Over the last couple of years, I have been experiencing a part of my faith which can only be described as supernatural. Through a series of events, I have been experiencing moments of the prophetic which seem to have been unlocked in my life.
A few years ago, a mentor and pastor shared with me prophetic words about my life. It was a blessing, but it was right on for what the future would hold. His words came two-fold: 1) to bless my life at the moment. And 2) to call out something in my life for the future.
While there were many things he described for my life and my future, he shared that I would use my natural skills and anointing to be a teacher in a way different than I thought. And he is helping me to build into my passion for writing.
And this is good.
Yet, how did I get to this point of experiencing the prophetic in my life through others and to others?
In this story, I want to share my thoughts on the topic and what I have learned over the last few years.
What are Prophetic Words? And How Do We Receive Them?
First, we need to understand a few things about prophecy, prophets, and the way God is working in the world today. And then we can dive deeper into the world of understanding and receiving prophetic words.
Does prophecy still exist today?
Depending on your faith background, you may or may not believe there are actual prophets among us today. Some people believe that after Jesus was resurrected there was no need for prophecies here on earth. However, I think the Bible has something different to say about this:
“In the last days, God said, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.’”
— Acts 2:17–18
When Jesus spoke of the last days, he was speaking of the time before his return. And so, as we live in the time before his return, we can reasonably believe that we live in those last days and Holy Spirit is being poured out on his people.
So, prophecy does still exist today.
And if prophecy still exists today, this means there are prophets among us sharing God’s knowledge with his people and the world on a regular basis. When this became a reality to me, I asked myself, can anyone share prophetic words?
Who can share prophetic words?
The short answer: anyone who is filled with the Holy Spirit.
But, how can I say this with confidence? Countless times throughout the Bible we find people who prophesized when “the spirit of the Lord came upon them.”
Here are three portions of scripture where the Spirit of the Lord enables prophecy:
- Acts 19: 12 Men in Ephesus
- Luke 1: Zechariah, Father of John the Baptist
- 1 Samuel 19:23: Saul the King of Israel
And so, it is reasonable to believe when Holy Spirit fills someone with his presence the gift of prophecy is available for them to experience and share. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you can share prophetic words.
How do we discern or receive prophetic words?
Now we know that prophecy exists today and that Spirit-filled people can share prophetic words, but how do we discern the words we receive as from God and how they matter in our lives?
After all, sometimes, people may say they are a prophet from God and might very well be sharing a lot of garbage which is not from God. How do we know what to believe and trust? And how do we decide what might not be true?
5 Ways to Confirm a Prophetic Word
Julie Ferwerda, a writer from Crosswalk.com gives some very insightful thoughts on this in her article, which I have adapted a little from my experience. And I do want to make it clear, there are a lot of ways to confirm prophetic words which you receive. Though there have been 5 ways have been specific for my life.
1. The words agree with Scripture.
I have found on several occasions that prophecy which is given has a strong connection with the words found in the Bible. In fact, we can learn to discern most aspects of our lives through the reflection of what the Bible says of our situation or circumstances.
This is why I always try and look for connects with a prophetic word to something in the Bible which affirms what I received. In terms of my word for teaching and my gifts, I found several instances where God used people’s natural gifts and his assignments to bring forth his Kingdom on earth.
2. The words are spoken out of humility.
We have all heard or seen someone declare themselves a prophet of the Lord and then start talking about their track record with prophecies coming true, or people healed, or whatever else. There always seems to be a sort of pride factor to these moments.
However, when someone speaks out of humility, they will tell you they believe the Lord wants them to share something specific with you, we can take what they say and hold it with us. While prophecy holds authority and boldness, it also requires humility.
3. The One who shares is in close relationship with Jesus and Holy Spirit.
This can be difficult at times to know for sure, however, we know faithful men and women who are living out their relationship with God in an honest, and focused fashion. We have seen and experienced their faith and can trust they are hearing from the Lord.
This also means that they can describe what it means to hear from the Lord and how that looks for them on a regular basis. Not that we need to interview them, but we will hear them share how Jesus and Holy Spirit are working in their lives.
4. Completion of the prophetic word
Sometimes, we will not know this until it happens. We may have a few different ways to affirm a prophetic word, but when it actually comes true, then we begin to have a track record of our own.
In my case, my word was somewhat vague, however, as I meditated on it, and asked for clarification, God brought other ways to show me how these prophetic words were going to come to pass and then they did.
5. Give it time
Sometimes it just takes time to receive a prophetic word and to understand and confirm it was from God. There have been examples in my life where I have received words for myself, my family, and even friends.
This is also true of someone shares with you. They may give you a word, and it may not apply at the moment, however, I would write it down, because it might just pop back up in a few months, few years, or even a few decades later.
For example, I had a ministry leader once declare over me the name “Happy.” While there were some clear realities to my new found happiness, it wouldn’t be until the birth of my first child that I would understand this word and what it meant for me.
My first daughter’s name is Gwyneth, which means happiness. She is the culmination of things my wife and I had prayed for over the years. And she stands tall as an example of happiness.
There was nearly a decade before I understood what the declaration of happy meant.
This is not an exhaustive list either. There will be times when you might receive the same word over and over again. Or someone might share something without even declaring it was a prophetic word, but God tells you that it is.
And sometimes, you will read something in your Bible, and later receive the word which will edify what you learned. There are a lot of ways to receive and confirm prophecy in our lives.
Unleashing the Power of Heaven on Earth
God unleashes his power in heaven here on earth every day. He wants us to know him, and experience his kingdom. And so, when he shares with someone a prophetic word in your life, it is to unleash his power in your life.
You might experience a breakthrough in an area of sin. Comfort in a time of loss. Wisdom before a trial or struggle. And sometimes you might receive knowledge of something to come in the future.
No matter what it is, you can share it with others and receive it with others. God wants us to know his will, power, and love here on earth and this is one of the many ways he does this on a regular basis.