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We have been looking at seven guidelines to help us be more effective in delivering written words. Those guidelines are:
We have already discussed the first four and will now talk about the next two.
5. CHOOSE THE APPROPRIATE LEVEL OF DETAIL FOR THE MESSAGE
People tend to get over-specific or underspecific in detail on their words. Let me give a few real-life examples. The Lord used some things at a womens' conference to speak a message to someone. The message was not just for ladies, it was for any/all intercessors. The significant gist of the message was that this was a largly attended conference (9,000) and ten percent of the attendees (e.g., 900 people) all attended a breakout session on intercession because they were intercessors. The Lord asked this one intercessor to look around the room at all the intercessors there; then He told her that even though she felt like she was alone when she prayed in her prayer closet, she was not the only one praying. It was a powerful object lesson and well worth sharing in a prophetic word.
However, the lady to whom God gave this to threw in more detail than was relevant when she wrote it down. She shared when and where the conference was held, the fact that she flew to it, and the fact that it was a womens' conference. Most of those details are not appropriate to the message; in fact, those details obscured the message rather than enhanced it. If the message had been targeting just women, then it would have been appropriate to mention it was a womens' conference. But since she was targeting intercessors of both sexes, it is not appropriate to share that this conference was just for women; it was enough to simply refer to it as a conference, then omit all the details about the conference except for the number attending and how many of them were intercessors.
Here is another example: "Recently, I was returning from a wonderful conference in CT. On the flight home a child sitting two or three seats in front of me was really upset and crying. I felt I was to press in and pray for him. He cried out in a loud voice, 'I want my blankey!' When he said this I heard: ... " Then she went on to share a word about how God wants to be our security blanket in the times when we feel frightened or unsettled.
What is the thrust of this message? It was that God will be our security blanket when we feel insecure or unsettled. Let's look at the details she included and see which ones are relevant. Is it relevant that she was flying? Yes, because that sets the theme for seeing the child in front of her who was frightened by the flight and wanted his 'blankey.' Was it relevant where she was flying home from? No. Was it relevant that she had been at a conference? No. Was it relevant that she thought the conference was wonderful? No. Was it relevant that she was praying and interceding for that child? Maybe, but probably not.
Her word included a lot of details that had nothing to do with the message. The delivery of that word could have been improved by sharing only the relevant details and excluding the irrevelant ones. Here is an example of how it could have been given: "Recently I was flying and there was a child sitting two or three seats in front of me who, frightened by the flight, was upset and crying. He cried in a loud voice, 'I want my blankey!' As I heard this, the Lord began to speak to me..."
The general principle is that we want to exclude details that don't apply to the target audience because that starts to lose them. In the first example, the audience was a mixed group of intercessors (both men and women), so we don't want to focus in on the fact that it was a womens' conference and make the men feel excluded. In the second example, the theme was about God meeting us when we are feeling insecure or afraid. The fact that she was returning from a wonderful conference in CT was not relevant to feeling insecure or afraid; those details were simply clutter. We want to eliminate clutter and we want to avoid details that tend to exclude some portion of the intended recipients.
On the other hand, we want to include as many details as possible that apply specifically to the receiver. One of the big problems I see with personal prophecy is what I call "overgeneralizing the word," or intentionally leaving important details out. If we have details that are specific to a person and we don't share them, they may not realize that God is specially targeting them in the word. They may think it is a "catch all" word for everyone, and not realize that the message is specifically for them.
For instance, God may tell you that someone has been deeply hurt because someone they trusted has stolen from them and taken advantage of them, and that He is actively working in their situation to restore what was stolen. That is a very specific detail and it is relevant to that person. If you generalize it to "The Lord knows you have been through a difficulty and He is going to meet you in it," you lose the power and impact of that word. You have taken something that needed to be very specific and made it so general that it could apply to anyone. But in this case it was not for just anyone, it was for a specific individual who went through a very specific hardship. It detracts from the power of the word when you over generalize it.
6. DON'T OBSCURE THE MESSAGE WITH IRRELEVANT INFORMATION
Sometimes we can get so caught up in irrelevant things that we miss the main point. We want to put an emphasis on the message itself, and we don't want to spend a lot of time and energy on things that are not part of that message, because that simply detracts from the message.
I am sure you have seen the comedy shows where someone who is a bit of a scatter-brain is asked to describe what happened. They start to tell the story, but something in it reminds them of something they experienced years ago, so they switch gears and start telling their own story instead, throwing in all sorts of irrelevant details and keeping people from learning what they are waiting to hear about. Eventually someone gets mad at them and tells them to get back to the point. So they tell a few more sentences about the story of interest and then digress once again into their personal recollections. It seems that every sit-com has a character who does that sort of thing and it gets the other characters really frustrated when they do it.
Sadly, some of us do the same thing in our prophetic words. We start to tell God's message and then digress into something that is of personal interest to us. In short, we ramble in our words, and we need to avoid doing that.
Let me share an example from a prophetic dream someone had. In that dream, the Lord took her to a quiet garden and told her to wait there for Him and He would come and meet her in a little while. At first she was excited at the prospect of an intimate encounter with God. But she had to wait a lot longer than she expected, and after awhile she began to get bored. She thought about the things she needed to do, and almost left to go do them. But she was hungry to be in deep intimacy with the Lord, so she decided to wait. She amused herself by looking at the various flowers in the garden. The flowers had no specific significance, they were just the plants in the place where Jesus told her to wait. Finally after a long wait, the Lord came to meet her. The sense of His presence was so strong that it overwhelmed her and she had an encounter with God that impacted her deeply. Then the Lord gave her a message to share with the body of Christ: don't grow impatient if God does not come on your time-table. Instead continue to seek Him and press into Him and He will come and reveal more of Himself to you.
Unfortunately, when she wrote up the prophetic dream, she spent about 90% of it describing the various plants in the garden in great detail. She described the size of the blossoms, the colors, the texture, the fragrance, etc. Most of her write-up was dedicated to talking about the plants she saw in the garden as she waited for Jesus. However, the plants had no significance in the dream, they were merely filler in the garden. So putting all of that attention and detail about the plants in the write-up merely served to clutter things, making it harder to find, see and i understand message ("Wait for the Lord and He will come and reveal Himself to you.")
Be sure that the things you put in the write-up are the significant things. Don't spend a lot of time and effort describing irrelevant things; stick with the ones that are pertinent to the message.