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.