Last week, a pastor in Colorado Springs gave me a call. He asked for prayer for his son, who has struggled with some major addictions in his life. This pastor, this father’s heart, was broken and he was asking for my prayers. I was deeply humbled by his call.
After I put my phone down, something within me rose up. It was earnest, it was passionate and yes, it was violent.
I began to scream out at the top of my lungs (praise the Lord I was outside at my home in Black Forest): “Demon of death, the Lord rebuke you in the Name of Jesus! Take your hands off of John (not his real name) right now! I command you to release him! He is a son of the Most High God and I release him from your grip!” The Spirit of the violence of God rose up in me and I rebuked this demon with everything I could muster for about 10 minutes. In another state, a pastor friend was pacing the floor and also powerfully interceding.
I received a call back from my friend to tell me that his son miraculously, just two hours after we were praying, had checked himself into a rehab center and had decided to get serious about his addiction. Praise God!
Jesus spoke of a new kind of “kingdom violence” that had come to earth through John the Baptist and Himself, when He said, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and violent take it by force!” (Matthew 11:12). This force of the Kingdom is never more powerful than when we battle in violent prayer.
In Matthew 17, there is a story of a father bringing his demonized son to the Disciples for help. They try to cast out the demon, but are unable. Then Jesus shows up, immediately casting out the demon. The Disciples, after such fruitless prayer, admit they have no idea how He did this so quickly. Then Jesus makes an interesting comment by saying, “This kind (of demon) does not come out, but through prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21). Obviously, Jesus had been in a state of fasting when He showed up.
High Level Powers
There are high level “principalities and powers” (demons) ruling over our cities in America. Paul made note of this in Ephesians 6:10-20. Daniel understood this, read Daniel 10. When we juxtapose Daniel 10, to the previous passage, it is clear that when we earnestly pray, God moves in power to take on high level demonic spirits. In Daniel it was the “Prince of Persia.” In Daniel’s case, it took 21 days of fasting and prayer before the answer came.
As we move closer to the Coming of the Lord, indeed the last days of “the Last Days,” we must learn and arm ourselves to battle in prayer with violent faith. Only the Church can activate such prayer. Those in the political arena, deal with political issues. Those in the economic sphere, think economically. Only the Church can pray with power!
Hearts and Minds Weighed in the Balance
We are in a pitched battle for the hearts and minds of our children. Indeed, with the revelation in recent days of drug running, secret shipments of weapons from China, and child trafficking happening at a high level in America, it is obvious we are in a violent clash with the darkness. The destiny of our republic is weighed in the balance. As kingdom people, as Jesus disciples, as the Church, we will only win through a kind of spiritual violence that is energized by compassion and faith. The Greek word for “violence,” biastis, means “energetic, forceful.” It is of the same root word as the “mighty wind” ascribed to the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:2. The winds are blowing!
I have just completed 10 days of fasting and prayer. Rising early each morning to pray at 5 a.m. in our sanctuary, joined by dozens of others, we are crying out for our nation, our city, our churches, and our destiny! Church, it’s time to rise up and get violent in our prayers. The destiny of our cities hang in the balance. Rise up! This is our time. This is our calling.
Steve Holt M.A., D.D.