1. Have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you’ve received Jesus as your Savior, you’ve already met the first and most important requirement. When you opened your heart to Jesus, you began an intimate relationship with Him not only as your Savior, but also as your friend, teacher, and counselor.
2. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples shortly before He was crucified that after He was gone, He would send the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, to teach them all things and guide them into all truth (John 16:7,13–14). He has promised to give the Holy Spirit to you, too, if you ask for it (Luke 11:9–13).
3. Pray for the gift. The ability to receive messages directly from God—commonly referred to as the gift of prophecy—is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are explained in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. God is more than willing to give you this or whatever other gifts of the Spirit you ask for (Matthew 7:7–8).
4. Talk to Jesus. Prayer is not meant to be a religious ritual, but a living relationship. Jesus wants to speak to you as openly and freely as your best friend or spouse would, but it’s a two-way street. It may be awkward at first if you aren’t used to speaking to Him personally, but it gets easier once you begin to do it regularly. He understands and loves you as no other can. He wants you to tell Him your deepest thoughts, your innermost feelings, your secret dreams and longings.
5. Read God’s Word. In order to correctly apply the words that Jesus speaks to you personally in prophecy, you need a certain understanding of God’s already recorded Word. Knowing the Word also helps you to have faith that the message you are hearing is from the Lord. The Bible is your foundation. Read it, study it, memorize it, and let it become a part of you.
6. Have faith. The Bible tells us that having faith is being certain that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it right now. How do you get faith? Simple! Faith comes from reading the Word of God (Romans 10:17). As you read the Word and commit key passages to memory, your faith will grow.
7. Ask! This may seem pretty obvious, but in order to receive something in prophecy, you first have to ask the Lord to speak to you. “Call on Me, and I will show you great and mighty things which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). Place your telephone call and get His reply!
8. Be humble. Your mindset, your attitude of heart, your motives—all of these help determine how clearly you will be able to hear from Heaven. You need to realize that you are weak in yourself, that you don’t have the answers and therefore need God’s answers. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels”—lowly clay pots—“that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
9. Ask God to override your own thoughts while hearing from Him, and to help you submit your will to His. To receive God’s messages, you need to have an open mind and heart. You need to be ready to accept whatever He gives, even if it’s not what you were expecting, not completely to your liking, or you don’t understand it fully. Your own ideas and desires may be good, but His will prove better.
10. Now you’re ready to begin. Start by finding a quiet place and taking a few minutes to talk to the Lord. Tell Him what’s on your heart. Thank Him for His blessings in your life.
If you have a specific question you’d like to ask Jesus, go ahead. Then be still and focus your mind on the Lord. Closing your eyes will help you shut out distractions around you.
Do your best to concentrate and patiently listen with your spirit. Then take in whatever comes to your heart, mind, ears, or eyes, and accept that as the Lord’s message for you. As you speak or write down the first bit you get, the Lord will give you more. When you’ve sincerely asked the Lord to speak, and your heart and mind are open to Him, He will!
(For more explanation of the gift of prophecy and how to use it and benefit from it, read Hearing From Heaven, a booklet in Aurora Production’s Get Activated series.)