I recently shared with a friend an experience I’d had in the summer of 2011, and I feel like the timing is right to share it with you. I don’t know what you believe about the gift of prophecy, but because of certain teachings concerning the doctrine of cessation, I used to believe it was given primarily to preachers and missionaries to proclaim or speak forth the already revealed and written Word of God. While I no longer believe that, as I expressed in a previous post, I believe that any prophetic utterance must not contradict what has already been revealed and therefore, would not include any new revelation or foretelling of future events contrary to what has already been prophesied. The Bible says that of all the spiritual gifts, we should be eager to prophesy, because it edifies, exhorts and comforts.
In the summer of 2011, I traveled to North Carolina to spend some time with my mom and attend my 30th high school reunion. During an earlier visit, I had attended my mother’s church and learned they had a room to which people could go after the service for prayer and possibly to receive a word from God. My mother attends a very large Baptist church that also does not believe in the doctrine of cessation, and they appoint proven people to minister in the room. I didn’t go to the room during my earlier visit, but when I returned in the summer, I really felt the need for prayer and to possibly hear a word from God. So, after the service I went toward the door of the room where a man was standing. He asked if I needed prayer, and I said, “Yes.” He lead me into the room where another person was ministering to someone else. The room looked like a cozy living room or study with plush chairs, side tables, and softly lit lamps. He motioned for me to sit down, then asked if he could pray silently first and ask God for guidance and insight. Of course, I agreed.
After he prayed, he said something like, “As I prayed, I saw a vision. Now, I don’t know if it will mean anything to you, and if it doesn’t, you can ask God if it means anything or you can just disregard it. I am just a man; I am fallible, so you decide whether or not you believe it’s from God, ok?”
I really appreciated that, because I’ve been in charismatic circles in which people claim to speak for God in a “thus saith the Lord” way. Some think they are speaking boldly with faith and the power of the Holy Spirit, but they don’t realize they may actually be speaking presumptuously and not at all from Him.
Anyway, he continued. “You know the moving sidewalks? Like the ones you see in airports? Well, I saw a clear vision of you on one. You were heading in the right direction, you were even walking, but you didn’t seem to be getting anywhere.”
I immediately started sobbing. What he said was exactly how I was feeling. Exactly. I had been feeling somewhat stuck and hindered, and I wanted to know if I was heading in the right direction. When I could finally speak, I told him what I was struggling with, and he counseled me a bit, prayed for me, encouraged me, and asked questions to get a sense of whether or not the church could be of further help to me.
As I’ve already mentioned, my mother’s church is a very large Baptist church. It receives many visitors each Sunday from near and far. The man did not know me, I had not been introduced to him, nor had I said anything besides, “Yes,” to him prior to his vision. Because he didn’t know me, because his vision was so right on, and because it answered the question in my heart, I was so encouraged to keep pressing forward and trust the Lord. So was it a prophetic vision and word from God? I truly believe it was.