Are you overwhelmed with all the many prophetic voices in the Church today? How do you know who to listen to? How do you know when a word is for you? And how do you know if it's okay to ever say that a prophetic word is NOT for you?
Before I talk about how YOU can know who your prophets are, let me first issue one caveat and one warning.
EVERYTHING I write below only pertains to verified, true prophets of the Lord:
- People whose ministry is evidenced by godly fruit;
- People who believe, preach, and obey the Bible;
- People who believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God–in regards to EVERY issue, even social issues; and
- People whose ministry is affirmed by the Lord–THE LORD who breathes out prophetic words through His prophets, and who also affirms them with signs, wonders, and miracles and makes them come to pass.
This post is not about how to know if a person is a true prophet of the Lord or not, so please don't apply the “4 ways to know who your prophets are” to make that decision.
The 4 tests below–the “4 ways to know who your prophets are”–are only intended to help you discern which prophets the Lord is using to speak DIRECTLY into your life, like an arrow into a bullseye–compared to all the other prophets from whose words you may not receive as much benefit.
AND HERE'S THE WARNING:
It is most unholy to expect or ask ANY prophet to prophesy on demand. Do not EVER do this.
If you want to ask a prophet what the Lord is saying about a specific, global situation, or even for the Church in general right now, that's fine–and most prophets won't have a problem with that. (They may refer you to their website or book in order to receive the answer, as people don't have time to type out a prophetic word to every person who asks; but prophets in general aren't going to be offended when people want to know what the Lord is saying to the Body in general right now.)
It is MOST UNHOLY to tell a prophet that you need a word, and then ask the prophet for the word you need. It is EVEN MORE UNHOLY for someone to tell a prophet that they need a word, so they'll pay the prophet for a word. UM, NO.
Prophets do not prophesy for money, and they do not prophesy on demand.
Now, this isn't saying prophets shouldn't charge an honorarium or class fee for teaching, equipping, singing, leading worship, preaching, and other kinds of ministry. OF COURSE they should do those things–that is how the Bible prescribes that prophets and other five-fold ministers (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) should earn their living. A worker is worthy of their hire!
But there is a BIG difference between paying someone an honorarium or registration fee for their TIME and WORK–versus paying someone to prophesy to you personally.
Let's break down very simply what is godly versus not godly when it comes to money and the prophetic:
- Paying someone for their time and work is godly.
- Paying someone to educate, teach, and mentor you is godly. Those things are investments in yourself, as well as obedience to the Bible–for they are what the Bible prescribes.
- Sowing seed into a prophetic word is also godly; that is an offering sown unto the Lord, to show the Lord that you believe and receive the Word.
- Even blessing a prophet or other fivefold minister with a terummah offering (an honor offering that says “thank you” to the minister personally) is godly. (Blessing a minister personally with honor offerings is one of my favorite things to do for pastors, by the way–and I strongly encourage you to do this for your local pastors if you haven't taken up the practice already. You would not believe how HEALING it is for a pastor's soul to be blessed in this way.)
- Demanding a prophetic word from someone else is not godly. If you need a word from someone else, you should search the most recent prophetic words that the Lord's prophets have released, and find it yourself. OR–better yet, best case scenario!–go directly to the Lord, pray, read His Word, and get the word you need for yourself. 🙂 You can do this; Jesus said you CAN hear His voice if you've given your life to Him.
- Telling someone you'll pay them if they'll prophesy to you is not godly.
Are we still friends? Long story short, if you need a prophetic word, always seek out that word in this order:
- Sit down alone with the Lord.
- Open your Bible and ask Holy Spirit to help you read it, open it up to your understanding, and speak His rhema word to you out of it.
- Pray about your situation, and ask the Lord to speak to you.
- Write down what He says in your journal.
- Find out what the prophets are already saying–particularly the prophets who have your spiritual DNA; the ones you've identified as “your” prophets.
- Pray over the words that your prophets are releasing!
- If a word that a prophet has released resonates in your spirit, then it's for you! That resonance is Holy Spirit Himself bearing witness in your spirit that this is HIM speaking to you, glory to God!
Why is all this important? Because there is ONE thing you should avoid from now until Jesus comes back:
Don't ever go to someone you have identified as one of your prophets and tell them, “You are one of my prophets. So, I need a word, please. Please give me a word from the Lord.”
Um, NO. No no no no no no no no no no nononononononononono. NO! For all the reasons above!
You do not need a mediator between God and yourself except for the Man, Christ Jesus. And, it is most unholy to expect another person to be your Holy Spirit.
When you need a word, go to the Lord directly. Ask Him to speak to you, and He will. Read what He's already speaking through the prophets. You can even ask people for prayer!
However, do not under any circumstances try to make them your Holy Spirit to give you a word. God's name is the Word; He IS a Word for you, and He HAS a word for you if you need one … even right now, today. But you've got to get that word directly from Him, or from the prophetic word already released that He directs you to seek out.
Ok, rant over. Stepping down off my soapbox now. BUT it is vital to know these things so you'll know how to function best and relate properly to prophets, the prophetic word, and to any prophetic community (even in your local church) in general. Okay? 🙂
With that said, it's very important to know who your prophets are SO THAT you will know where to look when you want to know what Holy Spirit has already spoken for you prophetically through others.
When you examine the full spectrum of prophetic words and prophetic teachers there are out there, here are 3 things to consider that will help you determine who you should listen to and who may not necessarily be for you:
1. Know what your own message is, and compare that to the heart and calling of the prophet.
People who operate in the office of prophet have different messages. They have different calls:
- Some of them are called to the marketplace.
- Others are called to the church.
- Some prophets will be specifically called to intercede for nations in general.
- Some prophets are called to intercede for a specific nation or to prophesy over a specific area.
- Sometimes a prophet will be called to specifically teach, prophesy over, and intercede for a mountain of culture–like education or politics.
In order to sort through these things and find the prophets with the messages that are relevant for you, you have to know who you are.
For example, I am called specifically to discipleship. I'm called to disciple believers. (This doesn't exempt me from winning souls and witnessing to the lost; it just describes where the majority of my time is and will be focused.) I'm also called to business–to disciple businesspeople and to raise Christians up INTO business, since the Bible says we should ALL do business.
Therefore, when reliable prophets whom I follow release prophetic words about the Church, discipleship, spiritual growth, business, finance, money management, and things like that, I'm all ears. This doesn't mean I disregard other words about other areas; the Bible says we have to honor the prophets so that we may prosper.
However, I don't seek out prophetic words from people who operate in totally different spheres that are unrelated to me, because those things aren't my calling. If I happen to hear a word from another area and the Lord highlights it to me, I listen and pay attention, of course. It's just that I'm not actively following those ministries because those people are not my prophets.
If you don't know who you're called to be, it's going to be super-hard for you to sort through all the words and prophetic voices out there to identify who's speaking directly to you.
The Bible says that if you honor the prophet, you receive the prophet's reward; and if you honor the righteous man, you received the righteous man's reward. The Bible also says, if you believe the prophets, you will prosper.
These Scriptures are found in Matthew 10:41:
“He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward” (Matthew 10:41).
And in 2 Chronicles 20:20:
“So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper'” (2 Chronicles 20:20).
I believe this applies to all true prophecies, and it relates to having a heart of honor toward God's prophets and His Holy Spirit–the Spirit of Prophecy–in general.
However, I also believe that when a word is specifically for you, there is a greater reward for believing it. It's kind of like the difference between shooting an arrow and hitting the bullseye on a target–versus shooting a handful of arrows all from the same bowshot, and they just scatter anywhere. Both kinds of archery might be fun, but only the first kind of archery gets maximum results.
To be clear: You should never dishonor or disregard ANY true prophet of the Lord who has evidenced by their godly fruit that they ARE a true prophet of the Lord (Matthew 7:15-20).
I simply believe that there is extra, added, very specific benefit in identifying who YOUR prophets are–so that you can specifically tune into what Holy Spirit is saying to YOU. Knowing who YOUR prophets are and receiving a word directly from one of “your” prophets is like hearing the Lord Himself whisper directly into your ear a word that He has for YOU alone (even if thousands of other people also receive the word).
2. Know which of the seven mountains of culture you are called to the most.
When I say “mountain of culture,” I'm referring to the powerful prophetic teaching by Dr. Lance Wallnau and others that the whole sphere of earthly influence is divided up into seven “mountains” or segments of culture:
- Arts and entertainment;
- Business; and
Where exactly are you called to operate in the world?
Are you called to the theater stage? To the news desk? Are you called mostly to the church?
Are you called to be a stay-at-home mom and take care of your family, raising up godly offspring unto the Lord? Are you called to run for local, state/county, or federal government in whichever country you live?
No matter where you are called, a big part of knowing who your prophets are is identifying the prophets who operate in the sphere to which you are called.
For example, let's say you're called to politics. Let's say that politics are your biggest passion.
Well, if that's the case, then you probably need to listen to the prophetic voices who specialize in that area. Dutch Sheets, for example–one of the fathers of the modern intercessory prayer movement–operates in the political prophetic sphere. Dr. Lance Wallnau does as well.
You can tell when prophets are specifically called to government because they're always going to the local courthouse, or to the state government buildings, or even to the nation's capitol to pray. They're doing prayer walks and prophetic acts over cities and nations. The Lord gives them opportunities to speak at local and national gatherings about these things, and they have the ears of government leaders.
So, if you're called to the mountain of politics, then the prophetic voices whose words will most resonate with you–the prophets whose words and ministries will speak into your life most often, and from whom you will reap the most benefit–will be those types of ministers.
3. Know what picture of God the prophet has in their heart.
After you know what their message is, and what mountain of culture they're called to, ask yourself: does this minister have the same picture of God that I have–or want to have?
For example, does the prophet have a high view of God, preaching and knowing and believing that God is GOOD, and He's GREAT, and He's mighty, and He's generous, and (although He requires holiness) is forgiving and merciful, and that He answers the prayers of His people before you even call?
Or does the prophet release words that always speak of an angry God, a God who's out to get you, a God who is stingy and doesn't want you to have anything, a God who is weak and powerless, a God who always finds something wrong with you, with the church, or even with the prophetic movement?
I refuse to listen to so-called prophets who do not preach the whole God of the Bible.
Yes, God requires holiness–but every prophetic minister isn't wrong, and I don't believe that God is angry with the prophetic movement. I don't believe He's angry with the Church. Does He discipline us? Yes, absolutely. Does He require holiness? Of course. Does He hate sin? Obviously. Will He chasten us for our own good, and to work holiness in us? Yes; that's the Word.
But my Bible also says that the Church is Christ's Bride, and that He loves her. My Bible says He's a merciful God, slow to anger, good and kind and generous. My Bible says that we should call upon Him, and He will answer us, and show us GREAT and MIGHTY things that we do not know. And my Bible says that ANYTHING we ask for in faith believing, we shall receive.
Therefore, I listen to prophets who preach and believe that–because THAT is what the Bible says.
This is key: The way people prophesy and the words that they give are strongly influenced by what they believe.
If God tries to tell them that He's going to do something amazing, but that person's paradigm doesn't allow for God to do anything amazing, then that person isn't going to receive that prophetic word that Holy Spirit is trying to download through them.
On the other hand, if we read the Bible and embrace the FULLNESS of God the way He is described therein, then we can receive anything the Lord says after we test it and find it to be pure, based on the inerrant, infallible Word of God.
The way people prophesy, preach, and even pray is dependent upon their perception of God.
People can love the Lord with all their heart but still only operate from the hem of His garment, instead of sitting at His table. And you need to discern where the person is at who is trying to minister to you. Just like you don't take financial advice from broke people, be very careful when you hear a prophetic word from someone who doesn't operate from the fullness of faith and experience with the FULL God of the Bible.
4. To know who your prophets are, earnestly consider how that minister perceives PEOPLE.
Do they have a mentality that wants to keep other people down, or do they want to raise other people up?
Do they try to keep other people small so they can feel big? Or do they lower themselves to give and serve, so they can help other people INCREASE?
If any Christian minister–or any leader of any kind–is not healed on the inside, then their perception of people is going to be skewed. They are not going to be able to relate to people rightly, and they're definitely not going to be able to serve God's people rightly–as servants washing the feet of the people, like Jesus did.
Instead, they will often try (even subconsciously) to put a lid on people. They'll control and manipulate, trying to keep all the attention on themselves so their “love tank” can be filled up by constant attention.
Healed leaders, however, act completely differently.
Healed leaders don't need validation, so they do everything they can to validate others.
Healed leaders receive all the love they need from Father God, so they don't have to have all the attention on themselves …
… And since they don't have to have all the attention on themselves, healed leaders take the attitude and mindset that their job is to try to work themselves out of a job …
… By raising up everybody around them to be as powerful and effective as they possibly can be.
Healed leaders carry Father God's heart for people. However, leaders who haven't been healed on the inside tend to still be seeking the Father's heart for themselves–and this inner hurt handicaps their leadership, their organization, and their people.
When deciding who your prophets are, look for voices that carry the Father's heart for people.
You can tell from a prophet's ministry whether or not the prophet is healed on the inside enough to look at people from God's perspective.
In conclusion, let's recap:
If you're trying to figure out who your prophets are, look at these four things:
- Know what your own message is, and compare that to the heart and calling of the prophet.
- Know which of the seven mountains of culture you are called to the most.
- Know what picture of God the prophet has in their heart.
- Earnestly consider how that minister perceives PEOPLE.
Beloved, Jesus is coming soon. Also, we only have so many seconds, minutes, days, and years left in our own lifespans.
I pray that we would all live good, long lives; but still time is too short to waste time. If you want to live in the victory Jesus purchased for you on the cross, you have to know who you are and know what you're about.
Part of that is knowing what you're called to do; another part is knowing who the Lord wants you to listen to.
Find prophetic voices who have a bigger perception of God than you have, so you can come up higher. Find prophets who see people the way God sees them–so you can be more fully formed into the image of Christ through their ministry. Find people who are called to the same message and mountain of societal influence that you are called to, so you can live with laser focus on God's call for your life.
Does this teaching word help bring clarity to the process of knowing who your prophets are? If so, please leave a comment below! And if you have any questions, let me know in the comments. I'm happy to help or clarify as needed.