I don't always spiritualize the weather. I am usually grateful for snow because it adds nitrogen to the soil. I love the gentle rains of Spring because they water my young plants and fruit trees. However, there are some times when I become keenly aware that weather is a prophetic sign that something significant is happening in the Spirit realm.
This is a Biblical concept. In the scriptures, the storm that came when Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal was a storm of blessing from the Lord which broke a terrible drought. We know both the drought and the storm were rooted in spiritual realities because they both came through Elijah's prophetic words and actions (See 1 Kings 17-18). Likewise, when a terrible storm arose over the Sea of Galilee, Jesus rebuked it and said, "Peace! Be still!" because this storm was demonic in nature (see Mark 4:35-41).
Usually, weather is unremarkable. Jesus said that the Father, "makes His sunrise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:45) For this reason, we don't have to be bothered with trying to find a "prophetic" purpose behind normal weather patterns. However, extreme and unprecedented weather should activate us to pray and seek the Lord for clear prophetic insight.
Christ gave us some basic keys for discerning extreme weather and having a Biblical response to it:
Key #1: We need to discern when extreme weather is a sign from the Lord.
Jesus clearly rebuked the Pharisees for being able to forecast the weather but not knowing the signs of the times. Jesus told them:
“When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’;and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times." (Matthew 16:2-3 NIV)
Today, we have the best forecasting technology imaginable. However, it's not enough to know when a tornado threat exists or a category five hurricane is coming. We need to have prophetic discernment so that we'll know how to pray. Sometimes the weather actually is a sign of the times. In these cases, we need to discern what's happening, why it's happening, and how we should respond in prayer or prophetic declaration.
Sometimes, the names of storms, the shape of storms, the location they target, and the date that they arrive can be spiritually significant. However, true spiritual discernment is developed only through practice, discipleship, and experience. For this reason, it is a good idea for intercessors to communicate with each other, form teams, and actually talk about how they are interpreting extreme weather events. This helps prayer groups to develop a prophetic consensus and disciple new intercessors at the same time.
Key #2: Jesus rebuked a destructive storm as an example for us.
Extremely destructive storms are usually demonic in nature. The Bible makes it clear that "God takes no pleasure" in evil (Psalm 5:4). Jesus rebuked a destructive storm as an example for us, so that we would learn to do the same thing. This is why as soon as he finished calming the storm, he turned to his disciples and said:
"Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
Jesus was frustrated because his disciples were cowering with fear from the storm when they should have been rebuking it. When we see terrifying weather events unfolding, it's tempting to simply cower in fear. However, the most Biblical response that we can have is to speak peace and calm to the weather. Anyone can pray a simple prayer of petition and we need more people who will commit to petition the Father when turbulent weather comes. However, we will have more authority to command the weather when we begin to walk in a higher level of prophetic revelation and wisdom, just as Jesus and Elijah did.
Key #3: Be on the lookout for "signs in the heavens"
The Father will often bring "signs in the heavens" to confirm prophetic words. I have often seen rainbows appear when God was about to reveal himself in a new way. A few times, I have even heard thunder crash right over my head when I was in deep intercession. My mother has seen recurring images of "holes in the clouds" or "glory portals," which signify heaven opening near the house of prayer that my parents recently built. In these kinds of cases, extreme weather, unique weather events, and cloud formations can give us important confirmation that we're on the right track. Even color can be important. For example, If the heavens look like they are on fire, then you might be seeing an indication that God's about to move in a "fiery way."
It is no accident that Joel prophesied that we'll see more "signs in the heavens" in the very same chapter that he prophesied that the Holy Spirit would be "poured out upon all flesh" (see Joel chapter 2). The Father will often confirm what he is saying with signs in nature. We simply need to remember to look up.
Most people miss what God is saying through the heavens because they spend too much time watching television. It's time to re-discover nature so that we can re-discover what the Father is saying through it.
I have included some pictures in the margin to illustrate my own journey with understanding extreme weather and signs in the heavens.
A double rainbow appeared over Morningstar Fellowship just minutes before our "prophetic music night" last June. The Lord moved in a powerful way that night.
This morning, there was not one...not two...but THREE rainbows that appeared directly over Morningstar. I believe that this signifies that the Lord is about to move here in a dramatic and new way.
Taken this morning across from Comenius School for Creative Leadership, where I work. This kind of rainbow is called a "sun dog" and it does not require any rain in order to appear. It usually represents the radiance around the face of Christ and a deeper revelation of His eternal nature. (See Rev. 4:3)
This storm hit the Charlotte region a week after we had been praying about the "Leviathan spirit." The shape of the storm looks strangely similar to an aquatic dinosaur.
This heavy snowstorm hit the Charlotte area last night. It looks like a dove. It did not have the catastrophic effects of previous ice storms, such as downed trees and lost power. I interpret this to be a prophetic promise that the Holy Spirit is about to "blanket this region" with the Word of the Lord in a new way.
Not every storm requires us to fast and pray. Here, my son Sammy is having fun in the snow with "the Pup."
This is an image that my mother took of one of the "glory portals" near their newly consecrated house of prayer in the hills of Pennsylvania.
Try fasting "screen time" for a week and enjoying nature. It's the best way to learn how the Father is speaking through it. This picture is from my front yard last September.