Top tips for giving and receiving a prophecy

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Top tips for giving and receiving a prophecy

Recently some prophetic horror stories have come to light. People have been given unhelpful directional prophecies that have caused confusion, worry and upset.

I love the gift of prophecy – in the new covenant it is one of God's tools to build us up, the give us courage (encourage) and to console us in the tough times (1 Cor 14:3) It can also convict unbelievers to salvation (1 Cor 14:25) and instruct us, by revealing what is going on. (1 Cor 14:19)

There are also directional prophecies – that show what the Lord is about to do or may do. Agabus prophesied over Paul in Acts 21:10 – foretelling that he would be arrested if he carried on toward Jerusalem. Interestingly Agabus gets some of the detail wrong – it was the Romans that bound him not the Jews. That shows us that we know in part and prophecy in part. (1 Cor 13:9). Paul weighed the prophecy and decided to press on anyway! Agabus' prophecy was given in a team setting with Philip the evangelist and his four prophetic daughters present.

The New Testament shows us levels of prophecy.

  1. In Acts 2 everyone can prophesy, hear from God for themselves.
  2. 1 Cor 14:1 speaks of the gift of prophecy which is to be eagerly desired
  3. Romans 12:6 indicates prophetic people who operate according to their faith. It's the way God has wire you. Perhaps you see things and situations in the Spirit
  4. In Eph 4:11-16 we see that for some they become the gift to the church to equip us for being prophetic. The prophet.

Being able to hear from the Lord ourselves is part of our birthright as Christians and we can eagerly desire to grow in it. At the Gateway love to see people grow in the prophetic.

Here are some safe boundaries for giving a prophecy…

Team – we value team highly. If you feel you have a word from the Lord for someone of a directional nature (rather than pure encouragement), please give it in team and not on your own or in writing firstly. Team allows people to weigh and check there and then.

Directional and Correctional words – 1 Cor 14 teaches us about entry level prophecy – comfort, encouragement and building up. Directional and correctional words are a deeper level of prophetic gifting that needs to be handled carefully, so as to not cause damage. I've not heard of any problems from encouraging prophecies, but I am hearing a lot of duff directional words that have caused harm. Please prophecy in team/with a partner face to face for immediate weighing and not in written form, although writing it down and passing it on afterwards can be helpful.

Receiving prophecy

Be wary of lone wandering prophets giving you a word on their own. That's not the flavor of the New Testament, where everyone ministered in team.

Be wary of “Thus says the Lord…”/”God says…” type language – that's Old Covenant and is trying to come as if it is 100% God. That makes it hard to weigh, holding onto the good and throwing out the bad (1 Thess 5:20-21)

Does it line up with what the Spirit is saying in Scripture?

Does it glorify Jesus? Revelation 19:10 says, “For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus”

It is confirmed in the wisdom of counsel? Proverbs 13:10. In 1 Cor 14 – some prophecy and then the others weigh – team weighing!

Does it sit well with you? Romans 8:16: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit.” Prophecy is meant to bring clarity and confirmation, not confusion.

If all is good, what's the timing? Most foretelling prophecies to encourage us to keep going – the fulfilment can be years away. Often the journey to fulfilment is what it is all about!

We have the choice with a prophetic word what to do and God loves you whichever you choose! You can choose to receive it, shelve it for later or reject it.

We all get it wrong at times as we only know in part and prophecy in part – so recognise if you prophecy, you don’t always get it right and when receiving prophecy hold onto the good and forget the not so good – It’s not Scripture!



Andy planted the Gateway Church in Sept 2007. He and Janet love to gather different nations together to grow in Christ while eating good food! He also helps to shape and serve a couple of Relational Mission's church plants in mainland Europe. Andy and Janet run regularly, largely to offset the hospitality eating! He also runs a popular WordPress plugin Church Admin