Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Demonic realities and the need for spiritual warfare prayers

Just like the Sadducees in Acts 23:8, many in the western world deny the reality of anything they cannot see. They deny the spiritual world and reduce everything to mere materialism or if they do believe in the spiritual, they focus merely on the good spirits and neglect the evil ones. Even if they do believe in evil spirits, they are not taking into serious consideration but are soon dismissed as powerless and meaningless. Also, evil spirits or the demonic realm are thought of to be mere fantasy and products of fiction and the dark ages; but this plays sweetly with the demons because they can carry out their duties without much bother at all. Even in some churches, although a believe in the demonic realm is assumed to be real, yet, there is a real neglect in dealing and crippling their effects on a particular people or places.  Are we neglecting the demonic realm to our own ineffectiveness in evangelism? This issue was tackled in the Lausanne Covenant of 1974 where the last two sentences read thus:

We therefore call upon all Christians to pray for such a visitation of the sovereign Spirit of God that all his fruit may appear in all his people and that all his gifts may enrich the body of Christ. Only then will the whole church become a fit instrument in his hands, that the whole earth may hear his voice.

In these sentences, the Lausanne covenant aims to encourage all Christians to pray for all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and to pray in such a way that takes evil spirits and the spiritual realm seriously. The reason for this, is because scripture takes the spiritual and demonic realm seriously especially in the converting of unbelievers.

2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us that ‘the god of this age (that is the devil) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. Also Paul tells us in 2 Tim 2:26 that the devil has taken unbelievers captive to do his will. Ephesians 2:2 tells us that Satan works in the sons of disobedience. In Revelation 12:9, the devil deceives the whole world and that he thwarts missionary activities. Also in our missionary duties we know that our struggles is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, Ephesians 6:12.

With this evil supernatural forces at work, although we cannot see them, it remains a reality that we need to be prepared for. For example in 2 kings 6 when Elisha and his servant were surrounded by their enemies, Elisha’s servant was afraid but Elisha said to him, vs. 16-17, “Don’t be afraid,”. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha’. Perhaps the Lord needs to open our eyes to the reality of the supernatural and even more to behold His glory.

Evidently now, warfare praying, with earnest urgency should dominate our evangelism along with the preaching of the gospel because we know that Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers, and that he holds them captive. The demonic realm influences areas and places and hold particular places as strongholds, Rev 2:13. Ephesians 6 tells us that we should put on the full armour of God so that we can stand against the devil’s schemes. These are necessary because Christians are engaged in warfare and this warfare is spiritual. The way we fight it, is dominantly through prayer. We cannot do it in our own strength for we wrestle not against flesh and blood and we need the supernatural work of God to breakthrough in the lives of our unbelieving neighbour and in areas where the air is rifled with darkness.

Knowing that there is a demonic realm at work in the world and in the lives of unbeliever we should expect the gospel to come in power to triumph over the works of the devil because in 1 john 3:8 it says that ‘the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil’. Also in Acts 26:18, Jesus commissioned Paul to preach among the Gentiles ‘that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive the forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are being sanctified in me’.

So, in our lives, we should be earnest in the duty of prayer, and seek all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and should expect signs and wonders to follow, and that could manifest itself in the converting of sinners because it takes omnipotent power to awaken dead unbelievers into alive believers.


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