Prophecy is a vital ministry in the body of Christ. Every believer can prophesy and some do, but many struggle to discern the voice of the Lord. Many others do not understand simple protocols for prophetic ministry because they have not been rightly trained, despite the Ephesians 4:11 mandate for five-fold prophets to equip the saints for the work for the ministry.
In my Issachar Institute’s School of the Prophets earlier this month, we discussed prophetic protocols and guidelines. I shared with you in the past 10 important prophetic ministry protocols and many rogue prophets went into attack mode suggesting protocols are not in the Bible. I would urge any of those who take that stance to read 1 Corinthians 14, where you’ll discover Paul setting order in a church where the gifts were flowing freely but maturity was sometimes lacking.
God is not a God of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). Prophetic operations without protocol can often generate confusion, chaos and even damage people’s faith. Prophets are oracles and mouthpieces for God, yet some of what comes out of people’s mouths in His name can be self-willed, self-promotional witchcraft. We must be willing to submit our prophetic ministry to elders for accountability, especially when the word may cause shock or stir people in the body.
Here are five more prophetic protocols to consider:
1. In personal prophecy situations, abide by the 1 Corinthians 4:3 mandate to edify, comfort and exhort, especially in itinerate ministry. Although there are times when the Lord will have a prophet speak forth a word of warning or even correction publicly, this is not the norm—especially without relationship. The Lord is not trying to embarrass anyone publicly, and they are not likely to receive the word if they are embarrassed, even if it is valid. Discretion is key when offering correction in the name of prophesy. Exhortation is different than correction, but can feel like correction to someone who is insecure.
The Lord told me He is igniting the prophetic voices! Check out Ignitenow.org for prophetic insights and equipping.
2. Use wisdom in releasing prophetic words. Just because the Lord shows you something does not mean you are supposed to release it. The Holy Spirit who spoke to you is the same Holy Spirit who will give you an unction to release the prophecy. Hearing does not equal unction. An unction is a bubbling up in your spirit—not a bubbling up in your soul. Maturing in the prophetic means differentiating where the bubbling up is coming from.
3. Deliver prophetic words with diplomacy. How you deliver a word can make a difference in whether or not someone receives it. If you have to deliver a corrective word, for example, it should be after much prayer and even grieving or weeping. Your tone should reflect the heart of God, which is love. Delivering words of warning must also be done with diplomacy to avoid perceptions of judgment on a person, as if they are in some way to blame, etc.
4. Don’t feel pressure to prophesy. Taking on pressure to prophesy because people expect you to have a word can lead you into compromise or error. If the Lord is not speaking, you don’t have anything to say. If you strain and stress you could tap into a familiar spirit or divination.
5. Don’t try to force someone to agree with your prophetic word. If they don’t bear witness to it, don’t insist that God said it. Just ask them to pray about it. Do not argue (2 Timothy 2.4). They could reject a perfect good word if you argue where as if you stay humble, they may remain open to the Holy Spirit confirming it to them at a later time. Your job is done when you deliver the word, other than praying as the Holy Spirit leads. You are not the convincer.
There’s much more. I shared 35 guidelines with my students. I’ll stop here for now and let you absorb these. I pray that you will commit yourself to prophetic accuracy and accountability. The Lord is igniting the prophets, prophetic voices and intercessors in this season!