Jesus told his followers to do some pretty crazy things: heal the sick, cast out demons, move mountains!?! He didn’t just tell them to do those things, he modeled them. Through his intimate relationship with God, he DECLARED things, speaking words to make those things happen:
“Lazarus, come forth!”
“Peace, be still.”
And then he went and said “greater works than these shall you do because I go to the Father” (John 14:12). That’s quite a lot to live up to! But, you know? It happened. Equipped with the power of the Holy Spirit, the disciples took what they saw, copied him, and a gospel movement was launched that forever changed history.
One of the main “methods” Jesus and the apostles used in the gospels and Acts was to speak to things. They declared things to be so. They didn’t ask God to heal people, cast out demons, or to raise the dead, but they spoke directly to bodies, demons, the wind, etc. Declarative prayer is doing as the disciples did when they followed Jesus’ example of praying with authority. It is simply aligning yourself with God’s desires and declaring the truth over a person or situation.
When I first began praying this way, I was pretty intimidated by the prerequisite to “know God’s desires,” but scripture clearly says what God wants for us: He wants all men to be saved, made whole, the sick made well, every need supplied, wisdom given, holiness, and victory over he who is in the world. We can pray for these things with confidence. And, as we continue to develop our ears to hear God’s voice and his heart for people, we can declare truth more specifically over a person or situation because our hearts really are aligning with him and his will.
For me, there’s a profound intimacy and union with God that comes from this kind of prayer. Tapping into the authority we have through the Holy Spirit, searching out God’s heart for a person or situation, and declaring what I know to be true about his character and desire for us builds my faith and relationship with God in the same way witnessing miracles or helping someone find freedom in Christ does.
Let me share a story from Jamie about the first time she experienced the impact of declarative prayer in her family:
Our five-year-old had been having night terrors for a couple of months. Every few nights she would awaken screaming and crying uncontrollably. My husband and I would rush into her room to comfort her, but she rarely responded. She couldn’t speak and wouldn’t wake up. We would splash her with water, carry her outside, turn on lights, jump up and down, but these terrors would run their course, continuing 10-20 minutes before we could break through and help to calm her down.
One evening I was home alone with all three kids, one of which was a newborn. My husband was traveling for work and I was utterly exhausted. I was just settling into some work of my own when I heard our five-year-old start to scream. I ran to her bedside and tried our usual routine but I could not get her to awaken. I carried her into my room and began to pray, asking God to calm her spirit, to bring her peace, to meet her in this terror. She would not calm down or wake up, and as she grew more and more distraught, I began to feel a sense of darkness that startled me. I felt really alone and scared, so I called my husband right in the middle of her screaming terror. I was so relieved to hear him answer. He told me to put our daughter on the phone. “But you can hear her—she’s just sobbing, she won’t be able to hear you.” I handed our daughter the phone anyway.
“Sweetie, it’s Daddy. I love you. By the authority given to me by the Lord Jesus who lives in me and the authority I carry as her dad, I say that anything that is not of God must leave now. You have no rights there and you must go. In Jesus’ name.” Instantly she stopped crying and fell deep asleep in my arms.
“What did you say to her?! How did that happen?” I asked, puzzled. That was my first exposure to hearing someone pray with authority. It was my first experience of declarative prayer. At that point I didn’t even realize that we carry the authority of Jesus. It was a first glimpse into what I would soon recognize as the normal reality of the supernatural that is operating all around us.
That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
Just like Jamie’s husband spoke directly to the enemy terrorizing their daughter’s sleep, we too can practice our authority in Jesus to establish God’s will over people and situations.
Try it out
Curious about declarative prayer? Not sure what to expect? Try some prayer experiments and see what happens!
A great way to start is by declaring scriptures you’ve memorized over a situation. Here are some examples:
Times of turmoil – “I speak the peace of Christ over your unrest. I bless you this day with Christ’s peace which passes understanding and guards your heart and mind” (Phil 4:7).
Times of discernment – “I pray clarity over you, I pray truth, I pray discernment that God would anoint your ears and heart to hear from him” (Rom 8:26).
Over your house – “By the power of the Holy Spirit, I pray blessing over this home and all who enter it. I announce the presence of the Kingdom of God here in this place and command all forces of the enemy to leave. May whatever is broken be healed and whatever is troubled be at peace, to the glory of God” (James 4:7).
Over yourself – “In the name of Jesus, anything that is not of Jesus has no rights to be attached to me. I claim you are the light of the world. I pray peace, truth, and joy over myself today” (Rom 14:17).
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Sophie Sykes heads up communications for CRM’s Partner Development Team. She has been a participant in CRM’s Spiritual Authority cohort, a learning community where she was introduced to declarative prayer through materials from Patty Metcalf, some of which has been shared here. She and her husband, Nick, will soon be launching into new roles with CRM in Asia.
Jamie Thrash and her husband, Mark, live in San Juan Capistrano, CA. She is a graduate of Talbot's Institute for Spiritual Formation, a spiritual director, coach of the Pink Penguins soccer team and loves to costume, surf and Zumba.