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Things to Understand About Prophecy

Will Riddle 6 minutes to read

Prophecy and Your Walk with God Many Christians are uncertain or inexperienced with personal prophecy, but I have found that prophecy can fast track your walk with God if you utilize it properly. If I speak a word over you, I want you to have a healthy, positive experience, so here are some guidelines to help.

The Purpose of Prophecy Prophecy is someone listening to God so that they can speak his heart over you. All prophecy, like all ministry, however, must pass through a human vessel in order to reach you. This means that while the information is from God,  what is said, and how it is said is influenced by the person who gives it.

Most of us, when we are first exposed to prophecy, think prophecy is about seeing the future or mind reading. Although God certainly knows all things, including the secrets of our hearts and our future, that is not why he gives prophetic words. God gives prophetic words in order to address things that are going on in your heart. Christianity is a relationship with God that comes from your heart. Your future and life decisions will all be determined by what is in your heart, not by what is in your prophecy.God rarely will speak to you something that you are completely not open to hearing.

God can use prophecy to open up new possibilities for you, but what is in your heart and how you respond to God will determine what will actually happen. When God exposes something negative through prophecy, He is giving you grace to deal with it, so that your future and relationship with Him will change. When he shows you something positive, He is giving you an opportunity to step into something new.

This is why all prophecy should be considered interactive. God is giving you insight into your life and supernatural opportunities. What you do with it is up to you.

What is my background in the Prophetic? My first introduction to prophecy was at a Paul Cain meeting in 1998. This set my heart on fire to show God to others in this way. I have pursued and extensively practiced the prophetic ever since that time in a variety of different contexts. This has enabled me to develop a strong degree of accuracy in personal prophecy and I have seen many fulfillments, including specific things that happened to someone at a specific age, specific increases in salary, warnings about a specific relationship coming which should be avoided, information about sick or wayward children, etc.

I do not claim to hear God perfectly, however. It is possible for me to miss God or misinterpret what I am seeing. As Paul says, we all see through a glass dimly. This means that it is important that you weigh what you are receiving in your own conscience. If it strikes you as way off, then you should discard it. If it is an area where you are uncertain, you should seek input from those who love you. I work to be more accurate all the time, but I also continually stretch my faith into new areas that are difficult. Although I am not aware of ever having a "complete miss"  sometimes I stretch a little too far,  put the right ideas in the wrong contexts, or am not bold enough. This doesn't happen a lot, but it does happen, and so it is important that you weigh everything before God. Your conscience, guided by the Holy Spirit will tell you the truth.

Keeping Prophecy Pure Unscrupulous or inexperienced prophetic people sometimes abuse this position by prophesying things that are in their own interest rather than the interests of the person they are speaking over. Most often, this happens unintentionally as people don't have a big enough view of what God is doing and will prophesy you into their plans without intentionally manipulating you. In prophetic settings, I will watch out for this and stop it if it happens.

More than a few times, God has led us to speak words which might lead in a different direction than our natural wisdom or personal benefit would suggest. We are completely comfortable with this. What matters to me is that you receive input from God on the direction of your life.  When I prophesy that means I put my own personal perspective aside and put on God’s heart of love toward you to see what He sees. Also I will never pass off something that found out or knew in the natural as a prophetic revelation. If the prophecy includes information I know in the natural, I try to make that clear.

What about direction? I do not believe it is healthy to treat prophecy like dictates from heaven. God wants a relationship with you and that means his main focus is on your heart, not you following “orders.” People ruin their lives trying to obey prophecy in this way.

This also means that I do not give directive prophecy which tells you how to make major life decisions like who to marry, or where to move. If I receive information about a situation of this nature, I will present it to you as an idea or possibility that God is opening up. All decisions, but especially major decisions like this must be made from your own heart, walk with God, and with pastoral insight from those around you who care about you.

What about correction? Prophecy is given for encouragement and edification. God always loves you and is always seeking to draw you toward Him. This means that everything  He gives in prophecy has a redemptive love-filled purpose. As every loving father, He will sometimes provide information that is corrective or challenging. If God provides corrective insight into your life, I will first consider if it is more appropriate for a private discussion. If I do give it where others might hear, it will always be in the context of encouraging you, not of shaming you. I will never embarrass you through a prophecy.

What do I do with my prophecy? That is the most important question. Most people just put their prophecies on the shelf and do not do much with them. This means that they often miss the opportunity God is giving them. You have to act on what you have heard in the prophecy in order for it to work. Here are several of the main types of information you could receive and the kinds of actions that you might take:

Love Revelation – One of God’s main purposes in prophecy is draw you deeper into a love relationship with Him.   Sometimes he shows details just so that you know how much He loves you, and if he shows an area of pain, he is releasing grace to heal it.

Character Revelation  – Insights about your character is given to help you grow. These are areas you should take directly to God in prayer and allow him to work more deeply in your life. If it is about another relationship, you should start partner with God to change the dynamics of that relationship. You cannot fix these things on your own, but if God is revealing it in prophecy he is giving you grace to work them out together. You have to take action on what is being revealed.

Long Term Revelation  – Long term information or opportunity is usually given to start a process in your heart of being open to or ready for something you had not considered before to happen in your life. Sometimes there is no immediate action on this information. It could be just  to start the process of preparation of openness for that opportunity.

Now what? Prophecy is only power when you work through the revelation God has given you and take action on it. As you grow, the prophetic word you receive will also change and grow with you. What makes prophecy fun is when you have done the hard work of applying the word to your life and God is able to reveal something fresh. These are steps you should do at a minimum:

  1. Listen or read your prophecy again soon after you got it so that you can get more insight out of what God said.
  2. Take notes of the key things that really strike you as important for your life right now.
  3. Identify one or more proactive steps you can take to act on your prophecy.

If you would like to learn more about how to grow in the prophetic, and how to expand Spirit-filled ministry in your church in a healthy way, check out my book School in the Spirit.


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Mr. Jon

How or where does one go about getting a prophecy? My church doesn’t provide them. Do some churches give them out to parishioners?

Marti Burris

Marti Burris if you hear something you feel is from God then I would love to know it.

Harry Waldron

I am pursuing a word from our Holy Father. I pray He will continue to bless you and your family in all the days ahead.


Wow this is great! I wish I had these notes for when I first started off prophesying as that would have saved a lot of confusion coming from my part. As someone who is still fairly inexperienced in prophetic ministry, I will definitely be using this myself, and point those who are starting out to this as well (if you dont mind)! Thank you!

Will Riddle

Henson -- I'm so glad you found it helpful. I could probably say the same thing about what I "wish I knew" myself.

Nick Bulbeck

Will - for some reason I got an email today telling me that this was a new post; it doesn't look new, but I read it anyway! A very comprehensive and concise summary of the topic, if I may say so. Graeme Cooke makes an instructive distinction between *false prophecy*, which comes from a wrong spirit and is meant to confuse, pull down or deceive, and *poor prophecy*, which genuinely originates with the Holy Spirit but that is delivered in an inappropriate way, with bits added or missing, or otherwise distorted by the messenger. Bringers of false prophecy may themselves be deceived, rather than malicious, just as bringers of poor prophecy generally mean well.

Will Riddle

Nick, thanks. It actually is new, but I didn't want it to become a focus of the blog, because I just posted it in the past so I can give the link to people over whom I prophesy so they have a better context. Didn't know that it was going to email you anyway :)

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