This simple blog is devoted to the greatest privilege that man has ever been given; PRAYER.
The work of the intercessor is to combat the enemy in the spirit realm (as opposed to the natural realm), using spiritual weapons (not carnal ones). In the process, he or she must determine strategy for warfare through the guidance and revelation of the Holy Spirit. Discernment is a key element in your strategy, and a vital quality for leaders and intercessors to possess. “Discern” means “to distinguish or separate.” God said to His prophet Jeremiah, “If you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become My spokesman” (Jer. 15:19).
Activity in the heavenlies is intensifying as the time of the Messiah’s sure return draws near. Intercessors seem to be saying with one voice. “The conflict is real, and the battle lines are being drawn!” As spiritual warfare intensifies, particularly in the area of the mind, the intercessor’s prayer life must not falter.
Satan doesn’t fight fair in this battle. If he can’t keep you from praying, he will assail you with doubt, discouragement and fear as you look at seemingly impossible circumstances. This deceiver will try to make you feel you are being objective and getting a lay of the land as you look at the situation. In reality his goal is to sideline you with an attitude of hopelessness and passivity.
You need to know your enemy! General Douglas MacArthur, when stating some important requisites of military victory, gave the following:
• A will to win: a cause worth dying for.
• Strength: adequately trained and well-equipped personnel.
• Adequate source of supply: lifelines must be kept open.
• Knowledge of the enemy “The greater the knowledge of the enemy, the greater the victory.”
These same elements are necessary for maintaining your victory. Jesus has won the victory. It is your place to occupy until He comes.
Let’s look at Nehemiah and see how he overcame the battle ofthe mind.
The Lord put the desire in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. As he fasted and prayed over the situation. God gave him favor with the king. The king then released him to go back to his homeland to rebuild the city wall.
How did Satan fight that? By waging a battle in Nehemiah’s mind. First, he attacked Nehemiah’s reputation by trying to make a mockery of his efforts, saying, “Even what they are building— if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!” (Neh. 4:3).
When mockery and discouragement failed to deter Nehemiah, the next tactic the enemy tried was intimidation and fright (see vv. 10-12). Nehemiah knew the enemy was trying to render him helpless through fear.
Then the enemy (in the form of two men) sent word, “Come, let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono” (6:2). With this Nehemiah recognized a major principle in warfare: “Never negotiate with the enemy!” Though this threatening message was sent to him FIVE times, Nehemiah steadfastly refused to negotiate on enemy territory.
This warrior builder also resisted the advice of a false prophet who tried to get him to run and hide from the enemy (see 6:12). He prayed from God’s perspective, and fearlessly moved on to fulfill the commission God had given him.
Satan still tries to lure you into his encampment through the mind, just as he tried to do with Nehemiah. There is no mention of battle, only that which was done through the battle of the mind. You are defeated the moment you sink to the enemy’s level.
Satan and his ruling spirits give specific assignments to the fallen angels —or demons—in his army. They will seek to manipulate circumstances and people in order to carry out their assignments. However, as a believer, you have the power and the authority to thwart their success and to destroy their assignments and curses. Not only that, but you can also turn those curses back upon the ranks of the enemy to do greater damage to Satan’s cause than he intended for the body of believers. (See Acts 13:6-12.)
A study of Scripture indicates that Satan has delegated spiritual rulers to be in charge of countries and geographical areas. Read Ezekiel 28 and Daniel 9 and 10 for an example of how strongholds operate over a geographical area. Keep in mind that the spiritual warfare takes place in the heavenlies, but the effects of that warfare are seen upon the earth and in people’s lives.
Consider the story of an evangelist in Latin America who was passing out tracts and witnessing to people on the streets of a particular city. A provincial boundary ran through the heart of the city. The evangelist met great opposition from the people with whom he tried to share the gospel; they threw the tracts in the gutter and refused to listen to his message.
The spiritual warfare takes place in the heavenlies, but the effects of that warfare are seen upon the earth and in people’s lives.
In frustration, the evangelist crossed to the other side of the street, which was in a different province and under a different government. Suddenly he realized the attitude of the people on this side of the street was completely different—though their language and outward appearance was the same as the first group of people he had encountered. These people gladly accepted the gospel tracts, and eagerly listened to his message of salvation.
Sometime later the evangelist learned that a group of Christians in the second province had been binding the forces of darkness in their area, and praying for the gospel to go forth. Because of their spiritual warfare, the work of the evangelist was fruitful. But apparently no one was waging warfare on behalf of the first province, and resistance to the gospel was very strong.
In Daniel’s experience, the “prince of the kingdom of Persia” withstood the angel whom God had sent with the answer to the prophet’s prayers (see Dan. 10:12,13). When Daniel prayed, his prayers brought additional reinforcements into the spiritual conflict, and the prince of Persia was overcome. Daniel influenced the entire nation of Israel through his fasting and his persistent prayer.
Ask the Lord for specific revelation and discernment concerning the leaders for whom you are praying, and for the areas in which they are ministering. In praying for those who work among Muslims or in an area where cults are prevalent, you will be combating an antichrist spirit. Where occult activity is strong, you are also dealing with spirits of deception, control and seduction (see 1 John 2:18).
In an area where there are many churches, but much conflict among the leaders and members, the Holy Spirit may reveal to you that the problem is a religious spirit ruling over that area, along with spirits of strife, contention and self-righteousness. Discerning the spirits responsible for a given
problem—if indeed evil spirits are responsible—will make your intercession more specific and more effective.
It’s important to discern patterns or cycles in attacks from the enemy. For some period of time there have been strong attacks against marriages among spiritual leaders. One particular denominational group has lost a large number of missionaries to cancer. Then there was a rash of serious accidents causing death or severe injury to ministers and missionaries, and/ or their family members. The intercessors should serve as “watchmen on the wall” (see Isa. 62:6,7) to help ward off these attacks through spiritual warfare, and to lend their support by praying for those on the front lines of ministry.
Excerpt from Chapter 7 (You’re in a battle) of “Becoming a Prayer Warrior” by Elizabeth Alves