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)
11 replies on “A cautionary tale on the reality of spiritual warfare”
Still the best story and example on SW can be at the end of the book “Sit, walk and stand” of Watchman Nee. It has changed my concepts forever. Sorry I cannot
quote it here…
I recently re-read that book that is a study on the book of Ephesians. It has some deep spiritual truths including on spiritual warfare.
My team and I were praying in Thailand Tues-Fri 6-8 am for church planting movements to emerge. We were prayerwalking new areas and seeing breakthroughs and new openness to CPM with local leaders.
I had been influenced to pray by a spiritual son of Victor’s named Randeep who came to speak to our group awhile back.
After six months of consistent prayer, my wife was involved in a nearly deadly car accident with a motor bike (the others were hurt but not my wife), my partner later totaled his car while his young son was onboard, a local colleague was drawn away from the Lord, and in the middle of it all our church dropped our support from 80% to zero.
We have come through most of it victorious and believe that we will walk through the other part victorious as well.
Satan may try to rage but our Father is faithful. He teaches our hands to war.
I did find some balance when it comes to warfare by reading a book by John Paul Jackson called “Unnecessary Casualties.” Anyone doing prayerwalking and warfare should read it.
The book is actually called, “Needless Casualties of War”
Your story underlines the reality of spiritual warfare. It’s not for the faint of heart!
I remember a time when I prayed for a friend who had had several miscarriages and was pregnant again. I thought to myself as I prayed against the demonic, “I wonder if I should have prayed protection on our home and all it represents,” but it was a fleeting thought that I didn’t act on.
My daughter had been given a puppy for Christmas. It was a scared little thing, and wouldn’t stray more than a few feet from the house. When everyone had left, we went outside to look for it. We eventually found it in the middle of the road about 100 yards away. It had been run over. Reminded me of the story of Jesus casting the demons into the herd of pigs.
Incidentally, the lady had a normal pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy girl.
We don’t undertake spiritual warfare lightly. But the results of it when waged successfully are amazing, and we can learn to wield spiritual weapons with skill and effect.
Thanks for the story. I’ll look up the book.
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A few years ago I met with a man who wanted to have lunch with me. He was a ministry leader who owned a well known car business. He described how his marriage and business were failing, and his spiritual life was a mess.
I sensed that there were deep spiritual attacks going on, and offered to meet and pray together. We started taking apart the strongholds and beating off the attacks.
His marriage and business healed and prospered. He’s learned the art of war, and is training other men in a ministry we lead together.
The warfare is still very intense, but we have learned to war together, and not to be afraid or confused, God is awesome.
Bruce, a great story. I believe this is the sort of area we should be waging warfare in. What victories are we missing out on because we fail to engage.
I’ll keep this brief: The Lord graciously allowed me to minister to a young Christian man who confided in me he was in bondage to homosexuality which also compelled him to dress up in female clothing. It had all started when he was about 4 years old. The Lord showed me plainly the cause was demonic. The Lord let me cast the demon out of him. It choked him as it left him, turning his face bright purple and pulled him a short way across the floor. It went with a WHOOOSH! After it had gone he was completely different, he even looked different and everyone who knew him could plainly see a tremendous change had taken place. His homosexuality and bondage were completely gone in an instant. But, getting anyone to believe a demon had been cast out of him was well nigh impossible. This story of mine has caused more controversy among believers than any other part of my testimony spanning the last 40 years.
Praise God that this young man was set free!
Here in the West we too often arrive at a psychiatric diagnosis–depression, schizophrenia etc, which would, in a different nation, be put down to tormenting spirits. Jesus came to deliver those who were oppressed by the devil. He still works today.
I think we often send to the psychiatrist people who, in a different country or at a different time, would have been set free through deliverance. Over the years, we have seen cases of depression or schizophrenia dealt with by deliverance. We have seen physical problems such as epilepsy dealt with the same way. We need to supernatural ability to discern when this is the answer.