Ok let me start by saying, I am not one of those people who sees a demon behind every lamp post (I heard that line somewhere and commandeered it, can’t remember who said it though!). Really I am not, we can be over sensitive to these things and assume anything that means life is not super perfect, shows the devil is having a go at us. I don’t stand in that camp, but I do believe there is far more to life that we are often aware of. This line from Hamlet springs to mind…
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
The bible is pretty clear that the devil/satan/demons are real and something to be aware of, but not something to put our focus on. Jesus is our focus and the danger can be when you start to think about spiritual warfare that the focus becomes the perpetrator and not the victor.
So, in my life I have felt times of spiritual attack, when it seems there is more going on than is at first apparent. The book of Job, which I’ve been studying recently, shows a great example of this, where Job is suffering untold misery and tragedy in his life but behind it all there is another whole story. And right now feels like one of those times. Not that I’m blaming either God or the devil for my back injury, probably years of running has had a hand in that little issue, but it just feels ike there is more going on, that’s the best I can describe it.
So in that I’ve chosen to focus on God and in spending a large amount of time lying on the floor to ease the pain, I’ve been able to pray, read my bible and think. And one thing I’ve been seeking God on is: how to react when I feel under some kind of spiritual attack. As a result of that, here’s my top 10 tips on responding to spiritual attack. The first 5 are about what’s going on, then last 5 are about what you can do. And just to clarify, I’m not talking about full on deliverance here, I’m talking about when you feel under personal attack. Deliverance, possession, praying into this stuff for others, can be a-whole-nother kettle of fish!
1) DISCERNING. Firstly are you actually under spiritual attack or is what’s going on the result of your own actions or the consequence of sin, or being in a sin-drenched world? Or is it actually God highlighting something to you? Pray into this!
2) SPIRIT? Is there something specific that you feel spiritually? Are you feeling angry about something or, condemned or guilty? There might be a particular spirit seeking to distract you – a spirit of anger for example. Knowing this can help you to pray into the situation. Again go back to No.1 and discern what is going on! If you are not sure on this or no.1, think about the attitude or heart – does it sound like God to you? God does not condemn us but can correct us.
3) PAST. Things from our past can easily be dragged up and affect us. Thinking about no. 2 above, is your current emotion or feeling actually based upon something from your past? We are so good at suppressing things that are painful or difficult to think about, which have a funny way of blowing up when we least expect it. Ask yourself is your reaction to your situation more than it should be?
4) FOOTHOLD. Don’t give the devil a foothold! Ephesians 4:27 tells us not to let the sun go down on an anger, but for any difficult situation, the longer we leave it the more it festers, the more we feel justified in our emotion. Such an easy way to be distracted from the ways of Christ.
5) FOCUS. Following on from no.4 and from my intro, our focus must always be Jesus, not satan. Jesus was tempted by satan and resisted, he overcame death and has the victory, then and now and forever! Yes it’s good to recognise if something is going on spiritually but always remember that Jesus is the one who counts!
6) PRAY. Ephesians 1:17-22 is part of Paul’s prayer for the church – he prays that God would give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation to know him more, to know the hope, inheritance and power that is within him. What a great prayer to start with, to know Jesus more. Then, then pray into the situation, asking God for guidance, for revelation and even ask him how to pray. If you have the gift of tongues, pray in tongues. If you haven’t, ask for it!
Sometimes praying can be hard, especially when you are in the midst of attack, pain, suffering etc, if that’s the case even just uttering the name of Jesus can be helpful.
7) SCRIPTURE. God’s word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). It’s a powerful prayer that uses scripture. Read it, study it, pray it out loud, declare it! When Jesus was tempted by the devil he responded with scripture, so if Jesus does it, that’s got to be the way forward! Again, as above if you find you can’t pray or find it tough, read scripture aloud.
8) DECLARE! declare out loud the promises of God, your faith, the truths of who Jesus is. Not only is this a powerful thing to do spiritually, but it will make you feel great. Rather like PMA – Positive Mental Attitude – I’m sure you’ve heard that said before, but having positive thought can make you feel better, well declaring out loud does that too, spiritually and physically! As well as reminding you of who Jesus is in your life it can be a real faith boost too. Red Bull for faith 😉 In the CofE we regularly declare the creed – what we believe. Such a powerful prayer – if you are of a more traditional faith, pray the creed.
9) WORSHIP. Job’s first reaction to the tragic situation he finds himself in, is to fall to the ground and worship. The Psalms are full of the Psalmist choosing to worship and praise God when he is struggling with life. My experience has always been that worshipping in times of trial is so much more powerful and I’ve felt the presence of God far more in those times than at others.
10) CLOSENESS TO GOD. James 4:7-8 is often quoted in relation to matters of spiritual warfare:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.
The most important part of this, in my opinion is drawing close to God. It’s not just ‘resist the devil’, but with the closeness of God, he will flee. So, in all things come towards God, in whatever way you can. If you have time and energy and inclination, pray, read the bible, focus on him. If you just can’t do that find something to help you – ask others to pray for you, read the creed, say the Jesus Prayer, do something!
So there you go, a few pointers, but I should say if you need help, ask for it! Ask someone you trust to pray with you or for you. If all of the above seems out of your comfort zone find someone you can chat to about it all. I mentioned deliverance above, if you feel out of your depth or feel this is emoting you are facing, do find someone trustworthy and in a position of authority to talk to you and help you with this.
For more info on spiritual warfare here’s a couple of links:
a bit of biblical stuff at Gotquestions