What is a Prophetic Word and How to Apply it

Have you ever had a prophetic word? It’s a question that I regularly ask people  and for some people that might sound like a really strange question, while others of you may be asking what is a ‘prophetic word’?

Understanding how to Apply a Prophetic Word to Your Life

I ask people this question because often this can lead to a deeper conversation than how’s the weather? Or how are you going?  To which most people answer, ‘fine thanks,’ even when they aren’t.

When you ask people whether they have ever had a prophetic word, for some it leads to a question of what is a prophetic word, which I’ll discuss in a moment or two, and for others it leads to them sharing their dreams and desires for the future because this is often what a prophetic word is.  A glimpse into the future where our dreams and desires match up with God’s because often the desires inside of us are put there by Him to fulfil.

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A prophetic word is when God gives someone else who is filled with His Holy Spirit a glimpse into your future or your now to encourage you, and it really should be encouraging.  It should be calling you into your destiny. Your destiny is where God sees you in 1 year or ten years time and a prophetic word gives you a sense of what & where that is; it may also give you practical steps to get there.  It gives you hope that one day you’ll be out of the place you’re currently in and some days that hope is what keeps a person going.


I’ve had many prophetic words and the first one I remember getting was when I was 14 in PNG, that I write about in my book, “Dad and Me in PNG.”    It was our farewell party in Lae, the next day we were flying to Popondetta for the 2nd leg of our ministry trip and Pastor Peter Igorabi, our host suddenly started saying things that I’d never told him, but that I wanted to do in the future, dreams and desires, and Dad said it was a prophecy, a prophetic word.

A prophetic word should be speaking what is truth and not what is true.    What is true is where we are now and it might be an absolute bog hole, what is truth is who and where God is calling us to be and it gives hope to get there.  Even if a person is in sin, a prophetic word rarely exposes that, it calls them out to who they are meant to be.

Have you ever had a time when someone has ranted and raved to you about how dumb, fat, useless, immature you are?  Has that ever helped you change or did it just make you angry?   Good friends need to encourage us to where we need to be and if that’s through a prophetic word that God has shown them, great! We need to dig out the gold in others, not the dirt.

Graham Cooke shares a story of how God revealed to him that someone in the audience of the church where he was speaking was doing his absolute best to undermine and derail the Pastor, so God showed him to call this pastor and this fellow up and have them stand back to back and he prophesied how this fellow was going to become such a support to the Pastor and that they would have an incredible friendship.    Afterwards the fellow who was causing the trouble came up to Graham and was saying, but you don’t know how mean I’ve been and Graham was like, actually I do, God showed me, but this is who you are really meant to be.   Graham Cooke also teaches a lot about our identity in Christ and how to renew our minds to the Word of God.

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Prophecy is mentioned in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 12 where it lists the spiritual gifts, eg prophecy, words of wisdom, words of knowledge, tongues, interpretation of tongues, discernment of spirits,  signs and wonders, supernatural faith and healing.   I don’t believe these gifts died out with the apostles, because love hasn’t failed.

Your Love Changes Everything

We can receive the same prophetic word over and over, and be very gifted in giving them but  if we have not love, we are merely a crashing gong.   Being able to love others comes from a revelation of God’s love first.  When you are given a prophetic word or giving one, it’s very important the attitude you give it from, eg not condescending or from being over familiar with a person that you give it in a bossy manner.

1 Corinthians 14:1-3 1Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.

I have been so blessed to receive prophetic words, and sometimes it is as simple as someone at church giving me a hug and saying, I just feel that the joy of the Lord is going to be really important in this next season, and then I go through a rough trot.     It doesn’t have to be thus sayeth the Lord ‘you will go to China for three years.’   That sort of thing really needs to be confirmed several times and you would need a peace in your heart to go through with that because it’s the peace of God that is to lead us and guard our hearts and minds.   (Phillipians 4:7)

So what do you do with your prophetic words?

Write them down, or record them on your phone as they are given and listen to them so that you can pray about them.  I’ve gathered all mine together in a book and it is so wonderful to read through and see the personal promises that God has for my life.

Some words are for the distant and future and need careful thought and planning and a discerning of the times to bring them into fruition.  There have been some words that we’ve had to do with business that we have then partnered with the wrong people in and lost money, but even through that God has kept directing our paths to the right time, business, people and even reimbursed that money.

We’ve consistently had prophetic words from different people in different places who don’t know us about business and evangelism, not something either of us are naturally inclined to personality wise.

If God is giving you a prophetic word, or a prompt to pray for yourself, He knows that you have the capacity to live in that, even if you feel exhausted or overwhelmed by life, and if you’re not getting a clear direction to go in, go back to the last thing He told you.

Talk to other prophetic people about them, not someone who will crush them, but a wise Christian who can help you think about the practical application of the word.


If the prophetic word is directional it should be confirming a thought that God has already planted in your heart. And just because the prophet says it’s going to happen soon, doesn’t mean it will be tomorrow.  Sometimes soon can be years in God’s economy.

Some prophetic words God gives us because he knows that our circumstances are going to get hard for one reason or another and we need to use them both mentally and by declaring them to fight for the future He wants us to have.

Our words about ourselves, our lives and other people have the power of life and death.  Proverbs 18:21

I’ve written in depth and explored many Scriptures about the power of our words in general, in a previous blog post and how declaring Scripture has saved my life before.

After the birth of our second daughter I nearly died from an infection but because I knew I had more to accomplish in the future due to our prophetic words, I partnered that with Psalm 91, verses 10 and 16, that says ‘no harm shall befall you, no disaster shall come near your tent, and with long life shall I satisfy you and show you My salvation.’    This is why it’s so important to know and memorise God’s Word for times when we need to stand on it.

I’ve heard of people who’ve been desperately ill and someone who doesn’t know that comes and says amazing things about their future and along with the promises in the Word of God it’s given them hope to declare those things that God has said and start seeing them come to pass.

1 Timothy 1:18 is a most curious little verse:

This [a]charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,

I woke up the other morning from a dream where I said the line; our prophetic words are not some far distant promise for the future, they are the very bridge to get there.


If our minds being bombarded by lies, we fill them with God’s truth which is two fold; His Word and we build ourselves up in our identity in Christ, a great book on this topic is Saints by Addison Bevere, here is a little excerpt:

“Because we are children of God, the enemy has lost the battle for our spirits, so he’s waging war on our soul. He doesn’t want us to live in peace, joy and intimacy. The last thing he wants is for our lives to reveal God’s life to our world.

He wants Christians to relegate their salvation to an abstract concept that doesn’t have much bearing on the real and challenging issues we face today.. He’s terrified of us unpacking the gift of salvation and finding that there are larger Russian dolls inside.

To receive the implanted word and persevere, seeing ourselves the way God sees us, will lead to a life of ‘doing’. When we understand our identity, we will become doers; our lives will become poetry, brilliantly displaying God’s nature to our world.

But doing comes after understanding. Can you imagine someone trying to build a home without knowing how to use a hammer, saw wood or do math? The notion is absurd. Yet so often we try to build our lives in Christ without first unpacking the gift of salvation and discovering what it truly is – a new identity.”

Tom Loud on YouTube is also another fantastic man to listen to on the topic of identity and he also moves regularly in the area of the prophetic.

I mentioned before that filling our minds with God’s truth is two fold. We need the Word of God, the logos, written word to build our identity and establish in our minds the will of God for our lives, and then we also need the Rhema Word of God, which are like the Scriptures or words of prophecy, insight, dreams that God gives us for a specific situation.

One night I was sitting in bed, quite sick, only able to eat four foods.  (I share my healing testimony in this blog post.)  I was looking through prophetic words by Lana Vawser and Nate Johnston and I felt to speak out, “I agree with the words of the prophets”.  I did this a few times and fell asleep and have a very vivid dream.

I was in a wheelchair being wheeled towards a hospital bed and a drip that was inserted into me, and the Dr said, “Quickly release the synergism.”

I then woke up. I didn’t actually know what synergism meant so I looked it up.

The definition on Dictionary.com is:

1. BiochemistryPharmacologythe joint action of agents, as drugs, that when taken together increase each other’s effectiveness (contrasted with antagonism).
2. Theologythe doctrine that the human will cooperates with the Holy Ghost in the work of regeneration.
Another instance I had one time when complaining to God about my health situation whilst looking at my prophetic words, was God flashing a picture in front of my eyes of this little girl sitting in the dirt pulling up these tiny sprouts around her and I heard the words, ‘don’t pull up your sprouts of hope.’


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One way to activate the prophetic in our lives, and  you may have already been doing it, is to simply ask God for a Scripture for someone, or a song.  We did this at a prophetic activation night at our church a few nights back and it was really profound how accurate the songs were for people’s situation that most of us knew nothing about.

You don’t necessarily have to do this in person either, you could make your greeting card more meaningful by writing a line from a song or a Scripture, or an image, you remind me of a fountain because you always have God’s love, encouragement, flowing through you, which is a Scriptural picture based on John 7:38.

A great book to read about the prophetic is by Lana Vawser, The Prophetic Voice of God, and a fantastic podcast is by Sarah Cheesman, the Happy Prophet.  

So . . . have you ever had a prophetic word?  Has it been helpful to you or caused you distress?  If you’ve never had a prophetic word, I encourage you to ask God for one.



About Elizabeth

My name is Elizabeth Ainsworth, a wife and mother in QLD Australia who shares her ponderings of faith at Where Deep Calls to Deep

8 thoughts on “What is a Prophetic Word and How to Apply it

  1. Love this! I love how you describe a prophetic word: A glimpse into the future where our dreams and desires match up with God’s. Amen. So good. Yes, I’ve had prophetic words, some have already come to pass, others on their way. It’s the most exciting thing, isn’t it? Hearing and knowing God’s voice!

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  3. I really love this!! You don’t see many blogs on the prophetic or the gifts of the Spirit. This is really helpful for those who haven’t been around the prophetic especially you giving the advice about getting confirmation and peace in your heart. And I really enjoy Doug Addison as well! 😀

    1. Thanks, I hope to make it less scary for those who haven’t heard these sort of things before. We also just need to remember not to rush, God doesn’t usually need us to unless it’s speaking to someone in a grocery line, but if it’s a big decision we need to seek confirmation.

  4. This is fascinating article about prophetic word. Some times prophetic word comes as an inspiration from the Holy Ghost. God’s inspirational word comes an expectedly.

    1. No, I don’t, but I have a friend, Naomi Byers of Naomi Byers Ministries who regularly does live prayer on facebook on Tuesday mornings Australian EST 11am and you can comment asking for prayer. I know her personally and she has given me very helpful words in the past.

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