I have read in CCNP curriculum that Cisco says :
" Use prefix lists as an alternative to access lists with many BGP route filtering commands. The advantages of using prefix lists rather than access lists include the following :
1- Significant performance improvement in loading and route lookup of large lists.
2- Support for incremental updates. Filtering by way of extended access lists does not support incremental updates.
3- A more user friendly command-line interface.
4- Greater flexibility ".
But when I read the article below , I could not figure out what does he mean :
" Unlike the IP access-list, which was designed to match traffic, the IP prefix-list was designed specifically with network reachability information in mind ".
This link is to a good article by Russ White in the Internet Protocol Journal which includes some discussion of control plane and data plane (forwarding plane). I hope that it will help you to understand these concepts.
What this article means is that the prefix-list would be used at the control plane level rather than the forwarding plane level.
For instance you wouldn't use a prefix-list to filter traffic (forwarding plane) as you do with an ACL. The prefix-list is mainly used for route filtering (control plane).
Hope this helps,