How to Preach to the Dry Bones (like Ezekiel)

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Hello friends,

This has been a fairly unusual season, am I right? And a long one, at that. 

But there is good news in Christ, y’all! Our best days are indeed ahead… Praise the Lord! In unprecedented times like these, we could all benefit from a word of encouragement. And that’s exactly what you’ll read in this post (and watch in Preach to the Dry Bones). We’re talking about true liberty, the liberty that Jesus has provided for us through His finished work on the cross and through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Let’s take a look at 2 Corinthians 3:17: 

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 

This is powerful stuff, friends! As many of you know, there’s a great song by Elevation Worship called “Rattle” that we’ve been singing at our home church of Valley Family Church lately. Psst: You can listen to “Rattle” here. The words to the song come from a prophetic passage in Ezekiel. The scriptures were originally inspired words for Israel, and yet, there are so many great lessons and truths for us to embrace concerning our liberty in Christ. Check out Ezekiel 37:1-6, appropriately titled “A Valley of Dry Bones.” This is Ezekiel speaking: 

“The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then He (God) asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” I replied, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know the answer to that!”

Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will continue to put breath into you and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

We all go through seasons where we can feel like dry bones; we can feel spiritually dry, emotionally dry, mentally dry, relationally dry. And so many elements can influence our feeling of dryness. There’s a lot going on in our world, a lot of uncertainty. We’re positioned to ask, “God, what does the future look like? Can the dry bones that some of us are experiencing come back to life?” We don’t have all the answers, we don’t know how it’ll all come together and shake out… but He most certainly does. We gain access to those answers through His word and through prayer. That’s why I wrote my book “Getting a Grip on the Basics of Prayer;” to equip you with the practical, comprehensive tools you need for effective prayer. 

So what is our role in bringing dry bones back to life? How do we work toward alleviating spiritual, emotional, and mental dryness? It’s simple: We preach to the bones

Take a look at how the Bible puts it: 

  • Psalm 107:2 — Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!
  • Mark 11:23 — [Jesus said] I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.
  • Proverbs 18:21 — The power of life and death is in the tongue, and those who love to talk will reap the consequences. 

The power of words is a principle throughout the Bible. God is wanting to encourage us. He wants us to “preach to the bones.” Now the question becomes, what does that even mean? How does that work specifically in the different areas of our lives? You speak to your spiritual life, you speak to your health, you speak to your emotions, you speak to things in your life that are DRY. God’s power goes to work as you and I will put His word in our mouth and speak life to those things. 

The key here is that we’re not just putting our own thoughts into action, we’re putting God’s word in our heart and mouth. We should preach God’s word into our own lives in the areas where the enemy has tried to put fear, anxiety, and uncertainty and to create angst. 

Let’s explore a few ways to put that practice into action. 

Prophecies to Proclaim for Your Dry Bones

The Bible tells us that the path of the righteous grows brighter and brighter until the full day. Oftentimes we say, “What does the future look like? It’s so uncertain! I’m scared, I’m worried, I’m anxious!” God tells us we should preach to the bones and instead say, “Hey! Path of my life! I speak to you. I’m preaching to you, path of my life. And I’m telling you, you will grow brighter and brighter.” This is how we preach to our lives according to God's word. 

Here’s another one you can pray over your future: “I’m talking to you, my future! I’m talking to you according to God's word. With long life, God will satisfy me. I declare it, I prophesy, I preach it to the bones, Amen!” This prayer aligns with Psalm 91:16. [Jesus said] I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation. We have to speak His word into fruition! 

Proverbs 10:7 tells us that the memory of the righteous is blessed. The Bible also tells us that we have the mind of Christ. In putting those verses together, we preach to the dry bones of our memory, saying, “I’m talking to you, mind. You have the mind of Christ! I’m talking to you, brain. My memory is blessed!”

Next in line: Your health. Preach to the dry bones of your body using God’s word in Psalm 103:3 as your foundation. You can say, “Hey! Listen up, body! I’m speaking to you from the top of my head to the souls of my feet: Body, be healed in the name of Jesus! Be strong. Be whole. Sickness and disease leave. Health and healing come according to God’s word.” 

We can preach to the dry bones of our hearts and our relationships by saying, “Listen, heart. You are filled with the love of God! The love of God fills your heart and you love the Lord and you love people. When you see people, compassion, love, and kindness bubble up in you and your first inclination is to be good to people. Heart, I’m talking to you because you are filled with the love of God. I’m prophesying, I’m preaching to the dry bones.” If you feel dry in your heart toward loving people, God wants to help us with that. 

The Bible is loaded with all kinds of great scriptures, promises, and things that belong to us in Christ, to declare over our lives, but that’s not the end of the story. Let’s circle back to the passage in Ezekiel and pick up in verse 8 when God actually did all of this. He brought the bones together and gave them flesh and muscles. But…there was no breath in them; they were still lifeless. Now what? God continues to fulfill the prophecy. 

Breathing Life into Your Dry Bones

Yes, we have to preach to the dry bones. But there’s still one more step. Prophesy to the bones, but then also prophesy to the breath. What does that mean for you and I? We are called to prophesy and pray, to ask the Holy Spirit, who is the breath of God, to come upon you afresh. This looks like: “Holy Spirit, I’m prophesying, I’m speaking, I’m preaching, I’m praying. Holy Spirit fill me. Fill my heart, I feel dry, I feel jaded. God I’m discouraged, I’m disappointed, but I’m prophesying.”

Remember that verse we talked about earlier? 2 Corinthians 3:17: For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. It’s time to get filled with the Holy Spirit and declare over your life that you could experience true life and liberty in the power of God.

Getting filled with the Holy Spirit is a game changer. The most important thing of all is inviting Jesus Christ to be the Lord of your life. But the second thing that is an option, a blessing, and a gift from our Almighty God is the infilling of the Holy Spirit. This is when you and I open up our hearts and say Holy Spirit, fill me from the top of my head to the soles of my feet, I surrender to you. I want your power. I want your anointing. I want the breath of God to fill me spirit, soul and body. 

The truth is, without the breath of God, we are just a bunch of people with no breath in us. We are dry bones. There’s no results, no life. It’s no fun! But when you get filled with the Spirit, you get filled with life and energy and hope! And power begins to be a reality in your life on a regular basis. 

Let’s circle back to the passage in Ezekiel once more. In chapter 37, verse 10 Ezekiel says, “So I spoke the messages as he commanded me, and breath came into their [the dry bones] bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet - a great army.” Jesus goes on to say in Acts “Hey, disciples, I’m leaving and I’m going to the Father. I’m coming again one day, but right now, I’m going back to the father. But very soon, you will be filled, the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and fill you with power. And when he does, here's what’s going to happen: You’re going to be like a great army.” 

We’ve been talking today about what to do with our own dry bones. But we need to consider, why do we feel dry in the first place? One reason is because we’re not fully functioning in our role in the army, in our role as witnesses for Christ. But if you make a decision to say “God, I don’t want dry bones. God breathe life into me, I commit to being part of your army, Lord. I will be a witness for Christ.” God wants us to prophecy to the bones and to the breath so that we become strong people, a strong church, strong in community, strong in the Lord and filled with the Spirit of the Living God. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 

Remember: It’s not your power. It’s not my power. All we’re doing is agreeing with God’s word and following His command to prophesy to the dry bones and bring them to life. 

Yes, there will be tough days and we will face challenges, trials and tribulations, but if we are alive in Christ and filled with the Spirit, we have the advantage. Our best days are still ahead. The path of the righteous grows brighter and brighter. Amen!

For more resources on effective prayer, check out my newest book, “Getting a Grip on the Basics of Prayer.” It’s a practical, comprehensive, easy-to-follow Bible study to help you understand the basics of prayer and “pray by the rules.”

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