God is raising up a prophetic generation in the earth who will operate in purity, humility, and authenticity. Many of these individuals have been trained and prepared in the wilderness for many years. However, there are numerous traps set before them that seeks to pollute, contaminate, and distort the flow of the Holy Spirit in their lives and prophetic ministry. This week we will look at five specific pitfallst on their journey and then next week we will look at five more for a total of ten. Many of these traps can be applied to numerous areas of ministry. Let the reader by guided by the Holy Spiriit.
- The Pitfall of Refusing Wilderness Training
The training ground for all called prophets of God is the wilderness. This is the place where God draws His prophets to crucify and crush their ambitions, pride, arrogance, carnality, and anything that will get in the way of them becoming a pure vessel for His Spirit to move through. It is in the wilderness where the personal desires of prophets die and the desires of God come alive. Craving platforms, microphones, and a travel itinerary is crucified and crushed in the wilderness.
Biblically speaking, there is a calling, consecration, and then a commissioning. Too many believe that because God has called them, they have now been commissioned into prophetic ministry. This is not the truth and forsakes the most important and crucial development of the prophet: consecration. The consecration process, which will be repeated numerous times throughout the life of a prophet, is known as the wilderness.
One of the greatest pitfalls of the prophetic ministry is when prophets refuse wilderness training. When prophets are not trained in hiddenness, they crave the platform and know nothing of the prayer room. They will chase after the applause of men because they have never heard the Father affirming them in secret. When prophets refuse wilderness training, they will desire fame and fortune over holiness and repentance. Prophets that refuse wilderness training will tear down with their character what their prophetic gifting has built. The wilderness is where God creates a place inside of the prophets for them to carry His heart with pure and undefiled intentions and motives. Prophets that have not been wilderness trained make prophetic ministry all about them, their influence, and their success. Prophets that have been wilderness trained do not fear men, live for the glory of God and value the secret place over any public space.
- The Pitfall of Profiling Others
In 1 Samuel 16, we find Samuel the prophet going to anoint the 2nd King of Israel. On his search for the next king, God gives Samuel incredible prophetic instruction in verse 7 as He says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’
One of the most common mistakes that prophets can make is giving someone a prophetic word based upon their outward appearance (stature) or behavior. I call this “prophetic profiling”. Samuel noticed Eliab because of his outward appearance and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him”, but this was not the case. As prophets of God, we must be very careful that we do not become consumed or distracted by looking for outward clues or appearances to help us form the prophecies that we give.
For example: Several years ago, I ministered at a conference where two men in the front row were dressed completely opposite of one another. One man was wearing a three piece suit with fine jewelry. The other man was wearing blue jeans, a plain white t-shirt, and dirty looking shoes. God had given me a prophetic word about a season of financial increase coming and specific business deals regarding the oil industry that were being released. As I looked at these two men in the natural, it would have been very easy to stand up the man in the three piece suit because of his stature or appearance. As I prayed, God showed me that the prophetic word was for the man in the blue jeans, t-shirt, and the tattered shoes. As I released the prophetic word, he was powerfully touched by the Spirit. After the meeting, he came up to me and said he was a multi-million dollar businessman who worked in the oil industry, but rarely wore nice clothing. We must be very cautious not to profile people based on their outward appearance, race, gender, etc and hear from the Lord regardless of what they look like on the outside.
- The Pitfall of Sanctified Psychic Reading
In 1 Kings 22, Micaiah the prophet stood before King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat and was asked to give them the word of the Lord. Prior to this, the Kings had already consulted and received prophetic ministry from the other 400 prophets in the land. The prophets had told Ahab and Jehoshaphat to, “Go up, for the Lord will give Ramoth-gilead into your hands.” When pressed, Micaiah told the kings that God would not give them victory and that Ahab would die. What was the primary difference between the 400 prophets and the lone prophet Micaiah?
The 400 prophets read the hearts of the Kings back to them, but Micaiah read the heart of God back to the Kings. We must be very careful as we prophesy to people that we are not reading their own hearts desires back to them. Prophets are feelers and burden bearers. It is very easy to pick up on the emotions, feelings, and even desires that are resting inside the heart of people. What happens if what people are feeling or desiring to do is not from God? What if they have selfish ambitions, greed, and lust inside of their hearts and we simply go up and confirm what’s not of God inside of them?
For example: I once ministered with a prophet in Indiana who called a family out of a crowd with several words of knowledge he believed he had. He said he heard, “California”, “millions of dollars”, and “large house and nice cars”. As he spoke this over the family, they fell down weeping and then got up and rejoiced. At the end of the meeting, they wrote him a ten thousand dollar check and he thanked them. From there, the family moved from Indiana to California with the supposed “word of the Lord”. They were supposed to move to California where they were going to make millions of dollars and live in a large house and have nice cars. As the story goes, they lasted 2 years in California with no open doors, no money coming in, and no nice house or cars. What happened?
I would like to suggest that the prophet simply read their own hearts back to them and never discerned what the heart of God was for them. As prophets, we are learning how to distinguish what’s in the heart of man versus what is in the heart of God. Witches and psychics can prophesy what’s in the heart of man, but only prophets of God can prophesy what’s in the heart of God because they have access to it. Prophets must not get involved in sanctified psychic reading.
- The Pitfall of Mammon
The spirit of witchcraft (manipulation and control) will seek to overtake the prophets of God by using money, promotion, and material possessions to contaminate and pollute what God is actually saying.
I see a trend rising in the Church in which prophets are acting like and even being treated as magicians, prostitutes, and pimps. On stages and throughout the internet, many offer their prophetic services to anyone who can fill their pockets with money, promote their ministry, and fuel book sales. These men and women are acting like modern day prophetic whores. They find stimulation through stroking the ego and flesh of leaders and people, all at the expense of the purity and fresh anointing that we so desperately need in the prophetic movement.
Like Hophni and Phinehas (I Samuel 2), these con artists are engaging in wickedness and sin in the house of God because they treat that which is holy and pure as casual and oftentimes as a joke. The spirit of mammon has devoured these “prophets for hire”. They have been ravaged by a greed for financial gain and a lust to be treated with all the perks and accommodations that a Hollywood actor would be given.
Just as Jeremiah declared in Jeremiah 23:13, many prophets in America are “prophesying by Baal” and leading the body of Christ astray. The Baal spirit has caused the prophets’ focus and concern to be health, wealth, and prosperity, when they should be agonizing over the sin of the nation and travailing over how to bring forth messages of repentance, reformation, and revival. The goal has become to stroke the people to sleep, when God desires to provoke His people to change in this hour.
Some very well known contemporary prophets are now even requiring people to scan their credit card or sow a large seed offering if they want to receive a word from God. It is extremely grieving to the Holy Spirit that people will actually line up by the droves to pay these prophetic prostitutes for these illicit spiritual ‘favors’.
It is impossible for prophets to minister in this kind of atmosphere without partnering with the spirit of witchcraft. Many church leaders who have themselves lost the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit and are now leading failing ministries are inviting prophetic voices into their ministries in an attempt to gather large offerings and bolster their declining attendance. They are Saul’s looking for Samuel’s to prop them up. These prophets and leaders have made a demonic covenant with mammon and witchcraft before the prophetic meetings ever begin. This sick and twisted practice not only scams the people of God, but God is nowhere to be found in the midst of this evil idolatry!
- The Pitfall of the Lone Ranger
In the Old Testament, the prophets were the singular voice of God to the nation. They came and went as they pleased and prophesied to the Kings and nation. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ has become our mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5) and now has given all believers the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them into the truth. The role of New Testament prophets is not the same as Old Testament prophets. New Testament prophets have now become a part of the body of Christ. They no longer prophesy as an “outsider”, but one who is in love with the body of Christ and actively serving and accountable to her. Prophets are not islands of revelation unto themselves and they need accountability and community.
Dangerous prophets and prophetic people are those who refuse two main realities:
A lifestyle of accountability and healthy community is required to operate at high levels consistently in the Spirit. Remember, non-accountable relationships mean that we develop a life in God without applying truth to ourselves. We can never be in control of our own accountability without being soft on our own immaturity and carnality.
I want to encourage all prophets to make sure you are actually involved in a real community of believers on a consistent basis and readily submit to some form of accountability. If prophets refuse community and oversight or even become angered by those seeking to find out if they have accountability, they are a potential danger to the body of Christ. “I only answer to God” or “I travel so much I have no time for community” should be an immediate red flag.
The need for humble, accountable, and pure prophetic ministry has never been greater!
Marked for Eternity,