When I was young in the Lord, I always hoped the pastor would have a prophetic word for me in the prayer line or that the visiting prophet would call me out of the congregation and prophesy over me. Now, I’m not so eager for that next prophetic word.
As I matured and learned how to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit for myself, I realized I didn’t need a prophet to tell me—and announce to the principalities and powers—what the Lord’s next step was for my life. And as I matured, I also noticed a pattern: Prophetic words bring spiritual warfare.
Think about it for a minute. A prophetic word is God announcing His specific will for you. The words of edification, exhortation or comfort don’t tend to stir up many devils, but directional prophecies or revelatory words about assignments, callings or destinies, in my experience, give the enemy a new agenda.
In other words, once the enemy has prophetic intelligence on where God wants to take you he’ll be sure to set up snares along your path to getting there—whether that’s a Judas to betray you, a sickness to slow you down, financial distress to freak you out, relationship woes, or just plain stressful situations that cause you to forget all about the prophecy and put out your personal fires.
Facing Your Goliath
This is scriptural. Two examples that come to mind are David and Joseph. David was the prophesied king, anointed by Samuel in the midst of his brothers (see 1 Sam. 16:13). But David went through hell and back before the prophetic act became a reality. In fact, he was almost immediately taken from his home and assigned to become the then-King Saul’s armor-bearer. In the next breath, he was facing the battle of all battles with the giant Goliath.
You know the story. When David defeated Goliath against all natural odds, Saul became jealous and tried to kill him. David ended up fleeing into the wilderness and ran into all sorts of dangers along the way as Saul’s army pursued him. His wives were captured. His men turned against him. David’s psalms reveal the emotions of a man facing warfare to see his prophetic destiny become a reality.
Then there’s Joseph. He had two prophetic dreams as a teenager. Both dreams essentially indicated that he would rule over his older brothers. When they found out, the warfare began. Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit and sold him into slavery. He was falsely accused of trying to trying to rape Potiphar’s wife. And he was thrown into prison.
Prepare for War
Yes, when you receive a true prophetic word from God it brings spiritual warfare. You probably won’t be chased through the wilderness by a jealous king, but you may be chased out of your church by a jealous pastor. You may not be sold into slavery, but you may be betrayed by those closest to you. You may not be falsely accused of rape, but you may be falsely accused of something. You may not be thrown into prison, but you may be thrown out of your comfort zone.
Spiritual warfare comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s disobedient children who get into trouble because they lost their way. Nothing hurts worse than seeing a child go astray. Sometimes it’s the sickness of financial pressures I mentioned before. Sometimes it’s a raging battle in your mind that causes you to bite down on the enemy’s bait, whether that’s burnout, depression, confusion or something else.
Some years ago I received a prophetic word from Dino Kartsonakis, the late Kathryn Kuhlman’s piano player. I have long been an admirer of Kuhlman’s ministry so this was really cool. Kartsonakis’ word wasn’t ultra specific, but it was nonetheless a prophetic announcement. Some weeks later, I was on the phone with Doug Stringer, who released a prophetic prayer over me along the same lines.
That’s always exciting, but it brought tremendous warfare. I spent the next 18 months battling a nasty controlling religious spirit that targeted my life and ministry for destruction. Through other circumstances, my daughter also fell into life-and-death danger as the enemy worked in her midst. One of my best friends was almost killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. And the list goes on and on. The warfare was intense, but now I am beginning to see the first fruits of those two prophecies delivered years ago.
Enduring the Spiritual Battle
How did I get through it? God’s grace, of course, but I also took Paul the apostle’s advice to Timothy: I waged war with the prophetic words. Paul said, “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare” (1 Tim. 1:18). The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles.”
What does that practically mean? It means I continued to declare the prophetic word over my life. Although a prophetic word is not on par with Scripture, a prophecy that’s been judged true can be used as a sword in the spiritual realm to do battle against the enemy’s assignment. After all, the enemy doesn’t really care about you. He hates you, yes, but ultimately he just doesn’t want the prophetic word to come to pass because when it does God’s will comes to the earth.
If you are in a season of waiting and warring, hold on. Remember, it was at least 15 years between David’s prophetic anointing and David’s kingship. And it was about 13 years in between Joseph’s dream and his promotion to Egypt’s prime minister. Chances are, it won’t take that long for you to see the first fruits of those powerful prophetic words spoken over your life. But even if it does, don’t give in to the enemy’s strategies. Remember that this is the Lord’s battle. Declare the prophetic word over your life and keep fighting the good fight of faith. Amen.