If you receive a prophetic word, pray about it. Ask yourself: Does the prophetic word "feel" right to my spirit? Does it line up with Scripture?
If you receive a "directional word" (a prophetic word that gives some direction for your life such as a job, geographic move or whom to marry), consider the source. Is the individual spiritually mature?
Share the word with those who have authority in your life--your pastor, your home group leader, your spouse--and request their input. Get confirmations from independent sources as well as from the Lord. "'By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established'" (2 Cor. 13:1, NKJV).
Beware of a spirit of impatience, presumption and ambition, which will cause you to leap too quickly in response to the word. Wisdom will urge you to lay your word down on the altar. You will discover that when the time is right, God will give it back to you.
Sometimes you will see the opposite of the word begin to happen in your life. Remain aware, but turn what the enemy has meant for harm into good by discovering what still needs to die in your life (pride or ambition, for example).
Meanwhile, abide in God, remain attentive to the Holy Spirit and maintain a posture of prayer. Cultivate a mind-set of internal stillness and rest. Remember, nothing is wrong with pondering a prophetic word or experience in your heart as Mary, the mother of Jesus did (see Luke 2:19).
John Paul Jackson is the founder of Streams Ministries International, a prophetic teaching ministry. A popular teacher and conference speaker, Jackson travels around the world teaching on the art of hearing God, on dreams and visions, and on the realm of the supernatural. He is the author of several books, including Moments With God Dream Journal and Unmasking the Jezebel Spirit, both from Streams Ministries.