Whether I’m speaking at churches, making intercession at the Awakening House of Prayer at home, or sitting behind my computer, I can count on getting at least one prophetic word every week. It’s like clockwork.
That may sound awesome, and it may be if they were accurate. Unfortunately, many of the prophecies that are announced, decreed and declared over my life are absolutely bogus. In other words, these utterances did not emanate from the Spirit of God.
Don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t despise prophecy. In a revival setting, I’ll prophesy over just about anybody you put in front of me. But I appreciate responsible prophecy—prophecy that the giver has judged before they start announcing massive directional shifts in my life and ministry.
Three Sources of Prophecy
There are three sources of prophecy: the human spirit (Jer. 23:17), a demon spirit (Jer. 23:13) and the Spirit of God (2 Pet. 1:21). I’ve received prophecy from all three sources, and I can tell you assuredly that I much prefer prophecy from the Spirit of God the best.
Prophecy from someone’s human spirit may sound good, but it’s not God. It may edify you—or it may flatter you. Flattering prophecies aren’t prophecies at all; they are soulish or carnal utterances that seek to manipulate and often release witchcraft against you.
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Likewise, prophecy from a demon spirit may sound good, but it’s not God. Remember the girl with the spirit of divination in Acts 16:16? She followed Paul and his team around shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” That was true, but it wasn’t helpful to Paul’s mission. Prophecies from demon spirits breed confusion, fear, jealousy and other ungodly outcomes.
But I’m always ready to receive Holy Spirit-inspired prophecy, which is the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 19:10). A word in due season can edify, comfort and exhort. The right word at the right time can warn us from heading in the wrong direction. Holy Spirit-inspired prophecy aligns with the Word of God because Father doesn’t speak with a forked tongue.
When You Get a Bad Word
Every morning when I wake up, I break word curses that are being released over my life. I liken these to the devil’s prophetic utterances. I am not being paranoid or rote in this exercise. I can feel the words dangling out there in the spirit realm—and oftentimes I can hear them. Sometimes my email inbox is full of them.
It’s easy enough to break word curses in your bedroom. But what do you do when you get a bogus prophetic word in a public setting? What do you say to someone when they race up to you and declare “by the Spirit of God” that you’ve done so well in your current assignment that God is moving you to another ministry when you know right well that’s the opposite of His will?
I write a lot about this topic of judging prophetic words in my book: Did the Spirit of God Say That? 27 Ways to Judge Prophecy. Some questions to ask are: Does the prophecy glorify Jesus? Does the prophecy agree with Scripture? Does the prophecy produce freedom? But again, after you’ve judged the prophecy to be poor, erroneous, flat out wrong or false, what do you do?
Confronting Poor Prophecy
It’s a difficult question to answer because it depends on various factors. Earlier this year, a woman came into Awakening House of Prayer earlier this year out of nowhere, boldly approached me, laid hands on me and started spewing false prophecies about how discouraged I am and how she sees I’m about to give up. Besides the fact that she totally missed it, there was no redeeming value to the word—not edification, exhortation or comfort.
I stood in her face and told her I was rejoicing in the Lord because I was in His perfect will and there was no giving up in me; that I was encouraged to be moving with His heart. I wasn’t mean-spirited about it, but I was bold and frank with love. Anybody who is bold enough to walk up to a leader with that type of prophetic nonsense needs to hear the truth in love. It turns out she was a witch who left behind an empty bottle of oil and a cloth as a point of contact. We swiftly destroyed it.
Another time I was at a meeting, one of the congregants came up afterward and prophesied a word so directional that it would have changed every facet of my life. Clearly, the word was massively off base. I did not, however, confront her publicly because it would have crushed her heart. Her heart was right, but her prophecy was off. She was misguided and missing it, but I had no agreement with that word so I just let it fall to the ground.
In other words, there’s a time to confront people and teach. There’s a time to confront and oppose. There’s a time to let it slide and break it off later. And there’s a time to pray into a prophetic word that doesn’t sound like it could be right but may be. (I got such a word about a year ago that bothered me to the core, and it turned out to be true. My spirit bore witness, but my soul was disturbed until I saw it manifest.)
My advice to you: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). If you get a bad word, don’t come into agreement with it publicly or privately. Break every word that is not coming from the heart of God and speak what you know to be His will over yourself.