Each year, a group of respected prophets from around the nation meets to seek the Lord's will for the upcoming season. There are keys to our success as well as admonitions for us in the word of the Lord for the year that we need to pay heed to—not only on a personal level, but also on a corporate level.
Although we label these words from the Lord with each calendar year, it is important to understand that God exists outside of man's time. He works according to seasons, and we will often see a word for the "year" corresponding with both the Hebrew and Greco-Roman calendars. We will also frequently see a certain theme or concept carry over from one year to the next as the Lord continues to carry out His plan.
Along with timing, it is key to understand the role we play as workers in God's kingdom to see prophecy come to pass. Without understanding that prophecy requires action on our part, we might become upset when a prophetic word seems unfulfilled.
Disappointment can stir up questions like "Did I hear God?" or "Did I miss what God was trying to say?" We may even become jaded and confused, wondering if prophecy is real today.
Prophecy is a road map that gives us strategic information, but it is not the same as the concept of fate. For those who believe in fate, they feel the future cannot be changed or altered; life is what it is, and nothing can be done about it.
As believers, we know God has given us free will. We are responsible for making choices, and Scripture gives us the guidelines we need to follow in order to be blessed. While God does foreknow the end from the beginning, we still have to choose. Without the ability to partner with God to shift things, what would be the purpose of prayer?
Contending for the Promise
Often, we are given a prophetic word so we can contend to see the prophecy fulfilled. It is important to remember the enemy does not want you to reap the benefits of the promises of God, so spiritual warfare may be needed.
Though our prayers are immediately answered by the Lord in the spiritual realm, it takes persistent prayer for those answers to manifest in the physical realm. The word gives us hope to stand and believe in the midst of adverse circumstances.
This reminds me of the story of Daniel. After praying and fasting for Israel to be freed from Babylon, the archangel Michael finally arrived. He told Daniel that God had heard his prayers right away, but a principality—who was the ruling power of darkness over the region—held him back for 21 days. Though Daniel's prayers were heard and acted upon instantly, it was his prayers of perseverance that allowed the archangel to ultimately break through!
What if Daniel had become frustrated before his breakthrough and had given up? He would have never seen God's plan fulfilled. We must play an active role in seeing God's prophetic word manifest in our lives.
3 Ways to Stay Hopeful
While believing for the word of the Lord to come to pass in your life, allow the promises of God to give you hope and sustain you. Don't allow the enemy to sow seeds of discouragement while waiting for the fulfillment! As you begin to hear the word of the Lord for the year, let's take a look at how to strategically respond to it:
1. Read through the entire word and take notes. Are there any points that the Holy Spirit is amplifying to you? By this, I mean, is there a resonance in your heart given by God to pay attention in a special way to a particular portion?
2. Use the word to take stock of your life. Are there any points that are admonitions to make an adjustment in your life? For example, if the prophecy says this is the year to "see the door," are you actively praying for God to show you the doors He wants you to walk through? This might be related to a transition in jobs, churches or even a geographic move. Seek God about any changes He might be asking you to make.
3. Write decrees for yourself and your family from the word of the Lord. As you hear God speak about what He wants to do or release, make the words personal and decree them over yourself, your family and even your city. This helps your heart maintain a posture of faith, even when the spiritual battles intensify.
Though we must prayerfully battle for the future God has for us, He has given us the tools we need to grab hold of His promises and enjoy them in our lives. We already have victory in Jesus' name! It will be rewarding to look back over the way God has strategically used the current word of the Lord in your life when the calendar turns in 12 months. Believe His words for yourself and your loved ones, and you will see God do incredible things in your lives!
Cindy Jacobs is the author of multiple books, including Is That You, God? She and her husband, Mike, are co-founders of Generals International, a prayer and prophetic ministry that exists to change lives and transform nations. Their weekly TV show, God Knows, airs in over 200 countries. You can find her online at generals.org.
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