Have you ever received a prophecy that left you feeling uncomfortable?
On rare occasions, I have received a prophetic word that has felt wrong—and yet because it was given to me in a “Thus saith the Lord” manner, the person prophesying was inferring that to reject the prophecy was to be in disobedience towards God!
This dilemma has the potential to cause great pain and can especially be harmful to newer Christians. I have prayed with people who have received a negative or “off” prophecy and together we have broken the power of the word spoken over their lives.
Prophecy is abusive when it does not give room for a receiver to weigh up whether the prophecy is from the Lord or not. This is true even if the word is one of encouragement. But if the word is mistaken, it has the added potential of becoming a curse that bears negative fruit in the recipient’s life until it is broken in Jesus’ Name. (For more information about breaking the effects of abusive prophecy check out the post and comments, “How Do I Know A Personal Prophecy is From God?”)
- Releasing the Receiver of Your Prophecy
When you share a prophetic message, it is vital that you give the person or group you are prophesying over freedom to weigh up the prophecy and receive it, or set it aside.
You can do this by using releasing language such as, “I believe the Lord is saying”’ “Does this mean anything to you?” “I sense…” This communicates to them that you see yourself as a human vessel that could miss the mark. You are submitting the word to them for their assessment.
You do not need to worry that the effect of the prophecy will be watered down by such an approach. The Lord honors humility in the use of His gifts.
This is not to say that prophesying as though God was speaking in the first person through you is always wrong. In fact, this approach can be incredibly powerful, especially when the prophecy is being accompanied by the impartation of an anointing or spiritual gift. However, I believe that this style of prophesying is best left to those who are mature in the prophetic ministry.
If you do move into first-person prophecy such as, “The Lord is saying…”, ensure that it has been prefaced or concluded by releasing language as we’ve discussed above.
When prophesying over individuals, I like to make available a brochure I have written called, “What to do With Your Personal Prophecy.” The handout explains how to weigh up a prophetic word and what to do with it. It reminds them that they have the freedom to receive or release the word, and fulfils a duty of care on my part.
- Be Honest About Conflicting Motives
Prophecy is not a format for us to give our opinion, nor under any circumstances should it be used as a cover for directing or counseling a person to our way of thinking.
If we are experiencing conflict about our motives in bringing a prophecy— it is better to abstain from bringing the word—or to be honest about this conflict as we deliver it. This can occur when we are familiar with the person or situation that we are prophesying over.
- Provide Accountability
Whichever means you use to deliver a prophecy, it is important to do so in a way that provides you with safe accountability (you can review the Biblical guidelines in 1 Cor 14).
This means that if the prophecy is not delivered publicly or where there is at least another witness, it is able to be remembered and recorded in some way. That way, the recipient can receive advice or oversight about the prophecy if desired. It also provides you with protection should your prophecy come under question. Churches usually have their own guidelines and protocols regarding prophecy.
Writing down a prophetic word (or storing it electronically) aids with both accountability and the communication process. It also means the recipient can keep the prophecy for future encouragement or reference.
- Prophetic Evangelism
When you are using prophecy in the process of prophetic evangelism, accountability would take the form of sharing what is taking place with Christians that are journeying with you.
If the person you have a prophetic word for is not yet a Christian, I would add the following guidelines to the above:
- Be careful how you communicate that you believe what you have is a word from God. You could preface your insight with a statement such as, “I’ve been praying for you and I believe God is saying…”
- Bring the word in a natural manner and avoid using religious jargon. This is preferable at all times, but especially so when sharing a prophecy with an unchurched person.
- How To Release A Prophecy You Have Given
Once we have delivered our prophecy, we have completed our part in the process. It is over to the recipient of the message to assess the prophecy and decide whether to take current or future action on the word from God.
Bringing a prophecy is like a postman delivering a letter. Once we have faithfully “dropped the letter in the mailbox”, what the receiver does with it is no longer our responsibility.
We can pray about the person and the word, especially if we sense the Holy Spirit urging us to do so. However, we need to release the outcome to the Holy Spirit and to the recipient of the prophecy.
Would you like to develop your prophetic gift?
‘Grow Your Prophetic And Prayer Gifts’ is a high-value e-book specifically written to help you grow in your prophetic gifts – at whatever stage or season you are on the journey.
© Helen Calder, Enliven Ministries