Friday, April 29, 2016

How to Write an Effective Prayer Declaration



The first thing one needs to understand about writing a decree is the importance of truly understanding the Father’s heart. God’s heart is full of longsuffering and lovingkindness, but it is balanced with judgment against the works of darkness and evil. Justice cannot exist unless judgment is executed against acts of injustice, treachery and oppression. Jesus came to set the captives free! His mercy and perfect loving nature insures that He is the final determining factor in how His word is fulfilled. It is our responsibility to declare His will in the earth. It’s not enough to declare His word without passion. We must speak in such a way that it reflects His heart and the qualities of His character towards others.

“Thus says the Lord, “Let not the one who is wise and skillful boast in his insight; let not the one who is mighty and powerful boast in his strength; let not the one who is rich boast in his [temporal satisfactions and earthly] abundance; but let the one who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me [and acknowledges Me and honors Me as God and recognizes without any doubt], that I am the Lord who practices lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on the earth, for in these things I delight,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23,24 AMP)

A word of caution before I go any further: Intent is everything when it comes to prayer. Every person must be able to assess the motive behind their own words. There are many intercessors that bring their own personal judgments into their prayers and they pray out of a soulish level. This is very dangerous. The spirit realm knows and understands when a person is operating out of a soulish level and their words are energized by negative emotions such as offense, anger, a desire for judgment, vengeance or an unloving spirit. It is very important for the individual to realize if their heart is in need of healing because it’s very possible to release a spirit of witchcraft. The very basis of witchcraft is that a person’s will and emotion are the driving force behind their words. They speak with the intent to will certain things to come to pass. They may or may not realize they are doing it, but they are trying to force their will to come to pass, rather than yielding to Holy Spirit and praying His will into a situation. Operating in a spirit of witchcraft opens the door for witchcraft attacks to boomerang back into the life of the one that sends out those words. It is also important to take precautions such as deep cleansing prayer prior to engaging in spiritual warfare. Many, many people go into spiritual warfare ill prepared. They have unbroken generational curses or other open doors that the enemy will use to exploit an area of weakness or a spiritual blind spot. It is wisdom to make sure that one doesn’t engage the enemy when they could have open doors that grant him access to their lives. These type of precautions limits the enemy’s ability to retaliate and protect those that are attempting to enforce kingdom laws.

Decrees are written to execute judgment against the works of evil, release people from bondage, overturn injustice, tear down ungodly authority structures, tear up faulty foundations and evict the enemy. Decrees also help plant new ministries, lay the correct foundation, re-align, restructure, revive and restore. They bring forth justice for the oppressed, route the enemy, establish boundaries, and open the heavens so that kingdom plans and purposes can move forward. They make room for the ground troops to advance. Decrees propel and establish kingdom authority.

The first thing I do when writing a new decree is to consider what sort of hindrances need to be dealt with. Identify and address particular obstacles, then I sit down and pray, asking Holy Spirit to help guide me as I write. Effectively enforcing the law of God means that we need to be confident in knowing His will for the situation. His will always reflects a balance of justice with mercy.

A decree or prayer declaration serves several purposes. The first is to state a problematic situation that recognizes the current condition requires necessary action to remedy it. The second is to serve as an indictment that brings lawful charges against the enemy, and the third is to declare what the law states.

Scripture is used to support and declare God’s word (the law) that we choose to enforce. I often use the internet to search a key phrase or a thought to bring up a variety of scriptures that will be useful. I also look for various translations that reflect the heart and intent of what I feel needs to be incorporated into the decree. When I first started writing decrees, it took a bit longer to figure out what I wanted them to say, but with practice anyone can write them like a pro. You can too!

What situation do you have in your life or in the life of a family member that needs to be reversed? What injustice needs to overturned? What enemy needs to be captured and hauled into court? Write a new decree. Don’t allow the enemy’s plots and schemes to stand unchallenged. Decrees engrave the words of God into the situation in the Spirit. Declare His will over your life, family, and your future. Write a new decree over your city, your state and your nation. Overturn injustice! Overthrow corruption! Route the enemy and force him to go where he can be captured and contained. Enforce justice and righteousness by declaring what God has said in His word! The Spirit of the living God resides within you to create, enforce, and establish God’s will on earth. We are not victims, we are victorious!

Declaring God’s law is to remind Him (and the court of heaven) that action is necessary in order to correct the situation. Therefore, we are calling upon the One who gave us His law and asking that He help us enforce it in the earthly realm. The enemy is a legalist, a thief, the fraudulent witness, the prosecuting attorney (the accuser of the brethren) and a murderer. He is well acquainted with the court of heaven, and he knows how to work the system. He looks for loopholes. It’s our job, through our prayers and declarations, to sew up every little area where the enemy might try to wiggle through. It pays to be thorough. We cannot afford to pray haphazardly, throwing out prayers like buckshot, hoping to hit something. We need strategic, well aimed prayers that hit the target every time. Decrees are like a sniper rifle that finds its mark. They are lethal!  






Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Power of the Decree


Scripture tells us that our true identity lies in the knowledge that we are children of God, and as sons and daughters of the Most High God, we also attain the status of an heir.

‘Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.’ (Galatians 4:6,7 NIV)

But, that’s not all… We are also royalty. The word of God tells us so.

‘And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Rev. 1:6 KJV)

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."’ (Revelation 5:10 NIV)

Only a person that has been granted authority has the power to reign and establish the dominion of the king. When we become ‘born again’ into the kingdom of God, we inherit the birthright of an heir to all the kingdom. This knowledge is vital to our understanding who we are in Christ so that we can then live in that reality. Every born again believer wears a crown in the Spirit. The privilege of leadership and authority is granted without us even having to request it.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19 NIV)

Snakes and scorpions are references to all manner of evil. Jesus empowered us to take authority over the works of darkness. It is our responsibility to overturn the works of the enemy. We are empowered with the right to rule and enforce the laws of the Kingdom of God. It is, after all, our homeland. We are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. The kingdom and everything in it belongs to us! That is why we, God’s people, are referred to as an extension of His authority. We become that royal scepter of authority in our Father’s hand, as we legislate the laws of our kingdom, enforcing them ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’ We rule in the midst of our enemies.

"You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD's hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God." (Isaiah 62:3 NIV)

"Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom." (Psalm 45:6 NIV)

"The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, "Rule in the midst of your enemies!" (Psalm 110:2 NIV)

Kings rule by decree. Whether the words are spoken out of their mouth or written in the form of a decree (and then proclaimed to others), the words of a royal ruler are received as law.
There is something we will all benefit from if we commit this to memory: The enemy may not want to obey us, however, there is one thing that Satan must always obey and that is the word of God. When Jesus fought Satan in the wilderness He always responded with “It is written…” and then He would quote scripture. Satan had no choice but to do what Jesus commanded.

Jesus is the living word of God. As the word of God, He is the final authority. Spiritual laws are encoded into every letter of scripture. That is why it is written,

“My word, which comes from my mouth, is like the rain and snow. It will not come back to me without results. It will accomplish whatever I want and achieve whatever I send it to do." (Isaiah 55:11 God’s Word Translation).

When we return God’s word to Him, angels are released to carry out the fulfillment of the scripture.

“Praise the LORD, you angels of his, you powerful warriors who carry out his decrees and obey his orders!” (Psalm 103:20 NET Bible).

Other translations of this scripture declare that angels both listen for His word and are responsible for executing scripture according to the way He intends the word to be fulfilled. If we want our prayers and declarations to be successful, it is vitally important to utilize the word of God. Sounds waves send out a ripple effect into the atmosphere and the spiritual realm. Those sound waves do not diminish, but remain in the environment where they are sent out. The power of our words create boundaries and barricades against enemy activity.

Decrees are like stealth bombers dropping air strikes over enemy territory. Stealth aircraft are specifically designed to carry out assignments in secrecy and be able to go through impenetrable enemy defenses. They are designed to travel extremely fast in order to be able to intercept the enemy and catch them by surprise. Stealth bombers have an incredible ability to carry out long range strikes and remain virtually undetectable by radar. Decrees function in the same way and create breakthrough in both the spiritual and earthly realms. The enemy literally has no ability to anticipate the decrees that will be spoken and thus has no capacity to formulate a plan for a counter attack. He doesn’t know what will be spoken or where they are going to hit. Decrees send the enemy into fear and confusion. The more God’s people incorporate the proper use of scripture into their prayers and declarations, the more power they release to interrupt evil plans and destroy the works of darkness. Do you want power released when you pray? Decree God’s word.

"You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you; And light will shine on your ways.” (Job 22:28 NASB).

You are the extension of God’s authority. Rule in the midst of your enemies!










Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Prayer Declaration Over Presidential Elections

Before You Vote, Pray! Together we can turn the tide of the elections so that the person God has chosen will come into their appointed position. 

Father,

I add my voice to the many others praying before our elections. Help us, O God, to insure that the enemy does not succeed in gaining more ground over the United States of America. We ask for Your protection against fraudulent voting policies and evil schemes designed to keep the power and authority in the wrong hands. Help us, O God, to overthrow evil plans so that You can restore righteousness in this great nation. We are Your people, O God, and we ask that Your plans would come into place, especially during the upcoming elections. Therefore, I speak with the authority You gave me and

I declare to the gates of government, the gates of education, the gates of homeland security, the military, police, the gates of our borders and those responsible for the welfare of American citizens,

I declare to the gates of commerce, the gates of trade, the gates of finance,

I declare to the blocked and locked gates that prevent entrance to doors of the heart, the mind, the soul, and spirit of mankind, be opened now in Jesus name.

I command the gates controlled by principalities, powers and demonic spirits be closed to evil authority and those that carry out the plans of the enemy. Let all that hinders and resists the plans and purposes of God be evicted now, according to Isaiah 22:19.

I declare these are the gates of the Lord and these are the gates that the righteous enter, according to Psalm 118:20.

I release the power of Holy Spirit to expose, blow up, and unravel every evil plan. Father, send your angels and those you have chosen to bring justice for the oppressed and righteousness in exchange for corruption. Let ungodly authority be deposed from office and removed now, in Jesus name. 

I declare that all those in positions as kings and leaders must bow to the authority of Jesus Christ, for they serve at His pleasure by His appointment, according to Psalm 72:11 and John 3:35.

I declare that those that are corrupt and carry out the plans of the enemy are overthrown according to Ezekiel 21:17.

I command all evil shield bearers, and those appointed by the enemy to thwart justice and keep ungodly leadership or man's choice for leadership to be removed immediately according to 1 Sam. 17:40-50. 

I declare Isaiah 9:6 over the gates of government. Let those that You have chosen to rule come into their appointed place, in Jesus name.

I declare that those appointed as ministers to uphold righteousness will be established as Your authority and they will take the place appointed for them, according to Isaiah 22:19, Daniel 7:18 and Isaiah 16:5.

I declare You are the Lord of breakthrough, O God, and You have broken through Your enemies according to 2 Samuel 5:20. You have gone before Your people to secure the victory.

I declare Micah 2:13 over those chosen to release breakthrough, that they would be empowered to advance and move into their proper place, in Jesus name.

Let those who are chosen by God to reign in righteousness will now move into their seat of authority, according to Isaiah 22:21, Daniel 7:14 and Genesis 49:10 in Jesus name.

Thank you, Father for hearing my prayer and releasing Your angels to carry out Your word. As I declare Your word to You, I thank You that it does not return void but Your words certainly establish that which is Your purpose and will for our nation. In Jesus name, amen.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Restoration and the Prophetic

Friends,

Let this powerful message bring encouragement to you today! This is Norm's message that he preached a couple weeks ago about being messengers of restoration and how it applies to both the church and the prophetic gift. The previous article (Messengers of Restoration) evolved from his notes but this is the audio version.

Messengers of Restoration (Restoration and the Prophetic) by Norm Gagnon

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Messengers of Restoration

We see a great deal of activity in San Diego county. Increased activity of the Spirit is a sign of God’s visitation, but in the midst of God’s visitation there is also a sense of awe at what He is doing. And, while unity is a main emphasis on maintaining the Spirit’s movement, unity is not the main thing. Restoration is.

There is a difference between a people that place an emphasis on restoration and those that don't. There is a difference between those that get hung up on what people have been through, and those that have a goal of restoring others. A forerunner church is a restorative church.

The enemy always tries to silence the voice of God’s people. He attempts to remove the prophetic voice because it is the voice of hope and restoration to the church. It’s a voice of direction and a voice of authority. To restore someone means to restore them better than they were before they went through something that caused them to incur loss. Men and women are looking and searching for a prophetic people that will restore and heal them better than they were before. This is God's promise.

"'But you, Mountains of Israel, will burst with new growth, putting out branches and bearing fruit for my people Israel. My people are coming home! Do you see? I'm back again. I'm on your side. You'll be plowed and planted as before! I'll see to it that your population grows all over Israel, that the towns fill up with people, that the ruins are rebuilt. I'll make this place teem with life - human and animal. The country will burst into life, life, and more life, your towns and villages full of people just as in the old days. I'll treat you better than I ever have. And you'll realize that I am God." Ezekiel 36:8-11 MSG Bible


What does it mean to fall in sin? 
A person that has stumbled or fallen into sin is a person that is bleeding spiritually. They are being robbed and plundered by the enemy. They are stuck, frustrated, or grieving and dealing with the sting of shame, failure, remorse and condemnation. 
"This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed." Lamentation 1:16 NIV

Isaiah 42:22 says, “But this is a robbed and plundered people. All of them are snared in holes, and they are hidden in prisons. They have become a prey, and no one delivers; and a spoil, and no one says, 'Restore them!' ”  World English Version


Restoration and forgiveness is a spiritual and prophetic act of faith and love. We are not capable to restore out of human effort and religious observations. 

"After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"  Gal. 3:3 NIV

"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Gal. 5:25 NIV 

"Brothers, someone is caught a sin (fault, trespass), you who are spiritual (caught or led by the Spirit, prophetic), restore (mend, heal, equip, perfect) in a spirit of gentleness, so you too will not be tempted." Gal. 6:1 

In regards to the prophetic, we look to 2 Peter 1:21. "For prophecy never had it's origin in the will of man but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 

If the enemy cannot silence the prophetic voice, he will try to make restoration conditional. Mark 14:66-72 is the story of Peter denying Christ three times. Peter was self assured and eager to live for God, or so he thought, but he lacked experience. He needed a lesson or two about the deceitfulness of his own heart before he was really ready to live for Christ. Peter ended up discovering things about himself he didn’t even know existed. Scripture says that Peter was filled with bitter remorse at his own lack of strength and integrity. He was genuinely sorrowful and filled with regret over his sin, and that's really the point. God allows us to discover our own weaknesses as preparation for the future. Through these experiences He makes us stronger. His goal is not to heap more condemnation upon those that are already broken over their sin. He doesn't continue to place conditions upon people who have learned from their mistakes. Failure is often a prerequisite before promotion, not an event that is used to rule it out. Far too often people's mistakes are used as weapons against them to disqualify them, rather than seeing past negative events as things to learn and grow from, and as great tools to equip people for their future. Those things educate us about ourselves and teach us a few things about God, the enemy and others too. The Lord doesn’t get hung up on our failures. 

When Jesus caught up with Peter, it wasn’t to make him feel guilty or condemned. He knew Peter already felt like that. Jesus came to restore Peter and commission him for service. He already knew what Peter had learned about himself. He wanted Peter to learn more about His nature, and He knew that Peter needed to have his faith restored. He needed to have his shame and remorse over his failure healed and washed away. Peter was carrying deep burdens in his heart. Notice that Jesus did not leave him in that condition very long. It was only 50 days between Peter's denial of the Lord and when he preached to a crowd of over 3,000 people that came to Christ. Jesus simply asked, “Do you love Me?” Then He reminded him of his purpose. Feed My people. (John 21:15-19) Jesus recommissioned Peter and released him to go and continue with the work of the Lord. 

God always looks for those that will stand in the gap, not just as people who pray, but as those that will take action to restore others. There are multitudes of people waiting and placing their hope in God, but we all need to remember that God uses us to carry out His plans and purposes. He is actually astonished when He looks for what He considers a reasonable expectation, yet does not find it. 

“He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene..." Isiah 59:16

The power of the prophetic voice is a voice of restoration. Restoring and mending someone is to release healing to their life. It requires a prophetic act of releasing the heart of God and the Word of God towards that individual. 

                                     "To be prophetic is to manifest the passion
                                              and emotion of the heart of God" 
                                                             - Stephen Hill

"The prophetic is not only a channel for the words of God, but it manifests the accompanying emotion of the Father in speaking to His children. It is not enough to speak the word of God - it must be said how God would say it. To be prophetic is to bring the word of God with His emotion." - Stephen Hill, (from What Does it Mean to be Prophetic?)

Jewish Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, (in a book called The Prophets), says that the prophetic word is a 'blast from heaven.' "The task of the prophet is to convey the word of God. Yet the word is aglow with the pathos ( the anguished longing from the heart of God). One cannot understand the word without sensing the pathos. And one could not impassion others and remain unstirred. The prophet should not be regarded as an ambassador who must be dispassionate in order to be effective." "...What he is saying here is that the prophetic word is only effective if the person who gives it has a sense of the emotion that is in God's heart. This is the place where prophetic speaking is uttered from." - Stephen Hill

A prophetic people have a firm grip on the demonstration of God's compassion which has been displayed and demonstrated throughout history. 

A prophetic people have a firm grip on the present reality of God's restorative nature. His mercies are new every morning! 

A prophetic people have a firm grip as to the destiny and future of God's children. They have a hope and a future that is secure, according to Jeremiah 29:11.

Each one of us has people that God has put in our lives so that we would be a part of their restoration. People often don't realize that God wants us to take a more active role in restoring others. Sometimes you think you're waiting on God to do something for you, and the tendency is to look for that opportunity to come from someone else. Perhaps that is true, and maybe you are waiting for God to send someone to you that will release something greater into your life. But, in the meantime, are you asking the right questions? Who has God put in your life that He is expecting you to do something for?

Sometimes God will drop a person in your life so that we would be a part of restoring something that they lost. Whether it's a recovery of hope, health, or even ministries that have been lost, you become God's mouthpiece and His messenger of restoration to those in your path.



YOU are the voice of restoration. YOU are the messenger of hope and restoration.

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!" Isaiah 52:7 NLT

Use what you've been through to feed and strengthen others. Sharing your story is part of your healing and it leads to your restoration, because ministry comes from your brokenness. God doesn't throw away the clay! (Jeremiah 18:1-4). He makes it into something new and useful for God's service. He doesn't waste the issues from your experiences. He redeems them, anoints them and places His power in your testimony. Once again Jesus asks the question (to all of us): "Do you love Me?"  Feed my people. Amen, Lord. Let us be the voice of healing and restoration to all that you send cross our path. 



Prayer Declaration for Restoration:

Father,

I declare that You are able to restore what has been lost. I believe Your word, and I give thanks to You for Your lovingkindness and Your truth. You said in Your word, in Isaiah 55:11, that Your word does not return to You void but it certainly accomplishes that for which it is purposed. You have magnified Your word according to all your name. The word is Jesus Christ, according to John 1:1, and Your Son cannot lie. Knowing this truth makes me bold with strength and gives me such confidence in declaring Your word!

Therefore, I return Your word to You and ask that You release angels on assignment to fulfill YOUR WORD in my life.

I declare that You delight in destroying the works of the devil, according to 1 John 3:8.

I declare that You restore my life according to Ruth 4:15.

I declare that You have restored property that has been lost according to 2 Sam. 9:7 and 2 Kings 8:6.

I declare that You have restored me to my rightful position according to Genesis 40:21.

I declare that I am restored so that I can help restore others, according to Galatians 6:1.

I declare my health is restored according to Jeremiah 30:17.

I declare my finances are restored according to Genesis 42:25.

I declare my soul is restored and prospering according to Psalm 23:3 and 3 John 1:2.

I declare the joy of my salvation is restored according to Psalm 51:12. 

In Jesus name, amen.






Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Importance of Prophetic Ministry

As I sat down to write this, I was amazed at what came from just beginning to write the account of a recent dream. The Lord is so good, so in love with His children that His heart is absolutely full with a longing to connect with them. In my dream I was at some sort of an open house, walking through to view these model homes for sale. I saw people who were living in some of them. The homes were unique in the fact that they were all constructed out of concrete blocks, but there were no windows. In fact, people were being offered fake stickers that looked like windows so that they could make it appear as though they had real windows with light coming in when in reality there was only cement blocks. It was just an illusion yet the people seemed quite happy to settle for homes with no actual windows. I thought to myself, “Why would I want these silly vinyl stickers? Why would anyone want them instead of real windows?” When I inquired about why the buildings had no windows, the sales staff remarked that real windows were not an option. They were in large concrete boxes, and though I saw kids playing in playrooms and the rooms seemed spacious enough, the reality was people that were content to be boxed in with only artificial light.

The homes could represent individual lives but they can also represent churches or ministries. I believe that what was represented in the dream are those that are ‘playing around,’ or have settled for a spirit of compromise. They have exchanged truth and traded in revelation for confinement. Windows represent revelation or prophetic ministry. There was no real light coming in the windows. It was just a vinyl peel off sticker that gave the illusion there was a window. I believe this indicates those that have settled for places in their lives, churches or ministries where comfort has become more important than having revelation. They have settled for something that was an illusion. Concrete walls represent hardened hearts, shutting off the flow of the Spirit, and barriers.

There is nothing more dangerous than the deception of feeling secure through practicing a form of godliness but lacking the authenticity of light, revelation and genuine relationship with God that releases His power and anointing.

Religion will never free you from your confinements. It will never free people from limitations. Religion is incapable of bringing restoration to your life, church or ministry, because the roots of a religious spirit bring constriction and limitations to one’s faith. A religious spirit is a demonic spirit that is very destructive towards a person’s faith. So...how does one know if they have a religious spirit? 

People with a religious spirit may have issues with being judgmental towards others or have a critical spirit. Religious spirits show up in a variety of ways. Some may fight against constant feelings of condemnation or guilt, while others may struggle with double-mindedness, doubt and unbelief. Some may be prone to argumentation and debate over doctrinal beliefs, and be puffed up with religious pride. These characteristics are divisive and create offense in others. A person with a religious spirit is prone to perfectionism and struggles with feeling the need to place conditions upon themselves and others in order for them to feel they have obtained a certain level of acceptance or approval. A religious spirit resists anything to do with grace and, through the manifestations in a person's behavior and thought processes, denies the blood of Christ. It is an anti-Christ spirit, though those that are under it's influence are often blind to that fact and would deny they have it. A religious spirit denies restoration until all conditions are met to the satisfaction of a standard set by man, not God. It lords over others. It replaces grace with self-effort achieved through a works mentality. Good works and selfish ambition elevate pride and self-righteousness, creating spiritual blindness.

'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.…” Rev. 3:6,17

 Jesus was speaking to the church of Laodicea. I am sure that those that heard such a message must have felt incredulous that it was directed towards them! He expected His people to give themselves wholeheartedly to Him, but a religious spirit had dulled their heart and mind. They were neither hot nor cold towards Him. They were indifferent altogether and too blind to realize it. They were led by self-conceit and self-delusion as to the reality of their true spiritual condition! Religious spirits place conditions and restrictions upon people that Jesus never intended. In Luke 11:42 & Matthew 23:23 Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for placing religious conditions upon people while neglecting the truly important things such as love for God, mercy and faithfulness. His perspective hasn’t changed. 

I did not sit down with the intention to write this sort of article. It had not even occurred to me. The writing just sort of evolved into this message, but I believe this is what the Lord is wanting to convey. Time is short. People cannot afford to allow themselves to be stuck in captivity or allow things that cause their faith to wither, slowly...silently leading them to the edge of a cliff. This is the destructive nature of a religious spirit. It hardens a person's heart to the truth so that repentance can, eventually, become impossible. It's the frog in the pot syndrome. Some just never wake up to it. There is far more that can be said, but the Book of Galatians is a great place to start. People can go through the motions of church attendance and doing all the things that tell them they are doing what's expected, but inwardly their hearts can still be far from the Lord. That's how religious spirits take a hold of people's heart and mind.

It’s time to re-dig the wells of truth and dig out the things that have defiled them. It’s time to heal the wells so that they can be purified and the waters run clear and clean again. Each person is a well, but so are individual churches and ministries. God wants to reach them all with a message of hope and restoration. Our Father is calling us to dig deep so that His voice can be heard clearly. Purifying the wells causes the message of the gospel to become sweet to those that hear it. The gospel is still the good news, but only if it’s not tainted by bitter or stagnant water. Stagnant water breeds parasites, and spiritually speaking, a stagnant church does the same. A church or people that are stuck in the past, holding on to the traditions of man, or demonstrates they are consistently unwilling to grow will develop spiritual parasites and be unhealthy. We can’t afford to be confused about what really pleases Him, and what pleases Him is authenticity. A real relationship with Him is more than just attending church, putting money in an offering place or even good works. It’s about truly knowing Him. In as much as we all want to be truly known and loved for who we are, the Lord wants the same from us. Anything we do in acts of service ought to be birthed out of love and gratitude for who He is and the understanding of how great a sacrifice Jesus paid for us. Everything He’s done, He did for us so that we could really know Him and come into a relationship with Him.

A religious spirit refuses to allow faith to grow and experience the reality of God. It chokes out the life of the Spirit of God. By its very nature, a religious spirit utilizes scripture to uphold and enforce the beliefs and traditions of man. The lines get blurred between where scripture leaves off and the traditions and beliefs of man are incorporated. This allows a perverse spirit to bring confusion. Truth becomes somewhat twisted and misrepresented, so that what people are left with is a form of godliness, but it fails to accurately represent God’s heart to His people. This is why the prophetic ministry is so important to God's people. It tells them what God is saying when they have no light of their own. God’s prophetic messengers must be a clear trumpet; a vessel that rings true so that people don’t get the wrong idea about who He is. They are expected to represent God’s heart and character accurately to His people. They may bring a message of correction or warning, but they also bring about messages of hope, comfort, and restoration. When they speak, they speak the way God would speak. Not with anger or a critical spirit or words that always seem to depict foreboding and judgment – but balanced with love, mercy and redemption at the heart of everything they speak. They do not speak out of their own flesh, but as His representative to carefully steward the responsibility of speaking His words to others. Isn’t it amazing that God trusts His people with such an awesome responsibility? Perhaps it is the fear that in our humanity people will get it wrong (and sometimes they do) and people want to guard themselves from what they think will be full of error or confusion. This is why prophetic ministry is judged by the body. Yes, there are growing pains, as people learn how to walk in those gifts, but we don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. Or, perhaps it’s the feelings of awkward uncertainty people have that someone will know the secrets of their heart and life. This is exactly what draws unbelievers into relationship with the Lord. It is for a sign and a witness to the unbelieving world that there is a loving Father that knows them and longs to communicate with His children! The reality is, God’s prophetic messengers don’t get to pick and choose what they receive from Him. They are simply entrusted with revelation and a message to deliver.

The prophetic ministry is so vital to the health and well-being to the body of Christ. Prophetic ministry gives light where there is none. It reveals the heart of God to His people. While a religious spirit will reveal the word of God, it often emphasizes the rules without demonstrating the love and heart of the Father to His children. Rules without relationship breeds offense at the Word and rebellion. It tends to leave people feeling that they are being deprived. Life becomes about keeping the rules and expectations of others in order to feel accepted and approved. This religious spirit is like a spiritual vampire. It sucks the life out of those under its control to where they feel they have no pleasure, satisfaction or fulfillment. They feel drained, discontent and dissatisfied with their Christian experience. They often feel frustrated with their relationship with God, not understanding that there is far more available to them through a dynamic, genuine relationship with their heavenly Father; or, uncertain how to walk in it.

Some people never understand that they can have an entirely different relationship with God and therefore never ask for it. They can have spiritual blocks to their prayer such as unforgiveness, offense, or unhealed emotional wounds that prevent them from hearing from God. Those things, and others, can literally work to silence the voice of God – until they understand that certain types of prayer can release their soul from prison and open their ears to hear His voice. Others feel safe or somehow comforted by the expectations of religion and seem to prefer the emotional distance it creates. Perhaps those same people are struggling with brokenness in their lives and have difficulty with emotional intimacy in relationships. They are afraid to let anyone get too close, perhaps out of shame, hurt or some aspect of their life story that they are afraid would be revealed should others get too close. This causes their relationships to be held at a superficial level. Yet, inwardly they long for something real, genuine. They long to be known and loved, accepted and valued. It is these same issues of unhealed wounds that not only keep others at a distance, but they keep your loving heavenly Father at a distance too, for He manifests Himself through human vessels. If this is speaking to you today, I pray, let me encourage you to forsake your brokenness and take some steps of faith towards healing and wholeness. You will never find real intimacy where religious observance overrides personal intimacy with Christ. We had to take steps to trust again too. I know it is difficult, but when you connect with the right people they are a part of restoring your ability to trust again. Trust the Lord to lead you to the right people that will help restore your heart and heal your wounded soul. It is so worth it. But recognize that change is a necessary part of being able to heal. You may have to leave where you’re at and go somewhere new. Be willing to take the risk. Step into the unknown and trust God to lead you.

Prophetic revelation shines like a bright light into the dark places of our heart and mind. It exposes things that don’t line up with truth. It reveals who we really are in Christ – sons and daughters of the living God – and leads us into the truth so that we can live free from ungodly restraints. Through this freedom people are able to receive love from their heavenly Father that they were not aware of previously. They are able to receive words of life, hope, comfort, healing and restoration. Prophetic ministry is vital to the body of Christ because it reveals God’s tender heart of mercy, compassion and incredible patience, sacrificial love to all mankind. This light shed into our hearts allows us to draw close to our Creator and come into a personal relationship with Him, knowing that we truly have a loving Father that would do anything for us. His love is that of a parent that has loved their child even while it was still in the womb. He’s known us from before we were born, from before the foundations of the earth. Before we could do anything to warrant His love, He loved us. He chose us. And, like any proud papa, He delights in us. For no other reason than we are made in His image. We’re His kids. His love is fiercely protective towards His own, tenderly guarding and protecting, steering and guiding, teaching and training, all the days of our lives. Jesus is the Shepherd of our soul. He loves us, cares for us, and represents His Father’s heart to us in every way.

There was a guy named Philip that hung out with Jesus, but he wasn’t so quick to pick up on the truth. I think Philip was a lot like us. He probably came with a lot of questions and religious misconceptions that made him confused. Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.…” John 14:7-9 NIV 

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11 NIV
“Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”  John 10:10 MSG

Religion is a sheep stealer, and God wants His flock back. It’s a fake, a fraud, and a counterfeit. It pretends to represent our Father, but it can’t because it’s devoid of His heart and His Spirit. A religious spirit is like an emotionally distant step-father. It reproduces an orphan spirit, causing people to feel disconnected and abandoned rather than lovingly taken into the arms of a caring Father and brought into close relationship with Him. Prophetic ministry exposes this religious spirit for what it is, while drawing people closer to the heart of the Father by revealing their true identity as sons and daughters.

“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Galatians 4:6 NIV

We need the Holy Spirit to shed this revelation in our hearts because it reveals God’s heart to those that have not yet head this deep and meaningful revelation.

“Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5 AMPC 

Sons and daughters are heirs to the kingdom. We learn what it is to be re-trained to think, act, and live as royalty because we belong to the King of Kings. Not just as children of God, but as His spouse, given full rights and privileges as His bride. What is His, also belongs to us. (That’s quite an attractive benefit, wouldn’t you say?)

“So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:7

“..For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord Almighty is His name: He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 54:5 Living Bible

Another very important role of prophetic ministry is to bring people out of the old and into the new. The prophetic word has the power to shift people out of old seasons and cycles, and old ways of thinking. Religion – dry, stale, lifeless forms of having a form of godliness, but without the power – keeps people trapped in old cycles. A religious spirit produces spiritual blindness, and when people can’t see where they’re going, they stay stuck. The prophetic gifts give sight to the body. It tells people where God is taking them in the Spirit so that they know what to expect, and don't get lost. It works alongside the apostolic gifts because the apostolic gifts help bring order to the church. Apostolic gifts lay the foundation upon the revelation of Jesus Christ so that what can be built is sound and stable. Any building must have a sound foundation or everything else is unstable and prone to collapse. Apostolic gifts help direct the other functions of the body so that people operate in their gifts and function in the right place. They also help steer things back on track and assist with course correction when it’s needed. When there is a convergence of the apostolic and prophetic anointing working together, the Spirit of God flows with power, down from the head into the body, and out the door into the community. There is a great adjustment that the body of Christ is making right now as people find their place of anointed service. Many will have to leave religious institutions in order to find a deeper sense of belonging and fulfillment, if those places are not willing to change. A root of religion will dry up the life of the church. Holy Spirit must be in charge!  The adjustments and restructuring taking place also reveal the great need of the church to make room for apostles and prophets, so that the work can be done in such a way as to release the greatest fruitfulness and anointing. The church needs the gifts of the Holy Spirit moving among the people because that’s how God heals and restores. He heals the broken places of our lives with the prophetic word. It gives light and a new perspective. It shatters old mindsets. Prophetic ministry reveals things that have been hidden and gives us understanding about certain situations that we didn’t previously know.

"When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father--the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father--he will testify about me.”  John 15:26

The essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness of Jesus, Rev. 19:10. Prophetic ministry reveals Jesus in some form. It reveals things only He could know. It sounds like Him. If it sounds like the flesh, it probably is. God’s voice is distinctly different. It reveals His heart for His people. Jesus said that when Holy Spirit came He would reveal truth and the truth would make us free, in John 8:32. God help us not to do anything that would shut down the Spirit of Truth, for He carries the power to make people free.

Prophetic ministry is essential because it’s the breath of God that brings life to the Word of God. The word of God is living and active according to Hebrews 4:12. That’s what makes this relationship with Christ rich, interesting and continually fresh. It’s the living water that runs like a clear, refreshing river deep inside of the Spirit filled believer. When you’re thirsty for something deeper, it can only be found by re-digging the well of truth. It puts life into the Word that keeps things moving along, helping us keep in step with the Spirit.

 The prophetic ministry is literally the voice of God to His people, compelling them to keep in step with His Spirit and not lag behind. It reveals kingdom truths in order to bring people OUT of religion, constriction and false forms of identity – and INTO a new day, and a new way of relating to God. He’s not just ‘God,’ but Father. Dad. Papa. No longer orphaned. Adopted. Accepted. Loved. Valued and esteemed as His dear child. If you’re having a hard time connecting with the Lord, ask Him to give you the revelation of the Fatherhood of God. Ask Him to birth it into your heart so that you experience it.

There is such a peace in knowing that you can have an authentic, personal relationship with your dad. His door is always open. You can always get a hold of Him. Day or night; He is never too busy to take your call or invite you in for a hug. He’s got you. Big ol’ Papa Bear is waiting to give you a great big bear hug and break bread with you. I can see Him laughing and so full of joy! You know, what He really wants is a great big family reunion. He has really missed His kids! All you’ve got to do is swing by and say hello. (You can do that through prayer, connecting with His heart). Gosh, doesn’t it sound good to go home? No stern lectures. No guilt trips. No criticisms on all the things you’ve been worried about. Just love. Whatever has you all tied up in knots, He’s already got it figured out, and He’ll tell you all about it over dinner. All He wants is to spend some time with you and have some quality time together. Go home, son. Go home, daughter. Your dad is already at the door.