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The Power of Prayer

Updated: Feb 16

Prayer is an essential aspect of our Christian faith, and it has been so since ancient times. Through prayer, we communicate with God, seek His guidance, and ask for His blessings. However, prayer is not just about speaking to God; it is also prophetic speech.

The prophetic voice in the Bible is characterized by its ability and willingness to speak God's perspective to leadership, challenge the status quo, and bring a message from God to the people. Also the prophet pronounced the judgements of God which often took shape as predictions about the future.

Prayer is prophetic speech in that as we speak to God we anticipate His future response in direct relation to our prayers. We look for guidance, ask for His help and petition for change of the status quo in situations where we are, in our own strength, powerless.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mk 11:23)

To understand prayer as prophetic speech, it is important to first understand the nature of prophetic speech in the Bible. In the Old Testament, prophets were individuals who were called by God to speak His message to the people. They were not just fortune-tellers or predictors of the future; they were God's mouthpiece, charged with the responsibility of delivering His message to His people. Prophets spoke with authority, calling people to repentance, warning them of the consequences of their actions, and announcing God's plans for the future.

Prophets were also called to challenge the status quo and to speak truth to power. They often criticized the rulers and religious leaders of their time, exposing their hypocrisy and calling them to account for their actions. Prophets were not afraid to confront the powerful, and they often paid a high price for doing so. However, their commitment to speaking the truth, even in the face of persecution and opposition, was a hallmark of their prophetic voice. By allegory this is what we do when we pray.

When we pray we are speaking Truth to spiritual powers

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12)

In the New Testament, the prophetic voice takes on a slightly different tone. While the Old Testament prophets were primarily concerned with speaking God's message to the people, the New Testament prophets are more focused on building up the church and equipping believers for ministry. The apostle Paul, for example, emphasized the importance of prophecy in the church, saying that it was a gift from God that could be used to encourage, edify, and comfort believers (1 Corinthians 14:3).

Prophets in the NT

Agabus (Acts 21:10): warns Paul about future trials

So, how does prayer fit into this understanding of prophetic speech? To answer that question, we must first recognize that prayer is not just a one-way communication with God. It is not just that we talk to God and ask for His help; it is also a means by which God speaks to us. Through prayer, God can reveal His will, His plans, and His desires for His people. Believers who are sensitive to God's voice can receive prophetic messages through prayer, just as the prophets of old received God's message through visions and dreams.

Furthermore, prayer can also be understood as prophetic speech in the sense that it involves speaking truth to power. When believers pray, they are often asking God to intervene in situations that are beyond their control. We may be praying for an end to injustice, for protection from persecution, or for relief from suffering. In doing so, we are speaking out against the forces of darkness that are at work in the world, challenging the status quo, and asking God to bring about change.

Moreover, prayer can be a means of discernment, helping us to distinguish between what is true and what is false. Through prayer, we can seek God's wisdom and guidance, enabling us to make wise decisions and avoid the pitfalls of deception and falsehood. In this sense, prayer can be seen as a form of prophetic speech, as it enables us to discern the truth and to speak out against falsehood.

1 Corinthians 14:37 (NIV)

If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.

Prayer can also be understood as prophetic speech through its role in intercession. In the Bible, intercession is defined as prayer on behalf of others, and it is a powerful means of advocating for those in need.

Pray for the sick

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16)

Pray for your "enemies"

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:43)

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mk 11:24)

Finally, inorder for prayer to be a powerfully prophetic it must be combined with Faith. In James 1:5 we read:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt

Again in James 5:16

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Prophecy: use caution

Revelation 2:20 (NIV)

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.

According to Scripture, true prophets ...

Make predictions that “come to pass” (Jeremiah 28:9)

Glorify God rather than themselves (John 16:13)

Do not give their own private interpretations (2 Peter 1:20, 21)

Point out sin (Micah 3:5–8)

Warn of coming judgment (Isaiah 24:20, 21)

Edify the church (1 Corinthians 14:3, 4)

Give messages that harmonize with the Bible (Isaiah 8:20)

Teach that Jesus came in the flesh (1 John 4:1–3)

Have a Christ-like character (Matthew 7:16–20).

Are obedient to the will of God (Deuteronomy 18:18).

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