For over a year I have been part of a Sunday evening online prayer meeting that began in response to Covid and has mainly focused on praying for our city. One of my friends has commented more than once, “Prayers have no shelf life.” I think the same is true of prophetic proclamations. So let’s look at where they go.
Years ago in a message I listened to from Larry Randolph. He related how the Lord had him move from the East coast of the US to California. He is a prophetic guy who didn’t want to move. He said in a vision an angel appeared to him with a drawn sword and said, “Move or die.” He and his family moved. While this may not fit with how we see ‘gentle’ Jesus it was how Jesus dealt with Larry. He already had an established ministry so when he arrived he expected to be welcomed somewhere in a church and given a position. Nothing happened.
It is at this point that we would likely concluded we had been deluded and ‘missed’ God. Larry sought His face and the Lord told Larry he was to go out into his backyard and prophesy to principalities and powers. I am sure he could have done that back East. Larry spent about a year doing that before the Lord opened up other things for him.
My story does have a point and comes from reading in Ezekiel. In chapter 25 Ezekiel is directed to release a prophetic declaration against the Ammonites, then the Moabites, then Edom and then the Philistines. This continues. In chapter 29 Ezekiel releases a prophetic declaration against Egypt that continues for chapters. My point has to do with where Ezekiel is doing this from.
1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. Ezekiel 1:1 NKJV
Ezekiel, along with his fellow Israelites, was a captive in Babylon the entire time he prophesised. His prophetic declarations were never actually spoken to the people groups to whom they were addressed. They were however released in the heavens and heard by both the heavenly host and demonic principalities and powers.
Given they were going to be carried out over time they were directed and retained by Yahweh. I believe the same things happens to our prayers. When our prayers are led by the Spirit as Ezekiel’s prophetic declarations were, they have no shelf life. They are retained and there is a response. We see clearly where they are kept in Revelation 5.
8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Revelation 5:8
So, whether we are called like Larry Randolph to release prophetic declarations in the heavens or simply sit in a quiet place offering heartfelt prayers, let us remain confident that He sees, hears and retains what we offer and responds rightly in due season.