I’ve received this revelation before, but it seems to be one I like to forget. Perhaps because my natural inclination is to listen rather than to speak. However God likes to take us out of what is comfortable, giving us an opportunity to grow and develop into the people he wants us to be.
There is tremendous POWER in the spoken word: God created the world by SPEAKING; Moses was told to SPEAK to the rock, and it would produce water; Jesus CALLED OUT to Lazarus and he rose from the dead. There is something about giving voice to the thoughts in our minds that adds another level of meaning, that infuses them with power and authority. There are thousands of thoughts that float around my head in a day. Some are fleeting; others roll around for days, building shape and momentum; yet it is only when those thoughts are spoken do they really come to life. They can be used to DECLARE, ESTABLISH, and CALL INTO BEING.
I was reminded of this again on a recent prayer drive I took with a friend. She has an incredible heart for prayer and a vision to pray over the whole country of Bahrain. She often walks or drives though towns and villages praying over the land and the people that live there. She mentioned recently wanting to do a prayer drive in my neighborhood. Feeling lonely and desperate for companionship, I jumped at the chance to join her. I admit, my motives were mostly selfish, desiring to fulfill my own social needs rather than to participate in the holy work of prayer and intercession. But God broke through my selfish motives to reveal to me yet again, the power he has given to us in spoken words.
We began by driving through a nearby town that neither of us had really been to before. I was a bit nervous and not really sure what to expect, but my friend is humble and gracious and didn’t make it awkward at all. She began to pray out loud as we drove through the narrow, winding streets. Intentionally driving through this area, I was amazed at what I was able to see. Usually when we drive, we are focused on the destination. We want to get somewhere as quickly as possible. We pay attention to the traffic and bad drivers and signals changing. Sometimes we are less focused on the driving and spend the trip lost in thoughts or day dreams. In either case, we rarely notice what we are driving by or through. This time I was keenly aware of my surroundings. With no real agenda or destination, I was free to actually be present in the place I was observing. I had the space and time to really notice what was around me–the crowds of children gathered in empty lots, kicking neon footballs or playing with leftover bits of construction material; the workshop of an old artisan, carefully carving out a perfect wooden boat; the laughing eyes of a group of women walking down the street; funny signs in shop windows; the intricate detail adorning old houses; the surprising splashes of color found on walls or parks. As we continued through this town, my friend prayed for the people that we saw and also the ones we didn’t. Listening to her pray, I was struck with the thought that although there is so much that happens behind these walls and closed doors, God sees and knows it all–the hurts and pains, the joys and triumphs; He is there. Silently I prayed: Lord, dwell in these places. Bring your light to hidden situations. Plant your seeds of truth in these homes and in the hearts of the people living here…
We briefly exited onto the highway before turning into the next village, one that is known for violence and frequent clashes with police. There was an almost palpable change in the atmosphere. These streets were different. Ominous black flags stood guard over rooftops and street corners, broken bricks and stones littered the road, layer upon layer of dark graffiti was scrawled on nearly every wall. These defaced walls held the bitter outpouring of angry hearts; these broken windows had felt the sharp and sudden blast of violence. These streets were not filled with children; instead, groups of young men with dark, brooding faces gathered for afternoon tea and hushed conversation. Every turn revealed a new alley, somehow darker and heavier than the one before. Each flag, each slash of paint, each tight-set jaw was a weight in my chest. I silently pleaded with God for this place, but the weight increased, crushing against my ribs, filling my eyes, and drowning my thoughts, and then like a whisper it came: speak. But Lord, I don’t have the words….speak…I don’t know how…speak….where do I start….SPEAK. With a weight all its own, that command crashed through my doubts, making a way for words to follow. “God, we call out to you…” As the words took shape and entered the world, something was released. I could feel something break in me, releasing a well of emotion. It filled my eyes and saturated my voice, yet instead of weighing down the words, it added a different kind of weight, the kind that comes from gravity and authority; the kind that is filled with meaning and power. Then the words were no longer hesitant, no longer meekly tumbling out but streaming forth, like an army sent into battle, an army that had the strength of thousands. “Lord, every wall and house and flag that is covered in black, we claim for you. Lord, Jesus, with your blood, wash these places clean. May they be white as snow. May the power of your blood transform these places of darkness into places of light.” These thoughts, these words, had been transformed into mighty weapons, swords that had the power to cut through any defense. “Lord, we pray for the children who live here. May you fill them with a desire for something more than the violence and anger that they see. May this desire lead them to You, the giver of life and eternal peace…”
The words went forth and invaded the village. They landed on doorsteps and rooftops and set up camp like little sentinels guarding what had been declared. They penetrated walls and houses, carrying messages of hope and truth to those within. They sought out every crack and piece of brokenness and planted a stake of restoration. Although nothing was visibly changed, everything changed. In the spiritual realm, those words were heard. Evil shuddered at the proclamation of its destruction for it knows that everything falls under the authority of Jesus. The angels heard and rejoiced; those that will be sent forth will go with gladness for faith has been proclaimed. The Almighty King, who sits on the throne over all the universe, smiled because He knows the end; there is no power that He cannot overcome; there is no brokenness that He cannot restore; there is no storm that He cannot calm with the utterance of a single word.