I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of years. I’ve had to go slow about it, because the conclusion that I’m coming to is pretty much exactly the opposite of the things I used to believe and teach. I hate it when that happens, but I’m delighted to have my understanding corrected and my weaponry updated.
Here’s the conclusion I’m coming to: my words are powerful. They change worlds. So do yours. Our words have the power to change this world. In fact, I may go so far as to say, as a wise man has been teaching me, “nothing gets done without there first being a declaration about it.” My declaration. Your declaration. And certainly God’s declaration.
And here are some of the processes that have gone on to change my mind. I need to explain that until these things happened, I had a nice, tidy Calvinist theology: God is going to do what He’s going to do, and maybe my prayers can move Him and maybe they can’t, but if He doesn’t do it, it won’t get done!
- My theology was corrected by a prophetic word. I had not had much exposure to the prophetic back in 1998 when a prophet declared to me, “But you see, when you don’t know that you have that anointing, you’re just praying, ‘Oh God, would you please….’ But when you begin to understand … you begin to say, ‘Move! In the Name of Jesus, you’re coming down!’” That came from a man I had never met before, instructing me to petition God less (OK, to whine at God less) and to declare the thing that that I would previously whined about. That messed me up, particularly as the prophet accurately nailed a couple of other things in my life: I couldn’t dismiss the word in good conscience.
- I had a couple of experiences that my previous theology did not support. I’ve written about one of them here; I won’t repeat the details in this article, but I’ll just say that God used my application of that prophetic word (using declarative prayer rather than petition prayer) to get me the truck of my dreams. In the other experience, some friends asked me as their home-group leader to make a declaration over them, and we were all surprised at the power than was released that night. It changed their lives, and its effectiveness changed my life.
- I’ve been meditating on what it means to be made in God’s image. One of the conclusions I’ve come to is that I get things done the way He got things done, beginning with “And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.” (In fact, I think this verse is describing the Big Bang, but that’s just conjecture.) When God needed to make something happen, he spoke it into being.
- The NT says that I’m seated with Christ, and that He’s seated at the right hand of Father. Father’s sitting in a throne, of course, which means that Jesus is sitting on the next throne over, or Jesus is in the main throne, and Father’s on the other side: either way, if I’m seated with Christ, I’m seated in a throne. He did say, after all, that I am to reign with Him, and that I’m both king and priest. So I’m in the role of king, seated with my big brother Jesus on a throne, doing the work of reigning or ruling my portion of the Kingdom. So how does a king get his will accomplished? He makes decrees. He issues authoritative statements saying, “This is how it’s to be done.” And everybody obeys. Or if they don’t, the army goes and helps them obey.
- As I’ve studied the prophetic gifts, I’ve come to the conclusion that they don’t just communicate information from God to man. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve told, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” with little-to-no effect. But that was one of the most powerful prophetic words I’ve ever spoken. “Uh, God says He loves you…” and this mountain of a man, well schooled in church teachings, broke down and wept like a baby, actually experiencing the affection of His heavenly Father for the first time in years. The true prophetic word carries information, yes, but it also carries the power of God to accomplish that word. When I was moved by God to make declaration about my dream truck, I got the dream truck (and I learned a big lesson!). If I had not spoken that declaration, I’d still be driving a wimpy Honda and whining my prayers.
The point is that in my shoddy Calvinist thinking that my prayers were at the best wishful thinking and at the worst, whining at God, I was horribly mistaken. I’m coming to the conclusion that
We know that our words have the power to seriously wound someone. A very foolish person once said, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” I’m coming to the opinion that if the Bible is really true, and if I’m going to live like it’s true (very big “ifs,” I agree), then it’s the other way around: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can really hurt me.” Our words have power in the realm of the soul: the mind, will, and emotions of ourselves and those around us.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” (I grew up Presbyterian. I still can’t get rid of the “thee’s” and “thou’s” in the Lord’s Prayer!) What shall we do to make that happen? Jesus taught us to forgive peoples’ sins (which we do by speaking). He did not teach us to pray for the sick, but to heal the sick, something far beyond the wishy-washy prayers I heard in Sunday school I think.
That’s enough background. Here’s where I’m going with all this: it’s time for us to wield the word of God as a tool, a weapon. It’s time for us to discern what his heart is on a matter, and to declare that (and yes, I realize that sometimes He’s asking, “Well, what do you think?”). It’s time for us to learn to not just petition God, but also to declare the will of God with authority from our position seated with the Son of God into the matter before us.
In my home group prayer times, we often put someone in the seat in the middle and pray and prophesy over them. I’m getting to the point where I’m insisting that we don’t stop with, “I hear God saying this about you.” Now my team is learning that if they don’t declare that promise over or into the person we’re praying for, that I’ll remind them.
So may I suggest that we pray a little less along the lines of “Oh Lord, would you please…” and a little more “In the name of Jesus, mountain, you get up and move!” Lets begin to rule in our roles as kings and priests.
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