FOUNDATIONS 2: Wayne Huirua
3 Levels of Communication
“Prophecy is really the mind of God permeating the mind of man. Praise and worship produce the most natural atmosphere for entrance into the prophetic realm and to receive His mind, heart and attributes” (Vivien Hibbert)
The term ‘prophetic’ has been around a lot lately. It has become one of the ‘flavoursome’ terms of the time. Unfortunately, overuse of such terms can tend to lead to a distortion of its original meaning. What exactly does it mean to preach, pray, minister and, of course, worship ‘prophetically’?
In her book “Prophetic Worship”, Vivien Hibbert has this to say:
“The term PROPHETIC WORSHIP is something of a misnomer, as true worship always has been and always will be prophetic. No matter what style or form it takes, worship “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) is worship that’s alive with the thoughts and voice of God. In a wider sense God’s voice will encompass the essence of the term ‘prophetic’”.
John 4:21-24 ‘ “Jesus replied, “The time is coming when we will no longer be concerned about whether to worship the Father here or in Jerusalem. For it’s not where we worship that counts but how we worship – is our worship spiritual and real? Do we have the Holy Spirit’s help? For God is Spirit and we must have His help to worship as we should. The Father wants this kind of worship from us!” ‘
In other words, worship is two-way communication. Vital, fresh, current, up to date, ‘in tune’. However we describe it, it is essentially the Holy Spirit helping us to worship in real time. God initiates and we respond.
Surely we are to live our entire lives this way, regular communication with God, discovering His will, His heart for us, His guidance and direction, and then responding as such. This makes sense, as we have already established that worship should and does encompass our entire lives.
Unfortunately the word ‘prophetic’ carries with it an implication of super-spirituality to many. The implication is that there is a spiritual realm that we must operate in that is totally separate to us and our humanness. Prophetic worship is mistakenly reduced to include only the spontaneous manifestation of the spiritual gifts. This can be likened to the difference between giving a prophetic message and living prophetically. One includes the other but is not limited to it. Prophetic worship includes the spontaneous gifts but is certainly not limited to them.
By taking a closer look at the communication process we get a balanced and much greater understanding of it all. God made us three parts: spirit, soul and body. Each part quite different from the others but intricately intertwined, each affecting the others, make the whole person. And we communicate on all three levels.
1. The Spiritual level
a) Communication at the spirit level speaks of INTENT – the VALUE or BELIEF behind why someone does something. Obviously as Christians, our intent is God’s intent. In everything we do, we seek God’s voice and will on the matter.
b) ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, this is the first and greatest commandment. And love your neighbour as yourself. All the law can be summed up by these two commandments’
Our spiritual gifts are indeed treasures to be used for the edification of the Church and the building of God’s kingdom but every gift has this principle of love as its boundary, its guideline and therefore its protection. It is the plumbline that we should always judge our actions by – prophetic or not.
1 Corinthians 13: “If I have (many) gifts but have not love I am but [a load of hot air]” paraphrased!!!
c) Non Christians communicate spiritually also. Their spirits, unredeemed as they are, are still spiritual in substance. There are many underlying and powerful values and beliefs out of which people operate.
d) In worship, we seek God’s heart and mind for a certain situation and make that our intent and goal. This can happen by being well prepared and/or spontaneously.
In music, the spontaneous requires a high level of spiritual discernment, fast thinking, great feel and very good improvisational skills. In fact, in all spontaneous prophetic ministry this process is the same:
Relate with feel
e) This process is no different for those who would prepare beforehand. God is most capable of revealing His heart for His people well in advance to those willing to listen. To do this for a particular time of worship does not necessarily mean losing the spontaneity of the moment or the impact of knowing that God has communicated to us, right here, right now. In fact, it is my belief that spontaneity happens best on a prepared base.
2. The Soul – Intellectual and emotional level
a) The way to a man’s spirit is through his soul. How can a person’s spirit respond to God if he does not consciously choose to in his mind and long to in his heart?
People choose to act if they are convinced in mind and emotion. Usually the heart influences the head, which is why to move someone emotionally, is very powerful in communication. The entire advertising world is built upon this concept. The tools we use are the same that the world uses, only we use them for a much nobler cause than to sell soap!
b) So we pray, we hear from God, He communicates His intent, then the message filters down into our interpretative machine. We use our mind and heart to strategise and relate.
In 1 Corinthians 14:32, Paul gives us a piece of advice that would come as a shock to many. ‘The control of the prophet is subject to the will of the prophet’. In other words, we do not lose control of our minds, our logic, our ability to reason or our responsibility to act in love when we receive prophecy from God.
So we take responsibility for the word we receive, we plan the best course of action using our feel to relate to and be sensitive to people and our brains to plan the best strategy.
c) We must invest resource into developing all of these areas, not just the spiritual. To hear from God is of course the most important and central aspect but to be irresponsible with what we hear brings dishonor, not glory to his name. He speaks so He can touch the people He loves. We must have this same love and feel for the people. This can drastically affect our choice of strategy. When using emotional tools such as music, feel becomes paramount. Music, theatre and dance simply do not work without feel, drama, and passion.
d) Our God given intellect provides the strategy to express that feel with maximum efficiency. The ability to think through what we are trying to achieve, what we are trying to say, to provide structure and strategy. To give boundaries and safeguards to the feeling we wish to convey. These skills also need investment and development.
e) With this in mind, we discover the need for planning and administration. This means other people and teamwork, to appreciate gifting and learn to work alongside one another to achieve a common goal. We need to recognise these giftings in ourselves and in others and strive for excellence in them. Invest into them with time, money and plain effort. Let’s not justify our laziness with super-spirituality or hyper emotion; at the same time let us beware of becoming more concerned with systems and efficiency than communicating Gods love and intent to people. Lets balance our brain with our heart and serve God with the best of both worlds!
3. The Physical level
a) We now must focus on the necessary physical skills to achieve that which we have planned, based upon that which we have heard!
b) The problem – learning skills can take a long time! Sometimes years! Something in our minds tells us that spending more time on skill than praying is wrong but that is a misconception.
Our spiritual input goes deeper than the amount of measured minutes spent praying before each worship service. Our relationship with God is not measured in minutes and hours but in the state of our ‘intimacy’’ with Him.
So also the spiritual content of our worship is dependent more on the state of our relationship with our Heavenly Father than on the measured time spent praying. (Don’t get me wrong; I am as much for prayer as the next guy!)
If God calls us to an area of service, he equips us with the necessary giftings required to fulfil our mission. Surely he would expect us to hone these gifts and skills to the best of our ability.
In this vital area of worship, just as the state of our relationship reflects our spiritual commitment to the Father, the level of our skill reflects our physical commitment. WE DON’T HAVE TO TRADE OFF ONE FOR THE OTHER. Both reflect our desire to serve the Lord.
c) To spend the time developing our skills requires commitment and resource. To commit to the commitment (!) means we must have confidence in our calling.
d) The parable of the talents shows the servant who invested his talents being given more and those who wasted or let them lie dormant were stripped of them despite all the excuses given.
Our challenge – are we investing or making excuses?