It is a widely accepted fact that God speaks prophetically to His people. Scripture clearly states: “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7 NASB In fact in the day and age in which we live, that I like to call the time period known as “The Restoration Of All Things” (see Acts 3:21), God seems to be speaking prophetically much more than He has in years gone by as He is restoring the Office of the Prophet to His Church. However, we must understand that as in Scripture, there are two types of prophetic words: absolute and conditional. Absolute prophecies come to pass because God does them all by Himself. Conditional prophecies require our cooperation in meeting the conditions laid forth. Hence how we respond to the prophetic word is extremely important.
In the Apostle John’s prophetic encounter recorded in Revelation chapters two and three, Jesus spoke plainly to seven churches. To each one He ended his message with the phrase: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” The first response that we must make to the prophetic word is to hear it. We must have spiritual ears to hear what the Spirit is saying. Jesus also said: “Take heed therefore how ye hear…” Luke 8:18 KJV Not only must we hear what the Spirit is saying and accept it as being a word from God but we must also hear it accurately. We must be open to God’s prophetic word and accept it as such.
Our second response to the prophetic word should be to write it down. God told the prophet Habakkuk: “And the Lord answered me, and said, ‘Write the vision and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.’” Habakkuk 2:2 KJV God told the prophet Jeremiah:“Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book.” Jeremiah 2:2 NASB God told the prophet Isaiah: “Now go, write it on a tablet before them and inscribe it on a scroll, that it may serve thee in time to come…” Isaiah 30:8 NASB Do you see a pattern here? Do you see a common theme to what God told each of these prophets? It is clear that we must write down our prophetic words so that we do not loose sight of them.
The same way that we refer back to the written Logos (Scripture Word) of God to remember what He has promised us, we must refer back to the written Rhema (Prophetic Word) of God to remember what He has promised us. Too many in the Body of Christ today are missing it because they forget what God promised them prophetically. This brings us to our next response to the prophetic word. The Apostle Paul wrote to his spiritual son, the apostle in training, Timothy: “This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight.” 1 Timothy 1:18 NASB We must learn to war or fight with our prophetic words. The same way we remind God, the devil and ourselves of what is written in Scripture, we must also remind God, the devil and ourselves of what God has prophetically declared.
There is always a moral imperative with the prophetic word of God. Even if it seems that there are no conditions listed in the prophetic word, we must still live right, pursue God and His kingdom, and above all fight with our prophetic words by declaring them in our prayer life. This is another area where many in the church err. Just because God spoke it, doesn’t mean that we can just sit back and do nothing and expect it to come to pass, no more than we can expect to get saved by just sitting back and doing nothing. There is an act of faith that appropriates God’s promise of salvation in our getting saved, and there is an act of faith that appropriates God’s prophetic promise that causes us to walk in it. This idea that God said thus and so, so I can just sit back and watch God do it is a subtle lie of the enemy that is keeping many from inheriting their prophetic promises.
The final area that I want to touch on in this brief overview is a critical one that I learned from the hard way. We must always be careful to NOT put our own meaning on God’s prophetic word. When God gives us a prophetic word He never gives us all the details. Even though He knows the end from the beginning, He never tells us the end from the beginning. If He did, we most likely wouldn’t pursue it, and it wouldn’t require us to walk by faith. (Which we know it is impossible to please God without walking by faith, see Hebrews 11:6) The Apostle Paul tells us: “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.” 1 Corinthians 13:9 NASB No prophetic word is total revelation it is always partial revelation.
The danger that comes in is when we take the partial revelation that is given along with our own preconceived ideas and mix them together getting an interpretation of what that word from God means, but it is really not what God means at all. Our own mindset can cause us to run off prematurely and miss God’s purpose and plan for our lives. We must learn to bathe our prophetic words in prayer, and wait for God to add further revelation to the partial revelation that was initially given. Waiting for the proper timing of God for the prophetic word is also extremely important. Just because you received a prophetic word, don’t always assume that it is for right now. There is always a period of time between the prophetic promise and the actual full manifestation of that promise being walked in called preparation. Don’t try to short cut the process; you must go through the preparation to walk in the promise.
I trust that these simple thoughts will help you in your walk with the Lord. This is in no way meant to be an exhaustive teaching on this subject, but merely a few general pointers to help us all to respond to the prophetic word of the Lord more accurately.