As someone who loves the prophetic and studied it for years I’ve learned something very important about personal prophetic words. It is extremely important to partner with prophetic words you receive, if you want to see them come to pass! I will attempt to explain what I mean by ‘partnering with your prophesy’. First of all, there are a few prophetic caveats I’ve learned over nearly 40 years of walking with the Lord that I’d like to share with you. The first one is this: don’t elevate the vessel giving the word with the word itself. In other words, we only know in part and prophesy in part. Since we are vessels of clay we are subject to miss the mark and error. God only gives them a prophetic piece of the puzzle for your life. Secondly, not every ‘word’ you receive may be inspired. It’s important to pray for discernment and not take every word at face value! Samuel was the only prophet recorded in the Bible whose words never fell to the ground; none went forth without fulfillment. Under the Old Covenant, if a prophet gave a word that did not happen they were stoned. That is because during the era of the Old Covenant prophets were the ONLY spokesmen for God. People didn’t have the Bible on their coffee tables at home and iPads with various Bible apps on their night stands! Prophets were under severe scrutiny and judgment because of it. Thank the Lord we are under the New Covenant of Grace. Having said that, we shouldn’t be careless about prophesy and we ought to pray for greater accuracy!

Under the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon ALL flesh according to Joel 2: 28 & Acts 2: 17 and one of the first manifestations of this outpouring was that His sons and daughters WOULD prophesy! This means that if you are a son or daughter of God you CAN prophesy! It’s important to note that the Spirit of Prophesy is really a combination of one or more of the utterance and/ or revelation gifts of the Spirit. This includes tongues and interpretation of the tongues, prophesy (future events, comfort, exhortation, edification), words of knowledge, and words of wisdom (1 Corinthians 12: 8¬9). All are administered in proportion to the person’s faith who is prophesying!

As I mentioned earlier, anyone can prophesy by the Holy Spirit who is Born Again and is called a Son or Daughter of God. It’s important to make the distinction that being “Born Again” enables any son or daughter to prophesy by the Holy Spirit. You see, there is the counterfeit of Holy Spirit prophecy through the use of familiar spirits by psychics who sometimes are astoundingly accurate! They have an innate gift of being extremely intuitive and sensitive in the realm of the spirit. However, the source of that knowledge is demonic not the Holy Spirit! It is fruit from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Just because it sounds good and is pleasant to the senses doesn’t mean it’s fruit from the Tree of Life!

It is important to understand the Father’s purpose of giving us prophecy. First and foremost, He gave us this wonderful gift for the purpose of edification (building up our faith), exhortation (encouraging and provoking our faith) and comfort (especially during times of grief and pain). Sometimes, prophetic words are laced with words of wisdom and words of knowledge instructing you in some measure about what you need to do. These words, if they are accurate, are to help guide and navigate you now and sometimes in your future. They are not fool-proof. They are like sign posts on a highway to help guide you while giving pictures of your spiritual destination! In 2009, I was praying about writing a book after the loss of our son in an automobile accident. I wanted to be sure it was God and not me. After many days of prayer, I was on my way to church one morning and asked the Father again out loud, “Lord please show me if and when I am to begin this book.” At that moment, a car turned into my street and the license plate read, “Write On.” Well that was all the confirmation I needed. God used a ‘sign’ to give me a word of wisdom! I began writing the next day while the Holy Spirit downloaded the Introduction and subsequent Chapter Titles.

Another caveat is not to look at the sign or to the vessel for the full understanding of the word(s) and don’t think just because you’ve received a prophetic word it will automatically manifest. You must pray and as Father for further insight. You must wage war against the forces of darkness to possess the promises of God through faith and patience, toppling every giant that stands in the way! That’s why Paul told Timothy to wage a good warfare by the prophecies that went out before him. The Spirit of Jezebel fights prophesy and will continually resist you, especially when you begin to get serious about praying and walking out the prophetic utterances God gives you! Another word of caution is that the prophetic vessel God uses only speaks for God not as God. Resist the temptation to elevate man to the place of someone who should be feared and inordinately reverenced: that is idolatry. Look to the Holy Spirit to get understanding, wisdom and counsel concerning every prophetic word you receive. Measure the words against the Scripture to safeguard against anything that would violate the logos. If some prophet tells you that your husband is the wrong man for you, who in the Bible ever said that to anyone? Nobody! Does the word violate the principles and patterns of Scripture? If someone prophesies to you that God has given you a special anointing to hear from Him and you don’t need to be part of a local church or associated with any other ministry, that too is nowhere in scripture!

Test prophesies by the logos (written word) where possible next with the inner witness of the Spirit. This is a bit more subjective but if you’re not sure of a word, pray and the Holy Spirit will bear witness with it or not. If your spirit is grieved, when someone gives you a prophetic word that is a signal you need to heed. We need to hold each other accountable in the prophetic. When giving words we should preface it with something like, “I believe the Lord is showing me such and such,” or “I believe the Lord is showing me something for you. Is it alright if I share it?” Then after you share it ask the person if it bore witness with them or not. Ask them if it was correct or not. Sometimes their tears or rejoicing let you know right away it was God! Mutual accountability helps in understanding what God may be saying. It keeps things in check and it keeps us humble. Death and Life are in the power of the tongue. Words carry life or they can carry death. We can’t afford to be careless especially when delivering prophetic words. If we can’t be accountable we shouldn’t prophesy! If we despise being corrected by anyone concerning any words we give or the attitude and tone in which we deliver them we’re spiritually immature and possibly dangerous to others! It’s like giving an unskilled seven year old a loaded pistol. He’ll shoot it if he has permission without realizing the damage it can do!

One day the Lord gave me the word “Bacon” for a young man. I told him that I believe the Lord gave me a word but it was a bit crazy. I kept hearing it so I had to decide to step out in faith or possibly miss an opportunity to minister to someone. I was willing to take the risk of sharing it if he would tell me if the word Bacon meant anything to him or not. I shared the word and of course everyone laughed. I asked him if it meant anything to him. He paused and thought for a minute and said “Well, I gave up pork recently. I don’t eat pork anymore.” I said, “Well bacon is pork!” again everybody laughed including the young man. Then I said out loud, “Well, I don’t know what to do with this word, Lord please help me out here!” Again laughter filled the place. As soon as I said that, the Lord gave me a download for this young man and I began to share it with him. He began to cry and I knew God was speaking something to his heart and used this word as a parable to teach him a principle.

Yet another caveat
 to prophecy is NEVER make a major decision or move based on one directive or one word given by ANYONE. I knew of a middle aged couple that sold their house, quit their jobs and made a geographical moved based on a ‘word’ from a so called prophet. They ended up homeless, jobless and financially broken, not to mention the spiritual brokenness they experienced as a result of stepping out on this ‘word’. The Bible is clear: let every word be established out of the mouth of two or more witnesses! That includes the inner witness of the Holy Ghost inside of you! God is never in a hurry. Pray through until you get several confirmations on words involving directives!

Let me add, that if you received a word years ago and it hasn’t come to pass doesn’t mean you should discard it. How many years passed between Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah (Isaiah 9: 6) and the fulfillment of it? Sometimes only time will tell! Keep it on your prayer list! The Apostle of the ministry I am involved with had a prophetic word some twenty years ago where the prophet saw him in a church building on a major interstate.

Apostle Chisholm started several different churches within that time span and none of them was on a major highway. He thought to himself, “Well, so and so just missed it!” Don’t you know just four and a half years ago he started another work in Columbus, Ohio? Instead of renting a building which was his intention, a realtor got in touch with him and said he had a church building for sale at a price that would be cheaper to buy than it would be to rent. Apostle Chisholm went to look at the building and guess what? It was located right on a major interstate -I-70 and yes, he was able to purchase it without any money down and with no congregation! God is good! That word took twenty some years to manifest!

Finally, prophesy is the possibility of the Father for your life and a portion of the thoughts He has towards you. He shares His thoughts with us to give us an expected end of a thing (Jeremiah 29: 11). It’s not the sum total of God’s plan for your life. It’s only a piece of His wonderful life puzzle that He wants you to search Him out for. These supernatural possibilities of the Father will remain human improbabilities unless and until we partner with them through prayer and submitting to the process of God. Prophesy is like a seed. It contains the possibility of a harvest but only under the right conditions. The soil must be good. It must be watered and it must be cultivated. The Holy Spirit will give you the grace required to press through the process just like that tiny seed pushes through the soil. The process is the space of time between prophecy and its fulfillment. In this period of time, Holy Spirit will purify the motives, intents and thoughts of the heart. He will strengthen and mature you emotionally and spiritually. He will bring your life into balance. He will teach and train you through other ministry gifts as well as your times of intimacy with Him in worship, prayer and Bible Study. A prophet told me years ago, “Learn well, while you’re going through the School of the Spirit!” I really didn’t understand what that meant until I experienced this fact: every Word of the Lord is tested! It’s up to us to hold fast with unmovable faith or throw up our hands and quit! God never quits on us. Why should we quit on God?

Joseph’s dream did not manifest immediately. He went through about a 14 year period of the stripping away of everything that was once familiar to him. He went through the crucible of rejection, misunderstanding, false accusations and injustices. Through it all, he persevered! When God saw that Joseph was ready, He released him into the full destiny of his prophetic dream. During his prophetic process, God used Joseph and gave him glimpses of His final prophetic destination through favor, leadership, interpreting dreams and promotions. God allowed trials by fire to purify his motives that were once full of ego and pride. So it is with us! “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi [the priests], and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord [grain] offerings in righteousness.” Malachi 3: 3
Let me close with a few more practical tips and a review on how to partner with your prophesy!

1. Ask Father to show you what may have been someone else’s good intentions verses what is really from His heart. It’s very possible for someone to ‘read’ what’s in your soul and speak it back to you without having the wisdom of God for proper timing to release it or even if what was ‘prophesied’ over you was something in your soul i.e., self-will and selfish desires verses the Divine will and plan of God. You and I are still in the process of sanctification so not everything we hide in our hearts and minds may be from the Father. That’s why we have to go through purification (Malachi 3:3). A sensitive person in the spirit can pick up on those soulish things in us and read them back. That’s what psychics can do too.
2. The Bible says to ‘prove’ all things for veracity and soundness. At the same time we are not to despise prophesy because someone was off or people misuse the gift out of immaturity, ignorance, selfish gain or pride.
3. If it’s a hard word ask God to show you if it was filtered through the vessel’s soul wounds, their personal dislike of you in some area and/ or an unresolved heart issue. Prophesy can fail, but love never fails. Hard words not motivated by love bring condemnation not edification. In that case render those words null and void over yourself and speak life and the Word of God in place of any word you determine was false! If it was a corrective word that you needed to hear but it offended your flesh, rather than reject it, take it to God, be humble, heed it, repent and move forward!
4. Ask the Father to show you if it was a “now” word or a “later” word then pray accordingly. Now words usually confirm what is going on in your life at that time and the Father just wants to assure you that you are on the right path!
5. Pray “proven” prophesies over and over again and in so doing, wage a good warfare. There is always resistance in the spirit realm against the prophetic! The devil fights what you and I are called to be prophetically. He is terrified of your future! He knows the back of the Book and he loses! WE WIN! Remember that prophesy is the end of a thing. The devil fights you in the process so be strong in the Lord and of good courage! He that began a good work in you will complete it!
6. Share your prophecies with trusted spiritual elders to get their input, judgment, prayer and insight. Two are better than one. In the multitude of counsel there is safety. God may give them additional wisdom to help you fight the good fight of faith!
7. The larger the sphere of influence of the prophetic vision, the greater the preparation. Don’t become anxious in the process and the length of time it may take. Elephants have a gestation period of 22 months-almost two years! Why? They are the largest mammal in the Animal Kingdom!
8. Learn the blessing of contentment! Delight yourself in the Lord; not the prophecies themselves. They are just pointers in your spiritual roadmap. They are not to take the place of Jesus and intimacy with the Father! Persevere through faith and patience! Rather than dream only about the future, serve God out of your love for Him and His Body! Let Him use you right where you are here and NOW! Enjoy the journey and don’t get hung up on the future. We have no guarantee of it, except what is written in Scripture! “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37: 4 “But godliness actually is a source of great gain when accompanied by contentment [that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God].” 1 Timothy 6: 6
9. Be careful not to reject prophesy based on the vessel God chooses to use i.e., someone very different than you, someone who is not a “minister”, a little child, a younger less mature person than you, a stranger, someone you may not like, someone from a different ‘stream’ than you (church, denomination, organization, school of thought etc.). Remember that if we reject a vessel God chooses to use, we reject Him. Yes we still need to test all things but don’t judge who He uses subjectively! Corporately, we are His Body-hands, feet, eyes, ears, and heart! “Do not neglect to extend hospitality to strangers [especially among the family of believers—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13: 2

So we see prophecy has a part to play and WE have a part to play. If we partner with prophecy the way the Bible instructs us to, it will be a rewarding and valuable piece to our life’s puzzle!

Yours in the Journey! Pastor Mary Ann