The definition from Wikipedia is often defined as “the ability of one person to know what God is currently doing or intends to do in the life of another person. It can also be defined as knowing the secrets of another person’s heart.” In other words, it is a supernatural revelation of information from the Holy Spirit.
The Bible talks about this in 1 Cor. 2:12-13 where Paul writes, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches”. Also in 1 Corinthians 12:8 “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit”.
There are numerous occasions in the Bible when people received a supernatural revelation of information about another person or their situation. A couple of examples include: John 1:47 where Jesus saw Nathaniel approaching him and received a word of knowledge. Acts 5:1-11 with Ananias and Sapphira. 1 Samuel 9-10 with Samuel and the donkeys. I Kings 14:2-3 Ahijah’s prophecy against Jeroboam. 2 Kings 5:20-27 Gehazi’s deceit with Naaman.
An example of this is several years ago, our family was driving to church for our Saturday morning’s Healing Rooms. We had been encouraged to ask God to reveal to us any conditions or names of people whom God wanted to heal. Usually when we do this, we come up with a whole list of at least 10-12 conditions. My son, who would have been about 7 years old at the time said diabetes, hospital and a certain boy’s name. We wrote it down and pondered that perhaps someone was on the way to hospital or had just been discharged from hospital etc. At the end of the morning, we reviewed the conditions and realised that we had not seen this person. It was easy to dismiss this as he ‘got it wrong’. However several days later we heard that a friend’s son (with the exact name that my son had said) had been admitted to hospital and diagnosed with diabetes on that day. Thus, we made a visit to this boy in hospital. He wasn’t healed from our prayer. I do believe though that it communicated that God was caring for him and tried to show His love to him by this.
Words of knowledge are often used for healing but it is not an absolute for healing. In other words, when words of knowledge about a physical condition are given, you can expect that God wants to heal the person but it is not always the case. Usually a word of knowledge builds faith in the person who needs the healing and also in the person who received the word of knowledge. It is usually very comforting to the person with the physical complaint and communicates that God is aware of them and their need. It doesn’t always translate that this person will be healed then, but most likely. If the person is not healed then, it is no one’s fault. Please never start questioning whose lack of faith it was etc. Sometimes God just wants to communicate His love to this person and that He knows this person’s situation.
Words of knowledge don’t always have to relate to healing. It may be about a certain situation, or to travel to a certain area, or about a specific situation that a church is facing and the breakthrough required etc. God cannot be limited and will use whatever means He likes to communicate so as to achieve His purpose.
When a Christian receives a word of knowledge about someone who is not a christian who needs a certain healing and then sees that person, shares what God has shown them and prays for them on the spot and that person experiences healing, it often results in that person responding to Jesus. It is hard to dispute a physical demonstration of the power of God in the name of Jesus. It is an amazing demonstration that Jesus is concerned about them.
The more specific the word of knowledge is, the more faith it tends to build in the people involved. If the word of knowledge is received through feeling something physical eg pain, it is helpful if the kind of pain and its exact location is stated. The person receiving the word should be careful not to change it, not to add to it, and not to dismiss any little detail about it that may seem insignificant.
God can communicate words of knowledge to us in several different ways. There is never one prescription with God. He is supreme and can use whatever method He chooses. Several of those ways are:
- Physical eg pain in a part of your body that is not yours. A sudden left knee pain when you have never had left knee pain before just before you pray for someone etc.
- Empathetic feeling – feeling a strong emotion eg fear, suicide, loneliness which you know is not from you or how you feel.
- Mental picture or see an image – eg a body part, a car accident, a picture of someone getting hurt or in a particular situation. You may read a word written (invisibly to everyone else) over someone’s head or see a newspaper headline.
- An impression or just ‘know’ that you know – a sense in your mind that someone has a particular condition or is feeling a particular way.
- A dream or vision of someone with a health problem or you with a new health problem which you don’t have etc.
- Automatically the words tumble out of your mouth as if by the Holy Spirit whilst chatting or praying with someone about something you were totally unaware of.
In next week’s blog (part 2), I will be sharing more specifically about physical words of knowledge and how to recognise these.
Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:
The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy!
Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3)
1. Children / Families Activation: Hand out blank cards to everyone and explain that as a group you will ask God to give you encouraging words and things from Him to write or draw on the cards. Ask God to show everyone what sort of car the person is driving to whom this picture/words are for eg blue station wagon, silver Ford, red Toyota etc. You will then go to a car park and find the cars you were shown or told about and put these cards on the windscreens of those cars.
2. Group Activation: As a group quieten before God and spend a few moments asking God to reveal words of knowledge to everyone in the group and listening to what He is saying and showing. Take it in turns to share what you felt/saw/perceived etc and ask if it relates to anyone present.
3. Beginner Activation: Ask God to give you a word of knowledge for someone at church or a Bible study group next time you meet. It may be a physical pain, an encouraging comment, a word of wisdom etc in relation to something someone is going through of which you have no knowledge of their situation etc.
4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to give you a word of knowledge about someone today and to show you who it is for. When you see that person, ask them in a caring manner if it applies to them, and if so, if you can pray for them.
5. Advanced Activation: As you are about to buy something today, ask God to give you a word of knowledge about the shop assistant. Then in a caring manner ask the shop assistant if it applies to them and then take the necessary steps required as a follow-on.