Decree Day One
One of my favorite quotes on fasting comes from John Piper: "We are putting our stomach where our heart is to give added intensity and expressiveness to our ache for Jesus. We fast to express our longing or our ache for all the implications of Jesus’ power in the present moment that isn’t completely realized.”
Any follower of Jesus wants Jesus and His will more than s/he wants momentary desires gratified. Like a dad who, in a moment, would give the last morsel of food in his home to his wife and children, so a follower of Jesus will often shove food away from his mouth and petition God to unleash His power to provide for a need of his child’s.
Followers long to see loved ones healed, their marriages restored, their emotional wounds cured, their vocational lives prospering, their children thriving, and their bondages broken. Followers often burn and long to see Christ and His power expressed more than they desire immediate gratification.
For God's Kingdom to be released in our lives, we must hear His voice and listen to His word as He speaks deeply into our hearts. Jesus is speaking so deeply that what He has to say becomes a part of who we are. Long after the fast is over, our longing for His voice deep within our hearts carries on, our declaring what he said continues, sowing it as seed into life, watering the seed, until God has given it great and miraculous growth.
Fasting tunes the ear to listen and know God's word, and then fortifies the spirit to begin to announce and plant the word, until the word flourishes into reality. A gratified desire lasts but for a moment but the word of God endures forever (1 Peter 1:25).
A Declaration or Decree
The heart of the follower is to plant God's word into life by declaring it and praying over it.
Here is what fasting does: it gives you time to read and listen with your heart for God's word. As you read specific Scriptures, one will stand out to you. You might then find two, three, or more of them on the same subject.
Those Scriptures you might weave together into a decree or declaration. Declaring God's word and will as true, enduring, and absolute is how His word and will become seed-planted into our lives. Plant God's word in your life and you will reap a Jesus-harvest.
Let me walk you through how this works.
Exodus 15:26 “I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you” (NIV).
Malachi 4:2 “But for you who fear My Name, the Son of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.”
James 5:16 "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results."
Proverbs 3:8 "Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones."
Acts 3:16 “Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes.”
Mark 16:18 "They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed."
James 5:14-15 "Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven."
Hosea 6:1 “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now He will heal us. He has injured us; now He will bandage our wounds.”
2 Kings 20:5 “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you” (NIV).
Psalm 30:2 "O LORD my God, I called to You for help and You healed me" (NIV).
Psalm 107:20 "He sent forth His word and healed them" (NIV).
From these verses, during one of my fasting times, I wrote the following decree.
“Father, your will is not to afflict with disease but to be my personal Healer. You rise with healing in Your wings to set my sick life free to dance. When I confess my sins to another, You forgive me; You send others to pray for me; their fervent prayer is effective and I am healed. When I call for the elders of the church and they pray in faith, anointing me with oil in the Lord’s name, You heal me. Faith in You, faith in Your name, heals. Every time I turn to You in tears, praying to you, no matter how torn or injured I am, even if you had to injure me to keep me from even further folly, You heal me, You bandage my wounds. You send your word and heal me. You are my Healer."
From those verses and the short personal commentary I wrote concerning them came this decree or declaration.
"Today I claim Jesus’ healing as His will for my life; heart disease, you have no place or claim on my body, cancer cells you have no authority to grow or even develop, infections you must submit to Christ's word and be conquered, viruses you come under the rule of God's word. As you, sickness, submit to Christ in heaven, then in the name of Yahweh, submit to God's word on earth and in my life. I am healed because God's word claims for me healing, not based on my goodness but based on Yahweh's enduring love, secured for me in Christ.
In Jesus’ name, I am healed."
Writing a Decree
The decree above on healing took several days for me to write. I gathered the Scriptures, thought about them, and then wrote down what they meant to me as the Holy Spirit guided my spirit. Then I wrote the decree. This decree was written during a time of fasting. When sickness flares, I bring or should bring this decree out.
It is not my word nor my will; it is God's word— it is Jesus to me.
When I finally wrote the daily decree, it was not built off of my hope, wish, nor what I thought I had heard someone say about healing. The daily declaration came from God's word and how He applied His word to me.
As I speak the declaration, it is how God's word is planted in my life.
When we pray in the Lord's prayer, "Thy Kingdom come," we are not being told to pray in general, "Your kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10). The phrase is more like an outline or a bullet point. Jesus was teaching His disciples to insert here a decree or declaration of God's will. "Thy will be done" began and begins this way for me when it comes to healing: “Today I claim Jesus' healing as His will for my life …"
I don't pray, “Thy will," in a general sense. Jesus was teaching us to pray, “Thy will," in a specific sense.
One day John the Baptist's disciples came to ask Jesus why His disciples were not trained to fast. Listen to the question and the answer.
Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Matthew 9:14-15 ESV)
Obviously, Jesus' disciples did not fast when they were hanging out with Jesus because when they were with Jesus, they were physically and literally with God and in intimate contact with Him through the Person of Jesus. When Jesus did eventually die and ascend out of their sight and physical presence, they would then need to fast. Why? Because their hearts would long for Him, but their bodies would get in the way of thoroughly enjoying Him. Instead of speaking into their ears as He did when He walked among them, once ascended, Jesus would speak into their minds and spirits.
To hear Jesus’ voice, they would need to reset their inner life to really listen. It would require a quieting down of the external world so their internal world could renew and retune to Jesus' voice. Fasting was a way, as we have said, to get their bodies out of the way so they could enjoy what they loved most, Jesus' voice.
Fasting would be no chore for His disciples because their longing for Jesus was greater then their appetites. This is one of the ways those who followed Jesus knew they had encountered Him and had a relationship with Him. Listening to His voice was a greater longing then any of their appetites.
His disciples would, as Piper said so well, put their stomachs where their hearts were so they could hear God's voice. They didn't want to just hear; they then wanted to plant His will in their lives through prayer, praying what I would call a decree.
Writing a decree will take a few days. We will guide you through your first one. It is my hope that over the span of your entire life, you can come to write a couple dozen of these on various subjects and at various times when you are facing difficult challenges. Once written, you can go back and refine and refocus your decrees as the Holy Spirit gives you more light on them or as circumstances demand.
One thing you will learn: life will bend and submit to the abiding and enduring word of God if you plant it in faith.
To begin with, you will start collecting several verses on the subject the Holy Spirit is highlighting in your spirit.
Here is how it works: during your daily Bible reading, look for a verse on a subject that is standing out and glaring back at you. Ask the Lord to give you several verses on the subject so your heart can have a more complete understanding of His will. I would suggest five to seven Scriptures on a subject to really feed your spirit on the truth of the matter.
You can find these added Scriptures by continuing to read your daily Bible readings and see if something turns up. You might want to go deeper, so if you have a study Bible, you can refer to the notes and references for other verses. You could also use a concordance (A concordance is an alphabetical list of each time a word is used in the Bible. If you need a good online concordance, go to the ESV site: http://www.esv.org/search/?q=ark+of+covenant. All you would need to do is type a word or phrase in the search bar, and it will bring up the passages you are looking for. Some Bibles also have a concordance as an appendix).) Another idea is to ask someone else what their most meaningful verses are on the subject you have selected.
Whatever you do, collect them and write or copy them to a piece of paper and begin to meditate on them.
We will help you write the decree itself on other days. This is a process; it will take some time. It will be one of the most important activities that come out of your fast time with Jesus.
Daily Journal Thoughts
On your "Prayer and Fasting Commitments” page, write down the date. Next, write out your commitment to gather five to seven Scriptures on a certain subject.
Your commitment might read something like this: “Jesus, I seek by Your grace to search for and gather five to seven verses on the subject of "[fill in here the subject, if you know what it is].”
Again, don't minimize the next step of prayer. Jesus wants to be with you, wants to help you, wants to empower you.
Go now to the "Daily Journal" and write the date at the top of the page. Write a prayer out that asks for God's help in finding the Scriptures He has for you on the subject you have selected.
I know this will sound like a bit of work in an electronic age, but on this day, using the rest of your page, write out the verses as you get them.
Finally, if you are sensing today is a day you are going to write one of your thanksgiving letters, ask Jesus to give you a special anointing to do so. Be weaving thanksgiving into your daily life like the habit of breathing.