Prayer For Spirit Empowered Discernment
8 Signs You May Have The Spiritual Gift of Discernment
The gift of discernment of spirits is the one spiritual gift that has continually presented the most difficulties and challenges to me personally.
In the early days of our ministry, my husband Malcolm (aka ‘the Hunk’) and I would often travel and stay in many places in Asia and throughout New Zealand. It seemed that no matter where we were, my intrepid husband could sail through any situation, but it was a different story for me.
- Staying in a place in Asia where strange spirits were worshipped? I would encounter them in my dreams.
- Ministering in a region or church where there were trials or strongholds? I felt them acutely.
We were often led to wage spiritual warfare or intercede through my sensitivity to the spiritual realm.
It took me many years to realize that my encounters with the spiritual realm were one of the signs that I had a gift of discerning of spirits.
Now, because of my journey, I to share what I have learned with others.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good… to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits…All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Cor 12:7-11)
Discernment of spirits is a gift of the Holy Spirit given to some Christian believers. It is a Spirit-given ability to distinguish whether Divine, human or demonic origins are the source of what is presented—whether it be in an atmosphere, encounter, event, or prophetic message.
Following are some signs that you may have the spiritual gift of discernment, from my personal study, observation and experience. You may not identify with all of them, but if you do have the gift, you will recognise some of these in your life:
1. Desire for the Gift
As with other spiritual gifts, desire is often the first sign of a gift of discernment of spirits (1 Cor 14:1).
- You may have a longing to see people set free from demonic bondage.
- You may want to be more effective in prayer and spiritual warfare
- You may have a desire for holiness
- You may simply be curious about the spiritual realm.
2. Love for God’s Presence
One of the benefits and signs of having a gift of discernment of spirits is a heightened awareness of God’s Presence and anointing. A true discerner will have a passion for the un-grieved Presence of the Holy Spirit.
This is because—and I will continually reiterate this—the highest use of the gift of discernment is not to see what the enemy is doing, but to discern what the Spirit of God is doing.
3. Sensitivity to the Spiritual Atmosphere
You may be more sensitive to spiritual atmospheres than most other people. In the early stages of developing the gift, you may be affected adversely by the presence of any demonic activity in the environment around you.
The reality is that we live in a natural world and a spiritual world concurrently. In the Bible, when Jacob came across a group of angels, he named that place Mahanaim, meaning ‘double camp.’ (Gen 32:1-2)
Jacob realised, we also live in a double camp where there is constant spiritual activity, and discerners have spiritual senses that are attuned to this.
4. Feeling Different from Other People
Most people, even in church life, experience life through their natural senses. However, someone with an emerging gift of discernment of spirits can see and sense things that others do not see.
This ability can result in us feeling different, lonely or misunderstood at times, especially when starting out. It is vital that someone with a developing gift of discernment finds a safe place to journey with others who are similarly gifted and accountable in the life of their church.
5. Unusual Signs
It is not uncommon for someone who is gifted in discernment to experience unusual events or manifestations.
People who are incubating a discernment gift begin to see or feel things that others are not aware of. This may include unusual visions, dreams and sensations that alert them to what is happening in the spiritual realm.
6. Childhood or Pre-Salvation Signs
It is not uncommon to experience things relating to your gift even before becoming a Christian. Our creator-God prepares us for our calling and gifts from conception. Even when a talent or gift is misused, God can redeem it and anoint it for His use to serve Him and love and minister to others.
As a child I ‘saw’ things in the night and as a teenager was sensitive to the spiritual realm, sometimes encountering demonic spirits in my room or dreams. Later, as a fully committed Christian, God redeemed this spiritual sensitivity as a gift of discernment. I know Christians who have a gift of discernment who were drawn to New Age counterfeit gifts prior to becoming a Christian.
7. Ability to Know What Lies Behind a Person’s Words or Actions
Someone with a gift of discernment has the ability to see behind what a person is saying and presenting. You may know whether they are telling the truth or not. You may also recognise if someone is manifesting a demonic spirit and be able to identify what that spirit is.
If a prophetic or revelatory message is brought, a discerner can often tell whether it is anointed of the Spirit or from the speaker’s own heart.
This is not always the case, and as with other revelatory gifts such as prophecy, you will sometimes get it wrong or have incomplete discernment (1 Thess 5:19-21, 1 Cor 13:9-10)
8. Confirmation of the Discernment Gift by Others and Leaders
You may have the gift confirmed through a prophecy given to you. My gift of discernment was identified through prophecy twice (perhaps this was because I was reluctant to accept it!)
However, the bottom line of the presence of any gift is that it is recognised and acknowledged by leaders in the church and that it is useful for its purpose—which is to help build up the church and bring people closer to Jesus.
When you submit what you are seeing or sensing, your leaders confirm your accuracy and your gift begins to be recognised for its effectiveness.Whenever a gift is used to criticise or tear down a church, person or leader, you know it is being misused, or is simply a person’s hurt, frustration or agenda masquerading as discernment.
Because these kinds of abuses are common and have brought disrepute to the gift of discernment, I will take some time over the next couple of posts to share how the gift of discernment can bring value to church life.
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The gift of discernment of spirits is a powerful weapon in times of spiritual warfare, and can be of great assistance when ministering freedom to individuals. And yet many who recognize they have signs of the gift of discernment, have difficulty knowing what to do with what they are feeling or sensing.
‘Unlocking The Gift Of Discernment’ incorporates wisdom from Enliven Blog as well as additional valuable material on how to be protected as a discerner in times of spiritual warfare.
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3 Levels of Discernment (and Signs of Each)
8 Ways To Grow Your Gift Of Discernment
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries—in the David McCracken Ministries family.
“Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer” (Matthew 11:25, MSG).
Prayer is a way of life in which we converse with God, at his initiative, so that we are “co-laboring” with him in all that we do to accomplish the good things that advance his Kingdom. For prayer to become a way of living intimately with the Lord it must first be a spiritual discipline.
Why Do We Struggle with Prayer?
The standard spiritual growth advice in most churches is, “Read the Bible and pray.” It works for very few people. They end up feeling burdened. Many give up. Dallas Willard explains that to flourish in prayer, to develop an energetic praying life, we need to practice other disciplines solitude and fasting.
We need to “take heart” from Jesus! He learned to live a praying life and he shows us how to pray. We need to draw close to him through reading the Gospels.
Jesus Calls us to Pray with Him
It’s important that we think of prayer, not as mustering up energies and words, but as joining in with God’s activity.
Jesus shows us this. The love of the Father and the movement of the Holy Spirit called him into listening to God and praying for people.
Repeatedly in the Gospels we read statements , “While it was still dark Jesus went out to pray” (Mark 1:35, paraphrased), “Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray” (Luke 6:12), “Jesus was praying in private” (Luke 9:18), or “Jesus went out to his usual place of prayer.” (Luke 11:1, paraphrased).
Jesus didn’t just have a “prayer life” — he had a praying life in which he continually invoked God’s presence in all that he did. Prayer lived in him, even in his unconscious demeanor.
Jesus still calls to us as he did to his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Watch and pray with me” (Matthew 26:41, paraphrased).
He’s calling us into the conversation and activity of heaven! He is in the middle of the Trinitarian community, shining in glory and love, surrounded by angels and saints, inviting us to participate with them in the Kingdom of the Heavens.
He is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us (each of us and those around us). His Spirit lives in us who bear his name and is also interceding for us. What a place to be! Jesus and the Father above us and the Holy Spirit within us!It was seeing up close the way Jesus prayed and the powerful effects that came from his praying life that prompted his disciples to cry out to him, “Lord, teach us to pray!” (Luke 11:1). It was then that he taught us the Lord’s Prayer, which was his own way of praying, distilled from the patterns of prayer in the Psalms, his Prayer Book.
Drawing close to Jesus is the only way to grow in prayer.
Key Prayers in the Bible
There are many prayers in the Bible. Here are a few that examples to help us to pray effectively:
- Pray the Lord’s Prayer, using each phrase to spin off personalized prayers, including prayers of intercession for others, themed on each type of prayer in Jesus’ model prayer (which he distilled from the Psalms): worship, submission, petition, confession and forgiveness, and overcoming trials. (See “A Pocket Lighter to Ignite your Heart.”)
- Ask Jesus what he’s praying for a loved one and pray that. Perhaps part of his prayer in John 17 will help you discern how he is interceding.
- Offer Paul’s great prayer of intercession in Ephesians 3:14-21 for specific people that the Lord puts on your mind.
- Practice the rhythm of the Psalmist. End your day with the Evening Psalms (Psalm 3 and 4) and Begin your day with the Morning Psalm (Psalm 5).
- Give five minutes or more to abide in the Jesus Prayer and then use it to Practice God’s Presence all day. (The Jesus Prayer is “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me”, Luke 18:13 and 38.)
Other Disciplines Related to Prayer
Prayer is a main discipline for engagement with God and others in the Body of Christ. Prayer, in it’s broadest sense of being conscious of God and relying upon the Holy Spirit, is related to all of the disciplines for the spiritual life. There are many subdisciplines of prayer, including these:
- Intercession: Joining the prayers of the Holy Spirit for other people, including our work and ministry that involves other people.
- Praying the Psalms: Joining the prayers of the Psalmist to worship the Lord, submit yourself to God’s Kingdom, intercede for others, seek God’s mercy and extend it to others, and put your trust in God to help you overcome trials. (See, Psalm Prayers.)
- Listening Prayer (Discernment): Listening for and learning to recognize God’s voice in order to grow in an intimate, conversational relationship with him and to receive his guidance and strength for life.
- Prayer Walks: Taking a walk (or a hike or jog) with Jesus to converse with him, ideally in a beautiful nature setting. (Moving physically helps you to stay alert and energetic in your praying!)
- Prayer Partners: Praying with a partner or a group empowers our connection to the immediacy of the Spirit of Christ with us, helping us to pray and responding to our prayers.
- Breath Prayers: Engaging your mind and heart with God by using the rhythm of your breathing to help you deeply pray short phrases or paraphrases from the Bible.
- Contemplative Prayer (Prayer of Recollection): Entering into a deep, quiet stillness of body and mind before God in which you simply behold the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart, using few or no words or thoughts, to just “be with” the One you love. (The best way to enter into this intimate prayer of contemplation is to meditate on a Bible story, image, or phrase.)
- Praying the Hours: Stopping your work or other activity to pray at set times (e.g., morning, noon, and night) usually with the help of a liturgical prayer book.
- Practicing God’s Presence: Being open to and appreciating God’s wonderful presence moment-by-moment, as you do all that you do.
- Praying Scripture: There are many ways that Scripture can help us to pray. (See Bible Reading for some additional examples.)
Additional Resources on Prayer
Here are some key Soul Shepherding resources to support your praying life with Jesus:
- Psalm Prayers: Index of meditations and prayer poems inspired by particular Psalms.
Biblical Discernment is important for discernment of spirits especially in a deliverance ministry especially in these “Last Days”
Here are some of the keys to discernment that God has shown the body of Christ through His Word
- Godly Discernment. Know your HOLY GOD intimately. (When you have seen His glory, His holiness and His love – by drawing close to Him in prayer – then you can usually see through any “counterfeits” because you know the ‘real thing’ so well).
- The Word of God Biblical Discernment – Know your Bible. It is very important to be able to spot teachings that are either extra-biblical or directly opposed to what the Scriptures teach. However, it is important to remember that the Scribes and Pharisees were extremely learned in the Scriptures and yet they missed the very Messiah that was prophesied! So knowing the Bible is important – especially for doctrinal issues – but we need to be able to “discern the spirits” also.
- Truth Discernment. Be a “lover of truth”. This is very crucial. Are you someone who will actually stand up for TRUTH – even against the crowd? Or do you remain silent even when you feel something is very wrong?
- Purity of heart and Humility. Many deceptions only appeal to us because there is something inside us that “wants” to believe them. They are seductive because of darkness and wrong motives in our own lives. We must search our hearts and root these out.
- Spiritual Discernment – The ‘inner witness’ of the Holy Spirit. We must learn to NEVER over-ride this “still small voice”, as it will save us from deception again and again. Ask God for Biblical Discernment.
Many Christians get deceived especially since we are told in Church “Touch not the Lord’s anointed”, which makes Christians more gullible. The Bible says to test the spirits and warns very strongly that the Last Days there will be a time of seducing spirits. Many Christians throw out the God given Biblical Discernment.
Christians have an advantage over the world since we are full of the spirit of the Lord called “inner witness” of the Holy Spirit and the “still small voice” of the Lord speaking to us. We should not ignore those checks or that inner witness.
Many Christian override that inner bell or “inner witness” or “still small voice” telling them that something is wrong. We need to discern according to scripture. Hebrews 5:12-14
“For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need againthat some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles ofGod; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food.
For everyone that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness;for he is a babe.
But solid food is for fullgrown men, even those who by reason
of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil”
(Heb.5:12-14).After a reasonable period of time has passed, we should have grown to be able topartake of the meat of God’s word. He went on to say such individuals should be
able to “discern good and evil,” seeing they have had their senses
exercised by the continual use of God’s word. If we will continually use God’s
word, we will develop the ability to discern between good and evil.
When trying to decide if something is right or wrong, first ask yourself these questions: Does it destroy my identity as a Christian by causing me to be regarded as of the world? Does it classify me with Satan’s realm of sin instead of Christ and the church? God has always required His people to maintain a separation from Satan’s realm.
The Bible is very clear that the Last Days are a time of such widespread deception that it would “deceive if possible the very elect”. It also shows that much of this deception will arise from WITHIN the church – luring believers with “itching ears”. Do we see evidence of this kind of thing taking place today?
Another area is spiritual power and manifestations. People see spiritual power operating and assume that it “must be God”. But
this is a very dangerous assumption to make in these days. Not all manifestations of the spirit comes from God. Even the devil can heal the sick.
Today is a time “Last Days” the scriptures talks about strong deceptions or “powerful delusions”. Lets be wise and be aware what is happening around us. The enemy has targeted you to take you down in the last days. Don’t be a has hap in these last days. We have been given discernment to discern the times and discern what is going on around us especially in meetings.
Do not ignore the alarm bells and jump right into something that is not of God. Because your preacher says it is ok, does not make it right. Also don’t fall into the “peer pressure” as well. These ingredients can be lasting consequences you don’t want.
Must of the information above is from Andrew Strom
By: Traci Morin, Deliverance Minister, Missionary, Public Speaker
Spiritual Warfare Prayer: Breaking Generational Curses and Setting Captives Free
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