Have you ever received a prophetic word but were unsure how to respond to it? If it’s from the Lord, does it just automatically happen, or do you have a part to play? I want to give you five practical steps you can take when responding to a prophecy. Elijah the prophet demonstrates all five of these action steps during his experience on Mt. Carmel in 1 Kings 18.
The water of the Kishon river flowed steadily toward the Mediterranean sea. Blood covered the shores and probably seeped into the water’s edge. The bodies of the recently slaughtered prophets of Baal lay on the ground around Elijah the prophet.
Moments earlier on Mount Carmel, the fire of God had flashed down from Heaven, consumed Elijah’s sacrifice, and ended the discussion on who the true God was. Victory. One problem remained—there was still a drought.
Suddenly, Elijah’s eyes widened, and he lifted his head. “I hear the sound of an abundance of rain,” he said. Immediately, King Ahab moved to action at the prophet’s words, but Elijah wasn’t finished, he was determined to activate his prophetic word.
Response Determines Reception
How we respond to the prophetic word determines what we will receive from the Lord. It’s important to understand that our doubt doesn’t cancel God’s plans; it just ensures that we won’t be able to participate in the outcome.
This principle is illustrated perfectly in 2 Kings 7. During a severe famine, Elisha prophesied food was coming and would be priced inexpensively—something that doesn’t happen during a famine when supplies are scarce.
“Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned said to the man of God, ‘If the LORD himself should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?’ But he said, ‘You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.” 2 Kings 7:2 ESV
Why would anyone in their right mind publicly contradict the Word of God? Pride and unbelief. Notice that although the captain doubted Elisha’s word, it didn’t stop the prophecy from being fulfilled, it only ensured that he wouldn’t partake in the manifestation.
The next day, when a full supply of food was available, the captain was trampled at the gate by people rushing in to buy it. He saw the completion of the prophetic word, but he couldn’t participate in the blessing.
Prepping for a Prophetic Word
Let’s go back to Elijah at Mt. Carmel. He heard the sound of an abundance of rain in the midst of a drought. However, he didn’t put his life on cruise control and expect God to do the rest. Let me show you the steps necessary to see God’s Word come to pass in your life, just as Elijah did.
1. Elijah sacrificed to God.
He had already taken the first step to provoking God’s favor. Many people think the animal he sacrificed on the altar was his seed. It wasn’t. Animals were everywhere. In a drought, the real seed was the water he poured over the sacrifice. We know it’s true because of the type of harvest he received. It wasn’t an abundance of animals; it was an abundance of rain.
2. Elijah sought God.
As soon as he heard the sound of rain (the plan of God), he went to the top of Mt. Carmel, put his face between his knees, and began to pray.
When you receive the word for your life, pray! What do you need to do to receive? Do you need to make changes? Abandon relationships? What will put you in a position to see the word come to pass? The Lord will show you in prayer.
3. Elijah stayed in the faith of God.
As he was praying, he had the opportunity to doubt God’s Word. His servant continued to look toward the sea and report no clouds. Every time his servant returned with a negative report, it was an opportunity to doubt or be discouraged. Elijah just said, “Go look again.” He refused to give up on the Word that God had given him.
Every day you will have multiple opportunities to doubt God’s Word for your life. You have to make up your mind that no matter what you see or hear, you will continue to believe the prophetic word.
4. Elijah spoke from God.
As soon as the situation began to change, Elijah jumped up from prayer and continued down the mountain. He told King Ahab to get on his chariot and get back to the city and not allow the rain to stop him. That was faith! Not only was there no rain, but there were also no clouds aside from the small one his servant reported. Elijah continued to speak what he believed even though he couldn’t see it in the natural realm yet.
Even if you have to create a set of confession habits, say what God’s Word says. Align your words with the prophetic word and refuse to say what you feel, think, or see with your natural eyes. Speak by faith.
5. Elijah set himself in position for God.
He gathered up his garment and prepared to run. How can you set yourself in position? What action of obedience is the Lord asking you to take before your next level? Elijah knew that his robe would hinder him from sprinting. He gathered it up and removed that obstacle.
Examine your life today. What hindrances can you remove so that you can accomplish what God has called you to do? It’s important to remember that God isn’t going to do it for us. We have to take action and be in a position to run with the prophetic word.
Outrun your enemies by a prophetic word
After these five acts of preparation, the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah, and he outran the king’s horses and chariot for almost thirty miles.
I believe you can (and will) run with divine momentum and do the impossible. As Isaiah wrote, we will mount up with wings as eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:21)
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