Words of knowledge
The Holy Spirit may also give us a word of knowledge, in which he makes us aware of things we could not otherwise know. This is something which I experienced a few months ago in a really special and new way while praying for people. But God really gave me an insight into their lives and allowed me to really pray into their situations which otherwise I would not know anything about.
It is not always easy to distinguish this gift from a natural gift of wise discernment or likewise just a hunch or a feeling. It can be even harder if the word is not really specific, but the more we know God and listen to him speaking, the more we will know his voice.
Sometime God speaks in a very specific way through words of knowledge, both to correct error in our lives and to give us guidance on a task. In the exciting movement of God in Timor, Indonesia in 1965-86 there are many accounts of Christians who were told to do evangelism in a particular village which they had never heard of and the names of people they should contact there.
Philips story is a little like this in Acts 8. Philip was told to leave Samaria and go to a desert road. Philip did not hesitate to obey this somewhat subjective word of guidance. Philip had been serving in the humble ministry of serving tables (Acts 6:3). He was also a person who knew the word of the Lord and the mind of Christ that he was happy to go down to Samaria and preach to these non-Jews without specific guidance at all. From his knowledge of Christ and Scripture he knew that the gospel should be preached not only to Jews, but also more widely to the Samaritans. Knowing that this was within the purposes of God he went down to Samaria (Acts 8:5).
But we notice that in the angel’s guidance, he was led away from the revival work in Samaria to the barren situation of the desert road. He was led away from the crowds to a lone Ethiopian eunuch. But it was according to what God willed and brought the gospel to a nation.
There may be times when God speaks to you with a word of knowledge about a situation in your own life or in the life of another. It is amazing when this happens. It is not something to be proud about because it is a gift from God by his grace but just consider how God uses believers as a way of guiding each other.