by Lyn Packer
When God speaks a prophetic word over a person, church, community or nation, He is looking for something - a response from us. He is looking for our belief, trust, faith and co-operation in order for that word to come to pass. He is looking for us to steward well the word He gives us.
There are some prophetic words that are sovereign and will happen no matter what, like the ones given about Jesus coming back, but most prophetic words involve the cooperation of mankind in some way.
So how do we treat a prophetic word? Are there steps and keys to follow in order for it to happen? Sometimes I wish there were, but no, there is no formula that will guarantee a prophetic word’s fulfillment. Each prophetic word must be weighed and acted on according to God’s instructions and timetable.
Below are some things to consider as you process and steward a prophetic word. They are not steps, or keys, but each has value and wisdom within them that will help us co-operate with the Lord in a mature way, and with understanding, as we wait for Him to fulfill His word to us.
How to Steward a Prophetic Word
Weigh it up before God. Test the word – Remember, we are asked to judge the prophecy, and not the person giving it. God will sometimes give prophetic words through seemingly unlikely vessels. In general a prophetic word should be tested, not just automatically embraced, even when given by mature, seasoned prophets. Scripture tells us to test the words and hold fast to what is good (1 Thess 5:20,21). Some prophetic words may be a mix of a true word from God and a person’s perspective; that’s why it’s important to test them. You can find a template for testing prophetic words by clicking here.
If you feel that a prophetic word is not correct, double check it with the Lord first before dismissing it. Some prophetic words can be a mixture of a true word mixed with the giver’s perspective. If you are still unsure, consider talking to the person who gave it to you, as they may clarify things; it may just be the way they presented it that made you think it was wrong. Another reason to talk to the giver is that it doesn’t help a prophet grow in their use of the gift if they don’t get honest feedback. When giving feedback on a word, do so honestly but nicely; love always seeks the other’s best and this is the case here too. If it is plainly wrong then dismiss it and ask the Lord what He wants to say to you about the experience. Remember, He wants to make this work for good in your life.
Don’t ‘put it on the shelf’! I know; many of you have been told that when you don’t understand a prophetic word you should ‘put it on the shelf’. In other words, put it to one side and leave it and hope that understanding will come. Yet scripture doesn’t tell us to put a prophetic word that we don’t understand ‘on the shelf’. That is something we’ve been told usually because the person telling us to do so has either been taught that, or they don’t understand how, or they haven’t got time to teach us how to process a prophetic word. I’ve had that statement told to me, and I’ve even used it myself in the past, until I realized what I was doing in repeating it. Unfortunately that statement has kept many of us as babies and stopped many prophetic words from coming to pass, and it’s time we fixed that. So as a prophet and leader in the Body of Christ I ask your forgiveness and repent on behalf of leaders who haven’t trained the church properly to step into what God has for them.
All prophecy is an invitation into God’s heart and mind, into dialogue and cooperation with the Lord. Ask Him questions relating to it. Be specific. Ask about the bits you don’t understand. It may be that the prophetic word refers to something that is yet to come in your life, or the life of the church, or it may be something that the Lord will yet reveal. Don’t dismiss the word as false because you don’t understand it, and don’t ignore it or forget about it. Be diligent, and process it with the Lord.
"All prophecy is an invitation into God’s heart and mind, into dialogue and cooperation with the Lord. Ask Him questions relating to it."
Sometimes the Lord will not show us straight away what we need to know, but that is not cause to dismiss the word; that is the time to step into trust and patience, knowing He will reveal to us what we need to know, when we need to know it. But during that waiting time don’t dismiss the word or let it go. Hold fast to it; don’t put it on the shelf – out of sight and out of mind.
If it’s a personal word, consider submitting it to trusted leaders or mentors. Ask them if they witness with it being from God. Get them to pray with you. Ask them what things they see in your life that would stop you from fulfilling this word (character changes).
Where possible, record the word and then write it out. It is too easy to forget what is said, or to only remember the bits we particularly liked, if we don’t have a taped and written record of it. This is also important when we need to war with it to see it established.
Receive it. If after praying about it you believe it is from God then receive it; wholeheartedly embrace it.
Believe it. Believe that God would never call you to something you are not capable of achieving with His help. God is not a liar. Living from a place of faith is an essential part of any prophetic word coming to fulfillment.
Surrender to the Lord’s will. We must be willing to give up our plans, goals and dreams in order for the Lord’s will to happen in our lives, both individually and corporately. Being given a prophetic word is a great time to re-surrender to His will for your life. In the case of a regional or national word, it doesn’t mean that our individual identities as churches disappears, but it does mean that we work from a servant heartedness and for unity within our diversity and we serve God’s purposes above our own.
Meet any conditions the Lord gives. Examine the word to see if there are any conditions to be met. If there are, then ask the Lord how to go about fulfilling them, as obedience to what the Lord reveals is important. Most words will not come to pass without our co-operating with the Lord.
Stocktake! For a personal word - Look at your life honestly, or ask a trusted leader to help you look at your life honestly. What are the things that need to be changed in order for you to become the person in that prophetic word? Making those changes isn’t about trying to manipulate God, but it is wisdom to make changes that position you into alignment with the word and God’s purposes, if they are needed. Eg. If God says that you will preach the word, then studying scripture will be a necessary part of that. God is highly unlikely to bring you into that place of preaching if you don’t ever read or study your Bible.
"What are the things that need to be changed in order for you to become the person in that prophetic word?"
Corporate words need both personal and corporate stocktakes. It will require that the leadership and the church congregation be willing to embrace and make the changes that the Lord asks of them. The Lord’s strategy and timing is important, and open dialogue will be needed between leadership and church members to move a church forward into what God has.
Deal with any unbelief, doubt and fears regarding the word or God’s fulfilling of it. Deal with these things, as they will paralyze you and possibly delay fulfillment of the word. Unbelief is most often rooted in lies we’ve believed about the nature and character of God, or about ourselves. Ask yourself why you don’t believe that this could happen. What lies do you believe about God, yourself or the Church?
Come into a place of rest. In regard to the prophetic word, God will bring His word to pass; trust Him to do so. Don’t try and figure out how He’ll do it, just trust that He will. Stay in that place of trust. You may have to war to do so, but don’t give in to the doubts and lies that the enemy will try and tell you.
Don’t strive to make the word happen. Know when to do something and when not to. Wait on His strategy! Some words will require that we take action as the Lord shares with us His strategy; at other times His strategy is to be still and know that He is God. Follow what He tells you, but don’t strive to make something happen.
See yourself doing it. Use your God given sanctified imagination. Our imagination was not given to us just so we can live in a fantasy world but was given so that we could dream! It is a vitally important part of our spiritual life. In 1 Tim 4:14-15 we read "...Neglect not the gift that is in you given by prophecy and the laying on of hands, Meditate on these things, give yourself wholly to them that your profiting may appear to all.” The word ‘meditate’ is the Greek word ‘meletao‘ which means 'to revolve in the mind, to imagine'. In other words God is saying to Timothy (and to us), "Imagine yourself doing what I’ve prophesied over you, then give yourself wholeheartedly to walking in it." Your sanctified imagination is for dreaming dreams, for seeing into the future, into the potential that God has placed within you, and bringing it into the now by your confession and your obedience.
Have deliberate faith. Deliberate faith draws on the prophetic word, on the gifts. It draws more faith around your life. If God said it, I need to believe it. I will now choose to deliberately walk in the light of it.
Pray into it. Pray about the word He’s given, bring it before Him, remind him often of His promise. Don’t beg or plead with Him to do it. Stay in the place of trust and rest, but don’t back down either. Don’t stick the word on the shelf.
War with it. Push back the powers of darkness that would seek to tell you it could never happen, or that God couldn’t use you/us in that way. God’s boundaries for us are huge. The devil will always try and place a false boundary around our lives. Watch out for well meaning people who will try to make you see sense (squash the dream). Don’t allow them to talk you out of your destiny. 1 Tim1:18 This command I entrust you Timothy, in accordance with the prohesies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight keeping faith and a good conscience.
"Push back the powers of darkness that would seek to tell you it could never happen, or that God couldn’t use you/us in that way. God’s boundaries for us are huge."
Speak it over yourself, or the church, frequently. This follows on from the previous point about warring with your word. Pray prophetically over your life. Pray and thank God as if it was already a reality in your life. Psa 50:23 tells us to thank God in advance for things not yet received, and that this prepares the way for Him to act on our behalf. The word ‘thank’ used in that verse is the Hebrew word Todah, which means to give thanks, especially in advance for things not yet received. Confession changes the dynamics around your life. Confession marks in the spirit realm, as well as in the natural realm, where you stand. Confession begins to shape and change your behaviour. It also releases a motivational drive to live up to your beliefs. Job 22: 28 says - You shall decree a thing and it will be established for you.
Be accountable. Make yourself accountable to others. People who are unaccountable generally end up in deception.
Faithfully do what is already before you. He who is faithful in little will be given much. Do what is before you with a good heart. You don’t always know exactly what God is going to do through a situation. Your humble obedience will work much in your life and is part of God’s training plan for you.
Know that God’s timing is accurate in your life. Sometimes words don’t come to pass immediately! What if it’s been a while and your prophetic word hasn’t come to pass yet and you are ‘chomping at the bit’ like a horse that wants to run? Be patient! God knows better than you do when the time is right to release you.
Let the peace of God rule your heart and mind. Phil 4:6,7. You can depend on God. He cares for you. 1 Pet 5:7.
Embrace the Holy Spirit’s training process. A prophetic word is God revealing His desired outcome and plan for you in a certain area. That means that from the time the word is given, everything between then and its fulfilment is designed to test us and train us to become the person God saw when He spoke over us. Psa 105:19 says in regard to Joseph’s word, “Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.” Graham Cooke says – “The process from prophecy to fulfilment is our training and proving ground where we cultivate the identity and develop the faith, focus and favour required to move in the Spirit at that level.”
"From the time the word is given, everything between then and its fulfilment is designed to test us and train us to become the person God saw when He spoke over us."
Take steps to get training, if needed. Ask the Lord what training you need to look at doing. Is it to learn a language, learn a trade, learn about the customs of a country etc? Also realise that He might allow your training to happen through things that you wouldn’t automatically gravitate to. He may make use of adverse life circumstances which teach us things we will need for the future.
I hope this article has been helpful to you. Maybe there are prophetic words that you’ve put on the shelf that you need to dust off and bring before the Lord again. Ask Him if they are still current and if there is anything that He wants to show you about them. Then come back into that place of belief and trust, cooperate with Him, and see the words come to pass! We will all benefit if you do.
STEWARDING THE PROPHETIC WORDS GOD GIVES US
Lyn is recognised as a Prophet within New Zealand and other nations she’s ministered in. Her ministry is revelatory and catalytic, propelling people into encounter with God. The governmental prophetic gift she carries is expressed through prophetic, revelatory insight and strategy, prophetic words (personal, corporate and national), teaching, art, and writing. Click here for more info...