Decreeing and declaring is ingrained in how Christians pray today. So much so that I’m willing to bet that most Christians hardly pray without mentioning these two words. As such. I believe we should examine this practice in light of what Scripture teaches.

What is Decreeing and Declaring?

According to the dictionary, to declare is to announce or state something. If I say “I’m going to cook”, that’s a declaration. So it’s fair to say we declare things all the time. Therefore, there’s nothing sinful or unscriptural about it. Moreover, the Bible is full of declarations.

On the other hand, a decree is an official order made by a nation’s ruler e.g. a king. Since someone who issues a decree has legal authority, whatever they decree can be executed. 

Within the church, decreeing and declaring is a teaching on prayer that suggests believers have the authority to command God’s will into existence through their spoken words. It often involves making positive affirmations or declarations about desired outcomes, with the expectation that God will fulfill them.

For example, if someone is sick, they will take authority over that sickness by decreeing and declaring healing. And by doing so they believe that their words are able to manifest healing upon the sick person.

More often than not, decreeing and declaring is used to speak health, wealth, and prosperity into the life of a believer. Praying this way is often seen as a sign of spiritual maturity because it appears to have more authority. As such, most Christians today no longer make supplications to God.

Where Did Decreeing and Declaring Come From?

The idea that we can decree and declare things into existence goes hand in glove with the positive confession teaching that I recently wrote about. They are essentially two sides of the same coin, only that this one is applied as a form of prayer. 

Both are a staple of the Word of Faith movement a.k.a. “prosperity gospel”. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the concept of decreeing and declaring finds its roots in the New Thought movement. The New Age and New Thought emphasize that human thought and speech can have a direct influence on reality.  

To get a better understanding of how these New Thought ideas have made their way into the church through teachings like positive confession and decree and declaring please read our post on the Word of Faith Movement.

Is it Scriptural to Decree and Declare?

As I said, in and of itself declaring is neither sinful nor unscriptural, and the same applies to making a decree. However, the problem lies in believing that decreeing when coupled with declaring will cause your words to manifest into reality.

Needless to say, this belief is built on a false premise because our declarations are not causative regardless of how much faith or gusto you put into saying them.

Nonetheless, proponents of the Word of Faith Movement will claim biblical support from the following verses to assert that this teaching is Scriptural. So let’s put them to the test, shall we?

Examining verses used to support decree and declaring


Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:26-27 ESV

Based on the Word of Faith theology God used faith-filled words to speak the universe into existence. Therefore, the argument goes that since man was made in the image of God, he can speak things into existence like Him.

But what does being made in the image of God mean? It means that we are distinct from the rest of God’s creation. Because we share in the communicable attributes of God such as love, mercy intellect, etc. we have the potential and ability to know God through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. This is a privilege that no other created order has because we are fashioned in His likeness.

Also, it is worth noting that this chapter says nothing about our words having creative power. You’ll have to take this verse out of its context to support that. Furthermore, the Word God spoke to create the universe was Jesus Christ Himself.

Speaking about the preeminence of Christ, Paul says,

"For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." Colossians 1:16-17 NKJV

John 1:3 reinforces this saying that “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” And in Romans 11:36 we also read “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

Last I checked none of us can speak Christ. Only God can do that. Our words are simply that, words. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that God is the creator and we are creatures made for his glory.


You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you;
So light will shine on your ways.
Job 22:28 NKJV

Let’s consider this verse in light of the entire book of Job. Eliphaz the Temanite is the one speaking in chapter 22, not God. He was among Job’s ill-advised friends whom God condemned for arousing His anger because he did not speak what was right (Job 42:7). Since his advice was foolish it can’t serve as a guide for sound theology.

However, assuming Eliphaz was right. If you consider this verse in the context of the entire chapter, you will realize that the idea that we can decree and declare was not the essence of his message. Rather, he assumes that all Job had to do to receive God’s restoration was to repent of the serious sins that had brought about his suffering

This was exactly why God rebuked him. Eliphaz failed to understand that Job’s crisis had nothing to do with his sins or God’s judgment upon him. He was not privy to what transpired in heaven as described in Chapters 1 and 2 of Job. As a result, his assumptions led him to speak wrong of God, making him a terrible comforter. 

It’s also worth noting that the word ‘declare’ has been translated as ‘decide’ or “succeed” in other versions of the Bible.


as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations” in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
Romans 4:17 ESV

This one is pretty straightforward. A careful look at this verse will show you that the ability to speak things into existence is credited to God. NOT Abraham. You’ll have to use semantic gymnastics to make this verse support decreeing and declaring. 

Similar to Genesis 1:26-27, I have found what a lot of preachers do, is claim that since God lives in us, then it follows that we too can call things that are not as though they were. But this is simply adding to the text. It’s twisting the Scripture because that’s not what Paul intended to communicate through Romans 4.


Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Proverbs 18:21 ESV

Any time I have confronted someone concerning this topic, this is the verse they use to stop me in my tracks. I used to do the same by the way.

I must admit that Proverbs 18:21 is quite tricky to interpret as it does not have a clear context. But a look at the verse that immediately precedes it can give you an idea of what this verse means. It says,

From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; 
he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. 
Proverbs 18:20 ESV

Solomon was simply saying that If you speak wisely, you will enjoy the fruit of your lips. I believe that He was following the same school of thought when he says,  “the power of life and death is in the tongue.”  

Let’s also see what he has to say concerning words in earlier verses in this chapter:

A fool's lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. 
A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. 
The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.  
Proverbs 18:6-8 ESV

If you consider these verses as well you’ll clearly see that Solomon is not talking about the creative power in words. Rather, he’s addressing the importance of applying wisdom in what we say to others and how the lack of it can be to our detriment. 

Similarly, the book of Proverbs is awash with references admonishing us in the same manner concerning the tongue and the words we speak. (See Prov 6:2; 11:12; 10:19; 12:18; 13:3; 15:1; 15:4; 15:23; 16:24;  21:23).

The truth is words have power. But only in the sense that they can build up, lift, and encourage. At the same time, they can cause harm, hurt, and bring destruction if not used wisely. This is the same teaching we see in other books of the Bible concerning the tongue (See Jam 1:26; 3:5; Psa 14:13; 141:4; Eph 4:29; Tit 3:2).

Furthermore, it’s important to keep in mind that proverbs are sayings that contain advice. Generally, they are not to be interpreted literally but based on the wisdom they are intended to convey. 


I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.
Psalm 2:7 ESV

Similar to Romans 4:17, if you take a good look at this verse, you will see that the decree part is what God said, not the psalmist himself. 


“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 16:19 ESV

Before this verse, Jesus asks his disciples about who they think he is. Peter responds by declaring that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Then Jesus responds to Peter’s confession with the above words.

More often than not this verse is taken to mean that whatever we decide on earth will be backed up by God in heaven. More like “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” but in reverse. This understanding is then applied to decreeing and declaring to also mean that we have the authority to decree and declare whatever we want to happen here on earth. And because heaven will agree with us, it will happen.

However, in Jewish tradition, the terms “bind” and “loose” were used by religious leaders to declare what was lawful or unlawful based on their interpretation of the law. In this verse, Jesus is extending this authority to Peter and, by extension, to the apostles over the church.

By giving Peter the keys, Jesus is not only metaphorically granting him authority over the church but also assuring him that whatever the apostles lawfully prohibited (bind) in the church, they will be executing God’s will on that matter.

Conversely, whatever they would lawfully permit (loose) in the church, they will also be fulfilling God’s will. Therefore, the idea of “binding” and “loosing” should be understood in the context of making decisions about how the church should conduct itself.

Whatever the apostles bound and loosed on earth is what we read in the epistles they wrote even today. This is why as the church we follow their instructions because their instructions are essentially God’s words.

And you should note, that among the instructions we find in the letters on the apostles none of them exhort believers to decree and declare as we are falsely taught today, Instead, they exhort us to offer petitions and supplications to God.

Now, one might argue, ‘What about Matthew 18:18 which says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”‘

Well, Matthew 18:18 is part of a larger passage where Jesus is giving instructions to his disciples on how to handle issues of sin and conflict within the church.

The verses leading up to Matthew 18:18 outline a step-by-step process for doing this. The use of “binding” and “loosing” in this context is to be understood as the authority the disciples and the church have in matters of church discipline. Whatever decision the church comes to in this matter, should be taken as if those decisions are also recognized and endorsed in heaven.


Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
Mark 11:23 ESV

Having faith that what you decree will manifest is an important aspect of the theology behind decreeing and declaring. As a result, Word of Faith proponents will often stress the “believes in what he says” part of this verse. However, if you examine what Jesus is saying from verse 22, you will see that Jesus begins these words by saying ‘Have faith in God…’. 

Essentially, Christ uses this analogy to encourage the disciples to approach prayer with faith. He is teaching His disciples that faith is a significant component of prayer. Faith, however, is not a tool to manipulate God but rather a posture of trust and reliance on Him. It should be rooted in our relationship with God, not in formulas or techniques.

It’s also worth noting that in verse 24, He goes on to say that ‘…whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’ He said whatever you ASK not ‘decree and declare’ or ‘speak’ but ask.

That said, while faith is a significant aspect of prayer, Scripture mentions other factors as well. In James 4:3, the Bible says, “ You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” Here we learn that praying with the aim of having our passions satisfied is asking a miss. And that is why our prayers go unanswered.

We also read in 1 John 5:14-15 that; “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” This shows that while faith is important, God’s will trumps everything. So our job is to align our prayers with God’s will while having faith that they will be answered.

Also, riddle me this, if Mark 11:23 is to be interpreted as supporting the idea of decreeing and declaring and speaking to our circumstances, shouldn’t we have examples of the disciples praying that way? Instead throughout the Book of Acts, we see them petitioning and offering supplications when they faced challenges (Acts 3; 4; 12; 13; 20). I believe this speaks volumes about how Mark 11:23 ought to be interpreted.

Why Decreeing and Declaring is Unbiblical

1. You have to misuse Scripture to support it

The concept of decreeing and declaring has no Biblical foundation. While we are encouraged to pray, seek God’s will, and speak wisely, there is no explicit instruction for us to “speak things into existence” through our words. 

As you have seen, the only way to make the Bible support the decree and declare teaching is either by taking verses out of context or twisting them to say what they aren’t saying. And by doing this, you can easily use scripture to support any kind of falsehood. 

But taking verses out of context is quite dangerous, we should let the Bible speak for itself rather than inserting our ideas into it.

Check out our blog post on 6 Principles for Interpreting the Bible Correctly to learn some of the principles that you can apply in your Bible study to help you rightly divide the Word of God.

2. It doesn’t follow the biblical model of prayer

When asked by His disciples to teach them how to pray, Jesus taught them the Lord’s prayer as the model to follow. This is the kind of prayer that is illustrated throughout the Bible where people petition God and offer supplications to Him. 

However, Word of Faith preachers often dismiss it as weak and negatively equate it to begging. They say Christians should pray by decreeing and declaring boldly because they have power and authority in Christ. Unfortunately, by adopting decreeing and declaring as a dominant way of praying, many Christians are effectively living a prayerless life.

Because decreeing and declaring is NOT prayer, they are missing out on the true experience of prayer as intended and designed by God. Yet prayer plays a critical part in our own experience of intimacy with God.

It’s important to note that one of the things the devil does when he has people following false doctrines is to have them not pray. The last thing he wants is for believers to cry out to God and for Him to hear them. So he would rather have them duped into thinking they are praying when they’re actually not.

“If Christ would make a complaint, it would be, My Bride never talks to me.”
R.C. Sproul

This is exactly what we are seeing through the decreeing and declaring movement. James 4:2-3 says, “…You do not have, because you do not ask.” So could it be that your prayers are not being answered because instead of asking you are decreeing and declaring? I think so.

Nevertheless, I know that some make decrees and declarations with the intention that they’re prayers. In that case, why not bring your requests to God? Instead of ‘I decree and declare that the work of my hands is blessed’. Simply pray ‘God please bless the work of my hands.’ After all, that is what the Bible teaches.

3. It disregards God’s will

Let’s be honest. At its core, decreeing and declaring is an effort to manipulate and twist God’s arm. It’s done with the hope of making Him answer our prayers how we want and when we want. That’s why it’s the bread and butter of the “prosperity gospel” 

Sadly, most Christians fail to realize its potential to remove the will of God from the equation altogether. Engaging in decreeing and declaring can unintentionally diminish the sovereignty of God. The Bible teaches us that God is sovereign and has the ultimate authority over all things. Psalm 115:3 says, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” 

While we’re encouraged to pray, seek God’s guidance, and express our desires, the idea of decreeing and declaring implies that we can command or manipulate God to fulfill our will. This contradicts the biblical understanding of God’s supremacy and His plans for our lives.

In its essence, decreeing and declaring can foster a mindset of self-centeredness and presumption by suggesting that we can impose our desires upon God rather than seeking His perfect plan for us. Yet, our focus should be on aligning our hearts with God’s will, trusting in His wisdom and timing.

Praying as taught in the Bible calls for humility and submission to God’s will. In Luke 22:42, Jesus prayed saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.

This is a perfect example of prayer in action. Despite being God Himself, Jesus Christ humbly petitions His Father at a time when He was in agony in light of what was to come. Yet, He acknowledges the will of God at the same time. What an example for you and me to follow!

It’s also worth noting that the assumption behind decreeing and declaring is condemned in the Bible. In the Book of James, the Bible says,

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:13‭-‬17 ESV

Therefore, those who make declarations such as “I’m going to do this” or “I’m going to do that in the name of Jesus!” are essentially being boastful. It’s arrogant to assume that just because you want something, God automatically wants it for you too. Instead, we ought to say “If the Lord wills, We will do this” or “We will do that” even when it comes to promises found in Scripture. 

4. It can lead to disappointment

When our decrees and declarations do not come to pass, it can lead to great disappointment, doubt, and even resentment toward God. This practice can also inadvertently place unnecessary burdens on believers, making them question their faith or wonder if they lack the necessary “faith” to see their declarations fulfilled. And yet our faith should rest in God, not in the power of our words.

Now, I know some might argue based on experience and claim that what they decreed and declared came to pass therefore, it’s a legitimate way of praying.

In that case, allow me to submit to you that God fulfilled your desires in spite, of the fact that you prayed a miss. Your answer was an act of God’s sovereign grace. Not a confirmation that you went about asking him the right way because that’s not how He has taught us to pray in Scripture.


The Bible encourages us to pray with faith, aligning our requests with God’s will, and trusting in His sovereignty. Instead of speaking to your circumstances hoping your words magically create a new reality, Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). 

Therefore, let us cultivate a heart of humility and surrender, recognizing that God’s plans are perfect, His ways are higher, and His timing is best even when it may not seem like it. May we rely on the Holy Spirit to guide our prayers, aligning them with God’s will and seeking His glory above all else.

Let us also remain rooted in the Word of God, allowing Scripture to shape our understanding and practices. In doing so, we can confidently discern the various unbiblical teachings and practices that come our way.


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      Wanjiru Ng'ang'a says:

      Absolutely. Ultimately decreeing and declaring is not prayer but an attempt to twist God’s arm into doing things our way. And I say that as someone who used to do it.

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      Wanjiru Ng'ang'a says:

      I know Charity, and yet it’s such a wrong way to go about prayer. God is not a genie who grants whatever wish we have on a whim. He is a sovereign God and He has purposed that suffering is a part of the Christian life, Hence, Matthew 5.

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