Sometimes God gives messages to humans. These have been called prophecies, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, or are simply referred to as "words." There are some people who are called by God to have a special ministry of prophecy. These prophets seem to have a direct line to God where special messages are concerned.
Prophecy has an exalted place in the church. The latter part of the Old Testament is devoted to prophecy. There are prophets that appear in other portions of Scripture. In the New Testament prophecy is listed a gift from the Holy Spirit, and position of prophet is designated an office in the church. It is apparent that biblically speaking, God sends words to his people.
In the current church we get a little skeptical of such messages and words. We tend to stay away from those who offer too many messages from God. But we do so at our own peril. We must be discerning, yes, but we must never dismiss or reject what God may be saying to us.
In that line of thinking, let me offer a word that came to me. 2008 has been declared a year of prayer for our church. We have focused on praying together and learning to pray more effectively. We spent all of August focused only on prayer. Now we are moving to the next step of praying together.
At the same time, 2008 has been a very difficult year- for me and my family and for our church. In our congregation there have been nine cancer diagnoses. That is way too many for a small, country church like ours. We are in financial difficulty and our attendance is down. Things are looking very bleak. It is in this context that I believe the word came from the Lord to me to encourage our people.
"God called us to a year of prayer, to prepare us for the year we were going to have."
The Lord knows the ending before the beginning. He knew of all our hardships and he has been preparing us for them. We have a great God who is looking out for us, even before we need to be watched.