November 17, 2018

Serious intercession

This is very personal. Some people on my prayer list have demonic issues. How do I know? They are doing things that fit the patterns described in the New Testament. This week, my awareness is heightened and my heart is heavy. What can be done for them? How can I pray?

Today’s devotional refers to an incident where a father brings his son to Jesus. He says the child has a spirit that makes him mute and gives him seizures. He’d asked the disciples for help, but they could not “cast it out.” He brought the boy to Jesus . . .  

And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” (Mark 9:21–29)

I’m aware of being in a spiritual war. I do not look for demons in everything for that is a harmful focus, but they are involved in evil. The Bible says I am to be alert . . .

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:11–12)

Standing firm is one thing. Going to bat for others is another battleground. I’m to open my mouth boldly to tell others about Jesus, yet aware that some of them slam their hands over their ears, mock me, curse the Lord and chase after those cosmic powers that have disguised themselves as angels of light.

There are times when this war affects me physically, and certainly emotionally. I’d like to put my hands over my eyes and just ignore all of this, but that is not what God wants from me. At the same time, His power is amazing. He can and does respond to prayer.

Tozer talks about the need for an inward invasion that wins a person’s heart to obey God’s will. Sometimes the yielding is obvious and sometimes the surrender is grudging obedience that requires time and patience to become a complete yielding and a glad freedom. For all of this, God wants His people to pray in faith, trusting Him to remove all resistance and most certainly deal with any evil forces that threaten the abundant life that He desires for His family.

Lord, I relate to this father who said he believed but needed help with his unbelief. At times, the problem is my impatience. Your word gives assurance that You hear and answer prayer, yet nothing seems to be happening. Sometimes those I pray for seem to become more deeply intrenched in the enemy’s clutches. Yet the timing of this reminder to keep praying tells me that You are listening. My hope is that great things will happen, but at the same time, I know that whatever happens, even if it is ‘nothing’ You are Lord of all and nothing is too difficult for You. The enemy was defeated at the cross and knows his time is short. Eventually he and his cohorts will be cast into eternal fire and Your people will be set free. My prayer today is for those held in his lying grasp that they will soon experience the new life that only You can give them.

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