DELIVERING CORRECTIVE WORDS OF PROPHECY
I have been teaching my prophetic school the “Samuel Company” for over 7 years now and I have also been traveling prophetically across America and the nations of the earth for at least half of that time. I have worked with thousands of individuals who have both been young in the prophetic and are also very seasoned. Despite the wide gap in being experienced with the prophetic ministry, I have continually run into individuals who are so ready and happy to deliver harsh and corrective words of prophecy to other people, ministries, and churches. To be very blunt and honest, throughout the years, I have seen maybe 1 or 2 corrective words that were delivered spontaneously that actually brought forth fruit in an individuals life or ministry. And to take it a step further, I have rarely seen a corrective word of prophecy that was delivered bear fruit in an individual’s life or ministry because it was delivered in the wrong setting or was so vague that it created more confusion than clarity. I have seen thousands of corrective prophetic words not only given in the wrong spirit, but given without any prayer, fasting, and brokeness which produced little to no fruit. The following 3 POINTS is an attempt to to advise and encourage those who believe they receive corrective words of prophecy.
1. Corrective Words of Prophecy Should Never Be Delivered Spontaneously During A Public Meeting Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 14 gives clear instruction regarding prophetic ministry in public meetings. All words given are for the encouragement, comforting, and strengthening of the body. The fact that church leadership has to worry that some bizarre prophet is going to walk in the back of the church (and of course no one has ever seen them before) and start rebuking the leadership for hidden sin or a number of different issues is beyond me. A prophet’s behavior should put a ministry team at ease, not on the edge of their seats with fear. Prophets have been sent to the local assembly to be a BLESSING, not COLLATERAL DAMAGE! With that being said, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY A PLACE for corrective words to be delivered at a public meeting but again, THIS SHOULD NEVER BE DONE SPONTANEOUSLY. I wrote a paper several years ago and presented it at a large meeting addressing this issue. The following is directly from the paper I presented: “Words involving correction and rebuke are not to be given in a public setting spontaneously. These words need to be written down, prayed over, and then given to the leadership in private for them to weigh and judge. Prophecy that involves heavy direction must also be written down and first submitted to the leadership of a local body before being delivered in a public meeting. If directional words can be judged prior to public delivery, shepherds can safeguard the flock and create an environment that is dynamic in bringing the prophetic word into the work. The issue at stake here is how to effectively steward corrective and directive words from the Lord that will bring forth the greatest amount of fruit! Standing up in the back of a church or grabbing a microphone and screaming (even if its the word of the Lord) will not have far reaching impact and will ultimately destroy rather than bless a body of believers!
What Do Shepherds Do With Directive Words From Prophets?
As prophets follow proper protocol for handling directive words that the Father gives them for the local body (writing it down, praying over it, and giving it in a private setting) it frees shepherds to judge and weigh the word in a proper manner rather than being on the defensive. Strategy must be developed to bring a directive word from the Lord to the body. When leadership believes and endorses the directive word that the prophet or prophets have given, it is wise to call an extraordinary meeting of all the leaders in the church. Gather the core leaders and ministries and spend an evening unpacking the word. Worship together and then give the word. Let the leadership know that you have judged it, prayed over it, and are not presenting it to them to consider. Questions are asked and answered, implications are considered. After that, the word can be presented to the entire body. Delivery of a word must be seen as a key ingredient to seeing it fulfilled!
How Do Shepherds Handle Corrective Prophecy?
The same protocol for directive words must be followed by the prophets if words of correction come forth. Corrective words need to be submitted to the leadership for careful prayer and judging. If this process has been followed and the word of correction is received as from the Lord, then again core leaders need to be invited to a meeting and be given time to pray over the word themselves. When the corrective word is seen as true and tested, then it can be given in a public setting by the prophetic person or the leadership of the church. It is important to discuss what should be done if words of correction, judgment, or rebuke come out in a public meeting. In other words, what does a shepherd do when proper protocol is not followed for these types of words? One option is to draw no attention to the event at that time. It may just be best to keep the meeting flowing and talk to the person in private. The second option is that if the situation warrants, one might have to make some comment or observation. It could be as easy as saying “moving on” or saying “thank you” and “we will consider it.” The last and third option is to be given no other alternative than to publicly rebuke the person who gave the word. It is imperative to remember that shepherds do not have to prove their authority in these moments but rather father the situation in a loving manner. A rebuke can be “I do not bare witness to that word. It is not the voice of God. I believe that is your opinion. I would be happy to chat with you about this at a later time.” Then move into a song or the next order of service. It is of the upmost importance that shepherds teach and set guidelines within the local church for prophetic ministry that comes forth. It is the role of the Shepherd in the local body to provide proper parameters and a riverbed for the flow of the Holy Spirit in public meetings. Shepherds must teach the flock from the word of God how prophecy should operate. 1 Corinthians 14 sets simple guidelines such as “you may all prophesy” but “you cannot prophesy all at the same time.” This will free the shepherd from any form of fear or insecurity in public meetings. The prophets then assist the shepherds in meetings by facilitating the Spirit and asking people to share potential prophetic words through them rather than placing a burden on the shepherd during the meeting. I believe that the Holy Spirit is deeply desiring for prophetic voices that bring forth biblical correction, expose deception, and speak the truth in love, and shepherds of local bodies to work together to see the purposes of the Father revealed in these last days. It is unbiblical and counterproductive for prophetic voices to fail to build relationship and submit to the process of getting assimilated with the leadership and people of a local body. Trust is essential in the creation of opportunities to minister.It is also unbiblical and counterproductive for shepherds of the local church to shut down the opportunity for people who have the right heart and spirit and have submitted to the process of relationship and trust to not be given the place to bring biblical correction, expose deception, and speak the truth in love. Ministry done in this manner is not critical. It is not judgmental. These people are specialists that are walking in their calling. They fear God more than they fear man. I believe with all my heart that they are the hope that the American Church needs so desperately.
2. Corrective Words of Prophecy Are Received and Delivered by Individuals Who Understand Brokenness
The notion that prophetic people can deliver corrective words of prophecy over individuals and ministries with a smile on their face and joy in their heart is completely ridiculous and absurd. One does not have to look past the hearts and emotions of many Old Testament Prophets delivering corrective words to understand how unbiblical this notion really is. Take for example Jeremiah the prophet. Has anyone ever read the book of Lamentations? Lamentations is written by a broken hearted prophet describing the destruction of Jerusalem and the sorrow of its inhabitants. There is nothing laughable or amusing about His ministry addressing the sins of Israel and their need to return to their Husband. In fact, Jeremiah was more than a weeping prophet. Jeremiah was a man who got caught up in the heart of a weeping Father mourning over the sins of His people. Another example is Ezekiel the prophet who sat among his people for 7 days mourning over their spiritual climate before he even prophesied one word. (Ezekiel 3:14) Can anyone recall the last time they heard of someone receiving a prophetic word about the sin a ministry or person was involved in and mourning over their sin for 7 days before they delivered the word? Let me answer that for you: PROBABLY NEVER! While I do believe that God speaks to prophets about the sin of others and will release corrective words to some, He releases these types of words to individuals who understand brokenness because it takes a broken prophetic speaking heart to receive and deliver a corrective word from a broken Hearted Father to break the heart of the hard hearted individual receiving the word. The Father is looking for prophets that He can trust with these strong corrective words. He is not looking for arrogant individuals who rejoice at knowing the sins of others. Beware of the spirit of the Pharisee operating in prophets. We constantly have to check our own hearts. Are we broken over our own sin? Take the plank out of your own eye before you go skipping and singing to tell someone what their sin in. David was a man after God’s own heart not because of the lack of sin in his life, but because of His brokenness over the sin in his life. God reveals the shortcomings of others to prophetic people not for ammunition to fire against them, but as information on how to pray for them and find the agenda of the Father’s Heart for their lives. Fasting and praying for individuals before delivering corrective words of prophecy is essential in order to rid ourselves of any bitterness, frustrations, or opinions that can and will dilute the word of the Lord.
3. Corrective Words of Prophecy Are Always Specific and Never Vague
Corrective Words of Prophecy need to be weighed and judged before given, but they also need to be direct and specific. It is very important that the spirits of accusation and suspicion are not presented as a corrective word from the Lord. The enemy operates in vagueness. He whispers that there is sin in the camp, but never gives any specifics. Some people simply need to put words on the shelf that they do not have enough insight into. Maturity in the prophetic is understanding that many words that you deliver are actually not spontaneous. They are in fact rehearsed and prayed through. It is not uncommon for seasoned prophetic people to sit on words for months and even sometimes years. There are too many people who have bought into the school of thought that “All you need is a few words and God will fill your mouth with the rest.”. These people often quote scriptures such as Mark 10:18-20 and Luke 12:11-12 which at first glance seem to communicate that you don’t need to put much thought into what you should prophesy. Upon taken a closer look, these verses clearly refer to situations where people are being dragged before leaders and must give an explanation for the preaching of the gospel. These examples have nothing to do with prophetic words. These scriptures cannot be used to excuse poor prophecy that is vague and accusatory in nature, especially in dealing with corrective prophecy. Corrective prophecy regarding the lives of individuals must be specific and deal with key areas of their lives. The prophecy should not be vague, accusing, or born from suspicion. It should come from the place of prayer, waiting, brokenness, and fasting.
I want to caution prophetic people and prophets from giving corrective words of prophecy both corporately and individually without understanding what I have written above. The Father is desiring for corrective words of prophecy to be released to His churches. but only through proper protocol for the effectiveness and impact of the words! The Father is looking for broken prophetic vessels that He can minister His broken heart to in order to break the hearts of hardened men and women. Finally, the Father always corrects specifically and does not operate in vagueness. Be very careful that your so called, “correction” is not simply born from the place of accusation and suspicion.
I’m yours in Jesus Christ,
Lakeland, FL 3/4/14