If we pay attention, we can “read” people. We really can, even if we don’t realize what we’re doing. Have you ever walked into a room and instantly sensed something wrong? Nobody said anything, but the silence was significant. Most of us have had such experiences, and that’s not being spiritual, at least not in the divine sense.
How people respond to our thoughts and questions tell us a lot about what they’re thinking. With a little practice using this “sixth sense,” we might have others believing we are clairvoyant or psychic—even divinely prophetic.
First, become a master at telling people what they want to hear. If they like you, they’ll want to believe you, even if what you say isn’t true. As long as your words sound right and are encouraging, people will support you. They might even call you a prophet or “God’s special messenger.”
The biblical test of true prophets was whether their predictions really happened. If they didn’t, these fakers were not to be feared (Deuteronomy 18:21:22). They also were never stoned. Why? Because they were saying what people wanted to hear. But the true prophets were killed (Luke 11:47), and people wanted to stone Jesus for saying what they didn’t want to hear (John 10:31–33).
For people to feel like you are in touch with them spiritually, make insightful-sounding statements that could apply everywhere, at least to some degree. If they object or appear uncomfortable, immediately shift to the opposite point of view. Offer both sides of the coin and agree with whichever option they turn up, which they will do, given the fact that they want to believe.
Without any divine connection, you can be a pandering prophet, reaching deep into people souls with what are called “Barnum” statements—designed to sound specific while offering the listener complete flexibility in whatever interpretation they choose. Here are a few examples:
  • “I sense that you sometimes want to be alone, but at other times you want to reach out.” (Sounds like I know you, but isn’t that true of everyone?)
  • “Did you have an accident as a child, one you’ve never forgotten?” (Childhood accidents are always memorable, and we all have them. But it sounds like I know a part of your unpublished history.)
  • “You have a loved one who has died, and that has left you with an empty feeling.” (Has anyone lost a loved one and not had an empty feeling?)
To have friends, we must be friendly (Proverbs 18:24), and as much as we can, we want to be at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). But we don’t have to be pandering prophets to have friends and influence people. All we must do is show genuine care. Some will appreciate hearing the truth, even if it hurts.
Woe to the politically correct, those who say what people want to hear, for that is what their fathers liked about the false prophets. — Luke 6:26 from Eyewitness: The Life of Christ Told in One Story
Even if you’re not a Derren Brown fan, you should still appreciate some of his insights.