Has someone given you a personal prophecy, or interpreted a dream that you have had? Here are some tests that you can put a prophetic word (or dream interpretation) through, to check whether or not it is from God.

In 1 Thess 5:20-21, the Bible says, ‘Do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.’

A personal prophetic word, or prophetic dream, has the potential to be a great blessing to you. It can help encourage, strengthen and grow you (1 Cor 14:3), reveal to you that God has you personally on His heart, and remind you that He has a great purpose for your life. When someone shares information about you and your hopes and dreams that only God would know, it is a miracle. You encounter Jesus!

We need to remember, however, that a prophecy should be weighed up carefully (1 Cor 14:29).

7 Tests to Help Weigh Up a Prophecy or Dream Interpretation

Here are some tests that you can apply to a prophecy, or part of a prophecy, to check whether or not it is from God. Note, these principles also apply to dream interpretation when it is given to you by another person:

1. The Character Test

Does the prophetic word or interpretation reflect the character of Jesus? Does it sound like something God would say to you?

He is loving and redemptive (that means He has a good outcome for your life, He has a purpose, He wants to bring you closer to Him). This is true even when a prophecy contains a warning.

A prophetic word given through the Holy Spirit should exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).

2. The Bible Test

Does the prophetic word line up with principles God has laid out in the Bible? A prophecy should never go against what the Bible says—for example a prophecy that you should leave your spouse, cause disunity in the church or commit sin would not agree with scripture!

3. The Heart Check Test

1 John 2:20 says, ‘But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.’

Does the prophecy or message sit well with your spirit, or does it make you feel uncomfortable and give you a warning ‘check’ in response? You don’t have to receive a prophecy if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

4. The Confirmation Test

A personal prophecy should confirm what God has already spoken to you, or be consistent with the way He has wired you. If the prophecy does not immediately bring confirmation, it may over time, so feel free to shelve it.

Do not make a sudden change of direction in response to a personal prophecy. If you feel led to make a change in response to a prophetic message brought through another person, remember that God never pressures you. The following test will be helpful:

5. The Leadership Test

Ask, would my church leadership be comfortable with this word? Submitting a prophecy, along with your response to it, to a leader in the church is a wise way to check prophetic guidance. Having another opinion from someone who is mature in their Christian walk and who also knows you can be helpful.

6. The Time Test

Hab 2:3 says, ‘For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.’

You won’t know whether some prophecies are from God until you have given them time to be fulfilled. If you are unsure about a prophetic word, it is OK to shelve a prophecy, put it aside and review it at a later date.

7. The  Prophet Test

Do you know the person prophesying, and are they known to the leaders of your church or recognised in the wider church for their gift? Don’t accept a personal prophecy from just anyone. Jesus said that some people would prophesy in His name but not actually know Him (Matt 7:22-23). He also said to watch out for false prophets (Matt 7:15-16) and that you could tell by their fruit, i.e. their character and what their lives are producing.

If the person who is giving you the prophecy is unknown to you or your church leaders, is not submitted to leadership, or whose life does not reflect the character of Christ, do not receive the prophetic word outright.

A word given by someone who has a prophetic gift but is living an ungodly lifestyle may be partly right, which can be very confusing. If this is the case, the prophecy may contain something that is ‘off.’ It is a bit like emails that come with attachments that contain a virus. The message in the email may be right and good, but when you open it, something that is bad for your computer is also downloaded with the message. So we need to take care WHO we are receiving prophetic input from.

A prophecy that is contaminated by an issue that is out of order in the person prophesying can pull you off the track God has for you unless you put it through the above checks.

  • This is a reminder not to be impressed with an external show of natural charisma or even giftedness, but also to watch for character and integrity.

One time I was listening as a prophetic team brought a prophecy to a young woman at a training session. One of the young guys in the team seemed to have a powerful prophetic gift. However at one part of the ‘prophecy’ he came out with a message that had a suggestive innuendo about the girl’s physical appearance. Although the rest of the prophecy sounded good, I felt that it was probable he had a sin issue, that was coming through in his prophecy.

Another thing to be wary of, is prophecy that is flattering or that attracts you to the person prophesying rather than drawing you closer to Jesus. When it comes to personal prophecy, it is OK to ‘eat the meat and spit out the bones.’ Exercise wisdom and discernment.

Read more on: How To Make The Most Of Your Personal Prophecy

Related Posts:

4 Types Of Dreams And Their Meanings

Is Personal Prophecy Biblical

What To When You Have a Prophetic Dream

© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries
A part of the David McCracken Ministries family

51 thoughts on “How Do I Know a Personal Prophecy or Dream Interpretation is From God?”

  1. I received a prophecy from a respected church elder that devastated me.
    She spoke of God’s plans and provision for me, but also pointed out my character flaws and areas I needed to improve.

    In retrospect, I believe this was a mix of prophecy and her personal opinion. At the time as a fairly new Christian, I thought it was all from God, and it devastated me. She was not kind in the words she used.

    I went home in tears from the public perception of me, and couldn’t stop crying. I felt dreadful, and tried to talk to God about it, but received no response that I recognised.

    In order to regain some perspective, I asked to speak to the pastor about the prophecy – with the prophet present. I asked her to repeat what she had said, and filled in the details that hurt me that she had missed. The meeting was a debacle, with her walking out and saying she refused to talk while I was so upset.

    The pastor explained to me that when God creates something new and beautiful in you, an attack from the devil is often around the corner, trying to tear you down. Somehow, the message from God – which was supposed to be uplifting – got dragged down and filtered through human concerns, and all I heard was criticism passed as prophecy.
    As with all good lies, there was enough of a grain of truth to make it seem plausible – although some of what was spoken was in regard to past behaviour that I had already conquered.

    What made it harder was that this prophet was very high in the church hierarchy, was someone in a position of respect and trust, and not someone I felt I had to be wary of.
    I guess the moral is not to trust any one person when it comes to messages from God, no matter what their past record. ALWAYS test prophecy against the source before taking it as truth, particularly if there is anything of a critical nature in it.

    I have since learned more about the nature of prophecy, that it is used to edify and build up the church, not to tear people down. If someone offers you a prophecy that really hurts… TEST IT!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m sure that many people have had a similar kind of thing happen to them too.

    I so agree that prophecy should lift and build up, and impart life, and it’s so sad when the opposite happens. When we have positioned ourselves to receive a word from God, we have opened our hearts and are often vulnerable. Then, the missile fires at us. Prophecy should be a gift that reflects the heart of God towards someone, not tear him or her down.

    You have brought out a great point about going to the person who brought the word—with a witness present—to share your hurt (Matt 18:15-16).
    If the person who ‘prophesied’ harmfully is in your church and has not recognised or acknowledged their (intentional or unintentional) wrongdoing and prayed with you about it, then it may be best to find a safe person outside of your church to process this with.

    Some things that can be prayed are:
    · Express forgiveness towards the person who brought the harmful word
    · Pray and proclaim the redemptive opposite of the word, i.e. God’s true heart, love and affirmation of you as a person.
    · If the negative word has resulted in you feeling wounded, pray for healing of your heart and a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit
    · In some cases, the ‘prophecy’ may have resulted in a curse that needs to be broken. You can tell down the track when this happens, because the negative outcome of the word begins to eventuate in your life. If a ‘prophecy’ is negative, breaking a potential curse through prayer is a wise precaution early on.

    Even if the incident took place a long time ago, this process can still be helpful.

    The further I move in the prophetic gift, the more I’m aware of the potential to get something wrong, through a blind spot or pride, or through filtering the word through my own opinions. These days I like to give people who have received a personal prophecy (whether the prophecy is from myself, my team or a visiting ministry at our church) a brochure that explains how to weigh up the prophetic word and what they can do with it.

    1. Hi, great article.

      I am quoting this from a 12 Sept 2009 response: “In some cases, the ‘prophecy’ may have resulted in a curse that needs to be broken. You can tell down the track when this happens, because the negative outcome of the word begins to eventuate in your life. If a ‘prophecy’ is negative, breaking a potential curse through prayer is a wise precaution early on”

      With reference to the above quotation, how does one then explain the following verse Deut 18:22:
      “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed”

      If something came to pass then according to Deut 18:22 it was of God… Or is it ONLY GOOD things from God and bad things curses?

      BUT, what if you tell someone who is lying to his wife, that “his lie is going to cause trouble in his marriage when the truth eventually comes out” and “he will loose her, so he must tell the truth now” because there is “still a chance of forgiveness & understanding”.

      But he chose not to tell his wife that he never mentioned to her that, when they started to date, that his ex was still pregnant, nor that he is already father – he abandoned his firstborn and is denying there is a child. There was an incident where his wife heard about this and he denied that he is a father, saying the ex is lying.

      If the truth does come out (in a year, 10years) & their marriage breaks up because of this lie he told his wife, was what I said not of God then? Because according to the quote, anything bad is a curse???? Or is what I said not a curse, because common sense tells you, any woman would find it hard to trust after her man omitted things of his past to her, and lied to her face when she questioned the “rumors”. So the lie automatically holds consequences , not necessarily a curse?


      1. Hi Tanith, really good questions.
        I think your insight ‘if you tell someone who is lying to his wife, that “his lie is going to cause trouble in his marriage when the truth eventually comes out” and “he will loose her, so he must tell the truth now” because there is “still a chance of forgiveness & understanding” is actually word of wisdom. It makes a lot of sense.The natural consequence of a lie is taking place.
        Re prophecy…We do discourage people who are beginning and growing in the gift of prophecy against bringing words that are negative, judgmental or condemning, or are prophesying negative outcomes. In the NT, prophecy represents the Father’s heart, and in the church context is largely encouragement, strengthening and comfort (1 cor 14:3)
        In the case of the word you mention, we would suggest bringing the redemptive rather than the negative. ‘If you follow God’s way…He wants to bless your marriage’ rather than ‘If you disobey, you will lose your marriage.’ It says the same, but the focus is more on what Father’s desired outcome is.
        If someone who has a prophetic gift feels strongly about a correcting word, we suggest they run it past oversight first, rather than give it directly to a person. It’s about being careful and loving people.
        For those who are mature in prophecy, or in prophetic office, there is a greater sense of authority and there are times correcting words are given, but even then out of the Father’s heart.
        I hear your frustration, Tanith. I pray the situation you mentioned turns around for good.

  3. Helen this is so practical and wise!! This issue is one that causes so much confusion at times for people and you have given a fantastic teaching here.

  4. Excellent advice Helen. I am sorry that this has happened to this person. The person did the right thing by bringing it to leadership and openly discussing it with the person (prophet), good for you (that will always help in the healing process of a hurt or wounded heart). This letter will also help those of us with a prophetic gift to evaluate what a word spoken can do to someone when it is not given in a way that edifies the person, so again thank you for sharing what would have been very painful for you. We may well get words of instruction when prophesying for a person, but our responsibility is to ask the Lord what He would have us say to the person, it should never come from our own feelings, although unfortunately it sometimes does, but if we ask the Lord, He will always have you speak it in a way that blesses and not curses. I will give you an example – the Lord is showing you that this person does not have a teachable heart and takes any form of criticism poorly, you would not speak this into their life like this, you could however say, that “the Lord is showing me that you will grow in maturity and humility as you travel through this journey, you’re heart will open up to learn and receive the wisdom and training from others that will grow you in your calling”. You have now spoken a blessing into this person’s life instead of a curse, with a little thought, we can always make a word be a blessing. Let us all be wise in our treatment of others.

  5. That’s great Sandi,
    I believe one of the difficulties we can have as prophetic people is when we believe we have received ‘discernment’ from the Lord about the person we are praying for or prophesying over.
    It may be true discernment (not opinion,as in the earlier example), but if it is NOT shared in the redemptive way that you have illustrated, it can be harmful.
    The Lord gives us gifts of discernment to heal, not hurt.
    I remember someone saying when praying for me at an altar call that they discerned a demonic spirit (named it) at work in my life. I was devastated! If they had used that information to pray a redeeming prayer over me, or to prophesy God’s purposes for the opposite to occur in my life through His Holy Spirit, how different the ministry would have been. Then they could have gently directed me towards some Prayer Ministry to be set free.
    The reality is, that however diligent we are, this kind of thing will happen occasionally. It may be worth us including this discussion in future training sessions on prophecy and altar ministry…

  6. Lorraine Nhira

    Could you please email me regular teachings , trainings or appropriate material to help me develop the prophetic gift.

    1. Hi Lorraine,
      I’ve just subscribed you to receive the blog posts to your inbox.. but you will need to click on the link that arrives in your inbox before it is activated.
      There is a lot of teaching already on the blog that may help you, feel free to browse, click on any category you are interested in or search a topic. Also, you may be interested in our David McCracken Ministries ‘Free Resources’ page here: http://www.davidmccracken.org/free-resources/


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