How to Avoid Prophetic Shipwrecks

Anchor and Helm. Nautical designsHow to Avoid Prophetic Shipwrecks
Doug Addison

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 God 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 reality is that 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.

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

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 Addison is a prophetic dream interpreter, speaker, writer, Life Coach, and stand-up comedian. Doug travels the world bringing a message of love, hope, and having fun! His unique style helps open people to discover their destiny and experience God’s supernatural love and power. Doug is an award-winning author of seven books. He and his wife Linda live in Los Angeles, California.

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  1. Reply

    You’ve impsresed us all with that posting!

    • Karmen Thompson
    • May 1, 2015

    Excellant. Thank you for this. 🙂

  2. Reply

    Thank you so much for this article “How to Avoid Prophetic Shipwrecks”. Thank you, thank you. It is so very good, useful and freeing. Bless you!!

  3. Reply

    Thank you for your words. My wife and I moved to this place in Thailand, because we felt God’s leading to go, we see many direct confirmations that my understanding of His guidance to be right, yet the financial is choking us. Two days ago we lost a lot due to heavy winds throwing our business cart to the ground, yet we still believe it is the right thing, the right time and the right place.
    Have you thought since JPJ’s passing that you have a mantle to carry on? I was just thinking about it as I was rereading your article. A Fellow servant in the far east.

    • Linda
    • April 22, 2015

    thank you for the encouraging word. We delivered in North Hollywood and the people walking around had such a vacant look in their eyes. (truck drivers) I prayed for the people as my heart hurt for the people. A place of great need for the Holy Spirit to move. Many blessings to you and your wife.

  4. Reply

    Thank you so much for insight! You were definitely right on time! God Bless you

    • Hendrix Lialabi
    • April 21, 2015

    this is inspiring,i want 2 learn more on prophetic,send me pamphlets,dvd

    • Sharon
    • April 21, 2015

    These are so helpful Doug- thank you sooooo much!

  5. Reply

    Doug I went to one of your dream conferences in Dallas and I was blown away at the way you ministered and made it so much fun and you were so down to earth. We ended up needing a ride to the hotel about four of us and your team and you took us there and while in the car the spirit hit you and all of us in the car that all we could do was just laugh and laugh and got lost. But we were above blessed and just how normal you were!!! Some leaders I believe are afraid to just be theirselves. you were just you and it was so refreshing. thank you and you send me a message where you gave a word in April that just came at the right time for us. after losing everything and starting all over again in our old age. But God is God and we are going to be fine and THANKS TO YOUR WORDS. BLESSING AGAIN FROM ELMA

    • Colleen Alvarez
    • April 21, 2015

    thank you for word that’s hits straight on

    • Mark
    • April 21, 2015

    Excellent word. Great advice.

  6. Reply

    Thank you for this blog! Very insightful as I’m praying about major life decisions, going back to get my masters, a few business opportunities, ministry options, and relocating/moving!

    • Beverly Dennison
    • April 21, 2015

    Thank you Doug!
    Your message was right on. I have experienced exactly the things you’ve shared. The ‘Word’ I’d like to spot-light is the very last word you wrote – ‘Unfold’! There is no other way to describe the last 6 years, heading into a 7-year journey of going deeper and higher with the LORD. I also was literally moving from place to place as well, as God ‘Unfolded’ the next step.
    May God continue to Bless you and your family abundantly! You are greatly loved and appreciated.
    In His Keeping, Beverly 😀

    • David Mast
    • April 21, 2015

    Thank you Doug! This is very helpful and encouraging! Be blessed.

    • suzanne carson
    • April 21, 2015

    Dear Doug,
    Thank you. Need more of this teaching.

    • Theresa
    • April 21, 2015

    Hello,yes this has happened to me. I wentTo talk to someone about an event. Felt very strongly that the person would give me a yes on this event. But he gave me a NO. I felt God tell me we were going to get a yes very very strongly we were going to get a yes but instead we got a NO, that blew me away but is somebody told me even though God may say yes it is in our flesh that gets in the way and makes us say no.

    • Karen
    • April 21, 2015

    Doug, I am starting to think I have been “over-responding” for the past 20 years and again am stagnant. My finances are ruined, I get part time work for about 7 months then they let us go and it just happened again! The last job I got took two years to get! My house is for sale…Blah…I can’t seem to get connected to a church…I am very discouraged and alone, again. I’ve had so many dreams and words spoken over me and have most written down, I also am painting, it seems my life story but don’t know what to do with it. I don’t feel ship wrecked, I feel I have missed the boat all together. How can I get some counsel on this? Any suggestions? Thanks for your Daily Words of Encouragement to us all. Blessings, Karen

    • Janette Hamilton
    • April 21, 2015

    How To Avoid Prophetic Shipwrecks answers so many questions for me. Hollywood is not a place but an industry was a powerful “eye-opening revelation for me, as was brush strokes rather than exacts. I intend to read this to my “Dreams and Visions” class at my church. Thanks!

    • Gifty
    • April 21, 2015

    I think I have missed a lot of God’s directions to me I do not how to listen i have been praying for God to help, recently I dreamthat of seeing a huge building like a parking lot building and it was sitting in darkness but when I got closer to it suddenly lights came on and I saw the color of the building it was white,I really don’t know what it meant if you can help me please I don’t want to kiss God’s words to me anymore

    • Lyndee Coleman
    • April 21, 2015

    This is such a comfort and encouragement, thank you for sharing.

    • Meechie
    • April 21, 2015

    Doug, thanks for this word, it couldn’t have come at a better time as I am shipwrecked right now. It is by far the worst shipwreck ever. It’s so bad that I beginning to believe that I am lost at see forever. I look and listen for God everyday, my hope is like the waves of sea being tossed up and down. Many times I see land but, I can’t seem to reach it. Its frustrating.
    In all honesty I want to give up and walk away from the whole christian life. I’m tired of the struggles that I am constantly faced with in walking with God.

    • Lydia muthoni
    • April 21, 2015

    l am really blessed by this insight.

    • Linda Thatcher
    • April 21, 2015

    I told three Lord I would go anywhere even for just one soul. He moved me from Arkansas to California for one person. E became friends for 17 yrs before she passed away. Teaching her the word what it meant, etc. He moved me to Texas in 2013 and I’m still waiting to find out why.

    • Kim
    • April 21, 2015

    Thank you. I have been questioning where I went wrong. Like you I was looking for specifics. I have been hearing the Liberty Bell and hearing the word freedom lately. Thank God and thank you for sharing.

    • Rachel M
    • April 21, 2015

    This piece is so spot on. God bless you Doug for the way you keep pouring yourself out to edify and equip the church. You are the blessed of the Lord. Shalom.

    • ChelliahJayaseelan
    • April 21, 2015

    Very fine practical teaching.God bless you and your dear wife.Amen,

    • Glory
    • April 21, 2015

    I really appreciate what you are sharing here. Yes, I see lots of relevance to what our family is experiencing even now. The points you make about over interpreting propehtic words, looking into many details and unaware that God often would like to partner with us than to dictate us…they are making sense to me for the calling and even the physical move our family been seeking God and trying to make over the past two years! Thank you Doug. We are still in that transition, as you’ve said, learning to discern and hear God’s voice. Blessings! Please keep writing and sharing.

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