Many people have low expectations for the fulfillment of prophetic words, mostly due to the severe lack of accountability over prophetic people. Many of you have stories of the misuse of this powerful gift, which is very sad.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians about a key prophetic principle: "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets" (1 Cor. 14:32). We often use this verse when we expect prophets to respect the spiritual atmosphere and church culture, but it goes well beyond that. The verse speaks of prophets self-managing, being self-aware and being accountable to the people receiving the prophetic words. There is little said about governing the prophetic, but that is because the whole Bible gives a relational framework of love to the gifts—one that prophecy is supposed to adhere to as its core value system.

I believe that when people are growing in the prophetic, each person should take responsibility for his ministry as the standard. We need to track our words when we give them. It takes a little effort to write a word down and then follow up on it later, but that effort can be the difference between growth and delusion. Let's say I follow up on a word I gave with a date for financial breakthrough and ask if it happened. If the breakthrough did happen, I grow in faith to prophesy this way more. If it didn't, I can apologize and say, "I am growing"; "Please have grace"; or even "Forgive me for setting your expectation that way, as I am growing." I will give this type of word more cautiously in the future.

If we would have even this basic responsibility installed in our prophetic culture, we would have a vibrant gift restored to the church and beyond!

Excerpt from Translating God, a new best-selling book by Shawn Bolz. Visit


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