Declare and Decree!

Your words have power!  Name it and claim it!  If you believe it, you can receive it!

Speak your desires into being (decree) appears to be the “new thing” in some Christian circles. Yes, you can declare and decree something and expect it to  happen. Its old banner was the “Name it and claim it” practice. It has just been repurposed or updated, but its result is the same.

What does it mean to “Declare and Decree” or “Decree and Declare”? I looked at several sources, but found it aptly described on  Prophetic Declarations, a webpage of Paula White,  Pentecostal Christian televangelist, and a Senior Pastor of Christian Center.

On her page, it is described as a tool to be used in prayer. Some excerpts from her page describe this practice.

  “…the ability to decree future events in your life is not only a legitimate form of prayer, but one of the most practical and effective ways to engage in this ascetic practice.”

” When we make prophetic declarations,  what we say becomes firm in the Spirit first. Then, it’s only a matter of time until what we have spoken in the spiritual realm manifest itself in the natural. It is important to note that when you speak a prophetic declaration, you speak it in the present, as if you already have it (Mark 11:23-24).”

Teachers, in these circles will always use scriptures to support this teaching. In fact, followers are told to use the Word as the basis, and on this same webpage an example is  provided.

“Father in the name of Jesus, I decree and declare that I am now healed according to your word. I confess according to Isaiah 53:5 that by your stripes I am already healed. I declare that according to 3 John 2, above all things I prosper, I am in health, even as my soul prospers. I thank you that I now walk in divine health.”

Here, the person declares that they are healed using scriptures to support their claim. Yes, their body may still have the physical manifestation of the illness, but their declaration, their words, they believe will become manifested in the future, so they speak as if they are no longer in bad health, as if they are already healed. Some other scriptures that are used to support this teaching:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Proverbs 18:21a KJV

“Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee; and the light shall shine upon they ways.” Job 22:28 KJV

 Mark 11:23-24 was cited earlier as the proof text.

“For verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatever he saith. 24 Therefore, I say unto you, Whatever things ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them.”

I admit when I was young in the faith, that scripture was difficult to understand; because I did and do have faith in God, which is the preceding verse – “Have faith in God” . Yet there were some things that I have prayed for that did not happen. I did not get certain jobs, and people died in spite of prayers for healing.

Can I declare and decree myself into health, wealth and prosperity? Do my words have that kind of power? Does God play any part in this?

A declaration also known as affirmations probably became popular during the “Positive Thinking” era of the late Pastor Robert Schuller, who was inspired by late author Norman Vincent Peale, who wrote “The Power of Positive Thinking”.

Decrees are orders, or commands typically given by someone with authority and because of that authority is carried out, like  when Herod ordered that all male infants two years and under be killed. Herod had the authority. An even greater authority, the greatest authority is found in God. When God decrees something, it happens and no one or nothing can thwart it, like when he said “Let there be light” and there was light.

Does the Bible mean that I can speak life into existence, or healing in sickness, when it says that death and life are in the power of the tongue? It is important to always look at context, and other scriptures to ensure we get an understanding. A commentary by Matthew Henry uses another scripture to interpret Proverbs 18:21, namely, Matthew 12:37. He states that man’s foul tongue can either cause his own death by his tongue or the death of others or a gentle tongue save his life, or the life of others.

“For by the words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:37 KJV

Matthew Henry’s commentary on Job also explains Eliphaz’s counsel to Job in Job 22:28. He explains that another way to state it is: “Thou shalt frame all thy projects and purposes with so much wisdom, and issue of them shall be to thy heart’s content, just as thou wouldst have it to be. Thou shalt commit thy works unto the Lord by faith and prayer, and then thy thoughts shall be established; thou shalt be easy and pleased, whatever occurs.”

To me, this means we submit our prayers, our plans, our desires to him because only God is Sovereign, and can bring things to pass. Our prayers, plans and desires must be consistent with his will. (I John 5:14) We’ve seen this illustrated by Jesus Christ, who in his humanity cried out: “…Father remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.” Luke 22:42 He, Jesus Christ, submitted his will to God’s will.

This is what the “declare and decree” practice lacks. It lacks any consideration of what the will of God may be. It may be God’s will that I don’t get a certain job, or God’s will that healing doesn’t take place. God has purposes that we don’t know. He told the Apostle Paul, who had asked that his thorn in the flesh be removed, “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” So the Apostle Paul responded by saying:

“Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, than I am strong.” II Corinthians 12:10

I believe this “declare and decree” practice robs us of real dependence upon God. We don’t see this practice illustrated anywhere in the Bible. The leper recognized his leprosy, the lame and blind recognized their lameness and blindness and sought healing. It robs us of seeing God’s grace in our circumstances, and how he uses our circumstances to build our faith in him.

It saddens me that so many buy into these false teachings. I pray we all come to know that only God is Sovereign, and we all must submit our prayers, plans, and desires to him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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24 thoughts on “Declare and Decree!

  1. Barbara, I love where you said “To me, this means we submit our prayers, our plans, our desires to him because only God is Sovereign, and can bring things to pass. Our prayers, plans and desires must be consistent with his will. (I John 5:14) ”

    Great blog on what is to some a stumbling block in understanding God’s sovereignty and will in our individual lives. Many have rejected God when he did not respond to their declarations as expected. It was due to false teaching.

    I so appreciate the true teaching and correct use of scripture to prove doctrine, reproof, and encouragement. You nailed it. #notabelieverinprosperitygospel

    There is another verse that comes to mind, but I can only paraphrase it at the moment, it may be in Proverbs. Man makes plans, but it is God’s will that is accomplished.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do believe “declare and decree” when it comes to internal realities – gaining peace and joy for yourself in any circumstance.. The New Testament doesn’t give us any reason to think that peace and joy should ever be absent from the Christian heart. But again, we’re still talking God’s will – it’s his sovereign will that these things not be absent. That’s why this prayer works.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not certain what you mean, Brandon. The Apostle Paul did find joy, pleasure in infirmities, reproaches, being in want, persecutions, in distresses for when he was weak, he found strength in God in his weakness. He did not declare and decree that he was healed, but prayed to be healed and accepted his thorn in the flesh. We may be saying the same thing, but I’m not sure.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Not physical healing, just emotional realities. Peace and joy. That’s the second greatest treasure of the Christian walk, and you always know a false preacher by their diminishment and neglect of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree that this teaching “robs us of dependence on God.” A lot of people are afraid to comment on this topic. Too controversial, and there are many well known “name it and claim it” teachers out there. This is similar to the vending machine god: we just walk up, push a button, and get what we want. That’s not how God works and that practice doesn’t take into account His will (as you said). We may not understand why God allows things to happen; why some are healed and others are not. But we should seek His will, not our own.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow Sheila, I just responded to someone who referred to the ATM god, and you say vending machine god, great terms for how we treat God. Thanks for reading and your feedback. I know it’s controversial but I feel compelled to speak the truth for I know some who have been suckered into this practice. Oh how we must pray.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this post! I’m so disheartened when people treat prayer like a secret code and God like an ATM. May your words be a blessing to anyone who feels spiritually damaged by “Declare and Decree.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hello! I don’t recall the specific post and it might have been a while ago. I know I will write on it again as it saddens me to see how many people are hurt by this. The way my posts ramble at times, it could have shown up with any of them! Thanks for discovering and sharing grace! Prayers for your writing ministry!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a great writing! Thank you so much for sharing your walk of faith! What you have written also has led to what is known as the ” prosperity gospel” which I have written about on my blog. The ” prosperity ” seems to flow to the (how many offerings are taken during the service and where does the money go? Follow the money along with the message) charismatic speaker of that message. I pray for people to look, as you have done, with a wider vision! Do I believe God could bless a family who just started to tithe ( often used as an example ). Yes, all things are possible with God, but I would like the church leader to show a video or bring to stage a family who has tithed faithfully for years and faced nothing but hardship. So proud of you writing this and bringing out the importance of God’s will. I believe God hears every word of every prayer but will answer each prayer in His own time and His own way. Praying with you for more eyes to be opened!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen, Rick. It is a part of the prosperity gospel movement. I don’t remember whether I have read your post on this, but I will check. I know people who actually believe this. Oh, that we would have the mind of Paul in persecutions, in distress, in necessities. As believers God uses our hard trials to conform us to the image of his Son. That is his purpose. Thanks for reading and your feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

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