Kevin Francis O’Connor: What’s a Prophetic Word and How Do We Really Hear God Speak?

A prophetic word, also known as a “word of knowledge,” is a prophecy given by a worshiper for the congregation. Biblical prophecy is a message that reflects communication from God to humans. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:1 to “pursue love and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” These words come in the form of exhortation, correction and other revelations that equip and edify the body of Christ.

How can we be assured when someone speaks into our lives? We who are pastors, teachers and Bible study leaders must be confident in knowing God’s voice. God most often speaks through Scripture. That is why it is imperative that we are familiar with it. But he also speaks through creation, visions and dreams; open or closed doors of opportunities; other people; and, once, even Balaam’s donkey and a burning bush.

Not everyone believes in modern-day prophecy, but in my years of ministry, I’ve had experiences that lead me to believe differently. Let me share my perspective.

Joel, the prophet, describes a future where prophecy is a regular part of life and “old men will dream dreams.” I’m not an old man, but in my own life I once had a horrible dream about a friend whose life was in danger. In my dream, my friend was in his basement, very distraught, with a gun in his lap. He picked up the gun and put it in his mouth to shoot himself. All day long I had an overriding feeling that I needed to take action. I asked God to give me the same dream again that night if he wanted me to contact that person. The dream came back, and the details still haunt me. Immediately, I sat up in bed, raced to the phone, and called my friend. He was stunned. Since learning of his wife’s extramarital affair two days before, he had been pleading for God to reveal himself while sitting in his basement with a gun in his lap. The power of God-given dreams saved a life that day. It wasn’t the first, nor would it be the last, time that God used dreams to talk to me.

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Source: Church Leaders