The concept of the “midwife anointing” has become popular in some Charismatic and Evangelical circles in recent years. It refers to the idea that certain believers, like midwives, have a special anointing from God to help “birth” new movements, ministries, ideas, and more through prayer, prophecy, and intercession.
In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore the biblical and theological basis for the midwife anointing concept. We will look at examples of those who functioned like midwives in Scripture. We will also discuss the characteristics of those with a midwife anointing and how this role can practically function in the church today.
- The midwife anointing concept finds precedent in biblical figures like Deborah and Mary.
- Those with a midwife anointing exhibit traits like wisdom, discernment, intercession, and prophetic insight.
- The midwife helps “birth” new movements, ministries, ideas, etc. through prayer, prophecy, and spiritual nurture.
- The midwife anointing complements and works together with the fivefold ministry gifts described in Ephesians 4.
- All believers can grow in possessing a midwife anointing even if they are not specifically called to that office.
The Concept of Anointing
Before looking directly at the midwife anointing, we must understand the biblical concept of anointing in general. In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were literally anointed with oil as a symbol of their appointment and empowerment by God for their particular roles (1 Kings 19:16, Exodus 28:41). The word “messiah” or “christ” actually means “anointed one.” Jesus was the ultimate Anointed One who came to fulfill the messianic prophecies.
After Pentecost, the New Testament expands the concept of anointing to apply to all believers. All Christians have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit who equips and empowers them for ministry (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). The Apostle John writes that the Holy Spirit teaches believers and anoints them with the knowledge of God (1 John 2:20,27). So while the terminology of “anointing” in Scripture is diverse, the core idea is that God sovereignly appoints and outfits people to carry out His work. The midwife anointing concept rests upon this biblical framework.
The Role of Deborah as a Midwife
One prominent example of a midwife anointing in the Bible can be seen in the prophetess Deborah. In the book of Judges, Israel was in a state of oppression and turmoil under Canaanite rule. Deborah was selected by God to help birth deliverance for the people of Israel:
“Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.” (Judges 4:4-5 NKJV)
As a prophetess, Deborah provided guidance, wisdom, and counsel to the nation. She also gave key prophetic direction that helped facilitate victory over the Canaanite commander Sisera. Deborah prophetically called the warrior Barak to lead an offensive against Sisera, reassuring him of God’s provision:
She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’” (Judges 4:6-7 NKJV)
Deborah accompanied Barak’s army but let him take the glory for the ensuing victory. She functioned not as the primary leader or warrior herself but as a prophetess who called forth God’s plan and catalyzed the governmental change needed to free Israel. The Song of Deborah (Judges 5 NKJV) celebrates her role as a mother of Israel who helped “birth” this new season of freedom.
Mary’s Midwife Anointing
In the New Testament, another example of a midwife anointing can be seen in Mary, the mother of Jesus. When the angel Gabriel announced that Mary would miraculously conceive Jesus by the Holy Spirit, Mary responded in faith, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38 NKJV). Her willing participation was vital for the incarnation to occur.
Mary’s exemplified a midwife anointing both in birthing Jesus’ physical life but also in her role through the early church. She was present ministering to the disciples in the upper room at Pentecost when the Church was born (Acts 1:14). Her intercession and wisdom helped “birth” the new move of God in launching the Church.
Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55 NKJV) prophetically envisioned the global, revolutionary impact of Jesus’ coming through the empowerment of the poor and oppressed. This prophetic praise released spiritual power for the incarnation and the movement it would catalyze. As a midwife does not directly give birth herself but supports the laboring mother, Mary facilitated the supernatural birth and growth of the Church.
Characteristics of a Midwife Anointing
Based on these biblical precedents, we can identify key characteristics of the midwife anointing:
Wisdom – Deborah exemplified spiritual wisdom that provided sound guidance and governance for God’s people in her time. The midwife operates in practical wisdom to facilitate new movements.
Discernment – The midwife requires discernment to recognize true spiritual labor pains versus false ones. They must identify the right timing for birth.
Intercession – Intercessory prayer is foundational for the midwife to stand in the gap before spiritual births. We see this with Deborah and Mary’s faithful intercession.
Prophetic Insight – Deborah demonstrated prophetic foresight in calling Barak to battle. Her prophecy filled him with faith. The midwife often receives prophetic revelation from the Lord necessary for breakthrough.
Humility – Rather than taking center stage, the midwife supports others in taking up their callings and pushes them into the limelight at the right time. They are humble.
Nurturing – Like a midwife, they assist in the stages of labor and nurture growth. The apostle Paul described this: “We were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7 NKJV)
Encouragement – Midwives cheer on those giving birth. The midwife anointing brings encouragement, comfort, and consolation to those enduring spiritual labor.
These qualities allow the midwife to provide just the right support to those God is raising up without overstepping boundaries or hijacking the limelight.
The Midwife Working with the Fivefold
The midwife anointing operates in tandem with the fivefold ministry gifts described in Ephesians 4:11-13 – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Rather than competing with these ministry offices, the midwife complements and supports them.
For example, a midwife with prophetic insight may help identify and encourage the emerging giftings of a budding prophet. They birth the prophet into the fullness of their calling. Or a midwife with teaching skills could help ground and establish new believers as a spiritual “doula” while pastors oversee their general growth.
Rather than replacing existing ministry, those with a midwife anointing function as “spiritual obstetricians” helping to nurture new movements into maturity, working alongside other fivefold leaders. Their specialized giftings are invaluable to affirming new things the Holy Spirit is birthing.
Growing in the Midwife Anointing
While some may be specifically called as ministers with a distinct midwife anointing, this nurturing and wisdom can be cultivated by all believers. As we grow in character and the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), we move in the direction of a midwife heart for the Church.
Here are some tips for growing in this anointing:
- Spend time learning from spiritual mothers and fathers. Look for mentors strong in wisdom, nurturing, and intercession.
- Ask God for prophetic insight and discernment attuned to the Holy Spirit’s movements.
- Develop your intercessory prayer life. Pray for what God wants to birth in your sphere of influence.
- When you see spiritual labor pains in leaders around you, ask how you can support them behind-the-scenes.
- Celebrate and cheer on the accomplishments of leaders you have nurtured and blessed. Rejoice in their success.
- Remain humble and give glory to God alone. The midwife fading into the background helps keep God central.
As we grow in these areas, we will be increasingly ready to support fresh moves of God as they emerge in our churches, ministries, and regions.
The midwife anointing is an inspiring and empowering concept for believers today. As demonstrated through biblical figures like Deborah and Mary, God uses certain people as spiritual midwives to help birth new movements, ministries, and spiritual breakthroughs.
Those with a midwife anointing are marked by spiritual wisdom, discernment, intercession, prophetic insight, nurturing, and more. This allows them to provide assistance and support to emerging leaders and new works. The midwife gift complements the existing fivefold ministry described in Scripture.
We can all seek to grow in midwifery qualities of prayer, nurturing, and celebration. As we cultivate these spiritual traits, we will be increasingly ready to serve as God’s delivery room for all He wants to bring forth in our midst. We must simply remain open and responsive to what the Spirit of God may be laboring to birth in this new era.