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FSM 318       DO        Tips on Prophecy Meetings--Part 2.

More on transcribing and recording prayer and prophecy meetings.

Compiled by WS Staff        June 1997

Copyright © June 1997 by The Family.

       In this mag we are touching on some more practical tips regarding recording and transcribing the prophecies you receive during your prayer and prophecy meetings. Many of these tips might apply more to Service Homes or bigger Homes that might have larger meetings, and who have the needed equipment to record and transcribe the prophecies, as well as a typist available to do it.
       We realize that if you're a small Home, you might not have a typist or anyone who has the time to transcribe every prophecy your Home receives, or maybe you don't even have a computer to type and store them on. If that's the case in your Home, then some of the points in this mag may not be practical or suitable in your situation. Nevertheless, we hope that you will find other tips listed here to be helpful.
       While we outline a number of points regarding properly recording and transcribing prophecies, there may be times when you are unable to transcribe the prophecies you receive, or when it is unnecessary to do so. For example, if you're a small team on the road asking the Lord for a confirmation on whether to move on to the next town or spend another day witnessing in your present location, you probably would not be able to transcribe the prophecies you receive, and may not even need to. Depending on what message the Lord gives, it may not be necessary to keep a record of those particular prophecies for posterity.
       However, in another scenario you may be praying for the Lord's direction and instruction for your Home on how to go about your Christmas outreach push. In that case, later on during the Christmas season, you may want to refer back to the specific direction the Lord gave, and for that reason you would want to have a record of the prophecies received. Or if you're asking the Lord for specific counsel and/or encouragement for a member of the Home, they would most likely want to have a record of the prophecies on hand to be able to study and review what the Lord had to say.
       Another related point is that you may be seeking the Lord's will on a very simple matter which basically requires a "yes" or "no" type answer from the Lord. However, the Lord often likes to get as much mileage as possible out of the fact that we're stopping to hear from Him. So as you take time to hear His voice, in some cases He may not only answer your question, but also give you additional counsel and or further details that you weren't even expecting or asking for! So if you don't record the prophecy session, thinking that the Lord might not say much or what He does say won't be that important, you might regret it later, as you may miss something important.
       Also, during the prophecy session, because you're concentrating on being a clear channel and passing on what the Lord gives, it's sometimes difficult to remember exactly or in detail everything that the Lord said. You may remember what you received, but not what others received, because while they were prophesying you may have been tuning in to the Lord and trying to retain what He was giving you. So that's another good reason why it's helpful to record the prophecies, so you can later transcribe them and read them again, if possible, in order to make sure you didn't miss any important instruction or details the Lord had to give.
       So to sum it up, for the above reasons we would recommend that when taking time to hear from the Lord -- whether in a large meeting, or a small group of two or three, or even when by yourself -- as much as possible you try to record (onto audio tape or by hand) what the Lord gives. At least you'll have it on record, and you can then decide whether it needs to be transcribed and preserved for posterity or not, depending on whether it's feasible to do so in your situation, or whether the nature of the prophecies is such that you would need to review them or refer back to them in the future.
       In cases where you don't have someone available to transcribe the prophecies, or even a computer to type them on, you could listen to the tapes and take notes of the main points the Lord said. At least then you'll have some record of the counsel the Lord gave, even if it's not word for word. Then you can reuse the tapes, if necessary, unless the prophecy is very important, in which case you can keep the tape as a record (until such time in the future that you have the opportunity to transcribe it). When you receive prophecies for individuals, they can be given the tape to keep, especially prophecies received for important occasions such as marriages, moves, pioneering new ministries, prayers of deliverance, etc.
       You may not have a dictaphone right now, in which case someone should take notes during the prophecy session. They can try to write down as much as possible, or at least the main points.
       On the subject of not having dictaphones or computers to use in the ministry of prophecy, it would be well worth the investment of time and energy to try to provision these items or raise the funds to buy them, because this ministry is only going to become more and more important as time goes on. Your gifts of prophecy will grow as you exercise them more, and with time you'll likely be doing more prophesying, both for your personal instruction, guidance and encouragement, and for your friends, contacts and supporters, etc. The prophecies that you will be receiving are extremely important, so you certainly will want to do all you can to make sure you have a reliable means of recording and preserving the prophecies, so nothing is lost!
       There have been many Family revolutions and moves of the Spirit that required new equipment, and the Lord has always supplied, due to the faith and ingenuity of our dear Family! Just think, in the past the Lord has supplied equipment for our Homes that was much more expensive than little dictaphones and audio tapes. When Dad got the inspiration from the Lord about the video circuit, Homes invested in expensive video cameras, players and televisions. When he launched the mobile ministry, the Lord supplied very expensive caravans and vehicles.
       Now with the computer vision, many of you have obtained computers, CD-ROM players, printers, modems, etc. And the cost of this equipment is minimal compared to how abundantly the Lord has supplied for major missionary moves such as "Go South" or "Go East" or the saturation of Eastern Europe with the Word. So, comparatively speaking, it's really not much to ask that you please try as best you can to outfit your Home with the proper equipment needed to efficiently record and preserve the prophecies the Lord gives you.

       There are many different types of tape recorders that could be used to record your prophecy meetings. We will cover as many options as we can, from the simplest to more elaborate recording setups.
       First of all, the main piece of equipment needed is a tape player that can record. This can be a compact cassette player such as a recording Walkman or tape deck, or a microcassette recorder (such as a dictaphone). A dictaphone is recommended, as it is the best and most portable of all of the above. There are affordable name-brand models available that are relatively inexpensive and offer reasonable quality. However, if you do not have a dictaphone available, other alternatives, such as a recording Walkman or tape deck, could work just fine.
       Let's assume that all you have available is a tape recorder with a built-in microphone, such as a large tape deck or a "boom box." With this type of recorder, it would be advisable to have those participating sit as closely as is comfortably possible around the tape player, which could, for example, be placed on a coffee table at the center of the circle. If you have a large group of people who you expect to give prophecies, however, this particular setup may prove to be a logistical (and acoustical) problem. It could also cause difficulties for the person who transcribes the tape, because the machine may not be capable of clearly picking up the voices of everyone in the room.
       It is important to keep in mind that the recording should be as clear as possible to make it easy for the person who later transcribes the prophecies. If the recording is inaudible or muffled due to the incorrect placement of the tape recorder or overestimating the recorder's capability, it can make life quite difficult for the poor typist who has to try to decipher the unintelligible drone of a faint recording.
       Therefore, using a large tape recorder with a built-in microphone has its limitations. (With this type of recording setup, it would be advisable to do an initial test from the different places where people are sitting, to be sure that the tape recorder can pick up all the voices clearly.)
       If you do have access to a setup that is handheld, such as a recording Walkman or dictaphone, this makes recording easier and can accommodate a much larger crowd. The person responsible for recording can then move freely from person to person as the prophecies are given. Alternatively, if they don't find it too distracting, each person can pick up the recorder and hold it themselves as they give their prophecy, setting it back down in the middle when they're done. (See "{\ul \i Recording Tips for PPMs}" on pg.4.)
       By far the most convenient setup is the use of a dictaphone with an external conference microphone. Sony has mono conference "condenser" microphones that range from US$20 to $150, available in most areas worldwide, which can record up to 15 to 25 feet away. (An inexpensive model is the Sony ECM F8 Electret Condenser Microphone. Better models are more expensive.) In this case, both large and small groups can be recorded from the same position, and rather than having to walk around, the person responsible for recording simply monitors the recording with a headset or earphone, from a central location.
       Conference microphones remove little distractions, such as the movement of the person holding the tape recorder, and the pauses needed for him to move from one person to the next. They also alleviate the strain on the person having to hold the recorder during long prophecy sessions.
       If it is possible for your Home to buy or provision a dictaphone, and you would like to also use an external conference microphone, be sure that the dictaphone you will use it with has an external microphone jack so you can plug it in.
       In addition to this, if possible and available, a second backup dictaphone can be used as a fail-safe measure just in case your main machine malfunctions or misses a prophecy or portion of a prophecy due to batteries going dead, a faulty wire, a stuck tape, or other unforeseen circumstances. It is very sad when a beautiful prophecy is lost due to a tape recorder problem. Having a backup setup insures that the recording is safe.
       However, if you find that something went wrong and you didn't get an important prophecy recorded, don't despair. That has happened to us a few times too, and in each case we just asked the Lord to give the prophecy again, which He was always very willing to do. (See Jeremiah 36:32.) Praise the Lord! He is the One Who gives the prophecy the first time, so if need be, He can give it again. So it's never really "lost." But it certainly is more time efficient to get it recorded the first time around!
       Please note that the recording of some tape recorders is affected by the volume setting at the time of the recording. If your tape recorder has this feature, then you'll need to be sure to check the volume before you begin, to make sure it is up high enough to insure a clear recording. (In most tape recorders, however, the volume control only affects the playback sound, but has nothing to do with the quality or level of the recording.)

Following are a few hints which are basic prerequisites for good, clear recordings:
       * Keep the tape recorder in good working order. Regular cleaning of tape recorder heads is a must. This can make the difference between a good and bad recording. For best results, be sure to use the right solutions and cleaning swabs. 100% isopropyl alcohol (not 70%, etc.) and lint-free foam swabs (rather than cotton swabs) are recommended.
       * Before starting the prophecy session, do a sound check to make sure that your tape recorder or dictaphone is recording clearly. This is very important, or you could finish the prophecy session only to realize that the tape was faulty, or the microphone was plugged in incorrectly, the batteries were low, etc., and the prophecies were missed. It's happened before!
       * If you're planning on transcribing the prophecies, it is usually helpful to encourage the soft-spoken people to sit as close to the recorder or microphone as possible, whether you are using an external conference microphone or not. Conference microphones are designed to record voices that are far away from the microphone itself, but to make it as easy as possible for the transcriptionist to decipher the recording, it is advisable to encourage those with softer delivery to sit closer and make an effort to speak louder.
       * As a general rule, in order to obtain a clear and understandable recording, try to speak up and enunciate clearly when giving your prophecy, and avoid putting your hands over or around your mouth, etc.
       * When using a handheld recorder, please be sure to hold it close enough to your mouth to get a loud recording (around four or five inches, or 10 to 12 cm). Most recording problems are attributed, if anything, to having the microphone too far away, rather than too close. It's better to have it too close and have a little hiss and a little bit of distortion than not have it not close enough, to where you just can't hear the prophecy.
       * If you are using an external or conference microphone, be sure to handle it with care, because if it is dropped it can be seriously damaged. If the microphone is handheld, be aware that finger movement can muffle the recording. Also avoid placing it too close to fans, noisy computers, or other equipment which may produce background noise.
       * It helps to have a designated steward of the recording equipment. If possible, assign someone to maintain the upkeep of your equipment. Clean recording heads, refresh batteries when needed, and store equipment in an accessible location, yet out of harm's way.
       * Using a power adapter for your recording setup can save on expensive batteries. (This mainly applies if you use a centralized recording setup with a conference mike. If you're using a portable handheld setup where you have to be constantly moving around the room, then a power adapter wouldn't be convenient.)
       * If your dictaphone has two speeds, setting it to the faster 2.4 speed will give you better quality than the slower 1.2 speed.
       * In a large group, if you are using a handheld portable setup, it is a good idea to establish some ground rules at the beginning of your meeting, to make it possible for the person holding the dictaphone to catch everyone's prophecies. (See question #2 in FSM 317, pg.5.) Following are some further tips which may prevent prophecies being lost:
       * Raise your hand if you are about to give a prophecy (this gives the person recording a chance to get the microphone to you before you start), or
       * Begin slowly praising the Lord to indicate that you are ready to give a prophecy. Again, this allows time for the person doing the recording to approach and prepare to record.
       * If you have begun your prophecy, but the recorder isn't close enough yet, pause while the person bringing the recorder comes over. Then repeat the beginning of your prophecy.
       * It is recommended to keep the tape recorder on "record" during the prophecy session, rather than pausing it after each person gives something. This prevents the problem of someone accidentally forgetting to turn the machine back on and losing a prophecy, or portions of prophecies.
       * If your dictaphone has a voice-activated feature, it is best to turn this off, because it can take a second or two to activate the record mode each time someone begins speaking, thus causing you to lose the beginning of each prophecy or of each sentence.
       * Have spare batteries on hand, as well as a supply of blank tapes in the recording kit. If available, a battery checker can be helpful to make sure the batteries will last the duration of your meeting. (Rechargeable batteries are not as reliable, as they run out of juice suddenly, so it is recommended to use either alkaline batteries or a power adapter whenever possible.)
       * If you are using rechargeable batteries, someone should keep a close eye on the dictaphone, making sure that the batteries have not run out. Also, since rechargeable batteries are less reliable, it's important that you check them before the recording with a battery tester to make sure they're fully charged.
       * If the person recording notices that the tape is nearing the end of a side and someone has just finished their prophecy, it is best to go ahead and flip or change the tape, even if that side of the tape isn't completely full. This avoids having to stop someone in the middle of their prophecy later while you turn the tape over. However, if this is not possible and you see that the tape is coming to the end, it is advisable to quietly instruct the person speaking to pause while you flip the tape. You can quietly say, "Please pause," while you flip the tape, and then notify them when the tape recorder begins recording once again. (Tip: As a visual aid, the person recording can check his watch to see the 30-minute mark when a normal 60-minute tape should end on one side, which is often easier than having to look at how much tape has run.)
       * It is important for the person recording the prophecies to keep an eye on the tape recorder, to periodically visually check to be sure it is recording and everything is functioning normally. Check to see that the tape is moving, and that the red running light is bright and flickering, if the recorder has this feature. (If the red light is dull, the batteries may be low.) This is particularly recommended on tape recorders that do not "click" or "beep" when the tape has reached its end.
       * In cases where you're asking for the Lord's counsel on a somewhat complex or involved issue, it is sometimes helpful to record the prayer at the beginning of the prophecy meeting, where the question is spelled out. This makes the situation clear for future reference and interpretation, as it's helpful to know what questions were presented to the Lord, when going over His answers. In fact, when interpreting prophecy, it's sometimes crucial to know exactly what questions you asked the Lord, as in some cases that can make a big difference in finding the correct interpretation.
       * It is advisable to continue recording until all prophecies, verses, visions, and impressions from the Lord have been given, and even to keep the recorder going until any discussion is over. (If transcribing the prophecies, it may often not be necessary to transcribe the discussion afterwards, but at least you'll have it on tape in case you need to.) Those who may not have had an opportunity to give what they received, perhaps due to the meeting time drawing to a close, could privately add their prophecy or message to the tape after the meeting, so that it can be transcribed with the rest.
       * It's helpful to keep the tapes for a week or two after the prophecy session has been transcribed, in case the file is lost or you need to verify the transcript with the tape.
       * It's nice for several people to be familiar with the recording procedures and equipment, so that there is always someone available to record a prayer session.
       * Be sure to label the tapes clearly. It is very important to keep all your tapes labeled so that the person typing the prophecies knows exactly what the tape contains. It helps to include the topic of prophecy meeting, date, and duration of tape or number of tapes, as well as indicate which number tape it is, if more than one tape is used. (For example: "Housing, 12/2/97, tape 1 of 2"; or "Housing, b.u. [EDITED: "meaning "backup""] tape 1 of 2, 12/2/97.") There are different types of small adhesive labels available that are easy to remove, which is a help when it is time to erase and reuse the tape.
       * The person responsible for recording should be alert and in tune with the equipment and people present, even above personally getting prophecies. This is particularly true when in a large group. The Lord knows it is a sacrifice in some ways to take on this responsibility, because recording can take all your concentration, in order to stay aware of and monitoring what is going on. But it's a great blessing and help to everyone, enabling the Lord's important Words to be kept, studied, and applied. If someone in your Home does not have the gift of prophecy, then it would be better for him or her to monitor the recording than one of your Home members who is more experienced or gifted at receiving prophecy. Sometimes, however, people are able to handle the recording and also receive a prophecy themselves. It just depends on the individual.
       * Most of the above points apply primarily to larger groups, such as a whole Home getting together to hear from the Lord about something, etc. However, as you get used to hearing from the Lord as a team -- for example, within your teamwork, or if you're a small Home with only four adults -- then you'll probably find recording a prophecy meeting much simpler and more informal. For example, in our Home when small teams of two or three people get together to pray and hear from the Lord about a certain matter, they'll often just set the dictaphones down on a table or chair or the bed between them, and then each will take turns picking up the dictaphones and giving their prophecy, without having to have an assigned "recorder," etc. Small prayer and prophecy meetings can be very informal. You can even lie on a bed or relax in comfy chairs or couches, and just pass the dictaphones back and forth between you as you give your prophecies.

The main thing is just to get on tape what the Lord said, in case you need to refer back to it or transcribe it. But it doesn't have to be a big deal and can be very informal, depending on the setting and how used you are to hearing from the Lord together as a team.
       * As we mentioned above, it may not be feasible or even necessary for you to transcribe every prophecy session you have personally or as a Home. Sometimes taking notes on what the Lord said is sufficient. However, if someone in your Home is able to transcribe the prophecy sessions, you may find it very beneficial to do so -- at least the most important ones that you need to have on record. In that case, here are some tips that may be a help to you. Some of these points may apply more to Service Homes or larger Homes who have a secretary.
       * If a short summary or report is needed immediately after the prophecy session (even before the prophecies are transcribed), it might be helpful to have someone who was at the meeting write up a "brief" of what was said, to give to the person who the prophecy meeting was for, if they were not at the meeting, and/or for the shepherds if they were also not there. The brief would give a summary of what the Lord said, the bottom line or brief answer to the question or questions asked. Those reading such a brief would need to keep in mind that it is a quick summary from this one person's point of view, and they might see things somewhat differently when they read the full transcript of the prophecies. (Such "briefs" can also be done verbally.)
       * When you've had a prayer and prophecy meeting for an individual about their personal situation and they were not in the meeting, it sometimes happens that not everything that the Lord gave is intended to be given to them personally. Some of it may be counsel for the teamwork or the shepherds, so those going over the prophecies should prayerfully discern if the whole session is appropriate to share with the person involved.
       * In some cases you may also want to edit out the names of those who gave the prophecies when passing on a printed copy of the prophecies to the person that they were for or about, as this can sometimes (but not always) distract from the message that the Lord has given by getting people focused on the personalities who gave the message, instead of the message itself. Who received the message from the Lord shouldn't make any difference to the person for whom the prophecies were given, as the person receiving the prophecy is just a channel, but unfortunately sometimes it does. So to avoid the person being distracted, it's often best to delete the names of who gave which prophecy, verse or vision.
       * It is very important for the typist to get it right in the transcription. Just one or two wrong or omitted words can greatly alter the meaning of what the Lord said, so it is best to go the extra step to insure accuracy. If the secretary is not sure what a person is saying because their words are indistinct or soft, or the recording is muffled or fuzzy, it is important to take the time to check it out with the person who actually gave that prophecy. Otherwise, while you may assume you are hearing the unclear section properly, you may be typing words which are not what the Lord said at all. Again, the person who gave the prophecy should take care not to edit what the Lord said, but only correct what was misunderstood by the typist, if they can remember it.
       * As a double check, if you have the time and someone available to do so, it can help to have the entire transcription proofread by someone who was at the meeting. If in doubt about the accuracy of the transcription, the checker could re-listen to parts of the tape or check with the person who gave the prophecy. Anyone can make typos or misunderstand words without meaning to, so a double check can act as a further safeguard to insure the Lord's Words are accurately recorded.

The following testimony is a good example of a misunderstanding that can result when only a few words are inaccurate in a transcription.
       (From an area shepherd:) I was reading the prophecies that we had received for a YA who had come for a visit to our Home and was praying about returning to the field he had just come from, and I noticed a significant error in the transcribing that actually changed the meaning of what we had received.
{\b \i        }What was {\ul \i transcribed} was: "Keep here for a little season, to learn the things that will help you to be a better missionary. ..." But what was actually {\ul \i said} was something along the lines of: "I have had you here for a little season to learn the things that will make you a better missionary. ..." I double checked this with two other people who had been present in the prophecy session, and they confirmed this -- that what was being said was that he's {\ul \i been here} to learn those things, but not necessarily that he needs to {\ul \i stay} to learn those things.
{\b \i        }Part of the problem could be that the beginning of the message was missed when the tape recorder was passed. So we wondered if it might be best to have whoever gave the prophecy, or at least one of the people who were present at the prophecy session, always read over the transcript or notes before they are passed on -- especially as people could be basing major decisions on what is given. I also wonder if it might be good to inform the secretaries who are typing these messages to be extra thorough, and if they don't clearly understand a word or phrase or if they miss the beginning of a sentence, not to {\ul \i guess} at it, but to {\ul \i ask} the one who gave the prophecy to clarify it.
       Here is a quote from LNF 152, GN 504, about recording prophecies: "It's the Word of the Lord, and every Word counts: the way God expresses it, how He puts it. If you don't get it just like the Lord puts it, you might miss a little shade of meaning." So unless the people receiving the prophecies can check these transcriptions themselves, it might be a little like that game "gossip," where you verbally try to pass a message through a group of people and see how inaccurate it comes out in the end -- ha! The LNF goes on to say: "There's nothing more important than the Word of God and His precious revelations and His most recent, timely, up-to-the-minute Word -- recording it, receiving it, thinking about it, trying to get the interpretation, the meaning, the significance, and passing it on to others that it might be a help and blessing to. There's hardly anything more important than God's freshest and newest and most immediate revelation -- which must have something to do with something current for which you needed that particular Word from the Lord!" ("Keep On Believing!" ML #1268:22).

Copyright (c) 1997 by The Family