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Loren Sandford: Understanding Prophetic People

R. Loren Sandford, Understanding Prophetic People: Blessings and Problems with the Prophetic Gift (Grand Rapids, MI, Chosen Books, 2007), 240 pages.

R. Loren Sandford is pastor of New Song Fellowship in Denver, Colorado; he is also the son of John Loren Sandford, co-founder of the Elijah House. Pastor Sandford is himself prophetic and grew up in a prophetic home. His experience of, and exposure to, prophetic ministry qualifies him to write about this subject.

Understanding Prophetic People is divided into three sections. Section one is called “Foundations.” Topics covered in this section are: the profile of the prophetic person, an overview of prophetic ministry, a discussion of what prophetic ministry is not, a description of the prophetic task, the prophet as intercessor, and the office of a prophet.

Of particular interest in this section is Sandford’s profile of the prophetic person. Sandford begins the first chapter by saying: “Prophetic people are generally weird.” In the remainder of the chapter he goes on to describe some of the characteristics of the prophetic person including rarely being happy, being burden bearers, having the gift of weakness, having eccentric personalities, being self-protective, people who are lonely and suffer from rejection, being over serious about life and having unusual experiences. An awareness of these things can help churches, and especially pastors, relate to, and help incorporate prophetic people into the church.

The remaining chapters in section one are devoted to various aspects of prophetic ministry. Significant points that Sandford makes in this section are that prophetic words need to be tested (he is very strong on this), that modern day prophets do not have the right to command and that prophetic words should not be general, but be specific and have substance.

Section two is titled “Hearing God.” In this section Sandford discusses meditation, visions and dreams and the voice of God.

Sandford says that meditation (on the Lord and on His Word) is a must for a prophetic person. Before one can speak the Word of the Lord to people they must first hear it. Sandford says if a prophetic person does not meditate they increase their risk of hearing from sources other than God.

Also in this section Sandford addresses the subject of dreams. He warns us that all dreams are not God communicating with us, some are natural dreams. He also says that dream interpretation is not a science or learned skill, but rather a prophetic gift (which can be developed).

Section three is “Training and Placement.” In this last section Sandford addresses the issues of the need for wilderness experiences and the dark night of the soul and the placement of the prophetic gift within the church.

I thought that this last section of the book was the most powerful. In it Sandford describes some of the experiences that a prophetic person can expect to go through. These experiences purify and prepare them to be the person that God wants them to be. While he specifically applies the experiences of the wilderness and the dark night of the soul to the prophetic, I think that what he writes has relevance for other areas of ministry as well. The wilderness experience and the dark night of the soul are painful times but Sandford provides some insight into their purposes in developing the prophetic person. Sandford is brutally honest and transparent about his own experiences as he has gone through these places of testing.

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Category: Fall 2007, Spirit

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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