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Misunderstanding Prayer and Prophecy

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Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. - Proverbs 19: 21 (ESV)

How can a declaration of the will of God for a specific situation command a spiritual breakthrough? This is the opening gambit from the article linked above, which appears today on Charisma News' website. Written by Barbara Wentroble, whose biography reads like a thesaurus of false Christian catch phrases. She fancies herself a strong visionary with a powerful anointing and a pioneering spirit. Maybe she is all of this and a bag of chips. To be honest this is the first time I had seen her name but the article above is simply false. It paints a picture of powers man has that God never gave him. It is the end result of this false signs and wonders paradigm, the word faith heresy and the charismaniacal side of our faith. Let us break down this premise to see where it goes so horribly awry. There are essentially two parts. The first is regarding a declaration of the will of God and the second is the commanding of a spiritual breakthrough.

So the first portion deals with a subject many Christians remain confused about; the will of God. There are three basic types of God's will. The first is His permissive will. This is what God allows to happen. Often we struggle with this during times of uncertainty. People ask, "why did my loved one get sick or pass away"; for example. The reality is that the sickness or death are a result of man's fallen state and the sin that followed in the earth.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned-- - Romans 5: 12 (ESV)

God however is always sovereign over everything that happens in His creation so even though He may not have decreed something, He certainly allowed it. That is His permissive will. This type of will can obviously not be declared by man. The second type of will is the decretive will of God. These are the things God decrees. He decides this or that will happen. He decided that Saul would become the first king of Israel. He decided to allow the sacrifice of His Son to save humanity. God is not some deity of random occurrence:

The Lord of hosts has sworn: "As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, - Isaiah 14: 24 (ESV)

The third form of the will of God is known as His preceptive will; or His revealed will. Beloved, God has already revealed to us His perfect will for our lives. We know it as the Bible. It is the final revelation of the will of God. Nothing needs to be added to it and nothing needs to be altered in it. The Bible transcends all generations and cultures. It applies evenly to the 4th century monk as much as to the 17th century explorer and the 21st century businessman. It applies to the hidden church in China and the persecuted church in Iraq. Here is our general problem however in the church today concerning the will of God. We spend most of our time trying to figure out the decretive will of God and not enough time learning and applying His preceptive will. The problem is that God has no intention of revealing to us His decretive will. He desires us to get to know Him better through understanding and living out what He has already revealed to us. We can so easily become like the Pharisees of old demanding a miraculous sign when Jesus had already performed miracles in front of them for which they decided to kill Him. If we find ourselves in His revealed will more and more then by default we will get closer and closer to His decretive will.

Yet we do not do that nearly enough. Instead we try and turn something this simple into a grand mystery. We try and parse out His decretive will through what we refer to as "confirmations." We are contemplating a move to Pennsylvania for example and then suddenly every PA license plate we see on the highway becomes a sign from God. This is simply not how God operates. I have seen Christians looking for confirmation about whether they should marry someone who does not even share their faith. Of course if you look hard enough for confirmations you will see what your heart wants to see but that does not make it "God's will." In this scenario however you should not even be looking for confirmation because His revealed will has already told us that we are not to be unequally yoked. The problem Ms. Wentroble creates here in her article is she is in the business of declaring the wrong will of God. There is nothing wrong with declaring His revealed will because we know it is fact already. It is not open for debate or discussion. It is settled. Those that pretend it is not are merely looking for a way to have God's approval for their sin or poor choices. When we are feeling alone we should declare that His revealed will says that He will never leave us or forsake us. When we have sinned and are repenting we should declare that He has said He will forgive us from all unrighteousness. We do not however declare these things to remind God but rather to remind us.

Ms. Wentroble however is writing about declaring the decretive will of God into specific situations. The first example was her praying for the salvation of a friend's wayward daughter. In this example, Wentroble bypasses God and goes straight to the child:

"Jane," I called. "Open your eyes and look. You are in a pigpen. Get up and get out of the pigpen. Come back to your father's house. Come home in Jesus' name!"

What a touching story and of course it was later confirmed that at the exact hour, Jane realized she was in a pigpen and came home. Hallelujah - paint me skeptical. Prayer is our conversations with God. Our petitions to God. Our intercession with God on someone's behalf. We do not get to skip God in this process and speak directly to the person or thing we are praying about. This is however evidence of the word faith heresy that believes we have the power of creation through our spoken words. That we have the power to call things that are not as though they were even though the Bible makes it clear only God has that power. The second example Ms. Wentroble provides is just as disturbing. She apparently needed to sell her house for a move to Dallas was impending. After eight months of prayer, the house remained unsold. But apparently Ms. Wentroble had a spiritual ace up her sleeve to help God:

Wanda, a spiritual daughter of ours, was living with us at the time. Knowing the power of proclamation, Wanda started walking the boundaries of our yard each day, praying, "In the name of Jesus, I release the favor of God on this house. I command all blinders to come off the eyes of those people needing this house. Eyes, see this house. House, you are sold in Jesus' name."

I release favor? I command all the blinders to come off? House you are sold? Who is God in this prayer? The spiritual daughter is. The story concludes of course with the house being sold because Wanda had uttered a "prophetic proclamation." This is utter nonsense of course biblically and borders on witchcraft. What is going on in these two examples is an error found quite often in word faith and charismaniacal circles. It is the presumption that we have the decretive power of God. Think about it for a minute. That is exactly what is going on. We truly do not know the decretive will of God yet in these two examples, we assume not merely to know His decretive will but we claim the actual power of it! How utterly blasphemous! Do not believe me? Here are her exact words from this article:

Through the study of God's Word, I've found that He has given us the authority to speak for Him. We are His voice in the earth.

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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