Prophetic Guidelines: A Brief Introduction

Mark Virkler's picture

What follows is a basic introduction to the experience of giving and receiving prophetic words. More can be said so I have supplied additional resources at the end of this article. 

Seven foundational principles upon which a healthy prophetic ministry is built

  1. The heart of Christianity is FRIENDSHIP with Jesus (“I have called you friends” - Jn. 15:15). Our friendship relationship with Jesus is similar to all friendship relationships we build in life. We spend time in the other's company, seeing them, dialoguing with them, and feeling their emotions. Their presence strengthens and empowers us. Each of these traits applies to our friendship with Jesus. For example: “My sheep hear My voice (Jn. 10:27). We behold Him (Acts 2:25; Heb. 12:1,2) and are transformed while we look (2 Cor. 3:16-18; 4:16-18). Our spirits pick up His emotions (Gal. 5:22-25; Rom. 14:17) and are strengthened by His presence (Neh. 8:10; Phil. 4:13). The prophetic nurtures all these realities.


  1. The prophet does not replace or displace a personal relationship with Jesus by themselves becoming the voice and vision of God in the believer’s life. Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father but through Me” (Jn. 14:6). In the new covenant, neither the Pope nor pastor nor prophet is to hear from God for the people. When Christ died on the cross, the veil into the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom so we all can enter into the direct presence of God and receive from Him (Matt. 27:51; Heb. 9:3; 10:20).  Now everyone has the capacity to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:30).
  2. The content of prophetic words is the same as those spoken by Jesus. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life (Jn. 6:63 NASB). Let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them (Phil. 4:29 TPT). When someone prophesies, he speaks to encourage people, to build them up, and to bring them comfort (1 Cor. 14:3 TPB). You will note in this verse that prediction is not one of the three primary categories of New Testament prophecy.
  3. Predictive prophecies are discouraged as they can easily NOT come to pass. For example, when a person changes the course of their lives, God re-adjusts what He says He will do (Jonah 3:4,5,10; Ezek. 33:13-16; Jer. 18:7-10). Jonah clearly predicts a future that does NOT come to pass: "In forty days Nineveh will be overthrown." They were NOT overthrown because they repented and God changed His mind. This means the future is in flux and dependent upon man’s response. Obedience to His voice brings blessing, and not listening to His voice brings calamity (Deut. 28:1-58). If God does share His destiny for an individual's life, the receiver of that word should be asking daily, "Lord, what are Your instructions for me today which will move me forward in Your plan for my life?" Expect specific ongoing instructions even as God provided ongoing instructions for Abraham (Gen. 22). To succeed one must hear these mid-course corrections and act in obedience to what God is speaking. So daily friendship, communion, and obedience to His voice are required in order to fully experience God’s destiny, blessing, and purpose in your life.
  4. The role of those who mature into the “office” of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher is to train up others to function in each of these roles (Eph. 4:7-11). For example, the prophet is training others how to hear, see and feel in the spirit realm with the goal of enhancing their friendship with Jesus. The instruction would include: (1) One turns their attention to the spirit world and away from self, logic, reason, and the noise of this natural world. (2) They fix their eyes on Jesus, seeing Jesus present with them (Acts 2:25; Jn. 5:19,20). (3) They tune to the River of the Spirit which flows within, meaning they tune to flowing thoughts (God’s voice), flowing pictures (God’s visions), and flowing emotions (God's kingdom emotions of love, joy, peace). (4) Finally, they release what they receive through journaling or speaking, art or music or prophetic gestures, or prophetic acts of kindness. The above four keys are found in Habakkuk 2:1,2; John 7:37-39; Revelation 1:9-11; Hebrews 12:1,2.
  5. Your multitude of counselors provides you with victory (Prov. 11:14). Each individual should seek out a minimum of 2-3 counselors (2 Cor. 13:1), who together can express the five heart motivations present in a five-fold team (Eph. 4:7-11). These include the apostle/organizer, prophet/innovator, evangelist/marketer, pastor/caregiver, teacher/educator. In addition to this multitude of counselors, the individual also listens to God through His voice in their hearts, dreams, visions, illumined Scripture, the fruit of life, and peace in his heart. God’s voice will harmonize through each of these various channels, and no major decision should be made without this harmonization.
  6. Authoritarianism, the spirit of control, and legalism are strictly forbidden. Jesus always provided His disciples the freedom to choose (Jn. 6:67; Lk. 22:24-30). Agabus prophesied that Paul would be bound and taken captive, but this prophecy did not deter Paul from choosing to continue on his way to Jerusalem. Paul followed what he felt was right in his spirit (Acts 21:10-15). We never violate the leading of God in our hearts, even if a senior prophet tells us they have a word from God that is contrary to what God has spoken to us (1 Kings 13:11- 26).

The most mature prophetic ministry I have ever witnessed in a church was a church that had the recognized prophets sit in the front row off to the side. One of the pastors was present there also, and anytime during the service that one of the prophets felt they had a word for the body, they would go to that pastor and whisper it to them (generally during the worship time). Then at appropriate breaks, the pastor would point to the prophet, and that prophet would come to the microphone and share the word with the congregation.

Journaling about the prophetic flow: Mark, the prophetic flow is My flow. It is the flow of My Spirit within each and every person. It is Me, alive, moving, expressing Myself, giving life to all that I touch. It is the River John saw flowing from the Throne of My Father. Abide in My River. Live by My River. Be refreshed by My River and your life will flourish and be fruitful. Behold I have spoken. Behold it is to be done. (Rev. 22; Jn. 7:37-39; Ps. 1:3).

Resources for training on God’s voice and the prophetic flow

Related Resources: 

How to Be Empowered by the Holy Spirit!   

Related Blogs: 

Honoring the Holy Spirit   
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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages | Retail: $16.99

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond?

Price: $12.95

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice (hard cover)

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages

40% off the suggested retail price!

For the first time EVER! Hardcover copies of 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. This is a magnificent, beautiful gift to give for any occasion. Retailing at $24.95, you can purchase it through our website at only $15.00! Bless people with the gift of spiritual intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Get a souvenir copy for yourself. Only 600 copies produced, so order while supplies last!

Price: $15.00

Dialogue with God

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 296 Pages

This top seller for 30 years from Bridge Logos provides a narrative, right-brain presentation of the principles of how to hear God's voice. Especially enjoyable for personal use, it makes a great gift for introducing a loved one to the voice of God. This book teaches the four keys to hearing God's voice in readable style, and also devotes two entire chapters to moving samples of people's journaling (i.e. their two-way dialogue with God).

Price: $16.99
Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

9 Books | 10 CDs | 10 DVDs | Save $35+

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond? When things don't seem to be going your way and your prayers aren't answered the way you had hoped, wouldn't it be great to hear Him tell you where He is in the midst of it, and what He is working out in your life? Are you ever just a little bit jealous of others who say with such confidence, "The Lord said...."?

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How to Hear God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 317 Pages

We recommend that you order the newest revision of this book titled 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. It includes 95% of the content of How to Hear God's Voice but is reorganized so it fits perfectly with the 10 DVDs on this subject by Mark Virkler. In addition, it gets you started using the four keys earlier in the book and gives you more journaling samples and exercises. Since we have removed the large margins, it is a smaller and less expensive book.

Price: $19.95

Prayers That Heal the Heart - Revised & Expanded 20th Anniversary Edition

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 320 Pages

Prayer counseling that breaks every yoke! Everything you need to experience deep healing of your soul and spirit.

Did you know that you don’t need to be continually plagued by negative thoughts, feelings, pictures or memories?

It is not part of the "human condition" to feel the constant nagging of doubt, insecurity, or anger. No matter what sin you are trying to overcome, what lie you think you’ll always believe, or what traumas your heart has suffered in the past, you will receive total freedom and restoration by praying these prayers in faith. 

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Twelve Weeks to Spiritual Mastery - Group Coaching

A group coaching experience with Mark Virkler

Because I could not find a Spirit-anointed teacher/coach, I spent ten extremely frustrating years seeking to hear God’s voice!!! Suggestions offered did not help me, things like: “You just know that you know. It is a still small voice. He speaks from your heart.” No one could give me the answer I needed which was: Hearing God’s voice is as simple as quieting yourself down, fixing your eyes on Jesus, recognizing His voice as spontaneous, flowing thoughts and writing down His flow as it is coming. Test what you have written after the flow is done, NOT while it is occurring.

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Counseled by God

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 146 Pages

Have you ever been defeated by negative emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, inferiority, condemnation or depression? Have you tried to fight them off unsuccessfully? Is there an answer that is deeper than simply trying to mentally reason yourself out of these emotions? Is there a way that Jesus can speak a word of life into the depths of your emotional despair and bring healing on a deep level? Is there a form of Christian counseling that begins and ends with the movement of Christ within your heart, rather than simply with the words of man?

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Hear God Through Your Dreams Workbook Cover

Hear God Through Your Dreams Workbook

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 92 Pages

A new book has just been released that accompanies this workbook: Click here for Hearing God Through Your Dreams by Charity Kayembe and Mark Virkler (featured on Sid Roth's "It's Supernatural", with almost a million views just on YouTube).

Do you often wake up feeling there was a significant message in your dream, but you’re just not sure what it is? Like Daniel and Joseph, do you long to be able to help others understand their own dreams and win them to Christ as you explain His night messages to them? Wouldn't it be nice if you could receive mid-course corrections from the Lord while you sleep? Do you wish you could be receiving divine inspiration, creative solutions to problems, and direction from the Lord during that third of your life that you’re “just” sleeping?

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Hearing God Through Your Dreams

by Mark Virkler and Charity Virkler Kayembe | 292 Pages

Learn How to Hear God’s Voice, Even When You Are Sleeping

It is always fun to be on the winning team. Well look what God has done with Charity's new dreams teaching. It has taken off like a rocket with a live TV interview on Cornerstone Network and her Sid Roth interview which has almost a million views on YouTube!

Price: $16.99