This is the confidence we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked for.
I John 5:14-15
I recently had a conversation about the practice of praying confessionally or, as some would say, decreeing and declaring. My understanding of this is biased because of the misapplication of scripture by those of the prosperity movement. I began this year teaching through the Johannine epistles (1, 2, and 3 John). And I came upon these verses that I have read over and over again. This is where the conversation of confessional praying, decreeing and declaring something, or better understood as scripture praying, challenged and convicted me.
What is scripture praying?
In the New Testament, “confess” means to “agree or say the same thing as.” So, when we say the same thing about any subject as God says about it (our behavior, our sin, or the Lordship of Jesus, for example), that’s confession. In its simplest terms, confession prayer is acknowledging our sin, or the affirmation of God’s truth, or both. Scripture praying, then, is the practice of making scripture the foundation of our prayer request by affirming or agreeing with God’s truth.
How do we practice scripture praying?
The most powerful and effective communication with God is praying the Word…His Word! Prayer that brings results is based on the Word of God. Personal confessions, declarations, and prayers of praise condition and prepare you to connect with God. God responds to His Word and our faith fueled by the energizing power of His Holy Spirit within us.
Listen to what John writes, “if we ask anything according to His will.” It is a truth that God answers our prayers according to two standards: His will and His Word. Both are interconnected. God’s will is in His Word, and it is in His Word that we find God’s will. To pray according to the will of God is to pray based upon the word of God. When I ask God to do something in my marriage, as a parent, as a pastor, or for my personal needs, those requests need to be based upon scripture.
For example, you want to pray for deeper intimacy with your spouse. Is this request scriptural or just a social or selfish desire? It is scripture, the Bible says, “Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word (Ephesians 5:25).” So, your prayer in faith could be: “Father, I confess that my spouse will show a deeper level of intimacy toward me because your word says in Ephesians 5:25, Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.”
What are the benefits of scripture praying?
The benefits of scripture praying are that while we are focused on our needs, we develop a more intimate relationship with God because it causes us to read his word. Another benefit is that we will find our lives centered and driven by the Word of God. Finally, we will live out our lives guided by faith and not by fear.