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Friday, March 21, 2014

"The Making of a Prophet" (Jennifer Leclaire)

TITLE: Making of a Prophet, The: Practical Advice for Developing Your Prophetic Voice
AUTHOR: Jennifer LeClaire
PUBLISHER: Minneapolis, MN: Chosen Books, 2014, (176 pages).

Many are called but few are chosen. Like many spiritual gifts, the same applies to the gift of prophecy. More particularly, Jennifer LeClaire speaks into what it takes to make a prophet in this helpful book about understanding things prophecy, prophetic voice, and the making of a prophet at various levels. What sparks the interest and research into prophecy and prophets is a book by Dr Bill Hamon, which resonated strongly with this author. Not only did "Prophets and Personal Prophecy" initiates a personal quest for more knowledge and confirmation, LeClaire has even written a book herself, inviting Hamon to write a foreword for the book. Instead of focusing on the actual label or a special class of people called "prophet,"  LeClaire, director of International House of Prayer, shows readers what it takes to cultivate that "prophetic voice" in each of us. Taken in this light, LeClaire is reaching out to a wider audience, hoping to invite even the skeptic to remain open to her message about developing one's prophetic voice. While not everyone who prophesies is a prophet, not everyone needs a title of "prophet" before being allowed to be a prophetic voice. Distinguish the noun from the adjective.

In asking the question about prophet as a calling, LeClaire recognizes it is one of the fivefold ministry named in Ephesians 4:11. She distinguishes the office from the desire in that while the office can be coveted for self-gratification, the desire can be cultivated for the work and ministry of God. The gift of prophecy begins with a calling that God initiates. The way it works is that God begins in small ways before any visible ministry. One clue about the call is that one learns to be patient rather than rushing headlong hurriedly into the ministry.
  • Is the person able to listen with humility?
  • Is the person willing to accept the high responsibility?
  • Is the person ready to accept small beginnings?
  • Does one recognize the call?
  • Is one willing to pay the price?
  • Is one merely copying or actively corresponding with the Spirit of God?
Leclaire describes the making of the prophet in 22 chapters. As I do not find any particular framework like the 10Ms that Bill Hamon had done in the foreword, maybe I can highly 10 Cs of how the prophetic voice can be developed. Leclaire's first point is that Calling is a "revelation gift." The author defines the purpose of prophecy as: "to speak out the heart, mind and will of God, bringing edification, exhortation and comfort to the Body of Christ." With this one purpose, she then describes the manifestations of the prophetic voice through various ways: "warriors, reformers, deliverers, watchmen, miracle workers, dreamers, visionaries, and intercessors - or any combination of these." She calls King David as a "warrior prophet" and Deborah as a "warrior prophetess." John the Baptist was a reformer. Secondly, the one called will have a great desire for Communion with God. Through the communion, one grows closer to God, more intimate with God, and maturing in love. Thirdly, one also grows in the Confidence in God. Whether one feels melting under the weather, being molded or folded, being used or filled, there is the sense of the presence of God guiding us. Fourth, one is bold to Confront the evil that opposes God. In the spirit of James 4:7, as one submits to God and resist the devil, the devil will flee.  Fifth, one recognizes the tendency toward pride and arrogance and will subject oneself to constant scrutiny via Confession. Just like the confrontation against evil, one learns to combat the temptations of the flesh. This self-awareness exercise needs to be consistently done through confession. Self-awareness and godliness are key characteristics of all spiritual gifts. Sixth, people of the prophetic voice will always Choose Jesus above all else, including the giftings of prophecy. Sometimes, when the prophetic voice becomes an idol in itself, we unwittingly gives it prime space in our spiritual life. Choosing Jesus means checking our own motives regularly, confronting our own pride and to choose love in Christ in all of our works. Seventh, there is Courage that overcomes all kinds of fear. The prophet in the making is fearless like Jesus, and does not allow fear to rule one's decision making. Instead, the motivation is a step of faith to please and to obey God. The eighth characteristic is spiritual Combat that goes beyond mere confrontation. Warfare is real and we are to go into the battlefield knowing that the Lord is our leader. Ninth, one attacks Comfort levels constantly, knowing that such desire to stay in the comfort zone is tempting and alluring, but also devastating to the prophetic call. It is more important to obey than to conveniently tune out the uncomfortable things before us. For to remain in the comfort zone often means one has to wear the hat of self-deception that says everything is all right when things are not. Finally, the calling of a prophet notes a Consistent motivation of ministry in love. One grows closer toward God. One ministers compassionately toward people. Both are done consistently and increasingly.

I think this book deserves a more structured framework. Bill Hamon's foreword provides one for the help of readers. I have tried to provide another too. That said, LeClaire does a good job in the first few chapters to describe the calling and the purpose of the prophetic ministry. There are biblical references throughout the book that give us a biblical feel of where the book is heading. I appreciate the way that Leclaire constantly brings attention back to God, which is what being a prophet is in the first place. Anyone who is curious about the role of the prophetic or whether one has a prophetic voice or not, can benefit from the tips and guidelines mentioned in the book. It is less of a person seeking after prophetic gifts but more of God seeking out the people He wants to speak to, to speak through, and to speak throughout.

Rating: 3.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Chosen Books and Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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