11 Signs That Your Prophetic Gift Is Being Held Back

One of the things I am passionate about is helping people to grow in their spiritual gifts—especially prophecy. [1]

People regularly share with me that they believe they have a gift of prophecy, but are not sure how to begin developing it.

Sometimes they express fear or embarrassment about stepping out with a prophetic insight, because they lack confidence.

I also come across prophetic people who tell me that they used to flow in the gift of prophecy but feel it has become blocked or closed down in comparison to how it used to be.

These Christians long for the ‘good old days,’ when they felt released in their gifts and saw miraculous things happen as a result.

This is why, over the next little while, I am going to be producing some articles on how to move forward and break through limitations in relation to prophetic gifts and ministry. [2]

Identifying a Limitation is Good News

Identifying a potential barrier to the growth of your gift or ministry is good news—for it is the first step to empowering you to break free and enter into the ‘more’ that God has for you.

In fact, in God’s Kingdom there is always more!

And you can turn that seeming obstacle into a stepping-stone to greater growth and fruitfulness.

Signs that you are Being held back in Your Prophetic gift

Here are eleven signs that there may be a limiting factor holding you back in your prophetic gift or ministry.

If you do not have a gift of prophecy, replace the words ‘prophecy’ or ‘prophetic ministry’ with the name of your gift or ministry.

See if you can identify with any of these:

1. You used to believe you were called to prophetic ministry [3] but now you are not so sure

2. You are wondering why your prophetic gift seems to be hidden and not recognised by other Christians or by leaders in the church

3. It is a long time since you stepped out, took a faith risk, and did something new in the use of your prophetic gift

4. You are drifting and have a lack of direction in your prophetic gift or ministry

5. You feel barren and are wondering where the fruitfulness is that you were promised or initially experienced when you started out

6. You recognise that difficulties in the use of your prophetic gift began with an event that occurred in your past

7. You are not sure what to do to get to the next level of growth in your gift of prophecy

8. You have been hurt or wounded in relation to your prophetic gift and haven’t gotten over it

9. You are not receiving opportunities to use and bless others through your gift that you would like to have

10.You are content with your current level of experience and do not have the motivation to press through for growth in your prophetic gift

11.You do have opportunities to use the gift of prophecy, but it is not flowing as smoothly or as accurately as you would like, or have known in the past.

Over the next little while we will be looking at how to overcome some barriers to growth in your gift. Many of these will apply to other gifts, not just prophecy.

Some of the things I will be considering include:

  • Fear
  • Not knowing where to start
  • The effect of past hurts
  • Apathy
  • Not being released or given opportunities

Feel free to forward or share these articles with others who may be helped by them.


[1] The gift of prophecy is the Spirit-empowered ability to receive and convey a message from God—to make known the Father’s mind, intention and purposes.

[2] If you are interested in developing your gift, the e-book ‘Grow Your Prophetic And Prayer Gifts’ is a tool to help you identify which stage of development you are in and move to the next level.

[3] By prophetic ministry, I do not mean a role or position. Prophetic ministry occurs when you use your prophetic gift to love and help people in a way that brings them closer to God and releases them into His purposes. As Paul says, ‘the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.’ (1 Cor 14:3)

Related Posts:

Why Is My Spiritual Gift Or Ministry Not Being Released?

Break Free Of Hurts That Are Blocking Your Prophetic Gift

4 Barriers to Hearing God’s Voice – and Biblical Insights for Breakthrough

© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog

Enliven Ministries:  In the David McCracken Ministries family

116 thoughts on “11 Signs That Your Prophetic Gift Is Being Held Back”

  1. I would say that I identify with the following points Helen:
    1. ????
    2. ~
    3. ????
    4. ????
    5. ~
    6. ????
    7. ????
    8. ????
    9. X
    10. X
    11. ????
    I can distinctly remember the time that I was shut down. I was doing the wrong thing, but wasn’t handled well. Being only 19 at the time I thought it was better from that point to just keep my mouth shut.

  2. Nghaaa… those question marks are supposed to be ticks. That’ll learn me for trying to get fancy now won’t it?

    1. Hi Tim, not sure what you were trying to do with the ticks, but the question marks have character, so I’m going to leave them 🙂
      Yes, totally know where you’re at, sadly, happens to so many of us. This is one of the things I’m going to explore over the next few weeks. Would love to see you released in your prophetic gift, Tim, keep in touch on this one.

  3. This is exactly what i’m going through this season , i have received a number of prophecies regarding my ministry and actually it was first dreams of me ministering to the multitudes and prophecy to me was a confirmation , but right now honestly speaking i try as much as i can to run away from prophets because i so much attract their attention and i would receive more or less the same prophecy aout my ministry and nobody has ever told me how to activate that prophetic word , yes i spent time fellowshiping with God ,meditate on the word of God and reach out to people , yes right now i feel barren , my prayer life has dropped , i feel things are hidden for me , dont know what to do to get to my next level , i’m drifting and have lack of direction , i feel i need to spend time alone and even when i pray i dont know what t ask God anymore so when i enter into my prayer closet i just worship Him pray in tongues and just thank Him for what He is doing , what comes into my spirit right now is that Paul was there for Timothy , Samuel was there for Saul and David , Elijah was there for Elisha , i believe i need a midwife someone who will unlock or help me give birth to what im carrying, im not content i need of God now than i ever did before , i sense a disconnection of some sort , and i can hear myself weeping deep from within , i really dont want the baby im carrying t be aborted please help me i need direction , one prophet of God told me that the anointing upon my life has overstayed and until now i wondered whatmust i do , i said yes to the calling and i’m making myself available to be used my God and i’m in a big church were it is so difficult to even talk to my pastor about what im going , the dreams i’m seeing ,because it depends on who you are to see the Pastor , May the Almighty use you to minister direction into my life in a level at which i will be able to comprehend and understand it , God bless you as you do that

    1. Hi Vienna,
      It sounds as though you have some exciting things ahead in the call of God on your life. This also brings challenges along the way, and I understand and can relate to the hardship you are experiencing. Here are a few thoughts, feel free to leave another comment in response to these:
      **There is usually a long lead time between the call of God coming, and the prophecies, and the call being fulfilled. So don’t be concerned that it isn’t happening straight away. The call of God being fulfilled on my life right now originated with prophetic words and a personal call more than 30 years ago, and a prophecy very specific to what I am doing now 20 years ago. This is a Biblical pattern, as is a ‘wilderness’ period (David, Moses, Paul, etc)
      **This article on a ministry call may be helpful http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2011/06/29/do-you-have-a-ministry-call/
      **It is right to process the prophecies and ministry call with your leadership. In a large church, it can be difficult to communicate with the senior pastor, so another leader, even a small group leader to start off with is good, and take it from there
      **It seems that you are doing everything you know to do, I believe that as you are faithful God will make the way open in His time
      **You can also trust your Heavenly Father to bring the right mentors into your life for the seasons that you go through, He is your Provider and He has your life, your cause and you call in His hands (Isaiah 49:16)
      I pray that you enter a place of rest and trust in relation to your call and that God’s Word and love be tangible to you today.

  4. Shoooo I can Identify with Vienna…. I too sit with prophetic words , intercession for my prohecies. Believing God and yet I have failure upon failure to see the prophecy come to pass.
    And part of the prophecy is to speak into people’s lives, encouraging the body of Christ. Now how can I do that if I am u not encouraged?
    Yet I do not have any doubt nor unbelief! a barrenness , dry place, that;s what I experience. Desperately trying to take my prayer life up a notch, and all that I face is distractions, studies that take up my time. Yes I need direction too , to get me back on track to hear fro ABBA! Especially if I am where Abba wants me right this moment in my life. I too ask of God to use you speaking his heart to me as I am trusting him for a word.
    Thanks for your wonderful teachings . God bless

      1. Sorry to hear you are feeling low, Lisa. Believing with you for some encouragement to lift your spirits today.

  5. Hi Nadia,
    Some of the thoughts I have shared with Vienna, above, also relate to your situation.
    Today I pray this scripture for you:
    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom 15:13)
    I also pray that you will be powerfully encouraged and find a place of rest in your current circumstances.
    I believe that it is not a question of failure (so long as you are staying on track in your relationship with God) but of timing. Keep an eye on the blog over the next few weeks, I trust there will be more to inspire you on your journey.

  6. I remember a brother prayed over me and spoke. leader…prophet. Some time later a woman prayed over me and told me i had the gift of prophecy and why wasnt i using it. I felt dumb being that I had no clue…Only for the fact of a thought would come to mind like someones name and then that person would call me or I thought of an event while sitting in a dr. office and lo and behold an earthquake took place. a small one but it happened. I will pray about something and what i was praying about i will read a prophetic word about that very thing I was praying about.stuff like that. One time being in a atmosphere of prophets one spoke of fire and with our eyes closed i could actually smell smoke like a real fire. But I feel so out of tune…kind of a bummer….im curious about it but have no clue as to how to fine tune myself to use it to the fullest.

    1. Hi there Martha, thank you for leaving a comment 🙂
      It does sound as though you have some prophetic traits. Here is a blog article in which I outline some signs that might be helpful – http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2009/08/21/what-are-some-signs-that-you-have-a-prophetic-gift/
      Keep checking back over the blog over the next few weeks, as I will give some more thoughts about developing your gift from an early stage.
      Having two people give you a prophecy about having a prophetic gift sounds like a confirmation, have you been able to process this with a leader in the church?

      I don’t believe that the part of the word ‘why aren’t you using it’ sounds like God–more likely from the soul of the person giving the prophecy. We should alway be free to weigh up a prophecy and discard anything that feels wrong. The Father’s voice is loving and encouraging, He doesn’t belittle or intimidate. How would you feel about releasing this part of the prophecy as not being from God–and instead receive His grace and encouragement to take the small steps forward and relax in the process.
      The checklist about personal prophecy in this article may help. http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2011/08/17/is-personal-prophecy-biblical/

      I hope this helps–feel free to ask another question if you need to!

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