There is a lot of bad teaching out there regarding prayer and spiritual warfare. Today, I want to address the blasphemous “I decree and declare” type prayers. We aren’t called to pray that way. If you are reading this blog and are unfamiliar with Pentecostal or Charismatic teaching on spiritual warfare, I don’t want to create a strawman in your mind, take a moment to see the sort of teaching we are addressing.
Source: Charisma Mag (read with caution)
Decreeing and declaring are becoming more popular in Christian circles.
Often people begin their prayers by saying, “I decree and declare. …” The two words have distinctly different meaning though, and by understanding what they mean, we can more powerfully harness the power of what each does.
The word declare comes from the Hebrew achvah, meaning “to make known” or “to set forth an accounting.” It is commonly used by customs agents who ask international travelers, “Do you have anything to declare?” The agents are asking for specifics of what you have, what you are carrying.
As it pertains to us spiritually, declarations are what we speak into the atmosphere, making known what we already have possession of. We can declare our righteousness, our salvation, our eternal victory and our friendship with God.
Into the atmosphere? No. We don’t pray to the atmosphere, to nature, to men, to angels, or to demons. We pray to God. So, unless we are offering up prayers to false gods, this should severely limit what we should be decreeing and declaring to God in our prayers to Him.
What we already have possession of? Repentance. For it is by God’s Grace that we have been saved, through Faith, and that faith isn’t of ourselves, it is the Gift of God… that no one should boast (paraphrasing Eph 2:8-9).
We can declare our righteousness? Sure, if by doing so you are confessing you have none of your own. Your greatest good work is stained by sin. Declare your unrighteousness… by confessing and repenting to God.
We can declare our salvation, our eternal victory? Yes. If we are talking prayer, it still falls under confession and repentance because we are talking to God. I would rather this declaration be set in the context of Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to both the believing and the lost.
Source: Charisma Mag (cont…)
By contrast, decrees are a tool by which we cause the truths of the heavenly realm to be manifest into the natural realm so they become our daily reality. We decree healing when we are sick. We decree provision and abundance when we are lacking. We decree peace when there is turmoil. Decrees are a tool to fulfill Matthew 6:10: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (KJV). Decrees manifest heaven on earth.
The English definition of decree is “a statement of truth that carries the authority of a court order.” For example, when a defendant is convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison, he cannot ignore that sentence because the authority of the court order is such that upon conviction, he has no further say in the matter.
The same is true with decrees in the spiritual realm. When we decree God’s provision and blessings over our lives, then anything purposed against our provision and blessing can have no further say in the matter. When we decree God’s peace and unity in our family, then anything purposed against peace and unity has no valid objection or standing to come against us.
We cause the truths of the heavenly realm to be manifest into the natural realm? No, no, no…. no… no. Just…. no. God does the work as He sees fit. He is sovereign over all of creation. Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and we do not cause anything to be manifest in the natural. I mean, this is supposed to be prayer, right? We are praying to God and telling Him what we truths we will cause to be manifest? Seriously? No. To presume to do the work of telling God what to manifest is to commit the sin of blasphemy. He alone is God.
When we decree God’s provision and blessings over our lives, then anything purposed against our provision and blessing can have no further say in the matter. What a lie. God made no such promises in Scripture. This false teaching is what shipwrecks faith… by leading sheep to place their faith in empty promises. This isn’t prayer… this is sorcery. This turns the notion of prayer into a “spell of protection”. This is dangerous theology… blasphemous within the context of prayer. This isn’t prayer. And when these false promises turn up empty, you’ve left the sheep completely exposed to the wolves to be devoured… and their blood is on your hands.
It is Written
Let’s get a little perspective now.
John 1:1-16 (ESV) | The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
Jesus is God in the flesh, the God-Man. It is as inexplicable as it is inescapable. Jesus Is. Through Him all things were created and with Him not anything made was made. This is important to note going into the next couple of passages.
Matthew 4:1-11 (ESV) | The Temptation of Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
A couple of notes here. Firstly, Satan came to Jesus to tempt and distract Jesus. Jesus responds “it is Written”. Such a powerful response coming from the One who Is the Word Made Flesh. If anyone could have decreed and declared of His own, it would be Jesus… yet He deferred to what He has already said and caused to be Written. Even when He told Satan “Be gone” Jesus qualified it “for it is written”. Secondly… Jesus isn’t praying to Satan. He isn’t praying to the atmosphere. He was fasting (an act of humble Worship to God the Father), became hungry, and Satan came to tempt. Notice how Satan first tempted Jesus… to have Him command (decree) the stones be made into bread.
On the issue of prayer, we’ve addressed how Jesus answered the request of His disciples to teach them how to pray. Teach Us to Pray.
What I decree and declare
That I am a sinner in need of a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was in the Beginning, who came to fulfill the Promise, pay the price of sin I couldn’t pay by His death on the cross, who rose victorious over sin and death, and ascended into Heaven until the Day of His Return to judge the living and the dead. Let’s look at what Paul declared in his letter to the Philippians.
Philippians 3 (ESV)| Righteousness Through Faith in Christ
3 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Straining Toward the Goal
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Please stop reading books and magazine articles by self-proclaimed “spiritual warfare” gurus that teach you to treat the Bible as a spell book, and encourage you to blaspheme what you do not understand (Jude 8-10; 2 Peter 2).
James 1:2-5 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Many misuse this verse as a springboard to promoting direct-revelation from God. God has already given us all that we need in the Scriptures. Learn to read the Bible as a revelation of Christ (how the Bible describes itself) rather than some guidebook about you.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Learn to pray the Lord’s Prayer as He taught His disciples to pray. Learn to pray the Psalms, in many of them the first-person pronouns are Jesus, not David or you. Prayer is a gift from God for those who have been adopted through His Son, Jesus. And when it comes time to pray ex corde (from the heart), let the Lord’s Prayer and the 10 commandments guide your prayers. Remember to whom you’re praying (1-2 Commandment), honor Him in your prayer, do not make petitions based on anger (murder), covetousness, jealousy, etc. Finally, I do not recommend reading Charisma Mag for any spiritual guidance whatsoever. It is one of many “christian” tabloids spreading false-doctrines and promoting false teachers.
In Christ Jesus,