Dealing with Prophetic Disappointment – Why is My Prophecy Unfulfilled?

 ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.’ (Proverbs 13:12)

You received a personal prophecy—or a prophetic word for your family or for your church.

You believed, you positioned, you prayed, and you waited.

Now it has become evident that the prophetic word will never be fulfilled in the way that you believed it would.

Maybe it is too late for something to eventuate in your life, as a prophecy led you to believe. Maybe someone you cared about became sick, and died contrary to prophetic words that he or she would live and do something more for God. Maybe other people around you, or in leadership over you, have made decisions that have ruled out the possibility that a prophecy will be fulfilled.

Questions now arise:

  • Was the prophecy wrong? If so, why did God allow me to believe it and pursue it? What about the person who prophesied—was he or she mistaken?
  • Was the prophecy right? If so, what have I, or we, done wrong? What conditions have gone unmet, and what has got in the way of the prophecy’s fulfilment?
  • And how do we get past the hurt and the disappointment, the crisis of faith, and indeed the grief, of having a long-term prophetic vision die?

The Problem of Unfulfilled Prophecy

There are varying degrees of difficulty and pain associated with an unfulfilled prophecy. At the lower end of the scale, I have prophecies sitting in my drawer that I now realise will never be fulfilled in the exact way the prophetic minister described it to me. This does not cause me concern, because Father has clearly led me in a different direction.

At the other end of the scale, we have had friends pass away, leaving prophecies unfulfilled, questions unanswered, and pain in our hearts.

Why are Some Prophecies Unfulfilled?

There are many reasons why a prophecy may not be fulfilled. Let’s explore a few of them:

The Prophecy was not Adequately Weighed up

If you are waiting on a prophecy to be fulfilled, then it was most likely a very specific, directive type of prophetic word.

For our protection, these kinds of prophecies should always be submitted to wise oversight and leadership in the church. [1] Without this Biblical safety net, there is a greater possibility of some of the following issues taking place. (1 Cor 14:29, 1 Thess 5:20-22)

Conditions Unmet Until Now

Some prophecy, especially concerning the call of God, is conditional upon us doing our part, obeying God, and allowing the Spirit to deal with us in maturing our character.

I received a prophecy many years ago concerning my future ministry. In the same prophecy, I was exhorted to ‘stay committed, stay submitted.’ I know without doubt that I would not be where I am today if I had not stayed committed and submitted to my church and leadership during testing times.

If you feel that you have delayed or made mistakes, it is not too late. You serve a God of grace; a God of the second chance! Take heart from these words about Jonah: Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.’ (Jonah 3:1)

The Prophecy has Already Fulfilled its Purpose

Sometimes a particular prophecy is the signpost that God uses to get you somewhere else. Instead of the destination you expected, you find that you are positioned for another, higher, God-given purpose.

This may also be an issue of inaccurate delivery of a prophecy. But we also need to understand the nature of prophecy:

Fulfilment of prophecy is not always like hitting a ‘bulls eye’ on a target. It may be more like a river that has twists and turns before reaching the Father’s intended destination.

The Prophecy was Delivered Inaccurately

‘For we know in part and we prophesy in part’ (1 Cor 13:9)

Following are some reasons that a prophecy may have been delivered inaccurately.

  • If the person prophesying knows the recipient of the prophecy, it is tempting to deliver the prophecy in the context of what is known currently. This can hamper the purity of a word
  • This also goes for prophecies made in church life. We may be receiving a revelation from God, but then we interpret and deliver that word in the light of our church’s current vision or circumstances, which may later change
  • The person may have prophesied out of the desires of his or her heart, rather than from a revelation from God
  • The person delivering the prophecy may be receiving an incomplete revelation, but then try to express the prophecy in specific terms when it has not been received that way.It is true that there is, on occasion, higher revelation and greater levels of accuracy (indeed we believe and strive for this), but we must also be content—and honest—when this is not the case.

The Prophecy was Interpreted by the Recipient Inaccurately

Maybe the prophecy was not mistakenly given, but there was a miscommunication, and the recipient took the prophecy the wrong way.

Just as the giver of a prophecy can interpret and deliver a word based on known circumstances, a receiver of a prophecy can also interpret a word based on what he or she knows or desires it to be.

Mystery

At the end of the day, we may never understand this side of heaven why a prophecy remained unfulfilled, just as we do not understand why some sick people who are prayed for do not get healed.

In the face of the unknown, we need to trust in the love and sovereignty of our Heavenly Father.


What to do About Prophetic Disappointment

There is a time to hold on to a prophetic word, but we also need to know when to release or shelve a prophecy. The time to release a prophecy is when holding onto it is not bearing good fruit in your life, or in the lives of others around you.

This includes disappointment, disillusionment, division or disunity, dissatisfaction, resentment, bitterness, grief, or any other negative fruit.

If you can relate to this, here are some things that may help in the process:

1. Allow the Prophecy to be Weighed up Again

Prophecy is subject to being weighed up. This does not only relate to assessing a prophecy at the time it is delivered. For our protection, we should also keep our prophetic vision submitted to godly leadership as time goes along.[1]

2. Forgive Whomever you Need to

If an unfulfilled prophecy has left you feeling disappointed or even bitter, it is vital that you forgive anyone that you need to. (Mark 11:25) This may be the giver of the prophecy, yourself, or anyone you perceived stood in the way of its fulfilment.

3. Stop Looking for Unfulfilled Conditions

If you are open to God, and the Holy Spirit is not forthcoming about a condition not being fulfilled, don’t labour over finding one—this may be distracting you from releasing it and moving on with God’s purpose for your life, or that of your family or church. Release it and trust Him to show you anything necessary.

If you can identify a wrong turning in your life, as you repent, the grace of God is released over your life. He will give you a new vision—He is the God of the resurrection.

4. Release Others from Expectations Relating to the Prophecy

Sometimes in our search for unmet conditions, it is tempting to blame other people for hindering the fulfilment of a prophecy. This may include a spouse, family member, vocational boss or leader in a church.

We need to release them completely from expectations and remember that God is sovereign and able to fulfil His plans regardless of their actions. Look at the life of Joseph! (Gen 37-50)

5. Release the Prophecy Completely

You are not being unfaithful to God and His word when you release a prophecy and all expectations associated with it, if holding onto it is not bearing good fruit.

God is able to bring the word to you again if it was truly of Him. He can resurrect the promise in His time.

Sometimes it is helpful to release the prophecy, not only through prayer, but to do something symbolic as well. We need to do whatever it takes to bring closure.

6. Ask, ‘Am I in the Father’s Will Right Now?’

If you know that right now your heart is right with God, then you are on track for His purposes to be fulfilled in your life.

Ultimately, we must trust in the absolute sovereignty of God—not in ourselves, others, or in any prophetic word.

‘The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.’ (Ps 37:23-24, NKJV)

It is Time to let go

‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?’ (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Is it time to let go of an unfulfilled prophetic word?

  • Let go, and you will be released from the place of disappointment and grief
  • Let go, and you will be able to receive the new word from God
  • Let go, and you will have the joy of discovering the new things Father is doing

Notes:

[1] This can be a leader or pastor in your church, or Christian mentors (safe Christian mentors are themselves under authority). I am aware that many people have experienced unhealthy or even abusive leadership, at some stage of their journey. This must not put us off seeking safe Christian leaders who can speak into our lives.


Related Posts:

Is It Time To Birth Your Prophetic Word In Prayer?

How To Make The Most Of Your Personal Prophecy

4 Reasons why the Opposite of Your Prophetic Word is Happening


Do you have any experiences or questions to share on this topic? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the comments box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.


© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog

On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church

25 thoughts on “Dealing with Prophetic Disappointment – Why is My Prophecy Unfulfilled?

  1. Janet

    A pastor’s wife prophesied over me about 5 or 6 years that she felt I would have another baby. As I’m in my 40’s, have two teenagers, and hubby has had the little op, I wasn’t pleased – I was panicked! Ever since I’ve wondered if the “baby” refers to a new thing God will birth in my life … not sure what though. I liked your point about forgiving the giver of the prophecy hough, this is something I definitely had to do.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Yes, Janet I can understand that panic (being in my 40’s with young adult kids!!) It is possible she did receive a revelation (‘baby’) but interpreted and delivered the word wrongly. Prophetic insight and dreams about pregnancy and new birth often refer to the birth of a new ministry, or something else new that God is doing in and through you. Don’t cast it away altogether… consider what new things have been brought to birth in your life and ministry since the prophecy, and the exciting possibility that new things from God are up ahead! 🙂

  2. ann broome

    I think you have covered all the points really well Helen. I have had friends that have had prophecies that they would be healed or grow new limbs etc.. only to die. those around them have either fell away from the faith or just given up on God. I see prophecy as a confirming word to something that is already stirring in your heart, and that word can move you from where you are to where you are going, so I sense there can be ‘ movement ” in prophecy.. thanks for these great points ..

  3. Helen Calder Post author

    Thank you Ann!
    Yes this is a really thought-provoking subject. So sad to hear of the things that have happened.
    I like what you say about prophecy confirming… this is one of the key differences between Old and New Testament prophecy. In the OT, prophets were the mouthpiece of God, but in the NT, believers are God’s children and can hear Him speak out of that personal relationship. So prophecy moves from being the primary voice to being a secondary, confirming voice.
    Your thought about movement is very insightful, something more to ponder over… 🙂

  4. leslie

    Hi Helen,
    Thank you for all of your wonderful articles! I have a question for you: how do we know when to contend for a prophecy we have been given, versus when to let go because it’s not being fulfilled (for whatever reason, such as a condition not being met)? I am really struggling right now, after having interceded for over a year about a prophetic word I was given (several times, by different people, plus my own visions from God about the same thing, etc.) and I’m exhausted in trying to contend any more for it in prayer…
    Thank you for any insight 🙂

  5. Helen Calder Post author

    Hi Leslie,
    Yes I understand that such a situation can be difficult, on one hand you want to be faithful to what God has promised and to do whatever it takes to usher that in, on the other, there is that uncertainty when time goes by and nothing is happening.
    I think it is really important to identify the difference between contending prayer that is led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, which is energising, and prayer that becomes laboured and striving and causes weariness.
    When contending in prayer crosses over to the second type, when there is not good fruit from the praying, that is the time to rest back in God’s arms over the issue, to trust in Father for His outcomes. When it is time to birth something in prayer, the Holy Spirit empowers and initiates it.
    Even the birthing in prayer has to do with timing. I’ve written more on this here:
    http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2010/07/20/is-it-time-to-birth-your-prophetic-word-in-prayer/
    I hope this helps 🙂

  6. Chris

    Hi Helen,

    Thanks so much for this article. It has been a difficult couple of years for my church and as an intercessor who moves in the prophetic I have received several insights and prophecies etc for my senior leaders during this time. ( I have enjoyed a good relationship in this regard with my pastors/leaders for several yrs now which has been a real privilege) On a few occasions during this difficult time the prophecies I have given have not been received well at all, or have been dismissed off hand, only later to be fullfilled. ( these were often prophecies of a personal nature for the recipient and were sometimes warnings also). I have definately experience some really deep feelings of dissappointment and been quite deeply hurt by this and have had to work hard, and ask God to help me, keep my attitude right and my heart soft during these times. Sometimes I have failed and have had to confess and repent of my wrong attitudes etc, but mostly God has helped me and I have been able to work through these feelings and kept my heart soft. Thankyou for writting this article as it has really helped me as I value and respect you and your ministry highly. It really helps me to know that others I hold in high regard have experienced this as well and that I am not just being dodgy or somehow am alone in my struggle. I will continue to read your articles as they are a real blessing and encouragement to me.

  7. Titi

    The Lord led me to this wonderful site today and I think it is indeed for a purpose. Today marks 8years in which I had a prophetic disappointment. I never got a satisfactory answer all these years until I read this post and got a better pespective. For this I give u kudos for a job well done and may the Lord continue to engrace you.
    I was coming from my place of work in 2004 when a dear woman of God well known as the TV interpreter of a renowed evangelist and preacher called me as I passed by her shop. She has never seen or known me before. She said the Lord spoke to her about a particular need in my life. At that time I was in a private fasting and prayer for a life partner. She said the Lord loves me very much and has prepared the best for me. She gave a date! She said precisely August 2005, I was going to be married. She gave me instructions of a three day fasting and prayer to ward off any barrier. I got home and started rolling on d floor in praises to God for exempting me from what seem to be a family curse. I carried out her instructions dutifully. I kept waiting on the Lord, no one proposed and a year after the date she gave, I rushed back to her shop hoping for an explanation, the shop was tightly shut, now occupied by someone else. The most painful part of this is that I am still single with all the reproach attached to it(I am an African). I can’t seem to get over that date. I recall those words every August of each year till now.

  8. Elmarie

    I have learned to ask God for 3x confirmation on ‘prophecies’ concerning my life.
    The only one I received 28 December 2011 was from a pastor of a local church who somehow felt superior and was trying to manipulate me all the time.
    Why is it that people like that always have the need to ‘manipulate’ people, and somehow it always ’causes’ a demonic presence and then have the nerve to get cocky because somehow they feel intimidated, I had the same experience earlier this year when I finally went to a so called Spirit filled church. Maybe it’s the best is to disregard any prophecy from any other person other than the Most High God. especially when people start ‘dreaming’ . I’ve learned too that ‘dreams’ are not always from God, it can be manipulated by Satan. I guess I’ve learned the hard way, especially from Christians. Prophecy will only confirm what God already told you.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Elmarie,
      I’m sorry to hear you have had such negative experiences in the area of prophecy. You are right that prophecy is a confirmation. Prophecy is also primarily for encouraging and strengthening and should speak and breathe into the God-dreams within us.

  9. Tunde

    Thanks for this write up. Knowing that other Christians go through this as well is a bit comforting. I believe this kind of experience puts our spiritual maturity to test. I applied for a job recently and got called for interview. I really want the Job and got a prophetic word after going for the final interview that I have been given the job. I waited for about a month and didn’t get any feedback until I sent a mail with the reply saying I was no longer in consideration as there were alternative candidates with more experience and stronger skill sets. They said they would keep my CV for a maximum of six months for any other available opportunity. I have been feeling disappointed and have been trying to get on with my life and walk with GOD. Do you have any thought that can help?

  10. Veevee

    Hi Helen,
    Thank you for your insightful articles. I have learnt a lot from reading them. There’s an issue I’d like help with though; it has to do with the below prophecies that I’m not sure whether to let go or keep waging war for:
    1) In January 2012 I got a prophetic word that I would be married in a year’s time, at most 2yrs. That my marriage date wouldn’t go beyond two years (That was from a visiting pastor at my boyfriends church. He had invited me to his church that day too when I was visiting him in the UK). We broke up by the end of that year because he cheated on me
    2)In December 2013 I got a phone call from a respected brother in church. He said that dawn whiles he was praying God said to tell me He (God) has heard my prayers and has granted my request. At the time I was on a 21 days fast concerning my job search and marriage (marriage for the prophetic word received in 2012).
    3) In February 2014 a pastor from my church gave me prophetic word that I will travel abroad again but this time to a different country and out of that my marriage will come ( I had returned to my home country in 2013 after studies in France)
    4) In April 2014 a woman I had never met before walked up to me and gave me a word about marriage. That she sees me being wedded in a grand ceremony. I wasn’t giving her my attention but she continued on to say I don’t believe her but she is only saying what she sees. She proceeded to give me word of knowledge about my hot temper and love for God which are all true.
    5)In June 2014 I got a call from another brother in the church that I should expect a call in connection with a job offer. That I should thank God for my job ( I was and still am job hunting)
    6) March 2015 I got a call from a sister in the church that she had a dream about me in which I had gotten a job with a very big company and that a supposed boyfriend of mine was giving testimony about my job. She also told me to thank God for my job. The sister has the gift of prophetic dreams which comes to pass.
    (I was on the verge of depression from an application that didn’t work out).
    With none of the above prophecies manifesting I had become so discouraged and low. Then a visiting pastor from another branch of our church in May 2015 gave me a word that I think nobody loves me but that God loves me, Jesus loves me and he cares about me a lot. Then he put his hands on my tummy and kept saying ‘restoration, restoration’ over and over again. Then he put his hands on my heart and repeated ‘joy, joy’, joy’.
    Since I broke off with my ex in 2012 I have never dated again and don’t see myself being married. I just want to serve God without distractions.
    I have had several dreams myself where I’m interviewing, working, dreams where I am at an embassy putting in an application for a visa and getting approval, dreams where I am at the airport, in foreign countries. I have dreamnt where I was getting married etc.
    But still NOTHING has materialized. It’s like the harder I pray and believe, the more let downs I get but just when am about giving up then I receive a word.
    Am confused as to whether to wage war with the prophecies I have received so far or do I just let them all go?? In my heart of heart I believe them to be true, oversight from my church leaders also believe them to be true.
    Helen, what do I do? Am I in a testing period….

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi VeeVee, I am away from my desk until next Wednesday, will reply to your question then 🙂

      1. Veevee

        Hi Helen,
        I don’t mean to impose but hope you are back at your desk. Am really looking forward to your insight….
        Thank you

        1. Helen Calder Post author

          Hi Veevee,
          Sorry about that, thanks for the reminder because I somehow missed it!
          One of our general guidelines is that we do not give prophecies about marriage, babies, and specific times and dates. We just don’t go there, it’s a boundary and protocol that we have in place in our ministry. The reason is, because there has been so much hurt for so many people in this area.
          Are there ever exceptions? We have known times when someone in prophetic office who is under anointing, operating under authority and with authority to have words in this area, but EVEN then, the truth of the prophecy is borne out in actual fulfilment.

          So we would recommend releasing any prophetic expectations about relationships and marriage. I’ve made a note in point 5 above: ‘You are not being unfaithful to God and His word when you release a prophecy and all expectations associated with it, if holding onto it is not bearing good fruit.
          God is able to bring the word to you again if it was truly of Him. He can resurrect the promise in His time.’

          To me, this is the wisest thing to do. the difficulty is, because it is something that touches heart and desires so much, it can be very difficult to release these prophecies and expectations. And I do understand that.

          Praying for you that Holy Spirit touches your life and heart, that you can put your trust wholly in God and that the longings of your heart are fulfilled – without the tension caused by expectations on prophecies and prophetic guidance. Be truly and richly blessed, Veevee.

      2. Jaeson

        You sound like me!

        I had someone when was about 21 I would get married to someone who would be a big blessing to my family. Then another one that God was saving us for each other (a few years later), then another one about what my wedding band would look like, then another one about my non-existent children, someone tried to give me a year/age I would get married, then another one that God was sending someone to get rid of my loneliness (that was about 4 years back) then another one…..
        the list goes on and one..

        Here I am in my 30’s still waiting. I go to church, I read my Bible, I’m not some psycho sinner and I didn’t backslide during that period- and I’m not grotesque looking.

        I really warn and urge people to just follow God, and ask for what they want. God says He will listen to us. But I think giving credence in “words” just makes us sad and disappointed.

        1. Helen Calder Post author

          I agree, Jaeson. Follow God and receive His guidance personally in your relationship, be very careful about specific or ‘directive’ words. A true word from God will bear fruit. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  11. Mey

    I experience unbelievable resistance against me finishing my studies in Theology. What shall I Do? When I go into the Faculty I feel Pain. Confusion and Darkness.
    Mey

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Mey,
      The Holy Spirit is not the author of any of those things – your inheritance is ‘righteousness peace and joy’ in Him…do you have someone who can pray with you, as well as a leader you can process with?
      I pray right now that the darkness will lift in Jesus’ Name- that you receive clarity and the strength to rise and complete what needs to be done.

  12. Hurt and confused

    Thank you for writing this.

    I have had feelings for a friend for over 6 years. I have never dated and wasn’t interested until I started realizing I liked him as more than a friend, and to this day I have not had feelings for anyone else. He has made it clear from the beginning that be does not wish to pursue a relationship with me, but we have stayed good friends through a lot of drama. After a couple years I was prophesied over by three people at different times — what they all prophesied, in short, was that God wants to fulfill a hope that has been crushed to the point that it’s shattered my heart, that I do not believe it can happen, but God wants to make it happen, and I should believe it. I was even told to have complete faith it would happen, or it never will. None of these people knew what was going on at the time. These prophetic words — which I took to be confirmed by the repetition — have caused me more heartache and agony than anything else ever has. I want to give up hope that God wants to give me the desire of my heart, but fear missing out on being able to spend the rest of my life with my best friend.

    I want to let these prophecies go; I no longer want to hold onto false hope, and I know that my friend could never love someone like me the way a husband loves a wife. Please pray for me. I have been suffering through this for far too long.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi there, I’m so very sorry to hear of the pain you have been going through. Hopefully the article has given you some keys to help deal with the prophetic side of this issue. I do pray that you will experience the touch of God to bring you healing, courage and a fresh start, and that you will have the wisdom you need to keep moving forward into a brighter future and the destiny God has for you, including in relationships.

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