Safeguards for Personal Prophesy
Sadly, many have been scammed by individuals who promised prophetic insights only to con them out of money. Others have prophesied under the influence of drugs and other substances, blurring the lines between true prophecy and divination. While I don’t want to create a sense of fear with the prophetic, I do want to caution you to not live running after prophetic words more than you run after God’s Word.
Prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit intended to encourage, rebuke, and sometimes predict what will come (1 Corinthians 14:3). However, this incredible manifestation of the Holy Spirit has often been misused in churches, leading to manipulation instead of edification. I want to share a few practical tips to use when receiving a prophetic word.
Biblical Context on Prophecy: The Story of Paul
In the Book of Acts, the Holy Spirit warns Paul about chains and tribulations that were to come (Acts 20:23). Later, Agabus, a prophet, predicted Paul would be arrested (Acts 21:11). Despite these warnings, Paul feels the Lord telling him to press on and to go to Jerusalem (Acts 20:22). We see in this chapter that despite being warned by the Spirit of God what would happen, Paul did not fear what was going to take place, nor did the words sway him to go a different direction. Instead, the words were a confirmation that despite the hard reality, this was the correct place and direction where God was leading.
Lessons from Paul’s Experience with Prophecy:
One thing to remember is that personal prophecy should always be welcomed. We should not stop or belittle prophecies while learning to navigate them with wisdom and discernment. We should not allow any form of abuse or manipulation to sway our decisions, and any prophetic word should be carefully considered and applied.
1. Prophecy Confirms God’s Voice
Prophetic words should align with what God is already saying in your heart. If the prophecy is completely unexpected, it’s best to pray for clarity.
In cases where a prophetic word is saying something you haven’t prayed or considered, I would recommend praying and not acting on it yet. We see in Pau’s example that he felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem. He knew what faced him there, and he went ahead with that mission, and the prophetic words confirmed that.
2. Consider the Character
The Bible says that we can know people by their fruit. We have to know their fruit and consider their character. I often recommend people to consider their history. Does God speak with them? Are they in a local church? Do they believe in Jesus Christ? Who are these people that are speaking into your life? When we look back to Scripture, we see that Prophet Agabus, had a track record of prophesying a famine 15 years before giving the prophetic word to Paul. His prophetic word could be trusted (Acts 11:27, 29).
3. Don’t Let Prophecy Dictate Decisions
Prophetic words are meant to guide, not dictate or manipulate the will of a godly person. The Bible tells us that Paul listened to the prophecies but ultimately followed God’s leading (Acts 21:14).
That means that prophecies are not supposed to dictate our decisions or manipulate our will. We’re supposed to be led by the Holy Spirit; the prophetic is meant to confirm, encourage, and strengthen that. People who live their life always depending on the prophetic instead of depending on the Holy Spirit to lead them and guide them could find themselves in pretty dangerous territories.
4. Prophecies Are Partial
While prophecies might be accurate, they often provide only a part of God’s larger plan. Paul saw a bigger picture than what was prophesied (Acts 23:11). Agabus’s word was true, that Paul was bound in Jerusalem. But you must understand that although Agabus didn’t see the full picture, Paul knew that God is going to use him to minister to people in Rome. So that’s one of the reasons why we should not be intimidated to take every prophetic word and consider it in light of the Scriptures, and in light of what the Lord is leading us and guiding us to do.
5. Prayer Over Haste
Understand that a hasty response is not always required. Learn to wait on God. We should be like Mary. Mary would receive words from shepherds and others, and she put them in her heart, and she prayed for them. We also see an example of Hezekiah in the Bible (Isaiah 38:1). In the story, he gets a prophetic word and he could have just simply rolled in his bed and said, “The Prophet gave me a word, I’m gonna die. I’m just gonna die.” But he takes the prophetic word into prayer instead of merely surrendering to the prophecy and his life didn’t end. Actually, we see that God brought healing and breakthrough.
Pray into the prophetic words given to you.
6. Prophetic Words Can Be Conditional
Some prophecies might require your active participation. As Paul advised Timothy, we should “fight according to the prophecies” (1 Timothy 1:18). The prophetic word I received as a teenager really gave me a direction of where to run and what to pursue. But, If II had just believed that the responsibility lies on God and I have to do nothing to see it fulfilled, I honestly believe that I wouldn’t be the person that God called me to be today. You have to also activate that prophetic word. Now I don’t believe that every prophetic word requires your participation.
In conclusion, while personal prophecies can provide divine insight and direction, they should be approached with discernment, prayer, and wisdom. Always ensure that they align with God’s word and seek Him first in every decision. There are prophetic words in our life concerning our destiny that involve our participation.
7. The Bible is the most accurate prophesy
Remember, the Bible is the surest prophetic word (2 Peter 1:16-19). Remember to study the Word of God, stay in the local church, and test prophecies. Don’t just receive every single thing, surrender and get manipulated by it. Have discernment and wisdom in your life. Don’t allow a constant seeking of prophetic words to derail you from seeking God and depending on Him. Just because you hear from God, it doesn’t mean you don’t need the prophet.
We need both. We need the prophetic and we also need a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit.
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