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What is prophetic prayer?

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Like other aspects of the “prayer movement,” such as soaking prayer, prophetic prayer—or prophetic intercession—is an unbiblical practice that seeks to ascribe to the pray-er power and privilege that have no foundation in Scripture.

The practitioners of prophetic prayer believe they are praying the very words of God into the world. This type of prayer is performed by self-styled “prophets” who believe they can deliver messages straight from the throne room of God, thus acting as conduits for God’s Word and making their prayers “prophetic.” But the Bible tells us that the canon of Scripture is closed (Revelation 22:18). This means that God is not giving new revelation to so-called prophets today. He has spoken through His Word, and our job is to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3). We are not to seek further revelations from God.

Prophetic prayer is usually described as the act of commanding God’s “prophetic vision” to be fulfilled in the earth, with the result that God’s will is accomplished. Prophetic prayer is taught in some charismatic ministries as a means of bringing God’s judgment on the earth and ushering in God’s Kingdom. Prophetic prayer is aimed at individuals, so they will fulfill their “prophetic purpose” (their service in God’s plan), and at the world in general, so God’s desires can be accomplished on earth. But Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 6 teaches us to submit to God’s will; it does not teach that we possess special powers to actualize God’s will. God’s plan will come to pass on His exact timetable, which He has not shared with us (Matthew 24:36; 25:13; Mark 13:32; Luke 12:37-47). Demanding His judgment to fall and His kingdom to come at the will of the “prophet” is arrogant—and possibly blasphemous. The Lord is the one who will bring to pass all His will: “What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do” (Isaiah 46:11).

Prophetic prayer assumes the existence of modern-day prophets, men and women who are God’s spokesmen in the world and who can utter divine revelation with all the authority of God Himself. When someone engages in prophetic prayer, he is not asking for God’s will to be done; he is commanding God’s will to be done, and he believes that—as the rain fell when Elijah prayed—he must be obeyed.

Those who teach prophetic prayer point to Jesus’ model prayer, which includes the words “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). This verse, they say, teaches that we should demand God’s will in the world around us. As a modern-day prophet speaks God’s words “into the earth” or “into the atmosphere,” he believes that he changes his environment to conform to God’s command and paves the way for God’s purpose. Prophetic pray-ers believe they do not just predict what will happen; they believe they actually create the thing predicted! Prophetic prayer is believed to actually bring into existence its own answer. But the Bible declares that God alone decides when, where, and how He will act. We are to pray for Him to act according to His perfect will and timing, not according to our own.

Those who teach prophetic prayer also believe that God uses prophets to provide answers to other people’s prayers. If someone is seeking an answer to prayer, God may urge a prophet to pray prophetically, so the other person’s prayer will be answered. But the Bible teaches that the answer to our prayers is not dependent on any “prophet” in this world. There is only one Mediator between God and man, and that is Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). Is prophetic prayer biblical? No.

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This page last updated: January 4, 2022