Lessons on Prophecy
By Peter Amsterdam
Download Audio (10.4MB)
I’m certainly learning about prophecy: I need to ask the Lord things more, as well as confirm the things that I’m doing that He’s shown me to do.
Even if He’s shown me to do something through prophecy, but then the circumstances change or something comes up that serves as a pause—like someone raises an objection or another important point of view that I hadn’t considered before—then before I finalize whatever I’m doing, before I put into action what He showed me, it’s important that I double-check and confirm that what I plan to do is still the course I should take. (This is especially important in long-term projects where it’s much more likely that circumstances can change considerably between the time you start the project and the time you finish it. That’s why it’s good to hear from the Lord regularly on long-term projects.)
Sometimes when I go back to the Lord in prayer He will give further information, instruction, or clarification that radically alters the first course of action He had instructed us to take. When this happens, He also usually gives a good explanation as to why the change is needed and why He didn’t or couldn’t have shown us earlier. At other times when we ask for a confirmation on what He’s previously given us in prophecy, He simply okays our present plans, or slightly adjusts them, or gives us more detail that helps us to fine-tune our plans and make our actions more secure, fruitful, and prosperous.
I can think of one time recently when I didn’t go to the Lord to hear from Him in prophecy regarding a course of action I planned to take, and I’m afraid it’s going to cost me. I prayed about a matter using my normal mode of operation—that of praying and getting a leading of the Spirit or a feeling or a verse and then putting it into action without actually hearing clearly in prophecy about the matter. There were some business decisions I had to make, and after praying I felt led to do a certain thing. But I didn’t really stop and ask the Lord about it. After I did it, things didn’t seem to work out so well, and I still don’t know if they are going to work out favorably.
A few days after I did this, I got some further information in the mail that would have led me to do things differently if I’d had this information earlier. I believe that if I would have stopped to confirm my decision with the Lord, if I had formally asked, “Lord, how do You want me to handle this matter? Is now the time You want me to do it?” I believe the Lord would have told me to wait a while. Had I waited, then things would have worked out much better. I’m still praying that they will work out, but if they don’t, then it’s not going to be so good. I feel pretty bad about that, but if it teaches me this lesson, then I would have to say it’s worth it.
It seems that for some men this point is a bit more difficult to grasp than it is for women. For the most part, women seem to be more naturally inclined to want to ask the Lord and get answers from Him. It’s often more natural for them to feel like they don’t have the answers, or that they have to search for the answers. Whereas sometimes we men aren’t that way so much. When something needs to be done, we usually want to do it ourselves rather than lean on others or confess we might need help. We’re used to making decisions, to leaning on our past experience, and God help us, sometimes leaning to our own understanding. It’s just natural for us to be that way. But the Lord is trying to teach us to move out of that and to get more dependent, to get more in the spirit of prayer and asking Him what to do.
Lord help us stronger types to learn the lesson of depending more on the Lord, because that is true strength.
Hearing from the Lord and including Him in our lives is something we desperately need to learn and to teach others. You see, if we can truly learn to stop, look, and listen, to bring our questions to the Lord, we will find that it will solve so many problems, because we will then find all the answers that we need for the problems that face us, every time they come up.
If you make time to come before the Lord for business or personal matters, He can give you the answers you need. You’ve just got to give Him the opportunity to speak.
If you don’t have the gift of prophecy, you can, of course, pray for it and give the Lord the opportunity to manifest the gift within you, even by giving Him the chance to give a simple yes or no in confirmation to what you feel you should do. However, if He’s not ready to give it to you yet, please know that you can still pray over your decisions, making sure they are Word-based, and keeping yourself open to the Lord’s nudges in the spirit. In other words, give Him the opportunity to get through to you in some way. You can also ask others to exercise their gifts and hear from the Lord for you.
I want to share an encouraging prophecy in which the Lord makes it clear that hearing from Him in prophecy is not meant to complicate our lives but to simplify things and make our lives and work for Him easier.
“Come to Me regularly to hear My voice and I’ll give you all that you need. You can sail along almost effortlessly by comparison and make good, solid progress. And then as you make progress you will be encouraged, because nothing succeeds like success. So take the time to hear from Me, because time hearing from Me is like time spent sharpening the scythe. It’s not wasted; it’s invested, and it’s a good investment with good returns. You’ll really strike it rich if you come to Me and invest your time, strength, and energy in seeking Me and hearing My voice.
“And always remember that My purpose in this is to make it easier for you. People need to get over their wrong mindset or their preconceived ideas that hearing from Me is difficult or that it’s a burden, because actually by hearing from Me, I want to and will make your work easier, and things will go more quickly. Plus you’ll have a wonderful peace of mind in knowing that you are doing exactly what I want.
“Hearing from Me for your work, for your priorities, and regarding any questions you have is a habit, and you have to develop this good habit just as you have to develop any other good habit. It takes work, it takes reminders, it takes putting forth the effort, but pretty soon it becomes second nature—a whole lot easier. Then you hardly have to think about it anymore.
“Remember, it takes so little time for such great returns. Even in just five or ten minutes you can get the answers you need and be refreshed, and in the long run you’ll be saving a lot of time.
“So change your mindset. Instead of thinking that hearing from Me in prophecy takes time, tell yourself that hearing from Me in prophecy saves time. You’re making progress as you’re receiving My words, and the more you practice, the easier it will be, at a moment’s notice, to come out of the busyness of the day and hear My words of encouragement and instruction.
“To hear from Me in prophecy doesn’t take a lot of preparation; that is, not if you’ve been staying close to Me on a regular basis. As long as you’re staying close to Me, then you don’t need a big rigmarole and a lot of preparation for most of your prayer and prophecy sessions. You just need to get quiet, pray, and ask Me your questions. It’s just that simple.
“When you hear from Me you’ll find that it renews your spirit, strengthens your resolve, and clarifies your vision. It helps you to know what your priorities are, and then you don’t have to worry or wonder if you are doing the right thing. You’ll know that you are doing the right thing, because you’ve asked and you’ve received by faith, and you’re just obeying.
“So take time to hear from Me, to get the general counsel and the specific answers I have. Make it a habit to have counseling time with Me, and things will go a lot more smoothly.
“Sometimes the Enemy would try to get you to think that your work is a lot more complicated and time-consuming when you involve Me more through hearing from Me. But when he tempts you to think like that, you need to remind yourself of what I told you—that it’s not more difficult and time-consuming, but it’s easier and time-saving. The more you practice this principle, the more you’ll see the truth of this point, and the more convinced you will become.
“You can hear from Me anytime, day or night. Be ready, available.”
The Lord is trying to get us to involve Him much more in our decisions. As He says, it will save time, things will go smoother, more will get done, and fewer mistakes will be made. We will be able to operate more effectively and efficiently.
Let’s help each other to put these important principles into practice and make hearing from the Lord in prophecy more of a habit in our lives. I want to continue to progress in this area, and I know you do, too. The Lord will help us as we continue to step out by faith and take time to hear from Him as often as we need to. God bless you and keep you in touch with the Lord’s wonderful help from heaven.
Originally published July 1997. Adapted and republished February 2013.
Read by Simon Gregg.