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-- © GodSpeak International 2001 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net
Editor: Bob Hawley

Desperate For A Word

By Teresa Seputis

Lesson 7

So far we have talked about how people can get so anxious or frustrated about their "need" to get a prophetic word that they sometimes behave in ways they would not normally behave (Lesson 1). We looked at seven general principles to help people deal with the issues that cause them to become so anxious and out of character when they get around the prophetic. (Lessons 2 through 4.)

We noted that this anxiety/frustration about not getting words comes in differing degrees of intensity. Some people handle it in very reasonable ways, like talking about the "problem" and requesting advice, or by approaching the prophetic person in an appropriate setting to request ministry. (Lesson 5.) As much as possible, we want to deal with people when they raise these concerns in a reasonable way. If you have a word for them, wonderful. Otherwise, you might want to share the principles from Lessons 2 through 4 with them and maybe pray briefly for them and bless them. Whenever possible, let them go away feeling loved even if they don't receive the words they are seeking.

We also discovered that at times people's reactions may be inappropriate. (Lesson 6.) People who are normally very reasonable may behave poorly if they are frustrated or if they perceive they are being mistreated. Most of the time that feeling comes from misconceptions. If you can identify and deal with the misconception, the person will usually become very reasonable again. There are also some who misbehave because of some area of emotional immaturity or woundedness. And we want to remember that they are bruised reeds we are not to break. Often they will respond well to simply loving on them. If you feel it is appropriate, give them a word. If not then love on them and pray briefly with/for them. There are also those who say God told them to ask you for a prophecy. If God does not tell you likewise, then He probably wants to speak to the person Himself. If possible, seek the Lord for a short word about the process God wants to take them through to be able to hear Him clearly/directly on their issues of concern.

However, there are times when you need to set limits and say "no." Let me give you an example. I constantly get people I have never met calling my ministry phone (listed in the back of my book) and leaving messages that they want me to call them back (long distance on my nickel) to give them a prophetic word. So far as I'm concerned, this is pushing me just a little too far. I have a carte blanche ministry policy that I won't take prophecy requests from phone calls of strangers who desire a word. I won't minister on the phone to people I don't know just because they want me to. After praying about it, I "set this limit." Sometimes we have to set limits because anxious people can be highly demanding.

In a similar vein, one of the other GodSpeak staff members gets people sending her private messages whenever she is online, mostly from people she does not know, asking her to prophesy to them. Sometimes the people get really pushy for a word or really angry/demanding if you do not give them one. They come to her with the attitude that she somehow owes them a word just because she is on staff with the GodSpeak ministry. They know nothing of the 25 to 40 hours per week she donates to the ministry without pay. (Only the bookkeeper is a paid position. The rest of the staff, including me, work on a strictly volunteer, e.g., unpaid, basis.) They accuse her of being unloving, of being selfish with her gifting, etc, all because she does not drop what she is doing to give them a word when they want one. She has prayerfully set a limit that she will not respond to this type of high-pressure request.

(Just an aside from the above example. It is easy to become offended when people treat you that way. It is easy to answer back in like manner. But we must strive to obey and serve the Father in love; we want our motives and our actions to be pleasing to Him. So we have to remind ourselves that Jesus does not break the bruised reed. Sometimes we answer by explaining things. Sometimes we minister, through prayer or prophesy, to the hurting person. Sometimes we respond by gently but firmly establishing limits.)

The limits you set will depend on the type of ministry call God has placed on your life. If you are called to minister to hurt and broken people, to set captives free and deliver them from the oppression of the enemy, you probably don't get to set a lot of limits when people come to you. If you have a corporate encouragement-type of ministry, building up those in your local body, then you probably want to make yourself available to the people from your church, but not to those who you don't know you well. You may want to refer strangers from other churches back to their own pastor. If you are called to a more global ministry, such as training and equipping the Body of Christ, you probably set more limits on the type of individual ministry access you give people you don't know. In other words, the Lord has given us different callings with different scopes of personal individual interaction. The higher your scope of personal interaction, the more likely it is that God will want you to minister to the broken people who come to you seeking a word. The more global or corporate your ministry is, the less likely it is that God will want you to minister to a specific person you are not already in relationship with.

Some people are so broken that they can be unpleasant to interact with. Their brokenness will manifest itself as accusations, hostility and sometimes blatant attacks, when what they really want from you is for you to love and minister to them. If you try to reason with them, they just get more and more unreasonable. These type of people tend to attack you personally if you don't do what they want. They tend to offer ridiculous theories on why you are unfair to them or are abusing them because you didn't seek them out to give them a word. They can accuse you of anything: not ministering in love, not having a godly attitude, missing it and not hearing God clearly because you did not choose them out of the crowd to give them a word. They usually won't confront you to your face; they usually write you a letter or send an email. Or they may not say it to you directly at all; instead they may complain about you to others -- their pastor, friends and acquaintances.

If you feel your flesh rising up and want to defend yourself or put them in their place, don't bother. It won't help. If you are one who is called to work with very broken people, you might be led to minister to them, to help them through this. Otherwise your best strategy might be to simply let it go and not react. Have you ever noticed in Scripture the times when Jesus was silent? He was silent when He was being falsely accused. Silence is often God's strategy for accusations, and usually the time you need to employ it the most is when your flesh rises up and you want to defend yourself or put the person in his/her place.

Fortunately most of God's people are not that difficult to interact with in love. Some may have occasional moments where they slip into childish behavior over anxiety/frustration about not getting a word. So your best strategy is to minister as much as possible. That way fewer people will slip into that place of frustration because more people are being ministered to.

Don't be skimpy with your words -- minister frequently and freely. They say that giftings improve through use, so the more you use it, the better you should get at it. Don't feel obligated to minister to everyone and don't let people manipulate you to minister when you can't or should not. But on the other hand, Jesus said, "Freely you have received, freely give" (Matt 10:8). If you have a prophetic gifting, be as free and generous with it as you can. It will work out to be a double blessing. You will be blessed as you move and grow in your gifting and others will be blessed as they receive ministry from you.

-- © GodSpeak International 2001 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

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