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What is Prophetic Art?

Prophetic art may contain the anointing to heal, to save and set free, to redeem and restore, and to transform and breakthrough. Prophetic art is God-breathed and carries within it an element of His life-giving faith beyond worship art, symbolic art, or iconic Christian art. 

‘Prophetic Art’ may be a new phrase for you. While art and the church have been interconnected for centuries, it is only in recent decades that artists began to paint in church worship services. Prophetic art borrows its terminology from 1 Corinthians 14:1-3. Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.”

Prophetic art is the visual form of prophecy. It is art that carries a message from the heart of God to strengthen, encourage or comfort. Whether it speaks to one individual, a congregation or country, or the Body of Christ overall, it is a gift of blessing, birthed in the heart of an artist who loves God and loves His people.

God speaks in images. English, even Hebrew, is not God’s first language. The spoken word can be the least effective form of communication. Even the spoken word of prophecy must travel through the filters of the prophet’s interpretation and speech, and the receiver’s hearing, interpretation, memory, and method of making meaning.

God-inspired art is worship, it is a gift unto the Lord from the heart of the artist, much the same as a song is from the heart of the singer and songwriter. The artist offers the work of their hands as worship, it is a pictorial love-letter. Prophetic art often begins as worship art. God will place His prophetic message within what we create motivated by our love for Him, as it is love that stirs the anointing to prophesy, regardless of the form of prophetic delivery. There is no limit to the creativity in communications of the Holy Spirit, as the visions and images in the books of Zechariah and Jeremiah will testify.

At times there is no written or spoken interpretation of the art needed for the prophetic meaning to become evident, especially if the artwork is a confirmation of an already existing revelation or using well known and widely accepted iconic imagery. Other times the artist may be called upon to give an interpretation, keeping in mind many interpretations are possible. God may speak to many different people through the one piece of art. The artist is not an infallible oracle and other perspectives on the work are both valid and welcome. I have often said God is an economist, as He will prepare many hearts to receive an image in a way that is unique to them. How a person responds to a piece of prophetic artwork is as individual as their response to music, dance, and other creative forms.

Where prophetic art becomes complex in its definition, and possibly confusing, is when it incorporates other Christian artistic forms. Prophetic art may also be worship art, visual praise, symbolic and iconic art, representational images, and historical biblical illustration. These other forms of Christian art may or may not be prophetic, as the prophetic nature of the art may solely be within the perception of the viewer.

All manner of artistic works may reveal the nature of God. When an artist creates momentum for the Spirit to flow through them, the work of their hands becomes anointed to do God’s work. Prophetic art can contain the anointing to heal, to save and set free, to redeem and restore, and to transform and breakthrough. Prophetic art is God-breathed with His faith-giving life. 

Prophetic art will focus on the ‘now’ and the ‘future’. It will release love, joy, hope and power. It gives direction, confirmation and encourages our journey. It brings the unseen into the seen, it is an unveiled insight from God. The prophetic artist stands on the threshold between two realms allowing the spiritual realm to manifest on the canvas. Prophetic artists have permission to release authority, compassion, and revelation. Prophets are ‘dream releasers’ who help people see what God has for them. They grasp a God-given destiny and place it in your heart.

When an artist creates a work with God, there is a supernatural element within the work that empowers others to experience an encounter. Prophetic art is an invitation into a divine partnership. The supernatural creativity of God has a life within it that can bring wonder and hope into seemingly lost situations. The impact of prophetic art can happen in an instant. It is Spirit-to-spirit communication that often does its life-transforming work before the viewer has connected with the art in their conscious mind.

Prophetic art is not about imparting information, but transformation. In creating a piece of art, the prophetic artist aspires to make a space for the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

Many Christian artists have written about prophetic art, especially in this past decade where artists are being raised in congregations throughout the world. If this is a new realm for you, I invite you to explore what God’s artists and photographers are doing. Discover the resources and knowledge available from these God-artists who have paved the way before you.

Matt Tommey
Grace Bailey
Janet Hyun
Theresa Dedmon 
Makoto Fujimura

Nathan Friberg

Steven Félix-Jäger
James Nesbit
John & Pauline O’Connell
Janice VanCronkhite

Update: The book ’40 Days hath November’ is now available through Amazon.  Wendy Manzo writes her story of creating 40 individual personal prophetic paintings in November 2018. The images are partnered with their prophetic word and Wendy’s process in creating them. ’40 Days hath November’ gives rare insight into how to paint with God and how a Christian artist can move in the realm of visual prophecy. Get your copy now.

40 Days Hath November cover
40 Days Hath November available through Amazon

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Angie Byrd

    This is a powerful and lovely description of moving with the Holy Spirit through the work of our creative hands. Thank you Wendy.

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