""Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy." 1 Corinthians 14:1
If you haven't been confused by all of the various teaching on prophesy, you've done well. I've heard it taught from almost every angle. One group teaches that prophets are today's representatives from God and other groups teach that there are no more prophets. One group teaches that only a prophet from the Bible can prophesy and others teach that anyone can prophesy. The problem is, not just any interpretation is true.
This word prophesy is from the Greek word, propheteuo, (prof-ate-yoo-o). It simply means to speak under divine inspiration or to tell forth. To tell forth and to foretell are two very different ways of perceiving prophesy. To foretell, (which is the most popular definition of prophesying) means that someone gets a message from God prior to an event and then tells others about that event. Of course all of the prophets in the Bible that did prophesy were correct or what they prophesied has not come to pass yet, but will. But then there are those who have claimed to prophesy, but they actually predicted an event and any have been right and many have been wrong.
To tell forth is to tell what you have received (via inspiration) and it may or may not be about a future event. It can be about something already past or in the now or in the future, but unlike foretelling, telling forth is not some magical formula only available to a select few highly trained candidates. Prophesy is for anyone who has been born again. It is a work of God in the inner most part of the believer where God speaks a word to them and they in turn tell others what they heard. True prophesy is when a believer has prayer/conversation with God. God speaks to them about past, present or future and that person tells forth what they heard.
Anyone can prophesy, but not everything that is said under the auspices of prophesy is prophesy. The key is God. God delivers all spiritual messages via the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit always delivers right words, in a timely manner without fault, but we don't always say or do what the Holy Spirit speaks to us. Herein lies the dilemma.
Most importantly, the source or the prophesy (anyone calling themself a prophet) that you are adhering to should not hold as high a place in your mind as: The Word of God, personal understanding through prayer, or a tried and true voice of an elder that has proven themselves through decades of service to God.