Word. And we should not just know the facts and the main topics of the Bible – we should go deeper and understand / know the deep denotations and the spiritual significances of the Word of God! The Lord Jesus in many of His portions did not just “recite the Word”, but He also went further to explain and unveil the deeper significance of the Word! It was the same with the apostle Paul – he went deeper into the Word of God, not just skating on the surface of the truth but having the knowledge of the deeper meaning of the portions in the Word! We need to pray over the Word, seek the Lord’s shining, and dive in / dig into the riches in the Word!

Also, we need to have personal experiences of life. We can’t quote others’ experiences or speak based on just what we read and enjoyed – we need to experience the Lord personally! Knowledge by itself can be empty – we need to also pray that we may experience and enter into what we enjoy. We have personal experiences of the Lord’s doings and blessings in physical things and environmental occurrences – how the Lord deals with us, how He cares for us, how He enlightens us and leads us… And on the other hand, we have the personal experiences of God’s redemption and salvation, Christ and the church, preaching the gospel, nourishing the new believers in the home meetings, perfecting the saints in the group meetings, prophesying for the building up of the church, and other experiences – by the exercise of our spirit in faith! These experiences can also be the base of our prophesying – when we share them in a proper way, they serve to strengthen the point of truth we are sharing about. Still, when we speak to build up the Body, we should NOT adhere to our personal experiences, our feelings, our thoughts or opinions, our affections or dislikes, or even our reactions to any persons / matters / things. We are not speaking for ourselves or speaking ourselves forth – we are not “dispensing ourselves” when we prophesy; rather, we are speaking Christ into others!

Amen, we need to LEARN to prophesy one by one and learn from one another as they prophesy! To prophesy is mainly to speak for God and Christ and to speak forth God and Christ – even to minister and dispense God and Christ into people as their nourishment and supply! For this, we labor in the Word and we pray over the Word that the Lord may give us the experiences we need to constitute us daily! Then, whenever we come together, we all have something – we are ready to release some spiritual vision as a revelation and some spiritual enlightenment as a light to shine over others! When we speak forth what we enjoyed with the exercise of our spirit, not speaking our own things, we bring certain things of God to light – we make certain things known to people – and we bring people into the enlightenment of God! In this way, when we prophesy we speak Christ and not ourselves, and our speaking brings light and life – our speaking builds up the church! [enjoyment from the book, The Practice of Prophesying, yb brother Witness Lee]

Lord Jesus, make us those who build up the Body of Christ through our living and our speaking! May we not despise our portion and may we not discard our talent! Lord, we want to get into the Word to know You and to understand the deeper meaning of the truth! Unveil us to see Your economy and Your heart’s desire! O, Lord, how much we need to experience You and enjoy You daily! How much we need to learn, Lord, to speak Christ whenever we meet! We want to speak for building up, Lord! Save us from speaking or imparting “ourselves” into others – we want to minister and dispense Christ even through our speaking!

simple elements for the composition of a prophecy for the building up of the church

According to 1 Cor. 14, all the believers should pursue, seek, and even desire earnestly to prophesy for the building up of the church(1 Cor. 14:1, 12, 39). We all have both the capacity / ability to speak for God and speak God forth, AND we also have the obligation to prophesy for the building up of the church! Many times believers are “scared of prophesying” because they honestly think that they either have nothing to speak, or they don’t know the Lord enough, or they don’t have “the inspiration of the Holy Spirit”. But just like in speaking a language, we can learn to prophesy by practicing and exercising! This morning I appreciated in a fresh way what are some of the elements for the composition of a prophecy according to 1 Cor. 14:

  • First of all, for us to prophesy in the sense of 1 Cor. 14 we need to have some knowledge and experience of God, Christ, and the spiritual things. Before we speak, we need to know God, we need to know Christ, and we need to know the spiritual things. To prophesy is to speak God and Christ into people – before we can speak, we need to read the Bible, pray over the Word of God, and study the Word and the spiritual books, so that we may obtain some spiritual knowledge! And not only to know or have knowledge – we need to experience these things, and seek spiritual experiences of God!
  • Secondly, the composition of a prophecy comprises the utterance to speak forth what we know and have experienced of God, Christ, and spiritual things. We need to learn to speak spiritual things with spiritual words – this involves our practice and continual learning! We need to learn to speak, even compose a summary of what we enjoyed and then speak it out loud to either ourselves or our companions, so that we may be perfected in our speaking. We are not “natural at prophesying” and we cannot use any natural eloquence in this – we all need to learn to speak by practicing! Speak what you know and you enjoyed with the exercise of your spirit! The more you speak, the more you are perfected in your speaking!
  • Also, the composition of a prophecy comprises the sight under the divine enlightement concerning the situation and the environment… we don’t just speak the portion we prepared in any kind of meeting or environment – we need to have the sight to see the things taking place in the church life and the situation of all the saints! It helps to pray to the Lord, “Lord, show me the real situation! Shine over me and enlighten me. Give me the full enlightenment that I may know the intrinsic contents of the present situation“. In this way, we can speak according to the need and we can build up the church in the present situation. We need to be open to the Lord for any kind of environment or situation – to speak under His enlightenment.
  • In addition to this, we need the instant inspiration of the indwelling Spirit that stirs up our spirit to speak! We don’t speak because we want to speak but because the Spirit stirs us up to speak. And regarding the Spirit’s inspiration – we are no longer in the Old Testament age where the prophets had to wait for the Spirit to come and inspire them – we now joined to the Lord as one spirit(1 Cor. 6:17). Whenever we exercise our spirit to touch the Lord and say, Lord, I want to speak for You! – He is there with us and inspires us! What a secret! We can exercise our spirit, and the Holy Spirit indwelling our spirit will be moved by us – and we will have the divine inspiration! In this way, when we speak with the exercise of the spirit, we will impart not only “spiritual knowledge” or “doctrine”, but we will impart life and the Spirit!

Hallelujah for such simple ways to prepare ourselves to speak for God and speak God forth! It will take our whole life to learn to speak not just human languages but also to speak for God and to speak God forth! This is why daily we need to get into the Word and into the ministry that opens up the Word – in the way of life and in the way of studying it! As we study and acquire the spiritual knowledge, we also need to seek to experience these matters(by mainly praying over them and telling the Lord to make them real to us, even to make these visions our experience). As we go on with the Lord in this way, we can even write down something of what we enjoyed and were impressed with – the knowledge and the experience we had in the Word and in the Spirit. We can practice to speak – speak to yourself in front of the mirror, speak to the nature, speak to the objects in your room – just practice to speak God and speak the word of God! And when the need arises, as we see under the enlightenment of the Spirit, we can then speak something for the building up – with the exercise of our spirit! Our purpose is to build up the church as the Body of Christ – for this we seek the Lord to show us the real situation and condition of the church, and we exercise our spirit to have the instant inspiration of the Holy Spirit in our speaking! O, Lord… – how much we need to practice this! [enjoyment from the book, The Practice of Prophesying, by brother Witness Lee, as quoted in the morning revival, The Need for a Fresh Vision of the Lord’s Recovery]

Lord, we want the building up of Your Body! Make us those that prophesy and seek to prophesy! Lord, even those who earnestly desire to prophesy in the sense of 1 Cor. 14! Make Your Word so real to us, so open, as we endeavor to enter into the Word and have spiritual experiences and revelations! Lord, keep us practicing to both exercise our spirit over the Word and to speak what You reveal to us! Enlighten us concerning the situation of the church, Lord, so that we may speak for building up! In all these, Lord, we want to exercise our spirit and speak in oneness with You who indwells us! Have a way in us, Lord!