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THE PROPHET’S TRAINING AND
MATURATION PROCESS

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INTRODUCTION:

The following article is part one of a series of lessons on fathering and training prophets in the Kingdom of God. These lessons are by no means meant to be a comprehensive study in developing, training and releasing prophets into their ministries. Nor will it cover the function of the prophet, different kinds of prophets, or the operation and use of gifts or the manifestations of the Spirit as it relates to the prophets office.

My main intent is to show (budding) developing prophets the importance of being fathered into their ministries and to teach them the importance of being patient during the maturation process while they wait for their unveiling.

I’d like to also inspire senior pastors to take on the role of spiritual fathers as the Lord leads them but to also know the cost of time involved in this process. Both the trainee and the ministry father will have to spend countless hours together in various settings during this process.

My teaching applies just as well with the other ministry officers such as the apostle, pastor, evangelist and teacher. They all need to be trained, developed and fathered into ministry. They need wise counsel from seasoned ministry and spiritual impartation, which comes with time.

The benefit for the ministry gift that takes on the role of spiritual fathering is that you become seasoned in training other ministry gifts. You gain much needed experience and wisdom as you work with the different gifts and personalities of the individuals. You see the fruit of your labor manifesting as your offspring mature in prayer, teaching, preaching and in godly character. The greatest day for me is when I am able to lay my hands on them on the day of their official ordination.

For the trainee the greatest blessing is to know that you are not an illegitimate child with no generational identity and to go into your ministry with the blessing of your pastor and spiritual parent as well as with the blessing of the local congregation, who can testify of your patience, commitment, faithfulness, integrity and your godly character.

The term “spiritual fathering” is used in a generic sense and applies to male and female ministry fathers.

The biblical examples I will use throughout this teaching will be Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, the Lord Jesus, and others.

One more thing before you read on. I am teaching from eighteen years of pastoral experience in one local church. And from functioning in the apostle’s office since 1992. Fathering is who I am. It is my passion. Yet, I must admit I have much more to learn!

May you receive impartation as you prayerfully read and apply the principles contained within these lessons.

Emil Cedeño

THE PROPHET’S TRAINING AND MATURATION PROCESS
PART 1
By Apostle Emil Cedeno

THE PROPHET MUST BE DEDICATED TO THE TRAINING PROCESS:

And when she (Hannah) had weaned him (Samuel), she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him (Samuel) unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, O my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshiped the Lord there (1 Samuel 1:-24-28).

Hannah had been barren, unable to have a child, for the Lord had closed her womb. Being desperate to have a son, she went up to Shiloh, to the house of the Lord and began to pray earnestly for God to give her a son.

She made a vow that if the Lord would give her a son she would in turn give the child back to the Lord forever. Toward the end of her time in the presence of God, Eli the priest encountered her and gave her his priestly blessing.

In time she bore a son and named him Samuel. After her time of nursing him and then weaning him, she and her husband kept the promise to present the child to the Lord at the tabernacle and then leave him with Eli the priest to start his training to be a priest, prophet and judge.

Hannah is a picture of the local church who by having an intimate relationship with her husband [Jesus Christ] is to bare children to her beloved. She [the church] is to desperately (with all its heart) seek the Lord to be healed of her barrenness and become fertile, enabling her to conceive His seed and bring forth spiritual children into the Kingdom of God.

Like Hannah the local church and its leadership is to give “suck” to her children by providing spiritual milk [elementary principles] and then weaning them from these basics of the Kingdom of God and introduce them to the deeper things of God which is considered the “meat” of the Word.

Everyone born into the Kingdom of God has a call to fulfill in their lives. However, in this lesson we are strictly dealing with the fivefold ministry, which are the apostle, prophet, teacher, pastor and evangelist, and specifically the office of the prophet.

Like Hannah the local church leadership must be willing to not only provide pasture (nurse) to feed the children of the Kingdom but to identify those that have calls to the offices mentioned above.

I realize not every pastor wants to take on the role of a spiritual father, so I’m not addressing them. I want to address those pastors who are willing to devote some time to the role of spiritual fathering because this is how the Heavenly Father propagates the Kingdom.

Assuming that the local pastor is willing to take on that role or IS a ministry father and he or she has identified the person or persons that have a call to the ministry, then what is the potential trainee supposed to do?

Like Hannah the local church must be willing to surrender those called to the ministry to the oversight of the spiritual father to be trained for their specific offices. That means that the local pastor who is a ministry father will not have much time to do visitations, visit the hospitals and counsel marriages. I know that what I just said will upset many people but that is why it’s important for the ministry father to have those working for him that will fulfill those duties on his behalf.

Spiritual fathering is time consuming. It takes a great amount of time to raise up the ministry officers. Spiritual fathering implies that a relationship is being formed over a period of time. And the one being fathered at some point of that relationship considers him or herself as one that is born from his teachers spiritual loins. The trainee spiritually takes on the spiritual genes of his ministry father.

In our text above Hannah and her husband took Samuel and dedicate him to the Lord. After offering sacrifices to the Lord they honored Him further by leaving the child with Eli the priest to be used for His purposes. The Bible says:

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him (Psalm 127:3 NLT).

Samuel was a gift that was given to Hannah. She in turn gave that gift back to the One that gave it. You have a gift, an office on the inside of you that needs to be given back to the One that gave it. He then, entrusts that gift to one of His faithful servants to nurture it, tend to it, raise it, protect it, and mature it so that in the end of the training process that gift is released into this world as a fully functioning prophet. So like Samuel the budding prophet at the early stages of development, must be DEDICATED to the training process. ARE YOU WILLING TO DO THAT?

Now let me make something clear right here and now. This has nothing to do with natural age. It just so happened that Eli was much older then Samuel who was a young child when he was left at the house of God to be trained. Your ministry father may be older than you or he may be younger than you. As long as the ministry father is seasoned and experienced he can father you into your purpose.

By “DEDICATED” I mean to be completely devoted to your training under your ministry father. The reason I say this is because your relationship with your ministry father WILL be tested more than once. Further, there are unscrupulous ministry gifts that will see your potential and will try to draw you away from your ministry father and from the maturation process. If your motives are wrong, you will be drawn away by your own carnal lusts. BEWARE! Be committed to the one God has attached you to and be patient in your training.

TRAINING UNDER SPIRITUAL SUPERVISION

And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child (Samuel) did minister unto the Lord before Eli the priest (1 Samuel 2:11).

Notice that our text says that Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli the priest. The word minister means to “attend, serve, or wait.” So part of learning what it means to be a prophet is learning to SERVE in the ministry. The word before means “at the face of or under the supervision of.” So the budding prophet must serve the Lord in the local church setting under the supervision of senior ministry.

This is a great test for many budding prophets! Will they serve in the local church setting? Are they willing to work as ushers, deacons, nursery workers, or Sunday school teachers knowing that this labor of love is part of their training?

Too many are unwilling to submit themselves to seasoned ministry because they haven’t any patience to endure the maturation process. They want to be acknowledged as prophets so they can go and do their own thing! These are individualists who disconnected themselves from the life flow of the local body. Being disconnected they have no generational identity and God considers them “strange” children. They inevitably become clouds without water, trees without fruit. Their god is their belly and their fleshly appetites and thoughts of grandeur deceive them.

Take a close look at the following scriptures and see how important it is for you as a budding prophet to be fathered into your ministry.

So he (Elijah) departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelve: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he (Elisha) left the oxen, and ran after Elijah

(1 Kings 19:19-20a).

And he (Jesus) goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils (Mark 3:13-15).

So they (Barnabas and Saul), being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jew: and they had also John (Mark) to their minister (Acts 13:4-5).

Then came he (Paul) to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek (Acts 16:1-3).

This one Paul wants to come out with him, and, taking him, circumcised him because of the Jews who are in those places, for they all were aware that his father belonged to the Greeks (Acts 16:3 Concordant Literal).

Elisha, the twelve disciples of Jesus, John Mark, and Timothy were all chosen by ministry fathers to be trained for the work to which they were called. They were to dedicate themselves to the lengthy process of discipleship by serving those they were under and walked with them as they were under the guidance and leadership of God. These disciples were to carry out the orders of their teachers, no matter how menial the task, at a moments notice. They were also required to spend long periods of time with those that were training them. This tested their resolve! Did they have the right stuff to endure the training and maturation process? Would they one day receive the blessing of their ministry fathers and fulfill their God given mandate?

The budding prophet must be DEDICATED to the training process. This process includes teaching the spiritual things that are part and parcel to the prophetic ministry, but also, dealing with character development as well. This is the part that most budding prophets would rather neglect.

For a seasoned apostle and prophet that train future ministry gifts character development is foremost in their minds. CHRIST must be formed in the trainee! More on this later.

If you desire to have a legitimate ministry and desire to be a fully functioning prophet, then you must submit to the lengthy process called discipleship. You must allow the Lord to use the ministry of a seasoned ministry gift to birth (bring you forth) into your purpose and destiny as a prophet.


THE PROPHET’S TRAINING AND MATURATION PROCESS PART 2
by Apostle Emil Cedeno

THE PROPHET MUST BE FATHERED BY AN EXPERIENCED PROPHET:

And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli (1 Samuel 1:25).

In our last lesson we learned that Hannah had been barren “for the Lord had shut up her womb.” Desperate for a child she went to Shiloh to the house of the Lord to pray earnestly to conceive a child. While  in prayer, she was encountered by Eli the priest who after hearing about her situation, gave her his priestly blessing. The story goes on to say that her husband Elkanah “knew” her or had intercourse with Hannah and she conceived. In the course of time a male child was born to her and she named him Samuel for she said “I have asked him of the Lord.” Samuels name means “heard of God,” implying that God heard her prayer and answered it.

In 1 Samuel 1:19 the Bible says that the Lord “remembered” Hannah. Zakar is the Hebrew word for remembered. It means to mark (so as to recognize), to imprint; thus it signifies a retaining in mind, so as to continually be mindful of that one, or thing. Zakar came to mean man because a father’s memory was passed on through his son. You would see the son and remember the father.

So God was not going to let Hannah be without a male heir who would memorialize his parents. Both Elkanah and Hannah would be remembered throughout their generations and especially in biblical history because of the male child God gave them. And as you can see we are presently studying the lives of Hannah and her husband and especially the life of Samuel the prophet of God. Indeed, their names are forever contained in the Word of God.

Having been given this precious gift (Samuel) to her from God she nurses him and weans him for about a period of three years. She then returns to Shiloh with her husband to worship God, and to sacrifice and finally leave the child in the care of Eli the priest. Having been dedicated to God, Samuel was to be raised as a Nazarite and trained to serve in the Tabernacle. Hannah kept her vow and returned the gift that was given to her to the original source, even God.

Wherefore it is said, He ascended on high, and took possession of heaven and gave good gifts to men. And he has assigned some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as pastors and some as teachers (Ephesians 4:8,11 Lamsa).

The word “gifts” in verse eight is the Greek word doma and means “a present.” But to better understand what a doma is let me give you a definition I learned a few years ago. A doma is one who is a gift of Jesus, given as a gift to His body, who gives himself (his gifting) in love to the Lord’s body. Apostle Randy Shankle defined doma this way, “A doma is a gift made a gift of.”

As a budding or apprentice prophet you must decide early on to dedicate who and what you are to the Lord and to give yourself in the SERVICE of another as part of your training. God has called you as a gift to His church, however, because of your immaturity and inexperience you need to be under the ministry of a seasoned gift to begin your training.

God is not going to give you as a gift to His body prematurely! Nor is He is concerned about how much time you spend in training. What concerns Him is that you go through His training process. When the time of your release comes you will be presented as a mature and fully equipped prophet of God. A sure sign of immaturity is trying to rush the process of God so that you can get on with your prophetic ministry. You must be just as concerned about your character development as God is. Don’t be foolish and abort the training process, otherwise you will lose out on being smeared with God’s anointing for the work to which you are called to. 

ENTRUSTED TO A MINISTRY FATHER

And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli (1 Samuel 1:25).

And the child did minister unto the Lord before Eli the priest (1 Samuel 2:11b).

And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli (1 Samuel 3:1).

The word before in the verses above means “under the supervision of.” Samuel began to grow both physically and spiritually. He had been given as a gift to serve Eli even as the Levites had been given to Aaron the priest to serve him as he served the Lord in the tabernacle.

And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel (Numbers 8:19a).

And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you (Aaron) they are given as a gift for the Lord, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation (Numbers 18:6).

Just like the Levites, Samuel ministered unto the Lord under the oversight or under the supervision of a more mature ministry. If you are going to have a successful ministry in the future you must submit yourself and serve the leader God assigns to your life. You will have to be observed for a period of time. You must be proven and counted worthy of trust. Obviously, this will take some time. ARE YOU WILLING TO INVEST QUALITY TIME IN YOUR TRAINING PROCESS? Also, you can’t be touchy about someone watching over you and your work in the local church. It’s going to happen. So get used to it.

I would like to define the word entrust in my subtitle above. Entrust means “give as a responsibility, place in a persons care.” The disciple/trainee is given to a ministry father by God not as a possession but because God is relying on the ministry father to carry out the responsibility of training a future minister. Once the process is completed God expects the mentor to release his trainee sometime in the future.

Thou therefore my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:1-2).

Paul’s example is to be followed. He trained Timothy and expected Timothy to do the same with those under his leadership. Then those trained by Timothy were to continue the pattern and pass down what they have learned to those under their leadership. There are four generations of ministers mentioned in verse two. Paul is the first generation. Timothy the second, faithful men the third generation, and others make up the fourth generation.

Paul never took possession or claimed ownership over Timothy’s life, he simply had a stewardship that involved nurturing the young man from where he was spiritually to the place where he came into his own as a ministry gift yet remaining connected by covenant to Paul his ministry father. Theirs was a relationship born out of love for one another. No ministry father has the right to possess or control a ministry son. I’ve seen this happen on several occasions and it is completely out of order! All believers are the sole possession of the Lord Jesus Christ! We are simply under shepherds carrying out His orders to make disciples. Now back to our lesson.

God was aware of the spiritual condition of Eli and his sons. Yet He allowed Hannah to entrust her son to a man whose house was going to be judged for their sins. Eli realized he had failed as a father. Often, I am sure, he had meditated on where he had failed and how if he ever got another chance what he would do differently in raising those boys. At some point, Eli was getting complaints about what his sons were doing. He heard reports like, your sons are having sex with the women that were coming to worship at the tabernacle, they’re stealing the offerings and taking more then they should. They were supposed to help Eli with the tabernacle service but instead they were in the ministry for what they could get out of it for themselves. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Sure Eli had grown old and was lax in the oversight of his sons. He had become somewhat carnal in his ministry. Yet, with all that was wrong with Eli, he was sensitive to the Lord and was open to His chastening. He was still pliable in the hands of his God. Let me explain.

In 1 Samuel 2:27-36 a prophet of the Lord came and prophesied to Eli concerning the conduct of his sons and the lack of his oversight over their ministry and lives. The prophet prophesied judgment on his house and the death of his two sons was to take place on the same day. With all that not once did Eli resist the prophet of the Lord. Not once did he try and stop the prophet. Not once did he make an excuse for his lack of leadership. May I submit to you that Eli with all the mistakes he had made with his sons, with all his shortcomings, Eli loved God! He submitted to the word of the Lord. He knew by experience that he just couldn’t reverse all the evil that had been done by his sons. Look at his response when at his request Samuel tells him all that the Lord had spoken to him concerning the judgment that is to come to him and his sons. Eli says “It is the Lord’s will, let him do what he thinks best” (1Sam. 3:18 NLT). 

Here is a ministry father that failed in disciplining his natural sons who were supposed to carry on his ministry after his death. They were supposed to become his ministry sons. But somewhere along the way, they lost reverence for God, the ministry, and their father. I am sure that Eli’s heart was broken more then once before his God. He should have past judgment on his sons. The verdict should have been death by stoning for their gross sins. But, I guess Eli just couldn’t do it. And so the scripture states that Eli had honored his sons more then honoring God! That was his greatest sin, honoring the sons more then honoring God.

According to all that we have been studying and reading about Eli up to this point, it sounds like there is no hope whatsoever for Eli. God is going to cut off his family from the priesthood, his sons are going to die, and he’s being judged for honoring his sons more then God. Is there any hope for this man? YES!

I’ve got good news for you! Samuel is his hope! Samuel is his second chance! Samuel is his future! Samuel will be his legacy! Amen!

And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, O my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshiped the Lord there (1 Samuel 1:24-28).

Notice the  words “And he worshiped the Lord there.” With all my heart I believe the “he” in this verse is describing Eli. Eli worshiped or prostrated himself right then and there. Eli didn’t know what Hannah was praying about several years earlier at their first meeting. He thought she was drunk when he spotted her moving her lips with indistinguishable sounds that were coming out of her mouth. When he confronted her, Hannah explained to him that she was in deep intercession which he mistook as being drunk. He had no idea what she was praying for. Now she returns to Shiloh to keep her vow to God and leave her son with the priest for a major part of his life. When Eli realized what was now being revealed to him and that this lady was leaving her son in his care, he was overwhelmed with gratitude and fell down flat faced on the ground and worshiped the Lord in Hannah’s presence.

Here is what I believe was took place at that time. Eli thanked God for answering Hannah’s prayer. But he was also thanking God for the person that he now knew would take his place in ministry, because his natural sons had disqualified themselves from officiating any longer as priests.

This was Eli’s chance to raise up a ministry son. Someone who would listen to his advice. Someone who would appreciate his experience. Someone he can care for. Someone he can train and impart his life to. Someone that would be his lasting legacy. Sure his natural house was going to be cut off from the priesthood. But now he had a chance to raise up one of the greatest prophets in Israel’s history. And Eli will father this prophet! He would have a spiritual son at last!

And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again (1 Samuel 3:6).

Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel my son; And he answered, Here am I (1Samuel 3:16).

Samuel was not only an answer to Hannah’s barrenness, but to Eli’s barrenness as well. Through Samuel Eli would bring forth lasting fruit that would remain. Israel would not be left without spiritual leadership. To father someone means to “bring them forth.” Eli did his job well in bringing forth an awesome prophet of God. He would also be remembered by Samuel’s life and ministry. Because a father is “remembered” by his son!

Within the kingdom there are men and women of God that have failed in some area of their lives. Carnal men would discard them, count them out, consider them unworthy of ministry, but not God. God has a way of redeeming our failures to carry out his purposes. Where would the apostle Peter be if God had not given him another chance to serve Him? Where would we be without the revelation of Christ that Peter had? Those who have failed have no place to boast of their greatness. They have been humbled by their experiences of failure. They know the severity of the chastening of the Lord. They have personal knowledge of the grace and mercies of God. They are transparent having nothing to hide nor to keep back anything from those they will mentor into ministry. What spiritual treasure they have gathered from their experiences to impart to those that are willing to go through God’s training for ministry.

These men and women understand what it means to be “crucified with Christ.” They live the Christ life daily. They’ve been trained, proven, examined and tested by the very hand of God. So, He is able to entrust them with young men and women who are the next generation of ministry gifts and who are in need of training. 

How does all this apply to the budding prophet? Get yourself in a local church. Be sure that God has set you there. Remain there and get involved in the work of the ministry. Help the man or woman of God with fulfilling their vision. In time you will be acknowledged and taken under their wing and begin your training. If you are in a church where the pastor simply ignores you or he or she doesn’t involve themselves in fathering don’t rebel. Don’t take matters into your own hands. Simply pray to your heavenly Father for a divine connection with a true ministry father. Wait for the appointed time of God releasing you from your present circumstance then seek to be released the proper way by going through your local headship. In this day there is a great cry of sons that are seeking fathers. Fathers that would affirm them, equip them, love them and release them with their blessing. The fathers are out there in the kingdom but God must connect you to them.

A word of CAUTION for you budding prophets. Be careful of any false perception of what a spiritual father may look like.

The father that God assigns to your life may not have a large church, or drive a luxury car. He may not wear fancy suits or even have hair. He may not even be a pastor or in the five-fold ministry. He may be young or old. Take heed to how you see!

For he grew up before him like an infant and like a root out of the dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness; and when we saw that he had no beauty, we denied him. He is despised and humbled of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and we turned our faces away from him; we despised him and we esteemed him not (Isaiah 53:2-3 Lamsa).

As you know these two verses of scripture are describing Jesus the Christ. The religious people of his day were expecting that the Messiah would come as a conquering king and restoring Israel to its former glory. But this was not the case. The Messiah would come from Galilee and would be the son of a carpenter. He would walk the streets just like everybody else. He was a regular old Joe, so they thought. 

Hidden within that human body was the Christ, the son of the living God, full of power and glory. And many times He demonstrated that power by casting out devils, healing the sick, feeding his followers supernaturally, and finally by raising Himself up from the dead. Many in Israel missed out on the day of their salvation simply because of misjudging Him because of what he looked like and who his parents were.

Don’t you make the same mistake. Christ comes in all colors, sizes and gender. Too many people look outwardly rather then inwardly. The Christ is contained within an earthen vessel (2 Cor. 4:7). And sometimes the vessel is externally uncomely/unattractive! Don’t miss out on what’s contained on the inside of a ministry father because you are more concerned about carnal things such as size of a congregation, or a famous name, etc. 

Finally, follow the biblical pattern of father/son relationship. All ministry in the Bible was past down from father to son. This is God’s way of doing things in the kingdom and how He propagates the Kingdom. May God grace you to endure His training and maturation process.

TO BE CONTINUED.

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