Spiritual warfare is real–sometimes very, very real.
We were in India, and it was hot! Our church planting conference was taking place on a rooftop under a canvas awning. Below us was the living accommodation of a pastor and his family, including a small, basic kitchen. We were sharing, along with Victor Choudhrie, a good friend who is experiencing one of the most remarkable church planting movements of our time.
The previous day, Victor had suggested that everyone get up early, at around 4am and go out and prayer walk around various temples, shrines and places of religious significance in the locale. The reason for the early hour? The activities at these temples do not begin until a little later than that.
I would like to tell you that Tony and I were part of the prayer walking and spiritual warfare team. It wouldn’t be true. We slept in.
When everyone came together that next morning, people were sharing, excited about what they had seen as they prayer walked.
All of a sudden, there was a commotion. People started scurrying around, looking anxious, and there seemed to be a lot of activity around one of the stairwells that led to the kitchen. Finally someone thought to tell us what was going on. A fire had started in the kitchen. It could easily take over the whole building. Everyone began praying.
We went to the stairwell where we could see what was going on. Flames were exploding out of the kitchen door; the whole room was an inferno. It took the local fire department twenty minutes and a full tank of water to put it out. It turned out that a new propane tank had been incorrectly installed, and when someone had gone to light the stove, the whole thing had caught on fire.
Afterwards, we went to inspect the damage. Amazing! Apart from one burned towel and a melted plastic container, there was no damage to be seen. No smoke damage. No blistered paintwork. Even a row of glass jars immediately above the stove weren’t cracked. I was incredulous. If I hadn’t seen all of this with my own eyes (first the fire and then its lack of effect), I wouldn’t have believed it. Thankfully the lady who lit the stove was totally unharmed too.
“Victor, what happened?” we asked.
Victor explained. The person organizing the conference had been asked to make sure there was prayer back up for the conference, and especially for the prayer walking time; this hadn’t happened. So the fire was the enemy’s retaliation for the warfare that was conducted against his work. The prayers of the saints prevented any harm to either people or building.
Traditionally, India is a land of 330 million gods. They are to be seen in shrines and temples on every street corner. Here in the West, spiritual warfare isn’t quite as obvious. But it is needed just as much. We need the Lord to open our eyes to the activity of the enemy so that we can fight against his work. Praise God, Jesus has won the victory for us and gives us all the authority we need to wage war successfully. Jesus came to destroy the works of the evil one (1 John 3:8)
Do you have an example of where you have seen spiritual warfare waged successfully?
Photo credit: anaxila (Creative Commons)