The preparation and training of a prophet is perhaps one of the most difficult and arduous ministries to go through. One may wonder why, but in order to be God's spokesman, the process must empty the person to such a degree, that they are dead to themselves. If God is going to use a man or a woman to be His voice, He must be able to entrust that person with His very words. These are not things that God would take lightly, and when things are misspoken or handled wrongly, then people can get easily hurt or deceived.

There are many things that we have perhaps become accustomed to in this life that we have led. Perhaps we have natural gifts and abilities that have enabled us to be successful. If this is the case, then God needs to verify that we won't rely upon these abilities, but upon His Spirit. If one has a strong intellect or is good with people, then those tendencies can hinder our dependence upon Him. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with having intelligence, but when we rely upon this natural gift instead of His Spirit, then God can't use us prophetically.

The same is true with those who can make friends easily, and who may have a great charisma about them. Again, if one is relying upon this natural gift and tendency, then this has to be dealt with. What if someone is attractive and has good looks, wouldn't this help them in some way with their ministry? Again, if one is relying upon attractiveness or popularity, then they are relying upon natural abilities or gifts, and not upon God. And yet, even the opposite is true. For some of us are weak physically, or perhaps we have a fear of man, or we are insecure in some way.

The preparation then is one of God helping the person to bolster up their faith and confidence in Him. God has a way of finding a job for you in the meantime that will be helping to instill these characteristics in you. If we allow Him to work in us, then the process can go much quicker, or it may well last for years.

One may ask how the long the preparation is, and this depends upon the individual. But you can be sure that just as He called Jeremiah from the womb, that calling, and that preparation, has been long in the making.

Even in childhood one may experience loneliness or rejection. You may find yourself being left out of the games that were played at school or on the playground. Somehow, you just didn't fit-in. As a child you had succumbed to day-dreaming or having an imaginary world. This isn't all bad, for the time will come when you will need to think in terms of pictures, and in visualizing the things of God's Spirit to others. Perhaps even in adolescence, one isn’t accepted, and this time in life is filled with all kinds of rejection and not fitting-in with one’s peers and classmates. Remember that God spoke to Jeremiah, and Jeremiah felt so insecure.

He said, But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Jeremiah 1:7

There are many things in your life that have been difficult, and yet, God must get you to a place where you don't rely upon your natural tendencies, but only upon Him. And in adulthood, there probably have been failed relationships and marriages. Somehow, your life has been one series of failures, one after another one. Many around you, in your circle of friends or in the church, wonder because everything in their life has been steady and without all of the problems that you may have had to face. Even in a church setting, you may have been over-looked and weren't allowed to be elected to a certain committee, or ministry.

The length of time for preparation varies from one person to the next. It may take anywhere from ten to forty years. It may seem at times, like giving-up, or wondering why your life has gone the way that it has.

7 And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh.

Ex. 7:7 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. Ex. 3:1

And just as you had to deal with insecurity and now you can rely upon God’s Spirit; in time, you may well have to deal with pride, and so God must humble you again. It is a process of going through these things sometimes to no end, but it is also necessary. It can be very much like the pendulum in a large clock. For as it swings from one side to the other, to the area of insecurity, and then goes to the other side, it may seem like the preparation has ended. But then as it swings to the right, and there again is the ugly face of pride.

In time, the preparation and training of Moses caused him to develop a deep reliance and humility before God.

3 Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men that were upon the face of the earth. Numbers 12

There are several passages that can apply to one as they go through these years of preparation. And yet, all who live the Christian life go through various trials and periods of difficulty. All of this is working in the believer to bring about God's character.

2 Corinthians 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed - always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. Verse 16 says: Therefore we do not lose heart, even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Those who were involved in prophetic ministry in the past and still today, did so through their words and actions. This is the way that these things can be witnessed and seen.

10 And as we tarried there some days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 11 And coming to us, and taking Paul's girdle, he bound his own feet and hands, and said, Thus saith the Holy Spirit, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. Acts 21
In order for God’s word to go out into the ends of the earth it must be done through His people. As it does this it is then released through human lips and is spoken.

In Isaiah 55:11 God said: So shall be My Word which goes forth into the earth; it shall not return to Me void, but will accomplish that for which I send it.

We have a spirit, soul, and a body. God has to deal with all three of these areas in our lives. He is going to have to deal with all of these in order. He begins with our spirit, and then onto our souls, and finally with our body. All three of these have areas of weaknesses or abilities that will be dealt with. If we are walking in the Spirit, then our spirit is aligned with the Holy Spirit.

All of this will be like being refined like pure gold. All of the impurities will need to be dealt with, until the gold is pure. Every time that the gold goes through the fire it will come out purer. The process will go on and on, and with each firing, the process will be bringing about a greater anointing, and purification of the spirit.

And then one notices different spiritual attacks and devils on every corner. As God is strengthening you and preparing you, the enemy's attacks are now intensifying. You are now being brought up to a higher level of ministry, and so the attacks are now matching that level. He is getting you ready through these things.

The process continues because God won’t allow you to become stagnant or to stay in one place. He is ever moving, and the preparation circumstances bring about new challenges, and new ways of causing death to yourself, and yet new life in His Spirit. You will find that your time in prayer and intercession will become invaluable to you.

Praying in the spirit and in tongues, will greatly energize you to be able to move forward. These times are very important, and without them, one’s daily walk becomes frustrating and more difficult.

And finally after much of this is coming to a close, so the preparation time is ending and now actual training can begin. Now you may well have moved into prophetic ministry, but the process continues. Now God can begin to trust you with His word and His anointing is present.

Stephen Hanson