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-- © GodSpeak International 1998 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org > --

Author: Teresa Seputis <ts@godspeak.net>
Editor: Al Vesper

Prophetic-School MiniTraining Series

Prophetic Bloopers and No-Nos


Ministry Mistakes To Avoid Making

(The goal of this series is to open our eyes to some common mistakes and improper attitudes that occur during prophetic ministry. The intent is that we AVOID inadvertently falling into these mistakes as we minister.)

Course 5 -- Part 4: Tell Them No Lies


Adding-To and/or Fabricating Prophetic Words

Prov 30:5-6 says: Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

Deut 12:32 says: See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.

Rev 22 ends with a strong warning against adding to or subtracting from that prophetic word. Rev 22:18-19 says "Warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book."

From these scriptures, we see that God is serious here. He insists that we accurately represent Him when we speak for Him (or prophesy). The delivery of a prophetic word is not the place to exercise our creative skills (2 Peter 1:20). Instead, prophecy is the place to clearly and accurately reflect what God wants to communicate (2 Peter 1:21).

Grandiose Words and Telling People What They Want To Hear

There are many ways that a prophet can misrepresent God..

One way is to tell the person what you believe they want to hear. This may please and bless the person tremendously at the moment, but it can really hurt them in the long run. It may confirm to the person to continue on a wrong path they are taking. (Perhaps the person is in besetting sin or willful disobedience and we tell them that God is pleased with them and does not want them to change anything their life. But in reality, God wants them to turn and walk in holiness so that they can begin to fulfill the call on their life.) Or telling them what they want to hear may steer them away from God's plan for them into the wrong thing.

If we speak something God is not speaking, this is false prophecy, and this makes the Lord very angry. God addresses this type of false prophecy in Ezekiel 14:7-11. He says that if we tell someone what they want to hear when He is not speaking that to them, He will hold us accountable... we will become guilty in the Lord's eyes for any ensuing sin that results in their life.. This is serious stuff!

Another form of this is to give someone grandiose words. A grandiose word is where you paint a bigger (more grand) calling or anointing on the person's life than God really has for them. It may seem exciting and wonderful to the person at the time, but the long term fruit of that type of thing is disillusionment and discouragement. If you get them looking towards things God has not called them to do, then they may not want to do what God really has called them to do because it is not as "exciting" or does not sound as "important" to them. (This is like the story of a backwoods Ozarks family... they were dirt poor but were perfectly happy and content with their lives.. they had never known anything else.. this was normal life to them. Then one day, someone brought them a Sears mail order catalog.. They looked at the catalog and realized all the things they did not have. They began to covet these things and they became really discontent and unhappy because they could not have them. Nothing changed.. but the catalog moved them from being happy and content to being downright miserable.)

Let's NOT do this to someone spiritually. Yes, prophecy is to encourage and exhort (1 Cor 14:3). And yes, grandiose words tend to encourage and exhort for a season.. until the person realizes this word is not being fulfilled in their life. But prophetic words must be truthful.. because Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:10) and He is truth (John 10:10). God would never speak anything but truth, and we are not to prophesy anything except what God is saying.

False words will not come to pass in a person's life.. God fulfills the words He has spoken, not ones the "prophet" fabricates. The person may look forward to these wonderful promises (full time ministry, international travel, prophet to the nations, etc) for a season.. but will eventually become disappointed when they never come to pass in their lives. Let's be careful to never do that to someone.

Directive Words When God Is Not Directing

Learning By Example (by a bad example)

A friend of mine is the leader of a large international ministry. She is a prophet herself. She attended a meeting where another prophet was preaching and ministering. Near the end of the meeting, the prophet called her and one other lady up. He "ministered" to other lady first... he told her that she was defeated and depressed and said God wanted to fill her with His joy. He began trying to get her to laugh. She was not responding to his "ministry." The prophet kept telling her that the joy of the Lord was going to fall on her when he touched her.. then he'd pray in tongues and touch her.. but nothing happened.. she just stood there. He did this over and over. Still, nothing happened.

My friend could feel the anointing lift as this continued. He must have done this for over 10 minutes.. she began to feel sorry for the lady. My friend was standing up front right next to her the whole time. She began to pray silently, "Lord, I don't think I like him. Please don't let him minister to me."

After about 10 minutes or so, the prophet said into the microphone.. "By the way, you can all go home now. The meeting is over." He left my friend standing up there. (He knew the anointing had lifted and he did not want to minister to anyone else.)

Then the pastor of the church got up and told the congregation that anyone who wanted prayer could come forward and this prophet would pray for them. The prophet took off his cordless microphone and made his way to where my friend happened to still be standing. He asked her what she wanted prayer for. She did not really want prayer from him.. she had just been left standing there. She decided to be gracious and said she could use some direction from God on a decision she was facing. (She had a staff position open in her ministry and wanted to know who she should promote to fill it. That was what she was thinking of when she said "direction".) The prophet took the word "direction" a different way.

First he prayed that God would reveal His will to her and give her the direction she sought. That was fine. If he had stopped there, everything would have been great. But then he tried to minister prophetically, which he should not have done because he knew he was not hearing clearly right then. He told her that she had experienced some failures in her life. (She could not think of any specific failures, but decided she must have had some sometime, as everyone does.) Then he said that these failures were from God and were His way of correcting and disciplining her. "Huh??" she thought to herself.

Then he went on to tell her that God wanted her to be content where she is (in real life God was growing and expanding her ministry). He told her that she should not to try and move forward, but just stay precisely where she is. He said that God's direction for her is to be content with day-to-day life and not to try and move into any sort of ministry. He also said that God's direction for the decision she is seeking Him for is "no." (But she was not seeking Him for a Yes/No decision, but for which person to put into the staff position she had opening up in her ministry.)

This prophet probably felt pressured to give a word when he was not getting one from the Lord. He was in a ministry setting and felt that people expected words. So he fabricated one. To make matters worse, he fabricated a directive word, which is really dangerous. Fortunately my friend was mature enough to recognize that and discard the word, but not all believers would be able to do that. What this prophet did was very dangerous and it was wrong.

Don't Make It Up If You're Not Getting Anything

If you are not hearing from God, then don't make something up. You are more accountable to satisfy God than to satisfy the expectations of those waiting for ministry. Do not let anyone's expectations pressure you into doing something God is not doing. Do not let them pressure you into saying something God is not saying.

If you do not receive something from the Lord, you have some options:

  1. Minister in a different way.. you might (for instance) pray for the person instead of prophesying to them.

  2. Just explain that you are not getting anything, apologize briefly and move on.

Either of these approaches are better than fabricating a word when God is not giving one. Personally, I like the first approach better, as at least the person gets some individual ministry that way.. and you can demonstrate to them that you do care about them even if you don't have a word for them.

We can have the best of motives.. truly desiring to minister and serve God and to meet the people's needs. But if we make up words, we might cause a great deal of harm to the person who we are ministering to. Don't fabricate. Look to God. If you don't get something from Him then don't deliver a word.

There is one more area I have to cover in this section. All prophets are human (fallible) and may hear wrong on any given word. I am not discussing that here.. we all make a mistake or "miss it" from time to time. That is why the Holy Spirit bears witness to the person's spirit (Ro 8:16, 1 John 5:6) and confirms words for them. That is why 1 Cor 14:29 admonishes us to judge prophecy. If we sincerely try to minister in truth and obey God, I believe God will provide His grace to cover occasional mistakes.

But we should never deliberately fabricate a word because someone wants one. And we should especially never fabricate a directive word.. we could steer someone away from God's path for them by doing that!


You might also want to consider two things when you are ministering and the power/anointing does not seem to be there:

  1. Ask God if you are doing something other than what He is doing.
  2. Ask God if you have to get right with Him before continuing to minister.

Let me expand on both of these:

  1. Ask God if you are doing something other than what He is doing

    God might be doing something other than what you are trying to do. You might want to ask Him what He is doing and how you can do it with Him. He might want to take the meeting a whole different way.. maybe He wants to do corporate words or corporate worship instead of individual personal prophecy. Check in with God and ask Him why you are not hearing words and ask Him to show you what He wants to do.

    This happened to me one time when I was leading an AOL activation group (an on-line prophetic workshop). Before the session began, I had heard God tell me clearly (or so I thought) that this evening was to be a session to seek God for corporate words and then to build on them. We were getting some words and folks were building on them.. but the evening seemed to be dragging. Some were leaving early. I asked God what was going on and why it was not going all that well.

    He replied with a question. He asked me what the theme of the corporate words had been. Most of the words had dealt with people being discouraged and feeling like giving up and God was encouraging them to hold fast, to stand firm and to press in. Some of the words dealt with the enemy falsely accusing and condemning people when God had not condemned them.

    "I have shown you their needs," God replied. "Now minister to them."

    So I asked the group if anyone was feeling discouraged and/or struggling with condemnation/defeat and I asked if anyone needed prayer for that. There were only one or two in the whole group who did not feel they needed prayer for that.

    So we stopped what we were doing and had the group pray for each other.. two at a time. First, we would select two people. The whole group would pray for them and then various ones in the group began to spontaneously have prophetic words for the ones being ministered to. When we finished with them, we would select two more.. and so on until all were prayed for. The Lord's presence seemed to flood the place.. people were being encouraged and coming alive. The joy of the Lord began to prevail and it became an anointed and powerful session. People began to show up out of nowhere to join us and also to receive prayer themselves.. as if God were drawing them in. There was so much power/anointing that we ministered this way for hours and hours.. much longer than our usual session.

    Right from the beginning, God wanted to do what we ended up doing... I started in the best of faith, but in the wrong direction. The first thing I tried to do was not what God wanted to do that evening. And it was not working out well. But when I stopped and asked Him what was wrong, He showed me. When we switched to what He really wanted to do, He came with a lot of power and anointing.

  2. Ask God if you have to get right with Him before continuing to minister

    You might have done something (action or attitude) to grieve the Holy Spirit. If ministry is not flowing, pause for a few seconds and silently invite Him to examine your heart with you, to see if there is something you need get right with God. Make whatever correction, if any, He requires and then begin to minister in His anointing.

    One time I was part of a ministry team at a renewal meeting. I was praying for someone and God was just beginning to meet them. This really annoying person came up and tried to minister with me. In fact, he pushed me out of the way and took over.. I got offended and left to go minister to someone else. But not much seemed to happen after that... God was not meeting the people after I prayed for them. I stopped and asked God why.. He showed me.

    I apologized to God for being offended. Then I asked Him what He wanted me to do next. He sent me back to the person who I had been ministering to when I had been pushed me aside. I apologized to her for leaving her and asked her if I could pray for her again. She said, "Please do."

    God showed up powerfully and ministered to her in a very deep way and she experienced a major breakthrough in one area of her life. After that, there was great power and anointing no matter who I prayed for.

    God would not anoint me to minister for Him when I had an attitude that displeased Him. I had to stop for a few seconds, check in with Him, then make an attitude adjustment. Then I had to obey what He showed me. After that, He came with His power and anointing.

Don't Manipulate In God's Name

An earlier section dealt with having good intentions but fabricating a word under pressure. That is wrong and is something we should avoid. The motives behind this mistake are not evil, even though the action that results from them is clearly wrong.

There are times when people have self-seeking and impure motives for fabricating words. They desire to manipulate others to do what they want in the guise of "prophetic direction."

Let me share an example of this from 1975.. I was very young in the Lord and totally clueless about the prophetic.

A not-very-well-known healing evangelist/prophet came to town and held a crusade. I was enthralled by watching all of those healings. I became one of his financial supporters. About 6 months later, I got a special delivery letter from this prophet. I was excited and opened it. It said something to the effect of:

I had been fasting and praying and seeking God for guidance. He told me that He wanted me to do this particular crusade that costs $10,000. I asked God how He was going to supply the money. He said that He had 10 faithful ones who He had appointed to borrow $1,000 and sacrificially give it to my ministry to fund this crusade. I asked Him who the people are, and you are one of the 10 who He gave me by name. God is directing me to tell you to borrow $1,000 dollars right away and send it to me....

I was both flattered and horrified. Imagine being one of 10 who God has specially spoken to him about. Wow. Yet I was a starving college student, and often had days where I did not eat at all because I could not afford to. A thousand dollars was a great deal of money to me. Could God really be asking me to do this?

The next day, I got another special delivery letter from this prophet... it was identical to the first, but addressed to a misspelling of my name. (I knew I was on their mailing list three times.. under three different misspellings of my last name.) This 2nd letter began to raise some suspicions in me.. after all, if God had named me as 1 of 10, how come I was getting two copies of this letter?

Two days later I got a third special delivery letter, under the final misspelling of my name. I realized that this person was probably trying to manipulate me. So I telephoned a friend of mine who had also gone to his meetings and had given him some donations. Sure enough, she had received one of these special delivery letters as well.

I realized I was being conned. It made me so hurt and angry. To this day, I still remember this man's name. And to this day I would still have nothing to do with him or his ministry.

"Prophetic" manipulation makes God very angry. The 2nd chapter of 2nd Peter deals with this. It is too lengthy to include in it's entirety, but here are some of the key points from this passage:

  1. But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies
  2. In their greed these will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
  3. They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done...
  4. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.

The long and short of it is: Do not try to manipulate people by telling them that God is saying to do something that you want them to do. God does not like this, it makes Him mad. I believe we should shun (avoid) prophets who do this type of thing (Prov 3:7)... avoid them at all cost.

"But Teresa," you say, "this is an open and shut case.. very clear cut. Why are you even dealing with this here.. none of us would ever do that!"

Unfortunately, not all forms of prophetic manipulation are open and shut. There are times when we think we know what is best for a person (maybe a close friend) better then they know for themselves. We may be standing by and watching them make a wrong decision... and we might want to prod them to do the right thing instead. It can be very tempting, in this type of situation to say "God says" when in fact God has not said. We must be careful to avoid doing this.

Closing With An Example

There was a time where I was very tempted to manipulate a friend for her own good. This woman had a clear gifting/calling. God had shown it to me prophetically on more than one occasion. He opened doors for her and she ended up in an important role in a ministry as well as in a leadership role in her own church.

After some time in leadership, she began to come under severe attack. She seemed to be "stressed out" by fairly minor things. I prayed about it and felt God simply wanted her to stand firm. But when she prayed about it, she heard God say to step down from ministry for a season and make her own family her highest priority.

I "knew" she was making a mistake and I tried to encourage her to keep on standing firm. I knew that God had called her, He had gifted/anointed her, and He had placed her in a leadership position in a ministry. It seemed like a terrible mistake to step down from this just because a few day-to-day life pressures were getting to her.

She was not 100% positive she had heard God and said she would consider any prophetic direction the Lord had for her. If God did not give her specific prophetic direction, she was going to go with what she believed she had heard God say to her.

At that point, I was pretty sure I knew what God wanted her to do. It was really tempting to fabricate a prophetic word to help her decide to do what was right. God had not given me a specific word for her, but I had been walking closely with her, praying for her, and I was sure I knew what God wanted for her. I cared about her a great deal and did not want to see her make a mistake and step out of God's call on her life.

I choose to bite my tongue (you have no idea how hard that was for me.. because I really wanted her to do what I believed was the right thing for her). I did not fabricate a word. I allowed her to make her own decision.. and I was so sad the day she told me she went ahead and resigned from her leadership roles.

Then she opened up and began to share some details of her family situation with me... things she had only referred to vaguely and I had not realized the situation was like it was. She had a family member that was struggling with very difficult issues and it was affecting the whole family. The situation was much more intense than I had realized. I began to see that she had in fact heard from God and made the right decision. I was so relieved that I had not tried to manipulate her into doing what I had been so certain was God's will for her. I was wrong and if I had manipulated her (even with the best of intentions), I would have steered her down the wrong path and messed things up tremendously for her and her family.


We must not allow anything to pressure us into saying "Thus sayeth the Lord" when God is not saying it... not our own feelings, attitudes, etc, and not the expectations of others. If God is not saying anything, then we are not to say anything either.

Let me close with one last illustration, which happened about 4 years ago. I had heard all sorts of spectacular things about a prophet named Paul Cain... that he could give detailed and specific words of knowledge and that he really heard from God. One day Paul Cain came to do a series of meetings an hour away from my home. So I went, expecting to see some really outstanding prophetic ministry. That evening Paul got up and preached. He finished and sat down and they started a ministry time with a ministry team.. Paul did not minister there. I was so disappointed. I had driven an hour to see this great prophet, and he did not even prophesy.

As I was driving home, God spoke to me. "Teresa, what did you think of my prophet Paul Cain? I had been looking forward to showing him to you. I am so proud of him."

"Lord," I complained, "he never spoke a single prophetic word..."

"Yes, that is what I am so proud of," The Lord said. "I was not saying anything prophetically, so he did not say anything either. He is a true mouthpiece for Me... he only says what I am saying when I am saying it. That was what I wanted to show you about him."

I pray that we all may be this faithful of a mouthpiece for the Lord. Amen.

-- © GodSpeak International 1998 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org > --

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