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Chapter 8. Prayer, Power of the Devil, and Spiritual Warfare
I feel there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about prayer. The Bible gives some guidelines such as having elders pray for healing, and pray without ceasing, but a lot of people are still sick, or at least still look sick. And just what does pray without ceasing look like? The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Why? What did they see it accomplish?
Here are some random thoughts on prayer:
1. The goal of prayer is to know God’s nature better when you are finished than when you started.
2. The goal of prayer is to help us get to a place where we can hear rhema words.
3. The goal of prayer is to rest in God’s presence.
4. I don’t think we are to pray that God change someone’s mind- their will.
5. I don’t think prayer is for spiritual warfare unless you have a rhema word on how to pray. The sword of the spirit talked about in regard to spiritual warfare is the rhema word of God.
6. Shouldn’t we have an idea first of what and how we are to pray before heading willy-nilly into a rambling prayer and praying for what we want to happen instead of giving God a chance to speak what He wants to happen?
7. I don’t think God is counting our prayers and when we reach a certain count or intensity then He will grant them. I think we are told to pray without ceasing and to keep praying with endurance for the purpose of honing our ability to hear rhema words.
Bottom line on prayer: Get to the place where you come into God's presence because you want to, not because you need to.
I feel there is also a lot of confusion and misunderstanding of just what power the devil has.
Here are some random thoughts on the power of the devil:
1. That the devil has power can be inferred by knowing we need spiritual armor.
2. That the devil has power can be inferred by his offering to give Jesus the kingdoms of this world if Jesus would worship him.
3. That the devil has power can be seen in the Book of Job.
4. The devil’s power is delegated power- only what God allows for God’s purposes only.
5. I think the devil’s powers involve putting thoughts in our mind, though I don’t think he can read our thoughts. I also think he might can amplify negative emotions, though I don’t think he can put a negative emotion in our heart.
6. The devil attacks by making us fear the future, feel inadequate for the present, and be ashamed of the past. Whenever you have negative emotions, refute them with rhema words and images.
A word on spiritual warfare:
As was pointed out earlier, the verses about the armor of God list only one offensive spiritual weapon: the sword of the spirit which is the rhema of God. There isn’t much else in the Bible on exactly how to engage in spiritual warfare, so I’ll throw in my two cents.
I don’t think spiritual warfare is vigorous speaking in tongues, unless directed to do so by a specific rhema word. I used to think that. But I never saw any results. In fact, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was trying to accomplish.
I think we do need to start with the armor. We must have our defensive armor on (helmet, shoes, shield, etc.). Second, we must get a rhema on what to do. Do we pray a certain way? Say something to someone? Claim a verse? [TOOL] And last, I think whether we get a rhema or not, we should let attacks of the enemy on us or our loved ones trigger a response of praise and worship in us. When they went out to battle, the nation of Israel was led by a troop praising God. What better way to counter the enemy than by praising and worshiping God in the midst of an attack? It can be a powerful weapon. Do it in your darkest hours. Give God and Jesus thanksgiving for your salvation. You will be surprised how that changes the whole atmosphere.
The only real enemy of God is the anti-Christ spirit. The anti-Christ spirit is any person, including Christians, who does not let God rule. It can be a total rejection of God’s rule in all parts of our life, or just certain parts. The Beast of Revelation, often called The Anti-Christ, is the ultimate human personification of that spirit, but we all can have an anti-Christ spirit whenever we have hardness of heart and don’t do anything about it. Having hardness of heart absolutely will stop your hearing of rhema words. [TOOL] Whenever you detect hardness of heart in you, stop and ask forgiveness, then ask for compassion and rhema words. Usually we need compassion for those controlled by the devil, and rhema for how to wage spiritual warfare against the forces controlling the people.
On the cross, Jesus said something very interesting: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Jesus was able to see beyond the surface to the real problem. It was that the people were being deceived by anti-Christ spiritual forces. This should be our approach, too. [TOOL] We must realize that whenever we are vexed by what some person says or does contrary to God, they are being deceived and controlled by forces contrary to God. This makes it much easier to have compassion for the person. It sets us free from the dark forces being able to "get under our skin." And we are, in effect, calling the demonic forces out into the open by recognizing their involvement. No demon likes to be called out into the light. They like staying hidden. But we know the truth. Another benefit is that we can be more aware when demonic forces attack us. We should analyze every negative thought and emotion that comes to us and recognize that if the demonic is not its source, then most likely the demonic is trying to amplify it somehow to be stronger. Again, we call them out. And we pray that the eyes of those being deceived be opened to the truth of the gospel.
Cults are used by the devil to trap people. Christian cults are usually started by a person who claims to have "special knowledge/revelation" (Joseph Smith) or "special standing" with God. (Be aware: this "special knowledge" is rarely what's presented to the general public. It's only fed to those adherents who have been conditioned to swallow it as truth.) The cult leader sees their being "special" as justification to exert control over those deceived into following them. Often an "us vs. the world" mentality is fostered, with "us" being the only ones with the "truth." Cults are very difficult to break free from once a person is convinced they are following the truth. I know... I was in one for several years. Cults have a number of common characteristics. Read and learn them so that not only you know what to be on guard against, but you can help others. The following are the "big 3" that I feel all Christian cults will have in common. Be aware of them:
1. Revelation- leader(s) claim special knowledge or calling from God;
2. Exaltation- leader(s) claim special standing with God (sometimes they change their name to reflect their "exalted" status);
3. Isolation- so leader(s) can keep their followers under their control; they promote fear and negative spiritual consequences for anyone trying to break free.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, I call demonic spirits out of the darkness and into the light of God's rhema words where their deceptions will be exposed, and for God's people to rise up with truth and compassion based on a deep understanding of God's nature.
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