How to Avoid Prophetic Shipwrecks


Have you ever heard God speak to you, but what you thought you heard, never came about?  Or you got a prophetic word and the exact opposite happened?  Maybe you stepped out in faith when you heard God, and you ended up disappointed or you lost money?

I hear so many of these stories in my Prophetic Life Coaching and from the thousands of people I meet each year.  If this is you then you are not alone.  A big attack of the enemy over the past several years has been to try to shipwreck people from hearing God and responding appropriately.

Lessons learned in hearing God

What I have learned about hearing the voice of God is that too often we try to limit or fine-tune the words we hear.  Maybe you have heard God tell you to do something and then you try to follow it to the letter of the law?

Most of the time He is giving instructions and the end result may be a bit different but in the same ballpark.  The Apostle Paul compares the Church to a “Body” and the truth is we are all living organisms and not machines.  In most cases, hearing God needs to be more organic and not an exact “follow this or you will miss God mentality.”  In fact I hear about more people missing God by trying to get too focused and not let the “brush strokes of the creator” paint the bigger picture for them.

I am generalizing here.  There can be times that God will speak to us with specific directions.  But in my years of hearing God’s voice I have found that we often have more freedom than we realize in responding to a prophetic word.

Do something in Hollywood

When God called us to start a meeting in Hollywood in 2003, I took that as “Hollywood proper.”  We rented a conference room at the Holiday Inn off Hollywood Boulevard.

Hollywood itself is kind of trashy and touristy.  The meetings did not do well at all.  Then we moved the meeting to Culver City on the west side of Los Angeles and it took off great.  But God said to start the meeting in Hollywood?  Why did we lose money and have to move to a different city?

What I discovered is that Hollywood is not a “place” but an industry.  Most of the original studios filmed movies (including the Wizard of Oz) in Culver City.  I was trying to limit what I was hearing to a specific area.  Usually exact city boundaries are not all that important to God.  This happened several times throughout my life before, I understood that God wants to partner with us instead of dictate to us.

Bigger decisions take more confirmation

If God speaks to you to do something big or more radical, like change jobs, move, or make relationship decisions like marriage, then you will need several confirming pieces of revelation and not just one dream.

A good deal of the people I coach have taken a small amount of revelation and over-responded to it.  One common thing they heard was that God said to, “leave your job and trust Him.”  If this is the case be sure that God is giving you a plan on what to do and how you will make money.

Just “hanging out with God” is not wise to do without a specific plan.  It can turn into the plan of the enemy to strip you of finances and get you discouraged.  We are in a seven-year season of repayment, storing up and making money for the Kingdom.  This is not a time to retreat.  Of course this is a general word and it is still possible that God may call you to pull back to get a new vision.

Seeing more clearly

People become afraid to miss God and so they start looking at too many details and this can cloud what He is saying.  Often it is like understanding a parable or a dream.  Less can sometimes be more beneficial.

“For we know in part and we prophesy in part …”   1 Corinthians 13:9.

Don’t get shipwrecked

Let God guide you through your decisions and avoid viewing Him as a dictator of His Will for you.  Many people get shipwrecked because of the way they respond to how God speaks to them.  Here are a few common pitfalls to our responses to hearing God:

  • No response:  this is the most common pitfall.  The task or assignment God had for you may be given to someone else if you don’t do anything.
  • Over-interpreting:  like my meeting “in Hollywood” (over-interpreting brings limitations and you often miss the freedom God wants to bring you).
  • Over-responding:  gets you out of God’s timing.  Example: selling or buying things too soon, leaving a job or pulling back out of God’s timing could bring financial ruin.

Look at the big picture

God is training us to be His sons and daughters, not robots.  I wish I could give you all the examples of how often I seem to miss hearing God.  But the more it seems that I missed hearing God, the more in tune I become with hearing His voice and learning to respond.

It’s reminds me of the baseball player Babe Ruth who was the home run king.  He was also the king of strikeouts.  We need to be willing to step up to the plate right now!

Never stop learning

We need to step out and get into God’s timing.  Remember, hearing God’s voice is a life-long process.  You need to develop your ability and learn to discern.  It takes trial and error, tracking how He speaks, trying things, and seeing what works and what does not.  You will need to write down the things God is speaking to you.  Go back to it and fill in more later as your understanding grows.

So have you experienced any of the things I am saying here?  If so, be encouraged and learn from it.  Ask God to speak to you today about your life, situation or circumstances and be open to the way it unfolds!


~ Doug Addison

Doug AddisonDoug Addison is a prominent conference speaker captivating audiences with clean stand-up comedy and high energy prophetic messages which he has shared on television, radio and the internet for over a decade.  Doug brings laughter, fun and a unique prophetic style while empowering people to transform their lives, discover their destiny and understand dreams, tattoos and piercings. His powerful messages stay with his audiences long after hearing him.

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