When it comes to giving prophetic words the Holy Spirit uses the medium of our emotions and thoughts to communicate prophetic words that God wants people to deliver. This is also the same method God uses to guide and direct us individually.
This of course is the same medium we use in our regular human communications.
To the untrained, a prophetic word can seem like any other thought that pops into your mind over the course of the day.
Now, I know that not every thought that pops in to my mind is from God. I sometimes have some very unholy thoughts, particularly of other drivers.
So, the Holy Spirit will give a different tinge to the prophetic words that He puts in your mind to separate them from your own thoughts and concoctions.
For each of us, it will be different. Your tinge will have a different tinge than mine. Discerning the difference takes training and practice.
I remember praying for a woman in our church who had come forward at the end of a service for ministry. She was having serious problems with her husband. My wife and I had counseled her in the past and I was fully aware of the struggles she was going through.
As we prayed for her I tried to sense if there was a word God had for her. It was probably one of the most difficult times I ever went through.
Words were coming to me, but they sounded an awful lot like the counseling advice my wife and I had given her in the past. Though I would like to believe every word of counsel I give is from God, I suspect this is not the case.
At that point, I held back giving anything because I did not have faith that I had God’s word for the situation.
As I continued praying for this woman, I struggled to separate the wheat from the chaff. As I waited, a different word began to form. It was on a completely different track and had nothing to do with what I knew about the situation.
As I pondered it my confidence grew in this word and I delivered it. Though others had prayed and given her words, it was this word that spoke to her.
I believe it is ten times easier to deliver words over people you know nothing about than those you know too well.
I remember in one prophetic training seminar, a prophet saying that under no circumstances should spouses give prophetic words to each other. Because what we perceive as the voice of God is often nothing more than our own opinions jazzed up with the phrase “Thus saith the Lord.”
It is also easy to abuse the prophetic by using it to promote your own pet peeves and theories. Most of the time, what is your pet peeve is not God’s. Again is this word from God or from you with “thus saith the Lord” tacked on at the end to give it some added authority?
Israel had prophets who spoke their own words and Jeremiah warned of these people:
Thus says the Lord of hosts,
“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you.
They are leading you into futility;
They speak a vision of their own imagination,
Not from the mouth of the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:16 NASV)
These people were not differentiating their thoughts and opinions from God’s prophetic words. Sometimes it was done innocently and other times it was not.
Along these same lines, I am immediately suspicious of people who say “God told me to do this” or “God told me to do that.”
Most of the time when I hear that type of phrasing I immediately doubt that God was speaking to them and in many cases it has proven right.
They throw out phrases that “God told me” to justify what they are doing. Then if someone disagrees with them, they are no longer disagreeing with the person but in fact are now fighting God.
I have been a Christian for years and have moved in the prophetic and I am aware of the challenges associated with hearing the voice of God. The more adamant a person is that God is speaking to them, instinctively the less convinced I become.
Maybe this is an unfair judgment, but James wrote:
15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” (James 4:15 NASV)