Some years ago I started identifying the difference between real prophecy and presumption or assumption. But over the past couple of years, I’ve realized I need to add two other things that often masquerade as prophecy: theology and wishful thinking. Here’s the way I see it.
Real prophecy is like the seeds in the parable of Luke 8, the words of God sown from heaven into our lives, and we have a responsibility to steward the soil of our lives where those seeds are sown. Prophecy is calling those seeds out by name, decreeing them and believing them. It’s proclaiming what God is actually saying as His words drop upon us.
Presumption is saying what you think God should say. It’s speaking and expressing without seeing or hearing from God in heaven. This is very common, but it’s not prophecy.
Assumption, on the other hand, is proclaiming how you think it should happen. It may be best intentions, but it wasn’t part of what God said. You assumed that it would be like this or that, but God didn’t say.
Now let’s add the other two. Theology is your set and system of beliefs, but theology is not prophecy. Your set of doctrines and system of beliefs are not prophecy. Your particular set of doctrines is a framework that filters what you hear, rightly or wrongly. But what you believe is not prophesy. Again, prophecy is saying what God is saying. Period.
And finally, wishful thinking is not prophecy either. Wishful thinking is what you want, not what God says. It should go without saying, but I think it does need to be said, unfortunately. The pendulum seems to have swung too heavily in this direction over the past several years. Proclaiming what you want or need is also not prophecy. And let’s just go out on a limb and say it.. proclaiming it three times doesn’t make it come to pass. Praying about it enough doesn’t make it come to pass either.
Now, at some point, the bible says that God didn’t let one of “Samuel’s” words fall to the ground (1 Sam. 3:19). But if you want to reach that level, I believe you’ll have to first come to the point where you honor God’s word above your own… above all else. When you honor God’s word above your own presumptions, assumptions, theology, and wishful thinking, I believe you’ll enter into that realm where God will honor your own words the way He honored Samuel’s.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for twenty years, and is the proud father of two boys.