Should we ‘teach’ children to prophesy?

I know different Christians hold to different understandings about the practice of spiritual gifts for today. Just for clarity and context, I believe that spiritual gifts are for the church today - some of them outlined in 1 Corinthians 12, so this question is within that framework.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same Godat work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b]11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

I notice in verse 11 that it is the Holy Spirit that distributes them to each one just as he determines. When it comes to teaching our children about these types of gifts, I wonder how this should be done?

Some churches seem to lead their children in practising prophetic giftings during the kids’ work on a Sunday morning. For example, the adults get all the children to ‘hear’ a word from God and then bring it to the service for whoever it is for.

Can the gift of prophecy be taught to a group of children in this way? I worry that we are treating prophecy as an ‘on demand’ commodity like anything else in life. Yet, is it not also good to encourage children to practice listening to the Holy Spirit, even if they make some mistakes along the way?

I’m very unsure of a sound way to approach this at the moment and would appreciate some feedback from others.


Hi, Alison! First, I want to say it’s great to see and hear from you again! Second, I believe that the spiritual gifts are for the church today, as well. However, I too had an issue with this “on demand” treatment of prophesying when I was attending the General Assemblies of God’s ministry school. I think your questions about this are important to think over and discuss.

My own thoughts about teaching children about these gifts generally is to simply teach what Scripture says about them–that the Holy Spirit distributes them to different individuals as he sees fit (v. 11). I think it is especially important to emphasize where the gifts come from and for what they are used. But seeing as this passage seems to make it clear that not every person will have every gift, I don’t believe it is for people to have everyone practice prophesying. That does not make sense to me since only some will have that gift according to Scripture. As the children grow and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, presumably when they receive the Holy Spirit is when they would receive any spiritual gifts as the Holy Spirit sees fit. As you point out, though, it is important to teach them to listen for the Holy Spirit’s leading. That takes the development of discernment. Until that is developed, practicing a gift cannot be expected, because the exercising of gifts such as these (prophesying, miraculous powers, etc) has to be at the prompting of the Spirit who knows the will of God. If we prompt everyone to practice prophesying, especially kids, it would be dangerous, because the prompting wouldn’t be from the Spirit. What will inevitably happen is that they will start to think that any thought that comes into their minds is a word from God.

Growing in discernment to hear the Holy Spirit happens as we strengthen our relationship with the Lord through studying His Word and prayer. As the kids who have given their lives over to Christ grow in the knowledge of the Lord, I believe their gifts will become apparent as they live out God’s Word. And with that will come the discernment they need to practice those gifts through the Holy Spirit’s leading. I do not know exactly how to teach that to kids, though…what hearing the Holy Spirit is like in order to act on it. I tried to explain it to my own kids, but it was difficult to explain it in a way so as to teach them that the Holy Spirit’s leading is not feeling based. I am hoping others chime in about this so that I can learn. I have a gift of prophecy, which absolutely does not happen at my will or on que but only as the Spirit leads or prompts or shows me something. It certainly doesn’t happen every day, either. When it does happen, it’s very different than a feeling, but I am really not sure how to describe it.

So end my thoughts on this for now. If I think of anything else, I will get back. I hope this helps in some small way.


Hey Alison, thank you very much for sharing! This is something I didn’t know churches do… Are they asking the children to prophesize to others? (Aka adults). This is really interesting.
I agree with your point, I do believe in the gifts of the spirit, but it is up to God to provide them and at his own time/will. I don’t think it can be forced out or taught, as you said it’s not on demand…

I think that while it is good to teach children to listen to God and communicate with him, asking them to always prophesize might be teaching them to interpret something out of nothing, which might end up becoming a habit they bring into adulthood. At the same time I’m not sure what the people who are being ministered to will make out of this… giving out wrong prophecies could be rather dangerousm Perhaps if you could, maybe you could voice this out to the leaders? :sweat_smile:


Hi @alison ,

I think part of the question is discerning what it means to ‘prophesy’. In the APEST profile provided by Alan Hirsch, this is part of his definition:

Those graced with the prophetic calling will do all they can to listen to God, see what he sees, feel something of what he feels, speak and act on his behalf, and call people to faithfulness and obedience.

In this regard, I think we should teach children to ‘prophesy’ because this is, in a sense, the kind of way that we want every disciple to experience and respond to God. We can learn from what children are discerning about God’s purposes for our family or community.

However, I also hope that children would sense that the adults around them have gained a grounding in God, wisdom in life, and maturity in obeying God, that their own (more immature) sense of what God is up to is often refined by the humble listening of the adults in their lives. That is, children are valued and their insights are respected, yet they also are in fellowship with more seasoned disciples.

Another angle, as others have noted, spiritual gifts are… gifts. There is a necessary humility in accepting that God is the one who orders his people, gifts his people, and commissions his people. And there is a necessary responsibility in seeking to develop our own God-giving capacities because we desire to love the God who gave them to us and love our neighbors by exercising these gifts.

I like how @lindsay put it:

@lindsay, I also learned from and appreciated this warning:

That would be a troubling, inflated sense of self! The damage that can be done by pronouncing that our thoughts are God’s thoughts…


Hi, Carson! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! You have given me something to think over!

Does Alan Hirsch have a definition or description of what exactly he thinks a prophetic calling is according to Scripture? I think in the sense described by him in the quote you posted, it definitely includes every Christian. But…let me give an example of what I experience:

-I was prompted by God, in the middle of doing my school work, to check on a friend, and He “told” me it was urgent. She told me she was doing okay but that her heart rate was up, and the number of the heart rate was ridiculously high. I didn’t know how she was conscious. I talked her into going to the hospital. After a few hours, her husband texted and said she’d had not just one, but three hear attacks and would have been dead by morning had she not come in.

-I “felt” depression that I could tell wasn’t mine and got quiet to pray about it. The Lord told me it was a friend–an unbeliever from a previous job I had witnessed to–and so I contacted her on Facebook via private messaging. She said she’d hit rock bottom and was considering suicide and asked how I knew she was “so low.”

There are multiple examples of these types of things that come to me from the Lord. I know from people’s reactions that not every Christian has them. I guess this is what comes to mind when Alison asks about something like this. I have no idea how to “teach” kids about this, because for me, as I grew in the knowledge of the Lord through His Word and prayer, I simply began to be able to tell a difference between my own thoughts and feelings and those the Spirit communicates to me. It grew naturally out of my growing relationship with the Lord. Does that make sense?


HI @lindsay,

Thank you for sharing your experiences! I have had similar ones, but I regret that I haven’t written them down! And so they’ve gotten lost through time and a foggy memory. I think your stories are a testament to the activity of the living God in your life. There are much smaller promptings that come to mind, but they seem so ordinary it feels a bit silly mentioning them.

To answer your question, here’s how Alan Hirsch defines the prophetic role:

• essentially the person who has an ear toward God, acts as the mouth of God, and therefore speaks for God—often in tension with dominant consciousness
• truth-teller to the believer

Focus/Core Tasks:
• discerning and communicating God’s will
• ensuring the obedience of the covenant community
• questioning the status quo

Impact when in sync with other ministries:
• church’s obedience and faithfulness to God
• God-oriented faith (less “fear of man”)
• challenge to prevailing consciousness
• countercultural action
• social justice

Impact when monopolizing:
• one-dimensional, “hobby-horse” feel to leadership’s conception of church
• factiousness
• exclusive and even offensive
• propensity to be overly activistic and driven
• sometimes an overly “spiritual” feel

This material can be found on page 209 of The Forgotten Ways. It’s clearly delineated from the other roles within the “APEST” giftings he is discussing.

I find this to be a helpful definition that ‘maps’ to how I see prophets acting throughout the Biblical narrative. It also clearly connects the role to what I can discern of God’s intentions to restore his people and establish his kingdom.

However, I understand that there are other definitions of what it means to be a ‘prophet’ in different denominations!

I would find a connection between your experiences and what we see in Acts 16:6-10. We believe in a God who speaks. A God who is involved in our lives. A God who involves us in a relationship. But we do need to gain discernment, as you mentioned, from the Scripture, more mature believers, a life of prayer and holiness, so that we don’t misattribute our own intuition for God’s voice nor miss God’s voice because we aren’t attentive to his work in our lives.

If it needs a label, I would call this capacity “a responsiveness to God’s voice.”

I look forward to hearing more of your perspective and from other participants.


Hi @alison , Thanks for asking this question. As you know my introduction to Christ was in a charismatic church and I very much believe spiritual gifts including the supernatural gifts are for today but I am not comfortable with the way prophecies are practised in many churches. The reason is that a lot of the prophecies are too general, unverifiable and even false. False prophecies may be a reflection of the passions of our old self - to be something independent of God.

I agree with all of these points made thus far -

What I want to add is a few thoughts on instructions regarding prophecy in scripture -

Whether we are talking about children or adults, I dont think scripture ever warrants that prophecy by itself can ever be taught but scripture has directions for how to steward and use the gift. When Paul has instructions about prophecy in 1 Cor. 14, all he is teaching is how to practice the gift in an orderly way, for the giver and the recipients. For example - prophets have control on what they say, can use gift taking turns, prophetic words must build up people, hearers are to weigh in on whats shared. In I Thess 5: 20-21 we are told not to despise prophecy and 1 Timothy 4:14, Timothy is encouraged not to neglect his gift received by prophecy. So in this sense I think we can teach the guardrails for practising the gift of prophecy.

The practice of teaching anyone to try giving prophecies is always wrong for reasons others have already covered. God must be the master of when and how He chooses to reveal His heart. I think the dangers of teaching prophecy as such become many fold greater in kids than adults. Kids are impressionable, immature and lack self-control. Its unwise to place the burden of prophecy on kids. A few wrong prophecies and it will change their perception of God forever for worse.

Some of these churches that are open to prophesying also believe that apostles and prophets are leadership positions in a church. If kids were prophets, these churches would need to explain the contradiction with qualifications for leadership in other parts of scripture which is limited to adults. Kids first need to be taught to honor their parents. I think encouraging kids to prophesy can tempt kids to reverse this God ordained order.

I am not saying God can never use a kid for His purposes through prophecy, but teaching a ‘gift’ as a technique would be dangerous.


All these answers are so helpful, thank you to everyone who has responded.

Your answers have helped me clarify in my mind where my concerns lay primarily.

To me, this seems like a close portrayal of the role of Old Testament prophets. They regularly called Israel back to repentance and obedience to God. From what I understand - and I may be over simplifying things - these OT prophets were continually called to draw Israel back to obedience as it all fits in with the picture of grace, salvation and judgement, ultimately fulfilled by Jesus. I have understood New Testament, and therefore modern, prophecy as more insightful into individual lives or corporate church groups. The examples that @lindsay gave are much more familiar to me as modern day examples of prophecy, and I think it is more this that I am considering relating to teaching children to prophesy.

My trust in these modern prophecies have been largely damaged by experiences of false prophecies. Actually, in Carson’s interview with Lori Ann Thompson, although on a completely separate subject, his words hit me:

It’s very hard to be cynical and to be open to God

This is where I am right now, cynical, because of wrong prophecies given in the past, and wrong teachings on prophecies, wrong practices and encouragements to think exactly what Lindsey and Kiko say,

This cynicism means I have in all honesty quenched any prophetic giftings in my own life. On top of that, where I used to talk to my kids a lot about these things, I now don’t address them. @lakshmi wrote well with the verses to remind us not to neglect these things which is why I’ve raised this question as I know it’s something I need to resolve for myself.

When I heard that a local church (not mine) was teaching kids en masse to prophesy, I was concerned. I know this practice is taught at mega churches like Bethel, which makes me extra cautious. I want to lead my children by example in my own life. Where I recognise my own deficit in this area, I feel that other people in the church can share wisdom and experience. On the other hand, how fantastic that a church is telling children then can hear from God!

This is sound advice to raise others in listening to God. I think it needs to be supported by solid theological grounding by the adults around the children. I worry that if group prophecy is a practice, that there may not be a solid theological framework around it.

These responses have helped me see more specifically why I have concerns and that continued prayer and study of the word are the safest ways forward in it for myself and my children.


Thank you, Carson! This is very helpful for me and something to consider and mull over. I feel kind of embarrassed to ask, but what does “APEST” stand for? And thank you for giving the title of the book. I think I will look that up on Amazon and put it on my wish list. I grew up in a Missouri Lutheran Church, and though our pastor probably spoke more about the Holy Spirit than many other Lutheran pastors, it wasn’t much and certainly never included gifts of the Spirit.

I wish you would. This whole topic peaks my interest, because where I have mentioned these things with other Christians, it has been, to say the least, problematic.

Anyhow, thank you so, so much for this. Again, I am going to be mulling this over and may put it into my “Bible study” folder :slight_smile:

But I find the question still remains (at least for me), how do people teach this to children? The reason I gave my examples is because it just doesn’t seem that children can be taught to prophesy but that it comes from 1) the receiving of the Holy Spirit at the acceptance of Christ as Savior and Lord and 2) growth in the knowledge of the Lord and relationship with Him. How do we talk to our children about listening to God while teaching them to discern between God’s “voice” and their own feelings and thoughts?


Hi @lindsay,

Great question! APEST = Apostle - Prophet - Evangelist - Shepherd - Teacher, in reference to the giftings mentioned in Ephesians 4:11.

I agree, the question remains: how do people teach this to their children? Or, for that matter, how do we teach each other?

I do think that saturation in the Scriptures as a community is a prerequisite. We need to hear God’s voice in God’s Word if we are going to hear it in any other context.

I also think we need some humility between “God can speak” and “God has spoken.” Maybe it was just good intuition. Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe he spoke but we misinterpreted what it meant.

I’ll need to give this some more thought, but those are two pieces of the puzzle that come to mind.


Hi @lindsay ,

Thanks for sharing your experience with prophecy. I am sure you will have insight on your own question on knowing the difference between own feelings and God leading.

I have had a few experiences too of fulfillment of a prophecy given by others or God revealing me about something that would happen in a loved one’s life. Embarrassingly, I have also had an experience where I thought I heard from the Lord but didn’t.

One thing I know is that receiving a word from the Lord had little to do with where I was in my spiritual walk, in terms of spiritual maturity nor was it because of any specific prayers I made. What was true in all the instances where the prophecies came true was that I had an active daily personal relationship with the Lord. In all of the situations, I felt surprised and nervous yet loved that the Lord helped me prepare for what was coming through prophecy.

As I looked back at the time when I thought I heard from the Lord but actually didnt, I see that my deepest desires had influenced my imaginations and so I made the mistake of thinking I heard from the Lord.

I really think we don’t have to teach specifically kids about prophecy. We need to teach them to seek God and they will know when God truly does speak. Lessons in humility, love and obedience are far more important. Its true that knowledge puffs up. I have seen young people, just past teenage years, who start off with sincerity seeking to be open to prophecy, but more often than not, they get pretty puffed up and feel they are hearing from the Lord when they aren’t.

In my own experience I have seen that prophecies are not too common. I have had only a few experiences that I can count probably on one hand after 30 years!

I hope this helps with your question.


I think you are right. There certainly is a danger that at such a level of spiritual immaturity, it could be easy for younger Christians to become puffed up (actually this is possible at any age!). Yet, I also believe there must be a place for God to use anyone of any age. Just think of the prophet Jeremiah, called by God as young as he was.

I’ve been there too.

Ezekiel 13:1-9 says:

Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! … They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the Lord,’ although I have not spoken?”Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord God. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations."

Within the context of Old Testament prophecy, this speaks against making any false prophecies at all, and many Christians apply this even in the development of using the spiritual gift of prophecy today. On the other hand, some Christians think it’s ok to make these mistakes along the way. Holly Pivec, in her article on prophecy in the New Apostolic Reformation, quotes a NAR leader who says,

As Christians launch out and learn to prophesy according to the measure of their faith, they are bound to get their “signals crossed” more than once by “going beyond their measure” and speaking out of their own mind or spirit. This is due to the inevitable immaturity through which we must all learn.

This is certainly how I was taught about prophecy as a young person. The article here is addressing a cavalier attitude to prophecy and I suppose highlights a lack of reverence when speaking on behalf of God.

So coming back to my original question, and the questions developed by Lindsay, how serious should we be at teaching our children not to give erroneous prophetic words to others? Some Christians think it’s ok to mistakes, whilst others apply the same Old Testament standards to prophecy to modern prophetic words, even those given by people who wouldn’t consider themselves to be Prophets. Even if it’s not heresy to give a prophecy that we accidentally thought was from God but was actually from the imaginations of our heart, the resulting consequence could be to damage other people’s trust in what God is or isn’t saying. It’s a big responsibility either way. Therefore, I think Lakshmi’s words above are the best advice we can follow when teaching children about hearing from God. After all, there are many ways we can hear from God even if they’re not ‘prophetic words’: scripture being applied to our lives to convict and to guide, encouragement in our circumstances, or a prompting to get in touch with someone like Lindsay gave an example for. These could all build up the body of Christ without damaging someone’s walk of faith. These are good things to train our children to do. I think reading the word of God is essential in all this.


Thank you, @lakshmi, for your response. It does give food for thought and is helping me think through it more critically.

I completely agree with with this. I do think, though, that we grow in discernment as we grow in our knowledge of and relationship with the Lord. What I mean by the ‘knowledge of the Lord’ is simply what we learn of His character and ways from His Word. I do think maturity in the Spirit has everything to do with growing discernment, although it has nothing to do with receiving a word from God. I think that your point here is a good one, though, and what I was thinking in my first post when I wrote this:

I should have elaborated on that. I think acknowledging these two things–where gifts come from and for what they are used–help us to teach love and humility. If we recognize that we have nothing which we have not received, then we see that we have nothing to be “puffed up” about and that our only valid boast is in Christ. Out of that should flow a recognition that the gifts are used for the edification of the Church out of a response to God’s love and grace and the resulting love and care for others.

After giving some thought to this, I think I would have to push back on your first statement. I think we should not and cannot teach kids to prophesy, but since prophecy is in the Bible, I think it would be harmful to not teach them about prophecy, especially with all the wrong teaching that is available on the subject. Furthermore, what does seeking God look like? It means developing a relationship with Him by getting to know Him through His Word and prayer. His Word has a good amount of prophecy in it and talks about prophecy as a gift (along with prophesying, which is different from having a gift of prophesying, from what I can tell from the Scriptures). Therefore, we cannot skip over teaching about it.

I know this is true, because I have seen it, too. However, I would attribute the “puffing up” to bad teaching or a lack of any kind of proper teaching about prophecy. With either the former or the latter, our natural human tendency is to want to be ahead of others and be “special.” Either that or many of them simply crave an experience with God so much that they force hearing a “word” from Him. Not to mention, as you said, they need to be taught to seek God and not the “sign” or the “gift.” That is why I think it is important to teach kids about prophecy. Not only is it a part of God’s Word, but they need to understand that they can experience the Lord as they go about the seemingly mundane in their lives through His Word, meditation on His Word throughout the day, prayer, obedience to His Word, etc. Learning about what prophecy is also teaches what it is not. We can teach them to be open to prophecy while emphasizing that seeking Him is what needs to be the central focus.

These are my thoughts thus far.

I am wondering if you or anyone else has any further thoughts in response to my own?


Thanks, @alison lison :slight_smile:

My original stance to the original question: “Should we ‘teach’ children to prophesy” remains the same: no, so I think we agree there. Please correct me if I am wrong! My thinking leads me to that since we are supposed to teach children God’s Word, and God’s Word teaches about prophecy and prophesying, then we should teach about those things. I think not teaching them about prophesying could be harmful to them since they can and will learn about it from other sources. That, in turn, could be harmful to someone else.

I guess my thoughts on this is that exercising a gift of teaching could and has often harmed others when mistakes in teaching are made, and yet we encourage people to use the gift of teaching with wisdom and to the best of their ability as they mature in the Lord. I think the exercising of any gift could be harmful to someone else.

The problem with Holly Pivec’s idea about prophecy is that she is promoting an unbiblical teaching in regards to prophecy: “learn to prophesy according to the measure of their faith…” The Bible never talks about “learning to prophesy.” I believe Holly is referring to Romans 12:6, which states (NKJV):

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

Here, prophecy is not referred to as something learned, but as a gift. Second, this verse specifically indicates that not all Christians will have a gift of prophecy. (And we can be sure that even those who don’t and prophesy receive it from God and do not learn it as a skill). Third, this does not say that every Christian should or will prophesy according to his/her measure of faith, as if every Christian has a measure of faith that causes him/her to be able to prophesy or learn to prophesy. It is specifically saying those who have a gift of prophecy should prophesy in proportion to their faith.

I do agree that Holly’s attitude to prophecy is cavalier and lacks reverence about speaking on behalf of God, but I don’t think the idea that people can and will make mistakes because they are human is cavalier or lacks reverence. I think that is being realistic and giving needed grace. The examples of false prophesying in the Old Testament, as in Jeremiah, are ones of intentional false prophesying since the false prophets would have already known the Word previously given by the Lord regarding His coming judgment should Israel break her covenant with Him. There is a difference between making mistakes and prophesying something we know directly contradicts God’s Word already given. Not only did the prophets lie to the people about what God was going to do, but they misrepresented God in His character. They did this by essentially asserting that God would not do what He said He would do; they made Him out to be a liar.

I believe it is the unbiblical teaching about prophecy that Holly puts forth that is the root of the problem. Not every Christian is going to have a gift of prophecy, but those who do should be encouraged to exercise that gift in a way that God sees as edifying the church. We cannot teach people to prophecy. It is given by the Holy Spirit and not a skill that is taught. However, I think we can and should teach people wisdom in how to handle times when we think we have heard something from God that either applies to ourselves or to someone else.

I believe this is actually a different question than the original “Should we ‘teach’ children to prophesy?” They are related, to be sure…and I think the answer is the same: if we teach the biblical idea of prophecy as an unearned, undeserved gift and not dangerously force it as a skill and teach it especially in relation to love and humility, as Paul did in his letters to the Romans and the Corinthians, then I think that would be both biblical and responsible.

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Hi @lindsay,

I agree with you here and that’s the reason how we talk about prophecy to children is important. I too believe that our spiritual maturity is important for discernment, first of all to know whether a prophecy is really from God and secondly on understanding and applying it, just as you explained. In some churches those who are prophetically gifted are considered as more spiritually mature than those who don’t have the gift, which I have trouble with as not all have the same gift. I have discussed this in more detail in a previous topic on spiritual gifts and maturity here on UP. I am glad we are both on the same page that God can give us a prophecy wherever we are on our spiritual journey. :slightly_smiling_face:

Agreed. I should have worded my statement better. Sorry about that. Thanks for clarifying. I dont think we should be having sessions where people gather for the specific purpose of receiving a word from the Lord and try to prophesy to each other. In my previous response on this thread, I have tried to explain in what sense the bible encourages us to teach about prophecy.

Could be and as you say because of our natural human tendency. One way of reducing error may be by not sharing the prophecy until after much prayer and counsel from other matured believers in the Lord. Hopefully, discussions such as these will also guard us against false prophecy.

There is no easy solution of being open to the gift of prophecy and avoiding error just as it is with any other gift. Where there is teaching, there is the possibility of false teaching and where there is prophecy, there can be false prophecy. We cant throw away a practice because of its misuse.


You’ve summarised that really well, and I feel encouraged to use this approach with my own children. I’ve had such conflicting examples of using prophecy in the past and it makes me nervous but I’m equally nervous of quenching the Spirit in my own life, and my children’s lives. The examples of hearing from God that you referred to in an earlier post require the leading of the Holy Spirit. You could not have done those things in your own strength and it’s really reassuring to know that we don’t need to ‘practise’ any special skills to grow in prophecy, other than developing our own relationship with God through prayer and the study of His word.

Sorry, I should have phrased myself better here - Holly is quoting a NAR leader who believes that prophecy can be “learned according to the measure of their faith”, but this is not Holly’s position. She is actually calling out this belief as errant. She says:

God does not give a pass to people who give false prophetic words merely because they mean well and because their words are heartfelt.

I’m also still working out if this position is true, so thoughts are welcomed too. Hopefully it at least represents her stance on the topic, and that she doesn’t stand with NAR teachings on the matter.

Thank you, I appreciate this approach to considering OT prophecy in light of NT. I’m just considering whether it is possible to represent God and His character well, whilst making a mistake in a prophetic word. Either way, I guess we should therefore make proclaiming God’s goodness and character our purpose, rather than seeking to receive prophetic words. Nevertheless, if we are reading the Bible and teaching it to our children, we must teach the whole of the Bible, including the fact that some will have prophetic giftings as they grow in their walk with God. We can teach that there is a difference between forcing a spiritual gift to happen (and consequently likely delivering a false prophecy), and being open to receive it if God wishes to give it.

I always appreciate your insight, thanks :slight_smile:


Hi, Lakshmi! I’m so very sorry I haven’t been able to respond until now, but yes, I think we agree on all of this :slight_smile:

Yes, this is unfortunate. I think it is why I have had issues with people in the past with my own gift. When I first started exercising it, I did not realize it was a gift and just thought every Christian was experiencing what I was on more of a regular basis and so spoke of it very casually. I had some angry, jealous responses which caught me off-guard. Being raised in a Lutheran church, I just didn’t know anything about gifts. I just knew I was hearing from God–not all the time–but a more regular basis than I guess most people do. But I do think the jealousy/anger came from false beliefs–such as what you have brought up here. That is the whole reason Paul wrote his section about gifts for the Corinthians–so that people would stop arguing which gift is best and probably which brings more honor. That would seem likely given their surrounding culture and ways they were used to.

No need to apologize at all. I actually probably should have asked you about it first. It is still hard for me to remember to ask people questions. I grew up in a family that, when conversing, they would simply kind of debate back and forth and work things out that way–friendly debates. Nevertheless, there was very little question asking. Still working on it, so my apologies :slight_smile:

Yes, yes you did. Thank you for reminding me. Again, my apologies for missing that or misunderstanding :slight_smile:

Yes, that is why this conversation is so important for me. My oldest son has a gift, too, but I am learning that there is the possibility that he is more susceptible to other spiritual influences. I don’t know if you remember from Connect, but at a younger age, he had begun talking about having a family and life before ours. It was easy to tell it wasn’t one of his made up stories. This came after he told me that God told him I was pregnant before I knew I was pregnant. He also told me it was a boy. I found out weeks later that I was pregnant (and even later on that it WAS a boy), and the doctor set the date of conception very shortly before Isaac told me God gave him that information.

I don’t want to write a book, ha, so to make a long story short, after Isaac talked about that story of his previous family and life for weeks, I was advised to go through my home, declaring it as a house that serves the Lord. I told whatever might be around that it was not welcome and that it had to leave in the name of Jesus. Isaac stopped talking about it and to this day adamantly insists he never told that story or said those things. Yet he remembers the other stories he would make up. So…I have recently been wondering if it has to do with his gift of prophecy and how to teach him to be more discerning. I don’t know how else something demonic (more directly as opposed to influence from demonic things in the culture and such) could influence him like that even though our home is one that serves the Lord. There’s some context behind some of my responses here :slight_smile: I didn’t mention it before, because I don’t want to make it about me…

Anyways, again, sorry for the long delay. My baby still loves being awake all night, lol. So glad to be back on and in an online community where we can discuss these things! It’s so comforting and helpful.


Hey, Alison! Like I told Laksmi, so sorry for the long delay in response. I feel like I need five of me lately to do everything that has come up to do :joy:.

Yes, I agree!

Oh, yes! I remember now! We talked about this in the Connect community when it was up. Thank you for clarifying. It was probably my misunderstanding more than you not being clear :slight_smile: Sorry about that!

This is more difficult to work out, I think. My own thought and position is that there is grace for those who give what they think is prophecy from God that may not be–as long as they are not knowingly contradicting His Word. I would also add that motive of the heart is important, as well. If that prophesying stems more from pride or wanting to be seen as “special,” then I think that is something God would deal with as well. Because Holly is writing in regard to the NAR, in that context I would have to agree with her statement because those in the NAR are twisting God’s Word and should know better. Even if they do not know better and are deceived, God would not give a “pass” to that. What I would perhaps curb her statement with is that God’s consequences for those who falsely prophesy are to be seen in light of His desire to bring all to repentance and proper relationship with Him. Therefore, His correction or discipline–however it comes–should be seen as a means of mercy and grace towards them. So…though He does not give them a “pass” for false prophesying, He also exercises mercy and grace through whatever means He uses to address or deal with it.

I understand that. I think, though, we never represent God well in our mistakes or failure to act in accordance with His Truth and love. Yet there is grace for us in that. Just my “take.” :slight_smile:

Yes, I agree.

Thanks for the response, Alison! This conversation really has been great. It is helpful and uplifting.


Hi @lindsay ,

Thanks so much for reminding me of your family context and your interest in this question. Your response cautions me to be discerning about the source of even true prophecies.

And I am so glad you have joined UP! You have some unique experiences and great insight. No problem at all that you raised some questions on my response. It helps us to grow in our understanding.


Absolutely! I do think the part about my pregnancy was from God, but the past life thing was obviously from a different source! I didn’t bother checking into it, because kids have talked about past lives and given true information before, and that has deceived many people!

Thank you, Laksmi! I thought the same thing about you and Alison! When I came on board and saw both your names, I was so pleased!