What It Means To Be Prophetic
Prophetic minister Gary Heyes on the dos, the don’ts and the purpose of prophecy to encourage and edify other believers.
It was through mutual contacts in Fukuoka, Japan that Canadian minister Gary Heyes connected with City Harvest Church and its leaders, including senior pastor Kong Hee, in late 2016. Since the beginning of 2017, Heyes has visited City Harvest Church numerous times to minister prophetically to various groups of members, cell groups and zones, releasing powerful words which have brought about deliverance, healing, and provision.
The Canadian minister went through a turbulent lifestyle involving drugs and alcoholism in his youth before an encounter with God altered his life forever. Even as a young believer, Heyes embraced the promise and manifestation of spiritual gifts as written in 1 Corinthians 12:1-12. Today, he travels around the world to minister in the prophetic office and release others to activate their spiritual gifts in a relevant way.
Why do some people receive many prophecies and some none at all?
If you don’t get something, maybe you don’t need it at that moment, or maybe it’s because you’re already hearing from God; He’s already speaking to you on a regular basis.
I’ve had times where I hung out with amazing prophets and I badgered them but they gave me nothing—and then God speaks to me, “You don’t need it, you’ve got Me.” Some seasons, all you get are prophecies, and it’s because God knows you are at the point where you can steward the words you get. Need could be one reason, maturity is another. The people who got the most prophetic words were the ones who stewarded the prophetic.
What does it mean to “steward the prophetic”?
For me, stewarding the prophetic is to do the practical things. I have had many prophecies spoken over me in the last 32 years. I would write them out into three areas: one, “What does God say He’s going to do?” I remind Him of His promises. Two, “What does God say I need to do?” These may be simple things like, obey, seek His face, fast and pray, change an attitude, etc. Three, “What does God say about me?” This has to do with my identity—who I am or who I am to be, be it a prophet of hope, a father, a son or daughter. These are what I remind the enemy of as he tries to condemn and criticize me. Keep the words in your spirit at all times, keep your heart open.
What if the prophecy I received doesn’t really resonate with me?
It’s okay, because you still have God’s Word, you still go to church. The main thing is that you are reading your Bible and hearing from God on a daily basis. What has happened a lot is that we focus so much on the taught word that we miss the activity of the Holy Spirit and His gifts; we diminish them because we focus too much on the teaching as opposed to the demonstration and manifestation of the Spirit. Counselling, Bible study, all these are great, but there is no substitute for you reading the Bible every day and getting alone with God.
It’s also important that you don’t let prophecy be the foundation of a decision—it’s a supplement. The Bible says prophecy is for edification, exhortation and comfort. It doesn’t say direction. You have to know in your heart what God has been speaking to you directly.
So, as you mature in your walk with God, He will get a word to you. The Bible says, “You will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way. Follow it, whether it turns to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21) The Holy Spirit is the greatest teacher and lover of our souls.
How do you deal when your friend gets this great word of prophecy and you don’t get anything and you’re feeling bad for yourself?
Well, that says something about your walk with God, doesn’t it? Where do you need to let God work in your life? Maybe you need to let the “seasoned word”—God’s words from the Bible—season your heart and keep working in your heart before you get the word in season. Again, prophecy is supplemental. It’s not the main thing. I have to trust that if I don’t get a word, maybe I don’t need it, or maybe God needs to work in my heart more.
What are some general guidelines to prophesying for others?
Scripture gives us boundaries: 1 Cor. 14:3 says, “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” Everything you do has to be done through love for the people you’re prophesying to.
You also don’t want to get so dogmatic and preface everything with “Thus sayeth the Lord”. What happens if you don’t get it right? You can say, “I sense” or “I feel”. This way, you give the person the option to tell you if what you said makes sense to him or not. You have to put yourself in the position to prophesy. Faith is a muscle—it stretches by reason of use. It’s good to practice on your friends!
Sometimes people make the prophetic much more complicated than what it is. In the New Testament it is all about encouraging, building up, edifying people. Anybody can do that, but what a prophetic person does is that they intentionally do it. They are always looking around at the countenance of others: “Who can I bless, who can I minister to?” Because it’s never about us; it’s about God, and who He wants to bless.
What if I believe I have a word for someone that may be a little harsh?
Again, it’s important to remember that we prophesy to encourage, build up and edify. It doesn’t say direction, and it doesn’t say correction. These are for people who carry the office of the Prophet. There’s the spirit of prophecy—which is for believers generally, then there the gift of prophecy for those who are particularly gifted in this area, and then there is the office of a prophet. But it also depends on the context and your relationship with the person—nobody loves correction but people will give you more latitude if they feel you value and love them. Always speak out of love.
How do we become more sensitive to giving accurate prophecies?
There are two things here—sensitivity and accuracy. To cultivate sensitivity to God, you have to wait on Him, letting Him work in your life and letting your heart be changed. Sometimes, this is how it works—the more difficulty you have in your life, the more sensitive you become, because your heart has been broken, because how do you understand the heart of man if you haven’t gone through what the heart of man has gone through?
On accuracy, Scripture talks about “by reason of use”, which is exercising. I wasn’t doing this five years ago. The more I got in situations where there was a demand put on my life to prophesy, the more I exercised the gift and got better. You have to be willing to fail, you have to be okay with making mistakes. Paul said to Timothy to “stir up the gift”, that means, be intentional about it! Your gift will not operate unless you activate it.
How do we stir it up?
Read books about the prophetic, read the Bible—it’s the foundation for everything we do. You can’t prophesy if you’ve got nothing in you, so you have to get God’s Word in your heart. And pray in tongues—the Spirit activates the Word in your heart so that you can minister prophetically.
How would you sum up what it means to be prophetic?
The prophetic lifestyle is the pursuit of the supernatural, the belief that God is always speaking, that He’s a good God, and that He has a good future for us. As David says in the Psalms, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! If I would count them, they are more than the sand.” Ultimately, we’re not just human, we’re spirit. Deep calls to the deep and spirit unto spirit. 1 Cor. 2:9-10 says: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.” So it is possible for us to hear God speaking, for us to tap into His thoughts and speak them out.
Gary Heyes is married to Sheila, and they have a son Joshua, who is married to Melissa. Visit speaklifecanada.com for more information on Heyes’ ministry, Speak Life Canada.