This next gift may just be the greatest of the 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit. The reason I say this is because the apostle Paul, in the second verse above, purposely singles out this gift when telling you to seek after the spiritual gifts.
He says in this verse to “desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”
With him purposely singling out the gift of prophecy in comparison to the rest of the 9 gifts in this verse, I believe that this may be a tell to us that the gift of prophecy may be the greatest of the 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit.
And when you think about exactly what this gift is all about, I believe that he may be right on the money.
The gift of prophecy is when you get a direct Word from the Lord to usually give to someone else. And when I say a direct word, I mean the message from the Lord that will be given to you will literally be word for word.
When you get one of these, you need to try and either write or type all of it out if you are in a place to be able to do so.
I do not believe there is anything greater than to be able to receive a direct, clear, prophetic Word from the Lord to be able to give to someone else in order to help edify and build them up, or to help them out with something specific they may be dealing with, with you being the actual messenger of that prophetic word to that someone.
As such, they all need to be recorded and written down if at all possible.
However, there will be times that you will not be able to record it.
All of a sudden the Holy Spirit will give you a direct, clear, prophetic word to give to someone else. You speak out the word to this person and then you will be done with it. It might be a very short word and it really does not need to be recorded or written down.
But there will be other times that you will be in a place to properly record it. And depending on what the Lord is giving you a direct message on and how long it is, you should make every attempt to get it down on paper, as they are real trophies and treasures when they do come in from the Lord.
The Bible tells us that God uses the gift of prophecy to speak edification, exhortation, and comfort to other people.
Here is the specific verse giving us this direct revelation on what the main use of prophecy is all about:
“But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” (1 Corinthians 14:4)
Many times prophecy is also used to help confirm what has already been given to the person earlier on by the Lord. Sometimes God will confirm for you what He has already told you earlier so you will know that it really was Him all along giving you that specific message.
And one of the ways that He can confirm a previous message that He has already given you is by giving you a direct prophecy through another believer.
Prophecies from the Lord can cover an extremely wide range of situations and issues, covering everything from predicting future events like they use to do in the OT, to giving someone counsel, encouragement, confirmation, instruction, and possible correction when it may be needed.
Also, all prophecy needs to be properly tested, as the Bible tells us that there will always be false prophets walking among us, along with the possibility of well-meaning believers prophesying out of their own imaginations. Here is the verse giving us this direct warning:
“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21)
All prophecy always needs to line up with Scripture. If it does not, it should be immediately rejected. God will never go against His own Word when delivering a prophetic word to someone.
Again, any believer can have the Lord manifest this gift through them at anytime that He will want to do so. You do not have to hold the actual office of a prophet in order for God to manifest this gift through you from time to time.
The Bible tells us that in the latter days God will be pouring out His Holy Spirit upon all flesh and when He does, it says our sons and daughters will be prophesying.
This means that there are going to be many believers who are going to be getting this gift manifesting through them with a lot of frequency in the coming years.
When Paul says in the above two verses to “desire earnestly to prophesy” and to “desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy,” you know that this is something that the Lord would really like to do more of with His children.
Again, if you would like the Lord to manifest this gift through you from time to time so you can be a direct messenger for Him to someone else, just go to Him in prayer and tell Him that you would be more than happy to be a willing and yielded vessel for Him to manifest this particular gift through if He would like to do so.
And then keep your radars up, always being open and sensitive to the Holy Spirit if He will want to start manifesting this gift through you so He can use it to help build others up and bring some comfort, joy, peace, or direction into their lives.
You can read the rest of the gifts of the Holy Spirit here.