I read another blogger’s comment that she received some words prayed over her this last weekend. Now comes the mulling of whether or not those words constitute a clear leading of God.
I can sympathize with that conundrum. I use the word conundrum because we receive a lot of “words” in today’s Church, but all too few of them turn into anything at all, making receiving such a word a dicey proposition.
It shouldn’t be that way.
Though I count myself a charismatic and thus have been exposed to hundreds of words prayed over me in my lifetime, I can count on two hands the number that truly reflected the intervention of God. That’s a darned poor track record for “words.”
Scarier still: all the ones I can verify as legit came from the same two men, one an oldster in the Faith and the other a young man old in soul.
Two men in thirty years of my Christian life. Two.
You’ve got to wonder at the damage all those phony messages from God cause. If I hear another person mention they’re going to a prophecy conference I’m going to lose it. Those folks follow these so-called prophets around like groupies and it’s sad. Considering the accuracy of today’s modern prophets, you’ve got to wonder how many of those conference attendees have had hundreds of words prayed over them, none of them amounting to more than so much air. Yet the addiction’s there, so they go, always seeking, but never finding.
Don’t get me wrong here. I believe in modern day prophecy and gifts of wisdom and knowledge. I’ve given out a few of those in my life, emphasis on few. I’m hearkening back through time and I can count perhaps three—at the most. Why so few? I don’t speak unless I’m absolutely sure of my source.
It bugs me that for all these prophetic words, almost none of them resemble Jesus’ warning to the man at the pool of Bethesda: stop what you’re doing or something bad is going to happen to you. Usually the word consists of some vague reference to how God loves the person receiving the word so much and has grandiose plans for him or her. Every once in a while, you do get someone calling out a “Jezebel spirit” just to keep from seeming too positive. (All I can say is that this Jezebel spirit’s getting a workout in some charismatic circles. Must be exhausted by now.)
It’s all too easy to make up some high-falutin’ spiritual language talking about great nations, lampstands, and watchmen. Curiously enough, none of those handful of accurate words prayed over me ever contained such language. Most were just plain talk. But at least they were right.
On the bogus side, I once received a word from someone telling me I would be a great nation. I’m not truly sure what that’s supposed to mean, although I’m convinced my wife wouldn’t go along with it. Our pastor came from a household with fourteen kids and I can tell you that the Mrs. shudders at the thought. Another time, two very earnest women insisted I’d be getting back into camping ministry “in the next few months,” but my phone’s not rung for that idled career in fifteen years. That’s a whole lot of months.
Pity the poor person who has those mistaken words turned against them, too. When some minor prophet makes a pronouncement and it doesn’t come to pass, it’s never the prophet who’s wrong. It’s the poor unfortunate who received the bad word who gets his or her mustard seed of faith questioned. I don’t know about the prophet, but when I read the Scriptures it says that God’s words don’t return void.
I wish I didn’t have to write this post. Yet with all these “words from the Lord” being bandied about, someone needs to speak up.
About ten years ago, I remember a church meeting where a man stood up and relayed a highly specific word. (Note: the details have been changed for privacy concerns.) This man had a word of knowledge about a woman whose teenage daughter Josie had run away from home, traveled south, and was now deeply immersed in the drug culture of Miami. She’d been gone for three years now, effectively missing, though the mother had heard from her once in that time. The man went on to say that the mother needed to contact her daughter at that last known phone number, even though the daughter had not been at that number for more than a year. The man then said the daughter was afraid to call her mother, but if the mother called her first, God would do a great healing in both their lives and they would be restored to each other. But the mother needed to make that call to the only phone number she had.
My wife turned to me and noted that we didn’t know anyone in the church who fit those details and she suspected the word was wrong. Our small church met in a rented facility, and what no one knew was that a woman had come in to prepare the building for another activity later that day. She was in a back room and heard that word over the building’s sound system. Amazed, she wandered up front to the man who gave the word and told how astonished she was that anyone knew her situation. She prayed with some folks, then went home and called her daughter at that phone number. And yes, everything the man said came to be.
Now THAT’S a word folks. It’s specific. It contains information that can only be spiritually discerned. It intersects with known realities. It meets a need. It makes something happen because of the faith of the hearer who trusts it. And, most of all, it comes to pass.
I guess I’m tired of the burden of proof falling on the one receiving these supposed words from God from someone else. I don’t want to seem glib, put I think “put up or shut up”—a most earthy sort of spiritual testing— applies. If all these folks delivering words have a track record that resembles a 500:1 shot bound for the glue factory, then they need to sit down and stop hurting others with their “gift.”
And yeah, I get a little steamed thinking about it. I wish more of us did.