Let’s read 1st Corinthians 14:1-5, “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But HE WHO PROPHESIES SPEAKS EDIFICATION AND EXHORTATION AND COMFORT TO MEN. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but HE WHO PROPHESIES EDIFIES THE CHURCH. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification” (NKJV). We see in this passage 1) that one should have a DESIRE TO PROPHESY; 2) the MEANING and RESULTS OF PROPHESYING. We will take a closer look at these two things and in doing so your question should be answered.

1) The Apostle Paul wants believers to “desire…that you may prophecy.” This tells me that this is a gift we may not have when we are first saved, but it is one we can ask the Lord to give us. But as we shall see, this desire to prophesy will NOT be to bring attention to ourselves, but rather to bring glory to God and to build up His church. The Corinthian saints were making so much of the gift of tongues which brought attention to themselves (unless there was one who could interpret what they were saying), but they were admonished to desire the greater gift, the gift of prophesying. It seems obvious from your question that you do have a desire to prophesy and that is a good thing if this desire springs from the desire to edify other believers. We are exhorted in Jude 20, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith.” This is accomplished through the act of prophesying.

2) In verses 3 & 4 we are told exactly what it means to prophesy, “He who prophesies speaks EDIFICATION and EXHORTATION and COMFORT to men….He who prophesies EDIFIES the church.” Prophesying has been defined as “speaking a word from God to other believers in order to meet a present need.” Here we see three specific needs that can be met by one prophesying: Edification, exhortation and comfort. Let’s consider each of these.

We saw earlier that EDIFICATION means to be “BUILT UP on our most holy faith.” How wonderful it is if God gives us just the right scripture(s) to help believers “GROW in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2nd Peter 3:18). It is only through the Word of God that believers will GROW and be EDFIFIED. Peter said earlier in 1st Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, THAT YOU MAY GROW THEREBY.” The Apostle Paul declared, “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the WORD OF HIS GRACE, WHICH IS ABLE TO BUILD YOU UP” (Acts 20:32). If the Lord lays on your heart a word to share with other believers to help them grow, you are prophesying! You will then see the result of your prophesying; you will see them “built up on their most holy faith.”

The word EXHORTATION speaks of bringing a word of ENCOURAGEMENT to someone who needs to be “stirred up.” We may see believers who are losing heart and becoming lax in their walk with the Lord. The Lord may then give us just the needed word from Scripture to encourage them to take heart to press on in their walk with Christ. In doing so we are prophesying and we will indeed see results; we will see them stirred up and once again walking with the Lord for His glory and for the blessing of others.

In the word COMFORT we have idea of “lifting up”; which would be speaking just the right portion of Scripture to someone who is “down in the dumps.” They are depressed because of some adversity in their life and the Lord gives us a passage from the Word to “lift up their spirit” that has been cast down by the stormy trials of life. In prophesying to them we will surely bring the word in a loving and tenderly way, so that the very manner in which we prophesy will also be a source of comfort to them. (339.3) (DO)