We’ve shared posts that go into What is a Prophetic Word? and How-To Receive a Prophetic Word as well as a wide variety of other topics on the prophetic, but I realized some further descriptors about the types of Personal Prophetic Words people receive would be helpful. So consider this a how-to assess what type of Personal Prophetic Word something is.
In addition, I want to address the level of caution that should be taken when receiving these various types of words. Though with that said, let me add the disclaimer that of course every prophetic word should be received with much prayer and wise counsel.
Why Define Types of Personal Prophetic Words?
Faith is often such an intangible thing. Over the years I’ve found my faith bolstered by the encounters with God I’ve documented – things He’s said, words received, prayer requests I’ve given Him as well as answers received. Additionally, because of the nature of the ministry God put me in, I had a lot of confirmation from others that what I’d heard God say blessed and bore witness to them, and those confirmations further bolstered my faith.
I say all that to say, having a framework for understanding the things of God (not talking about boxing Him in, but rather having a way of mentally filing information when you receive it) helps increase your recall of it, and helps stir and encourage your faith. It also gives you common descriptors for dialogue with others. And undoubtedly as you dialogue and share your experiences, you will be encouraged through that as well.
Additionally, having a framework for understanding the things of God can be helpful in keeping us from falling into traps that can fracture our relationship with God. Too often I’ve heard of someone who received what I call a Left Field Word, and due to their immaturity in the things of the prophetic accepted it without vetting, or sought to “make” the word come to pass. Then when the word proved to either not be accurate (or it may have been for a future time), the person grew angry with God – feeling betrayed and let down – and either dismissed anything prophetic thereafter, or worse turned away from the Lord.
All of that could have been avoided if they’d been able to assess that they’d received a Left Field Word, and understood that meant it needed a higher level of scrutiny. They also would have known to “shelf” the word without confirmation because they’d know you never have to “make” a prophetic word come to pass.
Personal versus Corporate Prophetic Words
For clarity’s sake, since this post discusses the types of personal prophetic words let’s start by noting the difference between personal and corporate prophetic words. A corporate word is one given to a larger audience. This could be the Body of Christ at large or a church congregation, even the Daily Downloads from Heaven that I share online each day are examples of corporate prophetic words.
A personal prophetic word is one directed specifically to you. This could be one received during a ministry time at church, from a friend or advisor, from an online ministry – the words that come from Dyed4you Ministries are an example of personal prophetic words.
To complicate this further is the fact that corporate prophetic words can become personal prophetic words. A couple examples of this might be if a friend or mentor shares a corporate prophetic word with you because they sense it’s a word specifically for you. Another example are our words at Dyed4you Ministries, which often include Daily Downloads from Heaven (aka Prophetic Nuggets) or other corporate words. In both these cases, the corporate word has now become specifically personal (and let me pause to say that a corporate word doesn’t have to be made personal by another person for you to receive it – I’m merely highlighting what would make them personal since the focus of the topic today is personal prophetic words).
Body of Knowledge
Also before we begin discussing the various types of personal prophetic words, let’s begin by defining what what is already known about what God has said. I’m referring to all the things you believe God has said (whether right or wrong). We’re going to call this your Body of Knowledge.
Your Body of Knowledge is the collection of information that includes everything you know about God and believe Him to have said. This includes known scripture and the way you’ve chosen to interpret it, things you believe God has shared with you (which we refer to as prophetic downloads), personal prophetic words you’ve already received, corporate prophetic words, personal experience of what God has done in your life, testimonies trusted sources have shared with you, etc.
Your Body of Knowledge is fluid and should be ever increasing as well as refining what is known as things you believe are both proved and disproved. Most people’s doctrinal beliefs shift and grow over time as their experience and understanding of scripture develop and grow. Personal Prophetic Words are one way God expands your existing Body of Knowledge.
Vetting a Prophetic Word
We share in our post How-To Receive a Prophetic Word a quick reference list of how to vet a prophetic word. It includes thing like determining how it aligns with scripture, praying over it and seeing if it bears witness, seeking counsel, etc. With any word you receive, whether corporate or personal, these are best practices to follow. However as we begin to discuss the various types of Personal Prophetic Words, you’ll find that based on the type, some require a higher level of caution and due diligence than others.
Part of the reason this type of classification system is helpful is for exactly the reason mentioned earlier. Understanding what type of word you’ve received, helps you to be more cautious in how you receive it, which can protect your relationship with God. Having a system means you are less likely to attribute something to Him that may not be from Him, and it also helps manage your expectations (as in the case when a word is for a future time). Having a framework for understand and vetting a word gives a wise and consistent method for receiving Personal Prophetic Words.
Types of Personal Prophetic Words
The first type of Personal Prophetic Word is what I refer to as a Confirming Word. Confirming Words generally don’t give you any new information to add to your Body of Knowledge, but they do reiterate something already contained therein, which in itself is helpful and encouraging because it gives increased confidence in what you already believed to be true.
Let’s consider an example of a Confirming Word. To begin let’s assume during your quiet time with God, you sense Him telling you are called to be an intercessor. Then later, during a ministry time at church someone indicates they feel like they have a word for you and they share that you are an intercessor. This would be a Confirming Word because it is reiterating what God has already told you, and giving you confidence that you heard correctly.
It isn’t unusual at all for this to happen, God often will confirm words more than once. I’ve even had words confirmed by multiple people in excess of 10 times over a period of months or years. This is why journaling is so important! Journaling helps you track what’s been said and how often which can be extremely helpful.
All words should be vetted (again using methods like what we share in our quick reference list in the How-To Receive a Prophetic Word post); however, since Confirming Words typically are reiterating something already in your Body of Knowledge – which hopefully was prayerfully vetted when added to that Body of Knowledge, Confirming Words typically require less scrutiny.
Confirming and Expanding Word
Next we have a Confirming and Expanding Word. These are similar to Confirming Words in that a portion of what is said is reiterating what is already known; however, they also have the added benefit of giving new information as well. This is the “expanding” portion. So to recap, a Confirming and Expanding Word both reaffirms something in your Body of Knowledge, and it gives additional information as well.
So to use the same example as earlier, if the person giving the word again shares you are an intercessor (which God had already shared with you in your quiet time), but they also share He’s called you to focus in prayer on the youth. This is a Confirming and Expanding Word because it reiterated what God had already said to you, but it also adds new information, in this example that being more detail on what God had already said.
As we mentioned with Confirming Words, the confirming portion of a Confirming and Expanding Word may not need a high level of vetting, but the expanding portion should. The fact that a portion of the word is confirming lends a certain amount of credibility to the word as a whole, but again, you’ll want to spend time vetting it nonetheless.
Next we have the Expanding Words. These vary from the Confirming and Expanding Words in the sense that nothing in them is confirming. This means everything in an Expanding Word is potentially new information for your Body of Knowledge. Typically these words will immediately feel connected for you to something already known. So even though they’re new information, they connect immediately to something already accepted.
So for example, if in your God-time the Lord has told you that you’re an intercessor. And then later you receive a word from someone that God has given you a heart for the youth. In your spirit, you may immediately sense a connection between these two things even though the connection hasn’t been clearly stated.
Expanding Words require a more intense level of vetting than Confirming and Expanding Words because they’re all new information. Take time to sit with them and follow the process of How-To Receive a Prophetic Word.
Left Field Words
The final category of Personal Prophetic Words are Left Field Words. These differ from the previous types largely because Left Field Words are completely outside your existing Body of Knowledge and don’t connect to or confirm anything you know. These can seem exciting, but they also have the greatest likelihood of being false (remember, we all hear in part and prophesy in part – any of us has the potential to get it wrong, which is why vetting the words we receive is vital) or for a future time (For the record, I have received Left Field Words that have come to pass, so don’t make the mistake of assuming because it seems out in left field that it’s false).
As an example, you might be someone who has felt called to intercession and who has had that call confirmed. You spend lots of time in your prayer closet. Then one day you get a word you’re called to be a missionary overseas. This isn’t anything you’ve heard before nor anything you currently desire.
These words have the potential to do a lot of harm in our relationships with God because often in our fervor for God we have a tendency to try to “make” these words happen. So you might start making plans to go overseas, and even if plans aren’t coming together you might force it because, after all, you got a word telling you that you should. This can lead to disaster. You shouldn’t ever have to “force” a prophetic word to happen. Remember that Ishmael was created as Abraham and Sarah tried to “make” a word happen rather than waiting for it to come to pass.
First and foremost, vet the Left Field Word. Again use the How-To Receive a Prophetic Word process. But in the end, I find Left Field Words are typically best “shelfed” – essentially taking a “wait and see” approach because either they’ll come to pass or they won’t. In the example given, if the opportunity presented itself to be a missionary and there was confirmation and support, then you could see the confirmation of the Left Field Word and begin to accept it as truth.
I encourage you to always be circumspect with Left Field Words simply because God is not the author of confusion. So if He’s introducing new information to your Body of Knowledge, trust that He’ll confirm it and lead with His peace.
Hopefully having these terms defined helps to make understanding the information you receive easier to understand and assimilate – I know it has for me. May God richly bless and increase your relationship with Him, and may your Body of Knowledge be ever increasing as your intimacy with Him deepens. Bless you as you seek Him!