Let’s start by reading 1 Corinthians 13:13 along with the verse you referred to.  1 Corinthians 13:13 and 14:1 says, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.  Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.”  Most of us realize that 1 Corinthians 13 is referred to as the love chapter.  In the King James Version, the word ‘charity’ is used, but the Greek word is ‘agape’, which means love.  Three things abide today: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.  Why is love the greatest?  Faith and hope, while essential for the believer on the Lord Jesus, are both temporary.  When the day comes that we see the Lord Jesus face-to-face, we will no longer need faith or hope.  Faith will give way to sight, and hope will give way to reality.  Love, however, will remain throughout eternity.  It will never cease, so it is the greatest of these three.

The Apostle Paul then encourages us to follow after love, seeing that it is the greatest.  After that, our desire should be to have and to develop spiritual gifts the Lord might give us so that we might benefit our fellow believers and bring precious souls to Christ.  Then Paul writes, “but rather that ye may prophesy.”  The word rather is used in a comparative sense.  The World English Bible translates this word as ‘especially’, so we are to especially desire to prophesy.  We learn here of the great value and need of the word of prophesy in the church.  So, we should ask, what exactly is prophesy in the New Testament sense?  Let’s read 1 Corinthians 14:3 which says, “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”  Who is Paul writing to here?  Is he addressing a few people with the ability to prophesy?  Let’s read 1 Corinthians 14:31 which says, “For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.”  To prophesy literally means to speak the mind of God.  To all believers in the body of Christ, there is given the privilege and responsibility to prophesy, or to share a word from the Lord that will edify, exhort, and comfort our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Why is prophesy so important?  Its purpose is to edify, or strengthen; to exhort, or encourage; and to comfort or console those who need it.  True prophesy is true ministry given at the right time for particular needs.  Proverbs 15:23 says, “…a word in its season, how good is it!”

In the Lord’s earthly ministry, we find several occasions where He healed people of diseases and demons.  There are three instances where the Lord Jesus raised people from the dead.  Often, when the Lord healed someone, it wasn’t primarily for their benefit, but rather it was to glorify the Lord.  Let’s look at one example in John 9:1-7 where we read, “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,  And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”  We see that this man was born blind and allowed to remain blind until the Lord healed him in order to manifest the love and power of God.

In Mark, chapter 5, the Lord healed a man of demon possession so that he might be a testimony to others of the grace of God.  Mark 5:18-19 says, “And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.”

I encourage you to research the different ones the Lord healed during His earthly ministry.  You will find there was a spiritual lesson in each one of these healings.  The Lord’s desire today is still to benefit us spiritually.  He has manifested His love and His power to us through the teachings of the scriptures.  His desire is that we are blessed and be a blessing to others.  One of the ways that He performs that today is through the ministry of His Word.  This brings eternal blessings as opposed to physical healings, which bring temporary blessings.  Does the Lord still heal today?  He certainly does.  But, as is pointed out in 1 Corinthians 14:1, we should especially seek to prophesy.  This brings strength, encouragement, and comfort to the body of Christ.  That is needed much more than physical healing.  (92.3)