You are not a loser. I am not a loser. None of us who belong to Jesus are losers. We do not labor toward victory, but from victory. In all reality, this one truth affects every aspect of the Christian life—especially our prayer lives!
Yes, the one to whom we pray has already won the spiritual battle once and for all. Jesus is the Victor! As long as we are on this earth, we will have a vital role to play—to help enforce the victory of Calvary—but we do not have to worry about the final outcome, because it was decided already a long time ago when Jesus, nailed to the blood-soaked cross, declared, "It is finished!" (John 19:30b). Those three words resound across the universe and down the epochs of time. His death and subsequent miraculous resurrection secured and sealed the victory over the darkness of rebellion and sin forevermore.
Proclamations of Victory
For each of us, life will involve many ups and downs, trials and tribulation, winds and waves. This is the normal Christian life: "'We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God'" (Acts 14:22b, NIV). In God's economy, our hardships work for us, not against us: "Rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed" (1 Pet. 4:13). But this does not mean the outcome is up for grabs, and it certainly does not depend on our own strength.
Victory: This is the perspective from which we must live and pray. Like court heralds, we proclaim God's sovereign greatness, and we announce Good News.
Proclamations of God's victory are powerful, and that is why we find them throughout the Scriptures. Along with those who penned such proclamations, we must align our hearts with God's heart of victory, expressing our trust in His fatherly oversight even when the way ahead looks dark and foreboding.
The kingdom of God is speech-activated. As we store up His Word in our hearts, we have an abundance of truth to proclaim with our mouths. Even in the face of fear, we can speak out of faith. We can proclaim "Freedom!" We can declare God's extravagant mercy from the rooftops.
Proclamations of Praise
Purposefully, the writers of the Scripture always start by proclaiming God's greatness. Putting aside their needs and requests, they just praise Him for His own sake:
"I will proclaim the name of the Lord; how glorious is our God! He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!" (Deut. 32:3-4, NLT).
Praise is both a joyful sound as well as a sacrifice because it will cost you something. The sacrifice of praise is worth it, always, because praise is a spiritual warfare weapon, a means of deliverance from the strongholds of darkness. "He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God" (Ps. 50:23, NASB). Sometimes we simply need to praise our way out of the entrapment of the enemy by releasing the high praise of God from our hearts—out loud.
Praise is like a mantle—we can choose to put it on like clothing (See Isa. 61:1-3). And when we begin to praise the Lord, heaviness of spirit disappears. We look different, act different and talk different when we put on a garment of praise!
Often, we praise God in the dark, and our effort can be a true sacrifice. We may be buffeted by adversities of all kinds, discouraged, weak. But one of the best times to praise the Lord is when you feel the worst. By opening your mouth in praise, you come into His throne room: "You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel" (Ps. 22:3, NKJV).
All by itself, praising God's greatness shifts the atmosphere into one of victory. The proclamation of praise establishes a highway from God's throne to earth and makes possible a visitation of His presence. As we glorify and praise the Lord, He returns our praises to us in the form of blessings.
It was not until Jonah offered up a sacrifice of praise, when he was at his lowest point, that God delivered him, causing the large fish to vomit him up. This resulted not only in his deliverance but in revival for the populous city of Nineveh (see Jon. 2:1-10.) Have you ever been at a low point? That is exactly when you need to shift into the power of proclamation.
In the New Testament, we read about how Paul and Silas were set free supernaturally from their prison cell as they declared vibrant praise to the Lord (see Acts 16:25-26.) We can break the bars of the evil one when in our darkest moments and darkest places we proclaim the majesty of His great name.
The Proclamation of Blessings
We must always be prepared to turn and declare a proclamation of blessing. Such prayerful proclamations can take many forms, depending upon the people involved, for example:
- A proclamation from the leaders to the people: "May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace" (Num. 6:24-26, NLT).
- A proclamation from the people to the leaders: "Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. ... [Pray] in the Spirit always with all kinds of prayer and supplication in the Spirit. To that end be alert with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" (Eph. 6:10-11, 18, MEV).
- A proclamation over your family: "As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15b, TLB).
- A proclamation over your city: "The earth belongs to the Lord, and its fulness, the world, and those who dwell in it. ... Lift up your heads, O you gates, lift up, you everlasting doors, that the King of glory may enter" (Ps. 24:1, 9, MEV).
- A proclamation over Israel: "For surely the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah. The Lord says, I also will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it" (Jer. 30:3).
From a position of victory, we pray prayers of victory. We proclaim the all-sufficiency of our God, and we draw heaven's blessings down to earth.
The Big Shift!
Eventually our prayers and proclamations shift again. I can't tell you how this happens or how quickly. All I know is that there comes a time when you actually stop asking—because of an almost fierce and well-won peace that, even when the darkness still seems to prevail, makes you sure that your prayers have been heard and that God's best answers are bound for their destination.
You start to thank Him and praise Him for the provision that may not yet be visible, confident that in due time it will become manifest. At that point, all you can do is praise Him anew, and you do. Your prayers are striking the mark!
Proclaiming and declaring what Jesus has accomplished on the cross, I renew my praises for You, my King. I love You, Lord, and I want Your light to shine in me and through me. Have Your way, Lord. I declare that there is no lack in heaven, and I call forth heaven to earth. Your kingdom come; Your will be done right where I am standing, here on earth.
I join my prayers with others so that Your glory will strike the mark. Always in the invincible name of Jesus, with a big amen!
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