A fellow soldier (Guest) (08/11/2011 21:35)
Journal of enemy attack (Eph 6: 16*)
8th Nov ’11 – Enemy attack is something that I have experienced many times since becoming a Christian, however 2 sustained attacks this year I am able to trace as a result of stepping out in faith for The Lord in relation to connections that He has brought about thru a partnership with a church in the USA.
The 1st sustained attack occurred shortly after my return from the USA early May ’11, and lasted over a week. The 2nd occurred immediately following the trip here by a team from the USA trip in Oct ’11, and again lasted over a week.
The attack takes the form of emotional false accusations about myself and God*, also negative thoughts, some of which are quite dark. Intensive prayer and Scripture memorising are very helpful during such times, along with prayer support from other Christians who are empathetic.
During the 2nd attack, I contacted the American Pastor shortly after his return to the States from here, and he replied with a very helpful email, which is copied below;
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been attacked by Satan. In my culture, people are more likely to dismiss such attacks as bad luck or just misfortune. God has taught me better than that, but I can still be slow to recognize an attack for what it really is.
In my experience, Satan almost always attacks God’s people right after they experience a spiritual high. Just like Elijah after Mt. Carmel, a spirit of discouragement and isolation often follows great shows of God’s strength. Worry, fear, discouragement, isolation – those are all arrows in Satan’s arsenal, and he’s a pretty good shot.
As Paul teaches us in Ephesians, faith is our defense against Satan’s attacks. Personally, once I recognize the attack, name it and declare Jesus’ authority over it, the attack looses most of its effectiveness. Unfortunately, that seems to be temporary, so I have to be vigilant and keep repeating the same process (recognize it, rebuke it and declare Jesus’ authority) over and over again. I find that the process of employing faith works much better when I involve someone else in the battle.
I suppose that’s one of the things Jesus was getting at when He said He’d be present to 2 or more believers gathered in His name. I can invoke Jesus’ name, and that has authority over the powers and principalities, but when Jesus is present to 2 or more, He takes the battle head on.
As a pastor, that can be a bit tricky because some people still live under the delusion that pastors are immune to such attacks. Others find it very disheartening that their pastor might be having spiritual struggles that they do not (actually, they do, they just haven’t identified their misfortune as the work of the enemy yet!). I’m fortunate in that *********** allows me to be human. I’ve taught them to do so, but they didn’t have to receive that teaching. That said, I have to remind them often, lest they forget. I find that being authentic, being real with folks, and instilling a sense of community responsibility (we’re all in this together and we all bear responsibility for the health of the whole body) goes a long way towards extinguishing those arrows. It doesn’t stop the attacks, but it gives us a platform to fight from. Faith always requires action, but it may also require community to grow strong. When my faith seems weak, I can be encouraged by another whose faith seems strong.
I’ll certainly be praying for you. Don’t give up the fight. As you quoted many times while we were with you, “God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
During the 1st major attack earlier this year, I was in touch with my 1st Pastor, he kindly, and very timely sent me a prayer that he had received, that was being circulated to encourage weary Christians (below).
A Prayer for Weary Servants of the Gospel
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:1-3 ESV
Dear Lord Jesus, you’ve stirring my heart today to pray for weary men and women serving in the ministry of the gospel. It seems like a week does not go by without my hearing of another ministry crisis, casualty or corpse. Before your throne of grace, we bring to you missionaries, pastors, elders, counselors—a wide range of friends you’ve called and gifted to share the gospel of your grace.
Many of them are living Jonah’s story. In their heads they still know you to be a God who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. But in their hearts, they are drained and angry; disconnected and disillusioned; and some, like Jonah, aren’t sure they want many more days in this world. Have mercy, on them, Lord, have great mercy today.
Jesus, you know all the issues. You know what’s under the anger; what’s compounding the contempt; and what’s fueling the flight. Meet these dear servants of your right where they are. I pray for their spouses and children as well, for sometimes it’s the family members who suffer ministry pangs the most.
Comfort them with your endless mercies and fresh grace. Grant them a renewed perspective of eternity, so they will know their labors in you are never in vain. Rekindle hope in their hurting hearts. Where needed, may your kindness drive them to appropriate repentance. Provide the right medical help, a sabbatical, or even an intervention team, if necessary. Refresh them by the power of the gospel, for the glory of your name.
Until you return, Jesus, Satan will continue to mount an all out assault against you by attacking your Bride—especially those called to nourish and prepare your church for the great Wedding Day. He knows he’s lost us for eternity, so he will do anything and everything within his power to bring havoc, heartache and hell. Use us, however you choose, to encourage your servants, and all the more as we see that great Day approaching. We pray, in your holy and loving name.
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