Sunday, November 4, 2007

Prophetic Prayer by Bob Yarbrough

Recently I posted an excellent article by Bob Yarbrough on the prophetic. Here is another one worth reading. Enjoy!


The lessons taught in previous studies on prayer have laid a foundation for what we believe is the call of God upon the intercessors in this hour. We desire to be a group abiding in the unity of Christ, hearing the Word of God by the Holy Spirit, and speaking what we hear - praying in the Holy Spirit. This form of prayer is best described by the term “prophetic prayer.”

Glen Foster’s excellent book, The Purpose and Use of Prophecy, has several statements defining prophecy. He writes on this subject from the usually understood perspective of utterances directed toward people given by the Spirit. If we take these same definitions but apply them to utterances directed toward God given by the Spirit, we are describing prophetic prayer:

"To prophesy is to speak for God….True prophecy is the voice of Jesus revealed in the spirit of a believer….Prophecy, whether in word, deed or attitude, is one of the most powerful forces for revealing Jesus Christ."

Prophetic prayer is calling forth from the spiritual realm (in heaven) into the earthly realm (on earth) by the words of our mouths those things revealed by the Spirit of Truth through communion with Jesus Christ. It is by its very nature the prayer of faith (Js. 5:15); it is praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20); it is praying in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:13); it is powerful and effective (Js. 5:16); and it accomplishes what God desires in the earth (Is. 55:11).
Contemplate carefully these words of wisdom:

"True prophecy is God’s words breathed into our hearts and minds. These words then take charge to keep us in perfect peace….David said that God’s thoughts toward us are more than can be numbered (Ps 40:5)…Prophecy verbalizes God’s good thoughts. Any prophecy that is not a revelation of God’s good thought is either wrong or incomplete.

Many times we accept the good thoughts that come to mind without realizing that they are the word of the Lord to us. So instead of responding in full faith we take sort of a wishful attitude such as, ‘Those are nice thoughts. Wouldn’t it be great if it were true about me.’ But Hebrews 3 says that if we will hear His voice and do not harden our hearts, God will not only give us words of promise, He will bring us into the land of promise.” (Glen Foster, p. 36).

Prophetic prayer or “prayer in the Spirit” is the great need of the hour: Yielded intercessors who don’t pray for what they can get out of it, but who seek the glory of God by establishing His Word by faith. This requires “seeing” God’s Word with the eyes of faith, followed by “saying” God’s Word with the voice of faith. Then, like Mary who received the ‘implanted Word’ in her womb, they yield and say “be it unto me according to your Word!” In God’s time, it will come forth in the way He chooses as they persevere and refuse to give up their hope.

One of the best aids to developing our sensitivity to the Spirit in prayer is to keep a journal – a record of what we hear in our hearts and commit to the Lord in prayer. The example of Habakkuk comes to mind. He was told to write what he has seen prophetically on tablets. This was to help him to “wait for it” when it “tarried” or was incubating in the Spirit realm (See Hab. 2:1,-3). In its appointed time it would manifest. This is the privilege of the sons of God. Be faithful to your calling and standing! God has ordained that He will work through prayer (See James 5:16b).


Whether or not we are aware of it, each of us to some degree brings to prayer a mindset that has been conditioned by our culture – the world in which we have developed. As one psychologist writes: "Everyone lives within, and responds to, life from a certain psycho-spiritual conditioning where they see life through their ideas about it." This is the “box” that limits what we see when we kneel to pray. It “feels” right to us to think in these parameters even though the prophets tell us that God says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts…” (Is. 55:8)

If we desire to “pray in the Spirit” we must begin by acknowledging our cultural “box.” The world around us seeks to brings us into “conformity” with its norms. As spiritual beings “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness,” we are admonished by Scripture to “put off [our] old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires," and “to be made new in the attitude of [our] minds, which is in keeping with our new self.” [See Eph. 4:22-24)

Spiritual disciplines are tools by which we “offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God” in acts of spiritual worship.” By these deliberate actions we learn to “not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but [to] be transformed by the renewing of our mind.” Only then will we “be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” [Romans 12:1-2]

Sadly, many modern believers are looking for “short-cuts” on the narrow path that leads to life. Books abound on “easy steps” to spiritual power. Concerning these popular approaches, Eugene H. Peterson puts the words of Jesus found in Matthew 7 in stark paraphrase:

Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life – to God! – is vigorous and requires total attention.”

The purpose of spiritual exercises is to bring us to a place in prayer where we escape the conditioning of our culture and are able to hear the “still, small voice” of the Holy Spirit given to guide us into all truth. To escape the voices in our conditioned thoughts and hear the voice of our Shepherd is our quest [See John 10]. Only then can we cease to be echoes of a noisy world and become “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” who prepares the way of the Lord to come to our needy world [See Isaiah 40:3].

That there is a crying need for the recovery of the devotional life cannot be denied. If anything characterizes modern Protestantism, it is the absence of spiritual disciplines. Yet such disciplines form the core of the life of devotion. It is not an exaggeration to state that this is the lost dimension of modern Protestantism. Donald Bloesch

Six Practical Affirmations for Spiritual Freedom

If your heart agrees that the world continually forces you into its mold and limits your ability to stand by what the Word of God reveals as your position in Christ, I offer you some specific inward commitments that will help to lead you in the path of Life:

I choose to accept the process of discipline as an absolute necessity for my life.
anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple – Luke 14:27

I choose to learn obedience beginning with the small things of life.
whoever can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much – Luke 16:10

I choose to recognize the value of developing regular habits in the formation of my life.
…train yourself to be godly… Be diligent in these matters…persevere in them. - 1 Tim. 4:7,15,16

I choose to give priority time to conscious fellowship with God in prayer and meditation on the Scriptures.
I urge…requests, prayers, intercession, thanksgiving... - 1 Tim 2:1
do your best to present yourself to God… a workman…who correctly handles the Word of God - 2 Tim. 2:15

I choose to respond positively to perceived need for change in my life.
He who ignores discipline despises himself,but whoever heeds correction gains understanding-Pr. 15:32.

I choose to continually acknowledge my dependence on God and give Him the glory for all progress in my life.
It is written: “Let him that boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Cor. 1:31

Remember, please, that inward spiritual vows are only offered to the Lord under the guidance of the Spirit. In the coming teachings I propose to outline some inward dispositions that have helped me to a new freedom in intercessory prayer. These disciplines of the soul include:
Silence, stillness, serenity, solitude, submission, servitude, suspended judgment, and secrecy.

I pray that you will consider this matter for the sake of the Body of Christ and a world that has lost touch with the realities of the Spirit. The Scriptures promise a Sabbath-rest for the people of God. In the same breath it encourages us to “make every effort to enter that rest." [See Heb. 4:9-11] Will you heed the call?

1 comment:

john heasley said...

I feel that the gift of discernment is not spoke about enough, I feel if we can gain that, then moving forward in faith and prophecy becomes that much easier, if that is meant to be easy, through pulling closer to God, knowing his voice, being disciplined in Him.