4 Powerful Principles for Praying Over Your City

(Photo by Andreas Brücker on Unsplash)

It was 2008, and it was the night before The Call Florida, when 8,000 people would gather in Orlando to pray for our state and worship the Lord together. I was at the pre-Call conference and one of the sessions was on how to "pray the Scriptures."

Honestly, I thought it was crazy.

Didn't God already know what His Word said? Why should I read it back to Him? The speaker even had us take our Bibles, choose a psalm and walk around the room reciting it. Out loud. Clearly I was at the wrong meeting and began looking for the exit.

But a funny thing happened. Amidst the seeming cacophony of everyone (yes, I did join in) reading a different psalm and then using it to pray for Florida, something happened—to me! I got it. Suddenly I understood that if God created the entire universe by speaking it into existence, there is something earthshaking about His Word. So when we proclaim it—not necessarily back to Him as I mistakenly thought, but over our country, city, neighborhood, families and world—something powerful happens.

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That prayer time changed me forever. I learned about the power of proclamation, of decreeing something that God had already authorized in His Word but that we certainly weren't seeing—yet.

Suddenly Job 22:28a (NASB) was no longer an obscure Scripture but it was really true—and it was for me: "You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you." I realized God gave me authority to speak to the spiritual atmosphere and command it to change—and even more surprising, it did change.

If Job 22:38 is in your Bible, then it's for you, too.

Maybe you've looked at the state of the world and said, "Something needs to change." You're absolutely right—and you are God's change agent to make that happen. God has given you the power to decree His Word and the joy to see it established.

You have the honor and privilege of partnering with Him to extend His justice to the darkest places of the world. Get ready, because justice is about to overtake injustice—and God is going to use you to do it.

As you proclaim God's Word out loud, remember four things:

  1. The power of Hebrews 4:12 (MEV): "For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart." That's what happens when you read the Word out loud and proclaim it over your city.
  2. The power of Ephesians 2:6: "[God] raised us up and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Did you notice this verse is in the past tense—"seated"? You have already been seated with Him in heavenly places. You don't have to wait until eternity for that privilege. And you're there not just to sit, but to rule and reign with Him now. That's reality! That means if the unjust can "issue oppressive decrees" (Isa. 10:1b, NIV), you can issue just ones.
  3. The power of Romans 8:11a (MEV): "The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you." As a born-again believer in Jesus, your authority over strongholds is because of who is living inside you. The enemy knows the power you have access to and that's why he tries so hard to silence you. Don't let him!
  4. Effective, strategic prayer doesn't require yelling at God or begging Him to do something; He already wants things to change and invites you to partner with Him to make that happen. Just as paradigm shifting is the fact that there's no need to yell at the devil. The volume of your voice really doesn't move him an inch—but proclaiming God's Word in areas where the enemy has a stronghold? Watch out! Things are about to change!

You're about to go on a great adventure with God, bringing justice across the globe—and across the street.

Sample Prayers of Declaration and Decree

Scripture verse No. 1:

"He will not be disheartened or crushed until He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law" (Isa. 42:4, NASB).

Sample prayer:

"Lord, I may look at the news and be disheartened, but You're not. You have a goal, and that is to establish justice all over the earth. And it's more than a goal. It's a given. It's a done deal. I proclaim that done deal to the powers of darkness that are trying to dishearten us. I proclaim that God is relentless in His pursuit of justice. In fact, Isaiah 42:4 says God will never stop until He has established justice in the entire earth. You've promised You won't stop until justice is established all over the earth—even to those who are waiting expectantly for it.

"I proclaim that unbreakable promise and covenant over my country, my state, my county, my city and my neighborhood. I proclaim that You will not stop until You've established justice, not just here but throughout the earth. I decree Your justice according to Isaiah 42:4 over the governmental bodies in each of the areas I mentioned. I decree justice to overtake injustice. Lord, I wait expectantly for You, and I will not be disappointed."

Scripture Verse No. 2:

"Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" (Isa. 9:7, KJV).

Sample prayer:

"Lord, I pray over my country and state and city today. I proclaim the truth of Isaiah 9:7, that there shall be no end to the increase of Your government and Your peace and Your justice. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. There is no condition in that promise. That is a declaration from You, and we long for it. We look forward to seeing it happen, and we believe that it is happening right now even though we can't see it right now. We choose to focus on that promise, not on the news. We choose to believe that You are in charge, not any force of darkness, as much as they would like us to believe they are.

"Your Word is Your covenant with us, and we proclaim this covenant over our country, state, city and neighborhood. Your covenant cannot be broken. We decree increase, increase, increase. We are not cowering or hidden, but because of this verse, we are taking back the land for You. We are taking back all those the enemy has tried to take, has convinced us that he already owns. We say 'no' to that and 'yes' to Your Word, because Your increase is about people. There will be no end to the increase of the numbers of those You draw to You, to those You spread Your justice over, Your peace over. We proclaim Your peace and justice over them according to this verse. Not the peace that the world gives but the true peace that only You can give."

Excerpted from The Justice Book: 106 Scriptures About God's Heart for Justice, by Diana Scimone (Peapod Publishing, Inc.). Book 1 in the seven-book Proclaiming God's Word series. Used with permission.

Diana Scimone is a former journalist who has traveled to more than 40 countries writing about justice and human rights including Sudan, Zimbabwe and China. She is president of the Born2Fly Project to stop child trafficking and author of 15 books for adults and children.

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