1 Corinthians 14:29-31 says, “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.”

To get an understanding of prophesy in this portion, let us look back and read 1 Corinthians 14:3, “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”  We see here the purpose of prophesy is to strengthen (edify), encourage (exhortation), and comfort fellow believers in Christ.  This is somewhat different than the purpose of prophesying in the Old Testament.  There, a prophet was one who foretold future events to the Lord’s people, most often in a warning manner.  Here in the New Testament, a prophet is one who tells forth the truth of God’s Word to His people.  While there are no more Old Testament prophets who spoke directly from the Lord, there are prophets who expound the Word of God as led of the Lord.  We just read in 1 Corinthians 14:31 that, “ye may ALL PROPHESY one by one.”  The Lord can use any one of His saints to minister His Word.  Of course, before we can GIVE OUT God’s Word, we must first TAKE IN God’s Word by having a time of studying our Bibles every day.

The portion you refer to in your question refers to a particular meeting in the church.  It is a time when the church comes together to hear words of “edification, and exhortation, and comfort” from the Lord.  In this meeting, at least two ‘prophets’ will speak and at the most, three will speak.  As you can tell from reading those verses, it calls for all in attendance to be seeking the Lord’s will.  Perhaps the Lord will lay a message on one brother’s heart to share with everyone.  He must be actively seeking the Lord’s will so that he will discern the Lord’s leading to minister His Word.  He must also be actively seeking the Lord’s will to know when to stop speaking.  “If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.”  At some point, the Lord will lay on the heart of another brother a message to share with everyone.  The first speaker must be so in tune with the Lord, that he will realize it is time for him to wrap up his message to that someone else might speak.  This is repeated if the Lord raises up a third speaker to share His Word. 

Why is there a limit of two or three speakers?  I believe it is because the Lord knows just how much spiritual food we are able to take in at one time.  He does not want to overload us with more than we can receive and digest. 

Are these types of meetings still carried on today?  Yes, in many places these meetings are an important part of the church group.  One warning I have shared before is there are two things we must be cautious about when participating in these meetings.  One – we should not come to this meeting determined we are going to speak.  Two – we should not come to this meeting determined we are not going to speak.  As stated above, this point of this meeting is to wait upon the Lord so that He might speak through two or three men.  Indeed, the Lord knows our needs exactly and it is only by waiting for His guidance can we be assured of His ministry to our souls. 

1 Thessalonians 5:20 tells us to, “Despise not prophesyings.”  We should wait expectantly upon the Lord, ready to receive what He has for us to hear.  (CC)  (556.2)