It is clear from the Bible that we are in a war and that we are
called to fight. For example, it says, "For we wrestle not against
flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against
the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual
wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12). It also says, "For
though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for
strongholds" (2 Cor. 10:3-4). Click on the word
for an explanation of this concept. This is "to the intent that
now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to
the principalities and powers in the heavenly places" (Ephesians
3:10). We, the church, are to make known God's manifold wisdom to
the principalities and powers... God chooses to use us, His body, to
do this revelation and ground-level warfare, while His angels do the
Here are the three general levels to spiritual warfare:
1.) Ground-level spiritual warfare - This is the
ministry of casting our demons or tearing down strongholds (2 Cor.
2.) Occult-level spiritual warfare - There is a
different kind of demonic power at work in the occult (i.e. Acts
3.) Strategic-level spiritual warfare - This is
the kind of warfare the angel Michael fought as mentioned in Daniel
10:12-13 or Revelation 12:7-9.
For each level of warfare there is
going to be differences in the approach. There has been an explosion
in the amount of materials produced related to spiritual warfare and
warfare prayer but it is not a new concept. The "increase in
knowledge" (Daniel 12:4) and effectiveness in ministry, as well as
the explosion of the occult and wickedness (Matt. 24:12), has
brought this about. The battle has been heating up, for the devil
"knows that his time is short" (Rev. 12:12).
It has been said that
the most powerful kind of praying is praise. Praise must precede and
accompany warfare. Paul Billheimer said that praise is the best way
to develop faith because it focuses on the character of God, and it
is faith which ultimately overcomes the enemy. So warfare prayer is
not necessarily negative praying - that is praying against demons
spirits. It is a supremely positive kind of praying in
the form of affirmations of:
The sovereign power of God
The unending nature of His love
The victory of Christ over all of
S.D. Gordon says, "Prayer is
striking the winning blow at the concealed enemy. Service is
gathering up the results of that blow among the [people] we see and
touch." Every time the church prays, it provides the legal and moral
justification for God to release His power. God uses the church, His
body to take back what the enemy has been squatting on since He won
the battle at Calvary. although this concept leads into a false
theology called dominion theology, God does desire for us to further
the kingdom of God through prayer.
An Old Testament example
of warfare prayer is Daniel's prayer in chapter 10. When the angel
came wit hthe answer to Daniel's prayer he said, "Do not be afraid,
Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain
understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words
were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of
the Persian kingdom withstood me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one
of the chief princes, came to help me..." (vv.12,13). God started
Daniel's answer from the moment he prayed, but it was delayed
because of warfare in the spiritual realm by a territorial spirit
(the "prince of the Persian kingdom"); so Daniel had to pray and
fast twenty-one days.
Jesus said, From the days of John the
Baptist until now, the kingdom of God has been forcefully advancing,
and forceful men lay hold of it," or as the King James translates
it, "the violent take it by force."
I think it's interesting
that two full chapters in the book of Revelation are the literal words of Jesus.
My Bible reminds me because Jesus' words are printed in red ink.
These two chapters are written to the seven churches, also referred
to as the seven lampstands. There are also seven stars in the hand
of Jesus (identified by Jesus as angels), one for each church. Each
church receives a different letter but they also have some
similarities, namely each letter begins with some descriptive
phrases about the author (Jesus Christ), each letter affirms that
its contents are "what the Spirit says to the churches," and only
one command-type verb is used in each of the seven letters:
Some remarkable promises are attached
to overcoming in each of the letters. If we overcome, as Jesus
desires us to, we will:
Eat from the tree of life
Not be hurt by the second death
Eat of the hidden manna
Have power over the nations
Be clothed in white garments
Be a pillar in the temple in the
Sit with Jesus on His throne
There is a lot of symbolism to this
and I will add a sermon
on this to my website shortly.
So what does he mean by
"overcome?" Jesus used this term (Nikao) in only two other places in
the New Testament. It is where we get the name Nicholas and the word
Nike from, and it means "to conquer." It is also distinctly a
warfare term. When Jesus calls us to overcome, He calls us to
warfare. The only two other occasions this word is used is in John
16:33 where Jesus affirms, "I have overcome [nikao] the world." This
is reassuring because it reminds us that Jesus already won the war,
we just need to proclaim the victory and take back the land. The
other time is in Luke when Jesus talks about the strongman. This is
a spiritual warfare passage which begins with ground-level spiritual
warfare as Jesus casts a demon out of a mute (Luke 11:14). Jesus
then goes on to talk about Satan's kingdom (Luke 11:18) and a palace
(Luke 11:21) and Beelzebub, who is a high prince of demons under
Satan. Jesus' explanation of overcoming the strongman is also found
in Matthew and Mark but the word for "bind" is used interchangeably
(see Matt. 12:29 and Mark 3:27). It is the same word used in Matthew
16:19 where Jesus said, "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in
I believe Jesus is
calling us to forcefully advance His kingdom and those of us who do
are the overcomers He is referring to. The enemy is doing everything
he can to hinder and stop this, and it's amazing all he has tried to
do to stop me. Before you decide to engage in any warfare-type
activities or prayers, please read the following principles that
will help prepare you:
Be sure you are in proper relationship to God! -
I can't emphasize this enough! I have heard story after story of
those who have tried, much like the "Sons of Sceva," (Acts
19:13-16) to cast out demons without being in right relationship
with God. Many missionaries have even died immediately as a
result of arrogance, presumption and underestimating the enemy
when taking him on. People really do perish for lack of
knowledge (Hosea 4:6) and it is essential that we be trained and
under our Father's protection before marching out in battle.
holiness which precedes
power. Also, make sure you put
on the full armor of God.
Confess all known sins - Francis Frangipane
warns: "If you attempt to bind a principality or power while you
harbor sin in your heart, you will surely be defeated." Demons
sometimes tell exorcists what these sins are and this usually
leads to embarrassment and ineffectiveness. Purity is essential.
Seek healing for persistent sin patterns/strongholds
- If you have a sin of struggle that continues to surface, this
is a spiritual illness for which you must seek treatment just as
you would seek a doctor for an infection. NOTE: You generally
need outside help for this kind of inner healing. Get the help
before you attempt any ministry, but especially before you
attempt any spiritual warfare.
Establish strong accountability/pastoral
oversight - This is essential as a Christian, especially
involved in ministry. The enemy will do whatever he can to take
you down and something as small as an accusation can derail you.
Make sure the enemy doesn't have any footholds or anything he
can grasp onto. There are a lot of principles to this and be
sure you have all of your bases covered.
Never attempt to go into battle alone - Lone
rangers get taken out. Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs and
he said he is present wherever two or three are gathered in His
name. A strand of three is not easily broken but one surely is.
The higher God calls you in leadership, the
higher your standards for holiness - Always take your
convictions one step further than you sense you need to. We are
called to a higher standard.
Be led by God. Don't take this too far. If God
gives you a word of knowledge or a word of wisdom, use it to
pray specifically but don't speak to the spirit or spirits
unless the Lord clearly directs you to. Rather, focus on asking
God to battle this spirit. Lastly, remember that we are called
to ground-level warfare and the Lord and His angels battle in
the higher levels.
We are standing at the
edge of what many believe will be the greatest prayer movement
ever... Get out of the trenches, on your knees, and use the powerful
weapon you have been given. Pray with passion and power, like never
before, because there are lives at stake. We have nothing to do but
to save souls...
"The prayer of a righteous man is
powerful and effective" (James 5:16).