When Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, He gave gifts to men. Ephesians 4:11 tells us He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and some teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of service.
One of the primary mandates of a New Testament prophet is to equip the saints to hear from God and to prophesy accurately. Every believer has the capacity to hear from God. Jesus said His sheep know His voice (John 10:27). But many believers do not discern the voice of the Lord, which is one reason there is an unhealthy dependence on prophets.
Indeed, many treat prophets like psychics—or at least cheap gumball machines that take money for prophecies. Many believers, by contrast, put unhealthy pressure on prophetic people to "gimme a word" or get sucked into pay-for-prophecy scams on the internet.
But that brings me to the questions in the headline of my article: Are Schools of the Prophets Legit? You can't make somebody a prophet, so why all the schools of prophets? This is something that I did not tackle in my book, The Making of a Prophet. So I am tackling it now.
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Are Schools of the Prophets Legit?
The concept of a school of the prophets is certainly legitimate. Samuel launched the school of the prophets in Old Testament days. Some translations say "company of prophets" or "sons of prophets." In 1 Samuel 19:18-24, we see Saul running into one of Samuel's companies prophesying. Samuel was standing over them. Suddenly, the Spirit of God came upon the men with Saul and they started prophesying. Then Saul started prophesying.
Although it appears these companies or sons were young prophets, Easton's Bible Dictionary gives us more insight into the schools of prophets. Seen also with Elijah and Elisha in 1 and 2 Kings, Easton's tells us the schools of the prophets were "instituted for the purpose of training young men for the prophetical and priestly offices."
But the schools of the prophets didn't make someone a prophet. Sure, there were prophets among them. There were also priests who did not prophesy. Think of the Old Testament schools of the prophets as seminaries, of sorts, where those sensed God's call to service would band together for training.
Again, you can't make yourself into a prophet. But reputable schools of prophets can help you discern the voice of God, discover ways He may be speaking with you, and equip you in the realm of dreams, visions and spiritual warfare. Schools of prophets can teach you how to wage war with a prophetic word, wage war with the devil and wage war against your flesh. These schools can help you develop your prophetic voice, build accuracy and operate with safeguards that protect your prophetic credibility.
No, not all schools of the prophets you find on the internet are legitimate. Some of these schools are run by con artists who just want a paycheck. These are the same ones who offer prophecies online for a love donation or a specific dollar amount. I assure you, these are empty words at best.
Great Deception in Prophetic Ministry
About six months ago, I spoke with two different men of God about the state of prophetic ministry. I was so grieved to hear they were seeing many of the things I have been witnessing. When I got off the second call, I felt the Lord calling me to prayer. In my mind, I was on a deadline for the print magazine and didn't have time.
I knelt down over my bed anyway and prayed. When I did, travail came upon me. For about an hour and a half, I groaned, cried and shook. I prayed in the Spirit. I cried out the Lord. He showed me the state of some camps in the prophetic ministry, how they were doing the bidding of Jezebel and Baal, and how much worse things could get in the next five years if there is not a course correction. I don't believe most false prophets start out as false prophets.
I've waited. I've processed. And I'm committed to doing whatever small part I can to help raise up true prophets with balance, humility and accuracy in this hour. That's why I just launched a School of the Prophets that people can sit in live in South Florida or watch online at any time. I don't think I can solve the problem, but I hope to be part of the solution.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder of awakeningtv.com, on the leadership team of the New Breed Revival Network and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening;Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of God; The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer onFacebook or follow her on Twitter. Jennifer's Periscope handle is @propheticbooks.