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Receiving Personal Prophecy
In his message Pay Attention to Prophecy Colin Dye explained that personal prophecies can be helpful and encouraging as you seek to follow God’s will for your life. But what do you when someone gives one to you? How do you react? How do you know God is really speaking to you? How should you respond? How much weight should you attach to it?
There are three basic things to remember when you receive a personal prophecy: test the prophecy, and, if it is a genuine word, receive the prophecy, and then, act on it with prayer and wisdom.
The first step in testing the prophecy is to test the messenger. The person should be functioning under the care, nurture and discipline of church life, and known to and trusted by your leaders. In KT you can easily ask someone who their cell or primary leader is, and check the out that way.
Then you can test the prophecy itself, here are four straightforward thinks to ask.
Is the message factual?
If someone is truly speaking by the Holy Spirit they will bring an accurate word. But, don’t be too pedantic about this, the Holy Spirit may be giving a core revelation for the person to interpret and pass on to you. However, you cannot assume that the prophecy is from God just because it is accurate! A personal prophecy should reveal the heart of God and not just certain facts about a personal situation in your life.
Is the message biblical?
If the prophecy contains wrong doctrine, it cannot be the Holy Spirit speaking. All prophecy must submit to the standard of scripture (1 Corinthians 14:36-38).
Check the witness of the Spirit
The Holy Spirit bears witness to true words of prophecy. You have the Holy Spirit in you. Ask yourself whether the Holy Spirit is bearing witness with your spirit that this is a true word from the Lord. One of the ways the Holy Spirit will witness to your spirit is through the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. You can ask yourself whether the prophecy is consistent with love, joy, peace, and so on.
The confirmation test
I have what I call the ‘law of prophetic witness’. This follows the scriptural teaching that we should establish matters out of the mouth of two or three witnesses (Matthew 18:20 & 2 Corinthians 13:1). Prophetic ministry should not by-pass the normal process of decision-making. You need to check out the word you have received with wise counsellors and godly, mature leaders (Proverbs 15:22).
Having tested the prophecy and seen that it is from the Lord, or, at least, that it contains valuable insights, do not forget to take steps to receive what God is saying to you.
Record the word you have received – either in your spiritual journal or on an audio device so you remember exactly what was prophesied. Sometimes a word will make greater sense to later on, when the timing of the prophecy matures. The original prophecy can be easily forgotten and the record will refresh your memory.
Act on the prophecy with wisdom, in dependence on the Holy Spirit and in keeping with every other Christian discipline including prayer and the study of scripture, Christian fellowship, and so on. Hold onto and work out what God has said to you in faithfulness and obedience.
Make sure you are also developing your own ability to listen to the Holy Spirit. That way, you will not only be better able to assess the prophetic words spoken over you, but you will also learn to hear God for yourself.
This article is edited from chapter 16 of Colin’s book The Fivefold Ministry.
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