“For the word of God is living and active.” (Hebrews 4:12a – NASB)
A former Muslim friend of mine recently reminded me of the great power that is in Christians proclaiming out loud the word of God. She made the point that Muslims pray three to five times daily (according to Sunni or Shiite custom) and when they do, they’re actually speaking out into the spirit realm prayers that are of a source that does not acknowledge Christ as God. Christians, by contrast, when they’re declaring the living and active word of God, whether in prophetic prayer or quoting scripture, are launching a life-breathing force into the same atmosphere. Believers in Christ should have double the motivation of our Muslim counterparts to release godly power and prayer into the spirit realm, she says.
The late Bible teacher Derek Prince taught at length on the power of proclamation. A pastor friend of mine from Kenya regularly offers proclamation before he begins a service, and I’ve always noticed the instant presence of the Holy Spirit that comes during this practice.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit,” says Proverbs 18:21. We do not realize or remember at times the nature of the spoken word. We forget that we can injure or heal according to our words – but not just in the emotional and spiritual sense. We can do bodily damage or bring about physical wellness with the spoken word. We can bless or curse. We affect spiritual principalities and powers with our spoken word.
Over 120 times in scripture, proclamation is mentioned – declaring out loud thanksgiving, praise, truth, the word of God, the works of God, the Lord’s favor, peace, etc. There is vital power in saying out loud a blessing over an individual, a prayer for one’s neighborhood, a declaration for one’s nation, a statement of faith for oneself.
Directly across the street from our house is a church. Three times a day, its carillon chimes hymns – quite loudly – at nine, noon, and six in the evening. (There have been times that I must confess I spoke out ungodly things about those bells, especially when they interfered with naptime). I’ve come to appreciate now the fact that three times a day, whenever I am home, my mind is recalled to the words of whatever hymn or carol the bells are playing. I am grateful for this call to worship, thankful for the freedom still to have the melodies that publicly praise God. The church’s carillon has also become a reminder for me to pray and praise aloud.
If you’re not in the habit of doing so, try reading your Bible out loud sometimes, especially the promises, declarations of the Lord, and blessings. It doesn’t have to be forceful or shouted. When you pray at home or in your car, don’t just pray in your head. Speak it out loud. When you thank God, do it audibly. When you worship, sing with all your heart. In doing so, you’re impacting the heavenlies, changing the atmosphere of the world.