Thank you for your excellent thoughts since yesterday. I enjoyed them very much. What I wrote here predated your comments, scout’s honor.
Several years ago, I found myself praying audibly for my new foster sons while driving down the road to pick them up from yet another appointment. I prayed against the power of Satan in their lives. I prayed for their family. And suddenly, I knew what I wanted to do.
Liam Tyler Smith, I said aloud and firmly, I claim you in the name of Jesus and for his purposes. May the power of Christ overshadow you. May His hand rest upon you all through your days. May you never be without a witness of Him.
And then I did the same for his brother.
What came over me that day? Well, goosebumps, for one thing – because in that moment I had no doubt that my words were shifting reality around.
Some version of this statement has become common practice for me with each new foster placement. Sometimes we pray with our hands on their heads after they are sleeping. Sometimes I speak the words when they are miles away. I claim you in the name of Jesus.
Did it make a difference?
Does it matter?
A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Proverbs 18:20-21)
We can analyze and dissect the power of our words all we want – What measurable difference do they make? Would the same things have happened if we hadn’t spoken? How do we know what changed, if anything? But the essence of faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith aligns us with the will of the Father, and continues to hold to His plans when all evidence seems to the contrary. Faith realizes that we live between two realities, the earthly and the heavenly. Faith commits ourselves, as far as we are able, to bring the first into subjection to the second. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
There is a heavenly realm where realities exist that we cannot yet imagine. Where all has already been made right. Where there is no sin, no sickness, no conflict, no loss.
When I speak the blessings above, I enter into that realm and agree with its truth: Children belong to Christ. They are His own, and He intends to make them increasingly His own. I state what is true and desired in His kingdom, and I speak it before it has fully come to pass. And yes. I believe it changes things.
Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12:37)
There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health. (Proverbs 12:18)
Several years ago, I read a book called Imparting the Blessing – a book that encouraged parents to speak over their children, with spiritual authority, the words that God laid on their hearts. It’s a potent book, and in some ways a stretch, even for me – I was pushed out of my comfort zone – but it strengthened my belief that our words have power to give life and death in the lives of the people we encounter, particularly in our children.
Though I found it awkward, for a time I gave a blessing to my children each morning before they went to school. Aarick, I bless you with courage and integrity: the ability to stand firm in what you believe without being swayed by negative influences. I bless you with joy in relationships, and kindness to think first of others. Surprisingly (to me), my children loved it. They looked into my eyes with an odd hunger, and they reminded me to do it when I forgot. I need to start this again.
For my own conscience’ sake, I want to emphasize that blessing with words is not synonymous with the “name it and claim it” gospel, where I call down prosperity, perfect health, and hundred dollar bills on the people I love. Jesus may or may not want my kids to be rich, fat, and happy, but I know for a fact that he wants them to be His. When I bless, I take care to ask for what I firmly believe to be in His will.
Does it work? Does my son have a stronger day because of it, more secure in his identity in Christ? I don’t know.
I am admitting that there is mystery here. I am not advocating the foolishness that denies physical reality, pretending illness or loss no longer exists because we have “spoken against it,” claiming wholeness while we throw out our crutches and eyeglasses and medicines. Instead, I am advocating a faith that sees a double reality: a faith that clings to Christ while living with ongoing brokenness.
Because I do know this: When I use words with power, I am joining not only with the purposes of God, but also with his manner of bringing change to the world. He speaks first, and then brings it to pass. Let there be Light, he said, and there was light. About this time next year, you will have a son. And, Your descendants will be as the stars of the sky.
Romans 4, in talking about God’s word to Abraham while he was aged and still childless, says that God “calleth those things which be not as though they were.” Do you realize what that means? He is the timeless God of all time, and he can state as accomplished what has not yet been started, because all things dwell in him. (See also 2 Corinthians 4:8-14.)
I, too, can state as certain what I know he will accomplish, though to my earthly eyes it has not yet happened. No, I do not have his authority and lordship. No, I am not the Creator, or The Word, as Christ is. All of my speakings must be subject to him. But he invites me to join him in the creating process, the bringing about of His will on earth.
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 18:18-19)
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:14-16)
If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. (I John 5:16)
The results are not magic. Sometimes our prayers are unanswered, and our blessings unfulfilled. But still there are realities unseen. Our words have impact, and what we speak before the Lord, his power is more than able to uphold and bring about.
Satan, I rebuke you. Jesus, I cling to you.
Jane, you are a woman of God, and I see his hand on your story.
Little one, may the Lord use you in mighty ways in his kingdom. He has a special plan for you.
I know for sure that Christ means this for good. His work is not done.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace.
I believe in this with all my heart.
Thanks to the many good people in my life who have grown my understanding in this, and I trust will continue to grow it: most notably my dear friends Sharon Y, Dorcas H, and Carla Z. ❤
I don’t even want to think about all the foolish and hurtful things I’ve said. And will say. I am grateful for the redemption of Jesus!
Names of foster children in this story have been changed to protect the privacy of their families.
What are your thoughts?