“Lay down your spiritual warfare weapons,” said the voice of the Lord I have come to know, love and obey. My response: HUH?
The apparent warfare around me and around the body of Christ screamed out in demand of increasing every spiritual warfare technique I had ever learned. To lay down all of that felt contrary to everything I had learned from my mentors, teachers, and pastors. In six words the Voice I loved had negated every spiritual warfare seminar and conference I had attended as well as every book I read and video series I had watched. Even closer to home, it wiped out what I had taught hundreds of others. Thus, it was hard for me to receive those 6 words.
Then started the conversation with Holy Spirit. Not sure why I persist with this habit, none-the-less, it always starts out: But, Lord….
I had a lot of “But, Lords” to state and “How can it be” questions to ask. Seemed that He already knew that and He spoke to me in His loving, soft, gentle, yet firm way, “You’re doing it all wrong.” My answer: HUH?
No doubt, we His kids, can be quite comical to Him at times I am sure. In this case, I am certain my astonishment must have been amusing because I heard His wonderful laughter wash over me. All I could feel was joy and peace followed by love and acceptance. What could I say to that except, “Yes, Lord”? And, because He apparently knew I was ready to hear Him on this topic, I yielded, albeit a bit begrudgingly, and turned my inner ear toward Him.
It wasn’t what I heard, but what I saw next that impacted me. I saw a small child (couldn’t tell boy or girl) chased by the enemy (demonic beings) running toward flowing purple fabric. The child ran into the fabric and disappeared. While watching this vision, I realized the child was hiding behind the leg of a man wearing leather sandals. In moments, the child, comforted and strengthened by the encounter with the man, peeked out. The enemy was a great distance away. The enemy could not approach the man or the child. The man spoke over the child lovingly and kindly. After awhile the child lifted their hand and repeated the words of the man. As the words were released, power flowed and the enemy disappeared completely.
A lesson in an intense way of intercession began that day. Holy Spirit pointed out the child was not dressed in armor as I had pictured it. The child was not holding a sword or a shield. The child was not shouting or yelling at the devils. The child was standing strong, at peace, full of joy and lovingly protected in the purple skirts. The child listened, learned and repeated what the man said. And the man? ….Yes, you guessed it. The Man is our Father in Heaven. The child stood hidden in His royal robes.
After this encounter, Holy Spirit had my attention and He began to explain that much of our prayer and intercession birthed in the 1990’s, particularly what we call spiritual warfare, has gone too horizontal. It is based more on what we do, and less on what our Father in Heaven wants to and can do. The typical horizontal pattern is to first armor up. We put on the armor of God then we spend our time in worship. Including worship was a marvelous step forward in the beginning, but it got tipped horizontal when the term “warshipping” was invented. Worship then became a weapon in our arsenal and too many began to do it not so much to get close to God and honor Him, but to defeat the devil. Next on the warfare agenda: we get going binding up devils, casting out spirits, taking the land, cancelling curses, hexes, vexes and cutting cords that bind all from our perspective and, unfortunately, mostly in our own strength. While the prayer is always somewhat effective, as we do use the word of God, and we are His kids, we end up expending much time and energy on activities and prayers that are not needed or effective. God is not the center of our focus, the devil and his works are.
Holy Spirit summed it up for me in one question: Who’s your Daddy?
He asked me that so light-heartedly with a smiling voice. I was exhausted, had been repenting for everything I have ever done or will do, praying fervently to bind up the enemy attacking my household, making declarations, and still nothing had changed one iota. When I heard that question, I answered immediately: YOU are Lord. And, then I got it. My Daddy is bigger than the daddy of this world. The message out of heaven: When the devil attacks don’t concentrate or give energy to him, run to Daddy, hide in Daddy, and don’t do or say anything to the enemy until Daddy tells you what to say and do.
Even in emergencies, concentrate on what Daddy can do, not what the enemy is doing. If we have regular intimate times of interaction with Father God, we will hear Him clearly no matter the immediacy of the crisis we are experiencing. I KNOW this to be true. A loved one collapsed, could not breath and became nonresponsive. I simply laid my hand on their chest and said “You shall live and not die. Breathe! In Jesus’ Name.” Those words were said because that is what I heard in the midst of my panic, and knowing His sweet voice, I repeated them. My loved one came to and is today whole and well.
Hidden in the royal skirts of the Father, we are always safe. We learn what His voice sounds like so we can immediately respond for the sake of ourselves and others. That is what the great warfare chapter Ephesians 6:10-18 is really all about. It begins: Be strong in the LORD and the power of HIS might. That means no horizontal praying. I was told by Holy Spirit to stop, lay down my spiritual warfare weapons, and that I was doing it all wrong, because I was not fully and completely dependent upon Jesus Christ, my Lord. I was leaning on a method, not on HIM.
To be strong in Him means to be fully dependent upon HIM and HIM alone. To flow in the power of HIS might, we have to be completely emptied of our ways, let go of our methods and formulas, and do it fully and completely His way. Our vertical relationship with the Father through Christ Jesus must be intimately established or nothing powerful will happen here in the earth. It’s vital that worship no longer be thought of as a weapon of warfare but instead as a time of intimately and tenderly drawing close to our God who then, out of His love for us, will help us.
The armor described in Chapter 6 is telling us to hide in Christ. We have thought of each piece mentioned as a weapon, not hiddeness in Christ. The helmet of Salvation is Jesus. The breastplate of Righteousness is Jesus. The belt of Truth is Jesus. The boots of the Gospel of Peace are Jesus. The Sword of the Spirit is Jesus’ Spirit/Word. The Shield of Faith is Jesus. As Paul wrote it in another letter, this one to the church in Rome: But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. Romans 13:14. That is what the armor of God is all about, “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ” so we can do things His way and not the way of our flesh. The definition of “fulfilling its lusts” is doing things the flesh wants instead of what God wants.
What I found out is defeating the devil is easy, if we do so Jesus-style. All God asks of us in Ephesian 6 is to stand in faith believing and to pray always in the Spirit. No shouting or binding or cutting cords or breaking curses, or confrontations with principalities or rulers, certainly no wrestling with other people. Nor does He ask us to jump up and down yelling. Nope, all that He requires is that we put on Christ and then stand in faith believing, praying in the Spirit. When we stand in full dependence upon Christ Jesus, Father God arises and the enemy is scattered. And Praying in the Spirit means: we hear God, we repeat in faith believing what we heard (whether it is with or without understanding) and wham! No more challenge. This is so powerful that one single word repeated by us that came directly from the mouth of the Father via Holy Spirit takes care of the entire matter no matter how scary or complex it is. Why? Because He gave the word to us and His power did it.
Now, does this mean we never get excited in prayer or exuberant regarding His amazing works? Absolutely not! When we see what He has done let the shouting begin! Let there be jumping for joy! Dance, twirl, clap, play the timbrels, sound the cymbals and trumpets! Go crazy for God! The difference here is: our energy is expended praising and thanking God not trying to defeat devils.
Reality check is that the real “warfare” is with our own selves. Getting out of our own way and not fulling the lusts of the flesh is the hard part of intercession. The resistance, the walls, the “brass ceilings” etc are all symptoms of our battle with pride and fear and our own heart issues, such as unforgiveness. There are no brass ceilings or walls or resistance in Christ Jesus. From the vantage point of Father God, none of that exists. Blocking only happens in the flesh. If we persist in doing warfare prayer horizontally, we will constantly experience the fleshy resistance within ourselves and within the region we are praying.
So, if we want powerful effective prayer we must make a choice: Will we or will we not hide in the Father and let Him take care of our situation. Hiding in the royal robe of the Father means we have humbled ourselves fully, given over everything, choosing to worship Him and trust Him no matter what. This is indeed vital as the more pride and fear we have, the less we can hear Him. The less we can hear Him, the less power of His might we have. True warfare prayer always flows out of an intimate relationship with our Lord God. It is always initiated by Him!
I will repeat that because Holy Spirit says to repeat that: The more pride and fear we have, the less we can hear Him. The less we can hear Him, the less power of His might we have. True warfare prayer always flows out of an intimate relationship with our Lord God. It is always initiated by Him!
A call is being released in this hour to the children of God to lay down their ways, formulas, and methods and simply be with the Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. Out of being with the Father will flow MUCH activity. This call is not a call to sit and do nothing. It is a call to humble ourselves, come hide in His royal robes, be healed of fear and lusts of the flesh, learn to hear His voice, and then go say and do what you see and hear!
Take a moment to ponder: Who’s your Daddy?
If He is the MOST HIGH GOD, there is nothing too hard for HIM! Let go, run and hide in His skirts and see what He will do.
With love to all the saints!
Rev Cheryl Birch