How can a declaration of the will of God for a specific situation command a spiritual breakthrough?
Anyone given to the ministry of intercession knows there are special moments in prayer that are met with a certainty of God's immediate intervention. These are breakthrough prayers—dynamic, forceful and perfectly in sync with the purposes of God.
Knowing how and when to apply a specific prayer strategy can make a difference in a situation's outcome. But why are some prayers seemingly more in tune with the will and timing of God than others?
The Right Prayer at the Right Time
At a ministry conference, a woman approached me who was obviously in pain. "Please pray for my daughter," she cried. "We taught her the Word of God. Jane knows the right thing to do, and yet she has walked away from it. She is now living with her boyfriend, and we haven't heard from her in months."
Jane's mother had prayed constantly during this ordeal. Now the request for additional prayer was desperate.
"Heavenly Father," I began. "You are a father and understand the agony of this mother's heart. I ask you in the name of Jesus to bring healing and restoration to this family. Remind this daughter of Your Word. Help her to remember Your goodness."
Immediately, I sensed the Spirit of the Lord rise up inside me, along with my faith. Knowing the authority Jesus has given us, I spoke into the atmosphere as if Jane were standing in front of me.
"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!"
A month later, I was speaking at a conference held at a Bible school. On the way into the auditorium one morning, Jane's mother saw me and came running.
"Barbara," she called out. "You prayed for my daughter, and I have to tell you what happened. When I came home from the conference last month, I found I had received a phone call from her. The time of the call was exactly when you and I were praying.
"Jane left a message that she was coming home. She said, 'I don't know what happened to me! It was if my eyes were opened, and I could see. And I thought, "This is a pigpen. I'm going home."'"
That night after the conference session, the woman saw me again and came over. "My daughter is here," she said, as her daughter walked up and joined her, "and she wants to talk to you."
"Thank you, thank you, Barbara, for praying," Jane said, as tears flowed down her cheeks. "Suddenly my eyes opened, and I could see the truth." Jane acknowledged her blindness in the situation.
I wondered what happened to bring about such a change. What was different about this prayer from previous times of prayer?
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.
I also discovered that God has orchestrated a strategic time for prayers to break through. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord will prompt us to pray the right kind of prayer at that moment. Powerful things will happen as we participate with the Lord at these specific times.
God established the church on the earth to finish the work of putting Satan under His feet. Paul speaks in Ephesians of the work and power made available to the church. He says he was called to "bring to light ... the mystery" hidden for ages in God "in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places" and declares that God "is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us" (Eph. 3:9-10, 20, NASB).
Paul indicates that God is going to make known His wisdom through the church. According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the word known comes from the Greek verb gnoridzo. It means "to certify, to declare, make known, give to understand, to come to know, discover." To "make known" means that God is going to use the church to make declarations to the demonic rulers and authorities.
Making declarations is the same as making prophetic proclamations. The Hebrew word for proclaim, qara, means "to call out to, call forth, cry unto, invite or preach. It is usually addressed to a specific recipient and intended to elicit a specific response. Rarely does it refer to a random outcry" (Zodhiates, "Lexical Aids to the Old Testament," Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, AMG Pubs.).
The Greek language has several words for proclaim. One of them is katagello, which Zodhiates says means "to tell, to declare plainly, openly, or aloud." Katagello has the sense of an offer of information or encouragement.
We find this word used to describe one of the results of the Communion table: "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes" (1 Cor. 11:26).
When we partake of the elements at the Communion table, we are making an announcement or giving a report about the Lord's death.
Another Greek word for proclaim that Zodhiates defines is kerusso, a much stronger word. It means "to be a herald."
A herald was a public crier who was a speaker of divine truth. The message delivered by the crier was a public and authoritative announcement that demanded compliance. When you kerusso, you are like a town crier making an announcement that requires the hearers to comply. How powerful!
Today, public heralds have been replaced by newspapers, television and other electronic information sources. Perhaps the best-known town crier in all of American history is Paul Revere. However, the tradition predates his famed ride from Boston to Lexington and carries great significance for us today.
Attendants and friends. In Greek literature, the public crier was the attendant of a prince—but not just an ordinary attendant. Raised above the status of other servants, the crier was given respect and status similar to a friend.
As believers, we serve the Prince of Peace. Yet Jesus said, "'No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My father I have made known to you'" (John 15:15). In this, Prince Jesus has raised us to a status like that of the town crier—we are His friends.
He says that He will make known to us everything He has heard from the Father. The Greek word meaning "make known" is the same word used in Ephesians 3:10. What does that mean to us as intercessors?
It means we are not giving just a random outcry, but we are participating in a process released from heaven.
God the Father makes known (gnoridzo) His intentions to Jesus.
Jesus makes known (gnoridzo) the Father's intentions to the church.
The church makes known (gnoridzo) the intentions of God to the evil powers through proclamation (kerusso).
The result? Breakthrough!
Deputies of the prince. A town crier was given a herald's staff. The scepter in his hands made it clear that as he carried out his commission, he did so under the prince's authorization.
When Jesus rose victorious from the grave, He took back the authority man had given away in the garden. Jesus then turned and gave the authority He purchased to those who would follow Him, declaring that whatever they bound or loosed on earth would be so also in heaven (see Matt. 16:19).
Proclamation carries with it a nature of binding, commanding and settling. Zodhiates says the word bind means "to fasten or to tie up with chains or a cord." Prophetic proclamations released through the mouths of intercessors have the ability to tie up the effect of evil powers like an animal tied with chains or a cord.
The verb translated loose, according to Zodhiates, means "to loosen, break up, destroy, dissolve, unloose, melt or put off." When you loose the powers of darkness from a situation, person or city, the enemy is no longer able to do what he intended to do.
Protected heralds. The Greeks believed that a herald who came in wartime must not be touched. If he were, the one who touched him would incur the wrath of both the one who sent the crier and his gods.
The security of the intercessor is his faith in the powerful blood of Jesus. Intercessors are on assignment in a spiritual war. They have been sent by the Captain of the hosts to do His bidding. A scepter of authority has been given to them, and they are to rule in the earth.
There are some general characteristics that apply to all public criers, historical and current.
Under authority. A crier was always under the authority of someone else. The crier was only the spokesman.
Intercessors should always be under the authority of the Lord. A submissive spirit is vital.
We also need to submit to others (see Eph. 5:21). No person is above the need for accountability. Each of us has blind spots. We need those who love us enough to tell us the truth.
Convey the message of the master. The crier was not to deliver his own message or compromise with the one who was receiving it. He simply delivered the message he was sent to speak.
Often, I find people who were, at one time, very powerful in prayer. As difficulties came into their lives, they retreated and stopped involving themselves with the body of Christ. But an intercessor cannot compromise with the enemy during a spiritual battle.
Announce judicial verdicts. What the public crier announced became valid by the act of proclamation. Likewise, Jesus, the righteous Judge, hands the verdict to the intercessor, who then delivers a prophetic proclamation to the evil powers. The verdict becomes valid through the proclamation spoken by the intercessor.
Jesus said, "What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim [kerusso] upon the housetops" (Matt. 10:27).
Through a practical demonstration in my own life, God enabled me to gain an even deeper understanding of how this principle works.
Declaring God's Favor
When the Lord was ready to move our family to Dallas, we put our house up for sale. Houses, however, were not selling very well where we lived.
We had prayed and done everything the real estate lady told us to do. But after eight months on the market, the house had not sold.
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."
Within a couple of weeks, the house was sold. Wanda had uttered a command, a prophetic proclamation.
In 2 Timothy, Paul wrote, "The Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the lion's mouth" (4:17).
When intercessors are given the right word to speak at the proper time, there will be great victory and spiritual breakthroughs. There will be deliverance for God's people, for cities and for nations. God will provide strength to intercessors so they can do the will of the Lord.
Jesus will make known to you the intentions of His Father. Let Him strengthen you so that the prophetic proclamation of His Word can go forth from your mouth without compromise and establish His will on the earth.
Barbara Wentroble is the founder of International Breakthrough Ministries.