Many Christians have been hurt by bad prophetic words. Many have even left the faith altogether as a result of being in toxic, charismatic churches. Alternately, many other people have also been tremendously helped and even guided by powerful prophetic words. So how do you ensure that the prophetic words you give are helpful and not hurtful?
Here are 7 do’s and 7 dont’s of prophetic ministry that can help you as you move in prophetic ministry.
7 Do’s of Prophetic Ministry
1. Do encourage, edify, exhort, and comfort others through your prophetic word.
1 Corinthians 14:2-4 (ESV)
For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.
This sounds basic but so many people do the opposite of this. New Testment prophecy is to encourage.
2. Do read your Bible.
I have heard countless prophetic people say, “I’m waiting on a word from the Lord.” Open your Bible. You’ll get one immediately. Many people want the rhema word of God to the detriment of the logos word of God. So, read your Bible.
When you read Genesis through Revelation, you get an insight into the character of God.
I spend so much time with my wife that if someone told me my wife said something, I could judge it and say either, “Well, I know her character. She didn’t say that,” or, “Yeah, that sounds just like her.” When you read the Bible, you know what God sounds like.
3. Do allow a senior pastor to cover you.
Those who are in authority must be under authority. Just because you were hurt by a covering doesn’t mean you can’t now be protected by a covering. Just because a covering misunderstood, ostracized, and gossiped about you doesn’t mean God can’t give you a covering
that will lift you up, encourage you, and give you direction. Your covering can give you a platform, influence, greater insights, and care for you. But you have to be under authority if you are to be in authority. That’s God’s plan. If you’re wondering what’s your next level, but covering is missing from your life because you’re a rogue prophet, your next level is coming under a covering.
4. Do speak the truth in love.
Prophecy should be rooted in love. Because I have two daughters, I often ask myself, am I disciplining them out of anger in response to what they’ve done? Or am I trying to increase their wisdom and raise them up? Is this discipline I’m giving bringing them to a place of maturity?
God does not give you discernment to increase your criticism, He gives it to increase your accuracy. Prophets see much in the spiritual realm that it can create anger. So make sure your prophecy is rooted in love and not anger or criticism.
5. Do exactly what the Holy Spirit instructs you to do.
Prophecy is delivered to your spirit and mind before it goes out of your mouth. There can be a temptation to change the words or deliver it differently than your receive it. Do exactly what the Holy Spirit instructs you to do.
6. Do use prophecy to guide others into the Lord’s will.
Jesus constantly revealed the will of His Father. When you prophesy, don’t try to help people fulfill their will. Use prophecy to fulfill God’s will. You’re going to feel a temptation, especially when God uses you to prophesy to renowned famous, or well-know people. You’ll feel the pull to ask, “Okay God, how do I help them fulfill their will?” But no! Prophesy so that you can help people concerning the Lord’s will.
7. Do prophesy to point others to Jesus Christ, not yourself.
I know it sounds basic, but if you’re operating in supernatural ministry, there can be a temptation to absorb glory instead of deflect it to the Lord. But the secret to elevating it to higher dimensions of influence is deflecting more and more to the Lord. Glory should come through you, not to you. Be a conduit for glory that deflects back to Jesus, not an absorber of glory. I’ve seen people start so well, but then money starts flowing into their cash app, Venmo, and PayPal. Then they start getting invited into green rooms and it perverts the prophetic in their life.
7 Dont’s of Prophetic Ministry
1. Don’t say “Thus sayeth the Lord” just because they did it in your storefront Pentecostal church.
I was raised in that same kind of church. But it doesn’t mean that we need to put “Thus saith the Lord” Why? Because sometimes, you’re going to miss it. You won’t always be 100% accurate.
That phrase was used in Old Testament times for the prophets to identify whose god they were speaking on behalf of. New Testament prophets don’t have to do that anymore (Jeremiah Johnson talks about the difference in Old Testament and New Testament prophecy at length in my interview with him, which you can check out here.)
2. Don’t always prophesy doom and gloom.
God may use you to do a future foretelling prophecy. And many significant prophetic voices have warned of economic downturns or war, and have been accurate. But if your prophecy is primarily doom and gloom, you don’t have a revelation that whenever there is a Goliath, there’s going to be a prophetic David. Whenever there’s a famine, there’s going to be a prophetic Joseph sitting on the pile of grain to distribute to a nation. God always fights a spirit with an opposite spirit. Don’t constantly prophesy doom and gloom.
3. Don’t spend a lot of time in dialogue before and during prophetic ministry.
It poisons the well. Let me explain. You don’t want to prophesy 30% from the things you’ve learned from your conversation and 70% from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, the more information you take in in the natural realm, the harder it is to enter to the spiritual realm. Oftentimes I will limit my conversations with people before and during prophetic ministry to help keep the ministry pure.
4. Don’t ever use prophecy to control other people.
Feel free to send the link to this blog to anyone you know who is doing that! Even if you think that what you’re saying is right and they need it, just call it a teaching, not prophecy.
If what you’re saying is beneficial and going to bring correction, call it a pastoral counseling session. Call it a teaching, call it advice, but don’t call it prophecy.
5. Don’t release a word if you are a people pleaser.
If you want people to like you, don’t become a prophet. At one point my life, I prophesied a word and was ostracized by an entire church. Nobody agreed with me. Nobody believed me. They all thought I lost my mind. They all thought I was lying. And it wasn’t until about two years later when the word came to pass that then I was elevated into a higher level of respect. But there was a duration of time where the people closest to me thought I was crazy.
So if you struggle with people pleasing, go before God and say, “Lord, I want to learn the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom, but the fear of man is the beginning of foolishness.”
6. Don’t prophesy when you’re very tired.
This is important, because when you’re exhausted, you will have a tendency to speak out of emotion. Elijah was chased in a brutal attack by Jezebel (Jezebel will always attack prophets) and then had ministering angels that fed him as he prepared to sleep. You have to learn how to rest and recharge because if you minister out of that exhaustion, you will speak out of emotion, which is your soul, instead of speaking out of your spirit in conjunction with the Holy Spirit,
7. Don’t give directive words about marriage, pregnancy, or moving across the country.
You have a 50% chance of knowing what gender the child is going to be. And if you guessed the last three times correctly, you still had a 50% chance. Medical science will give us the true answer. We don’t need you to prophesy.
Here’s the thing about prophecies about who to marry. People don’t need you to prophesy about whether or not they should marry that person – they need premarital counseling. I counsel marriages, and even if you are a perfect match with someone, you’re going to need a lot of Christian counseling, healthy relationship skills, and wisdom to survive marriage. It’s not about choosing the right person, it’s about becoming the right person. So stop with this foolishness. Stop giving people directive words and give them biblical wisdom that teaches them how to be the right person. Because becoming the right person God’s called them to be will actually help them for the rest of their life.
Here’s a little caveat: If you are very confident that the Lord has released you to do so, then you can give a directive word. I have given directive words that have been accurate and helped people. But do this with extreme caution.
By following these 7 Dos and 7 Dont’s of Prophetic Ministry, I pray you can grow in confidence as you move in prophetic ministry.
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