Sunday 17 July 2016 – Richardt Hattingh
(Eph. 2:6); (Acts 2:1-6, 11, 17-18); (Eph. 4:11); (Acts 1:3-5, 14); Eph. 6:18; (Matt. 17:17-20); (Heb. 11:6); James 1:6-8
Prophetic prayer is a proclamation of God’s purpose regarding an issue. As our spirit-man engages His presence the mind of Christ becomes clear, enabling us to pray from heaven to earth – seated with Jesus in a place of authority to govern the natural world from the spirit dimension (Eph. 2:6).
A study of the Day of Pentecost helps us to understand the dynamics of prophetic prayer. Peter quotes the prophet Joel to explain the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy (Acts 2:17-18). From this we see that the prophetic is the primary sign of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and should operate through every child of God, sons and daughters, men and women. The prophetic is in essence a proclamation of God’s intent or will or purpose concerning a specific issue. It is to become God’s mouthpiece so that He can decree in the natural world what has already been established in the spirit realm. In this sense it has a much wider application than operating in the gift of prophecy as Paul describes in 1 Cor. 14 or in the office of a prophet as one of the five-fold ministry graces (Eph. 4:11), though these are of course also valid and important expressions of the prophetic.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them (Acts 2:1-4). A sound from heaven brings a corporate baptism – all touched by fire, all filled with the Holy Spirit, all speaking in tongues. To prepare for this corporate baptism the believers had to be all with one accord in one place (NKJV). Chapter one of Acts reveals 3 key principles that brought them to this place of togetherness:
- 1. Over a period of 40 days after His resurrection Jesus spoke to them about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). This rich impartation of kingdom truth undoubtedly united their hearts in kingdom vision.
- 2. They obeyed the Lord’s command to wait in Jerusalem in expectation of the Father’s promise (Acts 1:4-5)
- 3. They all joined together constantly in prayer (Acts 1:14)
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken … we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues! (Acts 2:5-6, 11). The prophetic dynamics of this passage is important to understand. The believers did not just speak in tongues, they prophesied in tongues (Acts 2:17-18). This produced a corporate prophetic sound – the sound from heaven released a sound in the earth. The sound that drew the crowd was not the sound of the wind from heaven which filled the house where the believers gathered – it must have been the sound of 120 believers prophesying in the streets, as this was the only way they could draw together a crowd of several thousand people. Here we see the power of the prophetic through a corporate expression. It prepared the way for the salvation of 3000 people and gave birth to the Church! The 120 declared the mighty deeds of God (NAS) in every language of the world. These more than likely included the mightiest of all God’s deeds, those He performed through Jesus, His life, death and resurrection. These prophetic declarations of God’s mighty deeds in every language of the world activated the birth of the Church that would display these mighty deeds of God in every language and nation of the world! This illustrates an important principle – prophetic proclamation prepares the way for prophetic demonstration – when the Holy Spirit releases a prophetic proclamation through God’s people, it activates the kingdom purposes of God in the earth. That is why it is so important for every one of God’s servants to learn how to operate in prophetic prayer.
Unfortunately many believers only know the prayer of supplication, meaning “to plead humbly”. But Eph. 6:18 encourages us to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Other kinds of prayer include intercession, thanksgiving, dedication, binding and loosing. Different occasions require different kinds of prayer, so we need the Holy Spirit’s guidance to pray effectively. This is illustrated by an incident recorded in Matt. 17. Jesus became very upset with his disciples when they could not heal a demon-possessed boy. (Matt. 17:17) You unbelieving and perverse generation … How long shall I put up with you? (Matt. 17:17) “Perverse” in the original language means “to turn aside from the right path, to oppose or plot against the saving purposes and plans of God”. Why such a strong rebuke? The answer is in Luke 9:1-2. When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Jesus was preparing His disciples for the transition to the new covenant. He gave them power, that is the Holy Spirit anointing by which He also operated, and He gave them authority, the legal right to operate in His name. Their mandate: proclaim the kingdom and then demonstrate the rule of God invading the natural world by healing the sick and driving out demons. But when they later faced the demon possessed boy, they couldn’t fulfill this mandate. The disciples asked Jesus why they could not drive out the demon, and He responded, Because you have so little faith (Matt. 17:20). Faith is not a mental process generated by human effort – it is a spiritual force that grows in our spirit man by the working of the Holy Spirit and the Word. All effective prayer comes from a place of faith (Heb. 11:6, James 1:6-8). Because faith is a dynamic force it can grow but also diminish and even die. Jesus gave His disciples Holy Spirit power and the Word of the kingdom when He send them out, so they had the spiritual force of faith operating in their lives. Somehow they lost this and according to the above definition became “spiritual perverts” – they turned aside from the right path and opposed the saving purposes and plans of God for this demon possessed boy and his family!
In Matt. 17:20 Jesus further elaborates on why the disciples failed. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Some mountains will not move until you speak to them! Prophetic prayer means speaking to the mountain instead of praying about the mountain. The disciples failed because they did not pray from a place of faith and also did not pray the right kind of prayer for that occasion. Perhaps they operated in supplication mode, humbly pleading with Father God to help this boy, when the occasion required prophetic mode, commanding that demon to move out of there. When Jesus prayed for the boy, He rebuked the demon and the boy was instantly healed (Matt. 17:18).
We need to remember, however, that not all mountains are meant to be moved! That is why it is so important to pray in the Spirit on all occasions – find the right kind of prayer for every mountain. Maybe your mountain requires thanksgiving, focusing on the goodness of the Lord until He becomes so big that the mountain becomes completely insignificant. Or perhaps it requires dedication, like the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane – “Father if it be possible let this mountain be removed, yet not my will but Yours be done”. Maybe you need to completely shift your attention away from your own mountain and begin to note the mountains others in the Body are facing to intercede for them. Or perhaps there is need for corporate prophetic declaration to remove enemy constructed mountains and delays that are holding God’s people captive in financial and physical bondage. Whenever we pray, whether in our inner chambers or in corporate gatherings, let us upgrade from supplication only mode and allow the Holy Spirit to activate our prophetic DNA!