I had my time periods of being extremely anti-name-&-claim and anti-word of faith movement.
I have learned that heresy comes from being extreme on either side. There is an importance in balance and in being biblical. The bible does not condemn people asking God for what they want. It just doesn’t want people to ask for things God doesn’t want them to have.
There are bible verses that support the view of “just-gracefully-take-whatever-cards-God-deals-you” and there are verses and bible stories that support taking faith-filled, hopeful initiative. There are plenty of examples in the bible where God gave people the liberty to claim things that He did not tell them to claim; there are stories of people who just earnestly desired something and went for it on their own accord.
#1 Matthew 9:20/Mark 5:25-29 – The woman with the 12-year blood issue was not told by God or Jesus to claim for herself that touching just the tip of Jesus’ clothes would heal a condition that all the money and doctors in the region could not heal. Jesus told her that HER faith made her whole. He wasn’t even aware of who had touched him so we can’t say he had anything to do with initiating her faith move.
#2 Matthew 15:27/Mark 7:28 – The Canaanite/Greek/Syrophenician woman who — before the time that Gentiles were supposed to receive the initial blessings of God meant for Jews — convinced Jesus to heal her demonized daughter by saying, “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.” At first he said He wasn’t sent to her (a Gentile) but just to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but after her reasoning in using that statement, he said she had great faith and allowed her daughter to receive healing. (Side Note: I had to look up how she could be all three of these without the bible contradicting and I found this very helpful article: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/468-canaanite-woman-a-conflict-between-matthew-and-mark-the)
#3 – 1 Kings 17:1/James 5:17 – Elijah called for a lengthy drought (3 whole years) over a region. The New Testament proves it was Elijah-initiated because it accredited the drought happening because of Elijah’s fervent prayer, not as just a prophecy from God
#4 – Matthew 9:27-30 – Back to the New Testament, 2 blind men, totally without any indication that God told them to, took the personal initiative to INTERRUPT JESUS. They decided to cry out, “Son of David have mercy on us!” And according to THEIR faith, Jesus allowed them to receive the ability to see.
#5 – Mark 2:3-5 – Also, the four men who decided on their own to tear the roof off to get a peek at Jesus were the reason their paralyzed friend was healed. The bible said that when Jesus saw THEIR faith, he told the sick man that his sins were forgiven (knowing that once the sins were forgiven that he would be healed from palsy). Again, this was their own idea that God did not tell them to do.
#6 Matthew 8:10/Luke 7:9 – A centurion actually AMAZED/MARVELLED JESUS by verbally claiming something totally initiated within himself based on his love and desperation for his servant. Jesus OFFERED to come meet the man at the house to heal him, but the CENTURION TOLD JESUS INSTEAD JUST TO SAY THE WORD AND IT WOULD STILL RESULT IN A HEALING. (Imagine telling Jesus a BETTER, more efficient idea based on your faith!) Jesus even went as far as to turn around to the crowd following him to tell them that this man had unprecedented faith that had not been observed by Him in all of Israel!
So we see that people taking initiative (aka “name & claim”, “decree-and-declare”) is biblical. It is not to be confused with being God-initiated (for example, when Naaman the leprous commander was told by a prophet who was told by God to wash 7 times in the Jordan River in 2 Kings 5:10).
Face it. God gives us freedom to do that sometimes. I won’t say ALL the time. I won’t say it’s something I think unbelievers should have rights too. I definitely don’t think it’s something that should be a priority subject to be preached on every Sunday to the neglect of preaching what Jesus taught. However, since it is well-documented in the bible and since it is seen as impressive and commendable by Jesus, I personally will do it more often. But I will always say, “nonetheless, not my will but yours be done”.
Also, notice that all of the NT examples were for healing and deliverance. However, I know that God gives us the desires of hearts (WANTS and not just NEEDS) because of:
–>Psalms 37:3-5 – “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”
–>Psalm 20:4-5 – “May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans….May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!”
DISCLAIMER THAT GOD WILL NOT HONOR YOUR REQUESTS FOR THINGS WITH THE WRONG MOTIVES
James 4:1-3 – “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
More related scriptures:
INTERESTING HOW JESUS USES THE WORD “WHATEVER” KNOWING HOW HUMANS WILL UNDERSTAND IT TO MEAN AN UNLIMITED AMOUNT OF WHATEVERS.
John 14:13-14 – WHATEVER you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
1 John 5:14-15 – And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in WHATEVER we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
John 15:16 – … so that WHATEVER you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
PROOF THAT JESUS UNDERSTANDS THAT GOD GIVING YOU THINGS THAT YOU ASK GOD FOR IN JESUS’ NAME WILL MAKE OUR JOY COMPLETE
John 16:23-24 – In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
PROOF THAT FAITHFUL SPEAKING CAN MOVE INSURMOUNTABLE OBSTACLES AND THAT FAITHFUL PRAYING CAN CAUSE YOU RECEIVE THINGS
Mark 11:21-24 – And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 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. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Matthew 22:21-22 – And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
PARABLE PROVING THAT JESUS ENCOURAGES PUSHING/PRAYING FOR ONE’S DESIRES UNTIL YOU GET IT BECAUSE PERSISTENCE WILL GET WHAT RESPECT WON’T GIVE!
Luke 18:2-6 – He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.