In Acts 11:27-29, prophets prophesied of a coming famine, so the church in Antioch took up a collection for the relief in the saints in Jerusalem. In Acts 13:1-3, the Leadership Team at Antioch received a prophetic word to send out Barnabas and Paul to the work that God was calling them to do. In Acts 16:9-10, Paul was in Asia to preach the gospel, but the Holy Spirit did not permit them. Instead, the Lord gave a prophetic vision to Paul of a man in Macedonia asking for help. He concluded that God was calling them to go to Macedonia and preach the gospel there. Those are just three quick examples of how the Lord communicated His will through the prophetic word.
Paul also had prophetic words given to him about the suffering, bonds, and imprisonment. People in every church begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem. They did not want him to suffer. But, the Holy Spirit had already given Paul prophetic guidance for the next few years of his life. He was to go to Macedonia, Achaia, Jerusalem, and then to Rome. Paul weighed and judged the prophetic words that he received against what the Lord had spoken to him. He used the prophetic words as confirmation in his life.
There have been a number of times in my life that God has communicated His will in my life through prophetic words. Many years ago, I was sitting down in a Wednesday night church service, and the Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to me about going to another church in town. I was an associate pastor at the church I was currently attending and had helped the church grow from about thirty people to over five hundred. Karen and I had been there for eleven years. It was difficult for me to go to another church, and I cried for months. However, God confirmed the prophetic word to me a number of different ways. God knew that the other church was where we needed to be for a short season, and that He was getting ready to send us out afterward.
Over eight years ago, the Lord spoke to me about planting a vineyard in the East Mountains. Karen and I prayed about it, and the Lord confirmed it through a prophetic word given to us by a woman that we had never met before, and have not seen her since.
In 2 Peter 1:19, God says, “so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” We need the prophetic word in our individual lives and in our churches. We should earnestly desire and pray for the prophetic word to be released. We should also seek to pay attention to the prophetic word as to a lamp shining in a dark place. We should write down and keep the prophetic words that we receive. Periodically, we should review these prophetic words and pray over them. Peter tells us that we do well to pay attention to these prophetic words.