“THE REAL ENEMY IS A SPIRIT OF FEAR”
Prophetic Moments – Issue #17 – December 7, 2008
by R. Loren Sandford
In the midst of this current economic crisis I know that Christians across this nation have turned to prayer. I know I have. Strategic prayer for such a time as this, however, is best when informed by prophetic revelation. In other words we need to hear from God concerning the real sources of the problem and what Jesus wants us to pray concerning it. On that score, this is my personal “two bits”.
I know many believers currently pray for the President and for the President-elect. This is good. I also know of many believers not yet reconciled to the outcome of the election who are therefore praying in decidedly negative ways – some for judgment to fall and some for the exposure of certain forms of corruption that might invalidate the election results. Some are praying simply that God will turn things around economically regardless of the political landscape. Still other believers seem interested only in thundering doom and gloom and pronouncing judgment. Not helpful!
I want to suggest a different course that begins with a diagnosis of what I believe to be the real problem. The real problem is fear. A strong atmosphere of fear has this nation firmly in its grip. For instance, due to the bailout efforts passed by our congress, the banks now have money to lend but because of fear they’re not doing it. At this moment the current unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, four or five points lower than it was in 1980-82. A substantial number of people are therefore still working, but have been keeping their wallets locked tight because of fear that seems greater in its proportion than it was in the 1980s when things were actually worse. This causes retail sales to suffer which causes manufacturing to suffer in turn. As a result, much of our retail and manufacturing base is paralyzed for lack of sales. Layoffs therefore increase so that the nation falls into an ever deepening spiral of recession, all because of simple fear!
As I have prayed concerning this and sought the word of the Lord, I have come to believe and sense that behind the fear accompanying all the practical issues of bank failures, bailouts for auto makers and layoffs a demonic influence hides – and I mean hides. It is only natural to become fearful when facing conditions such as those that now confront us, but a tinge of frenzied panic infuses this current situation that goes beyond what would be natural and threatens to turn what should be a healthy set of adjustments and corrections into a disaster of historic proportions.
Yes, there is an element of God’s judgment in all this. The true religion of America has been recycled Baalism, a modern version of that ancient cult of prosperity. A season of discipline for this form of idolatry is now upon us. But as God said to the nations involved in carrying out His judgment in the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., “…I am very angry with the nations who are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster” (Zechariah 1:15). Demonic influence takes opportunity in what begins as the action of God to wreak more damage than God intended. In this case powerful demonic influence fans the flames of fear in order to further the disaster. Demonically inspired fear makes the problems worse and threatens more harm than the Lord intended. God intends a necessary adjustment. The enemy of our soul seeks only destruction.
More significantly, the fear our enemy inspires threatens to cut off funds to churches and other agencies involved in the spread of the gospel, and I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t the true agenda on the enemy’s mind. We have been seeing a worldwide revival in recent years. This is a worldwide recession. In the past the enemy has inspired wars to stop missions movements. This recession can produce the same arresting effect in modern times. America has been the world’s great engine of funding for missions efforts for many years. If believers close their wallets, missions activity will be significantly hindered. Recently statistics show that believers are doing just that. If not broken by fervent prayer, demonically inspired fear can carry both the severity and the effect of this recession beyond the bounds set for it by the Lord and shut off the flow of necessary funding for gospel activities.
The most strategic forms of prayer must therefore focus on dislodging and defeating the demonic spirit of fear that energizes the current national and international atmosphere. Fear obscures wisdom, reason, discernment and compassion. World leadership needs all of these things just now. Leaders, whether believers or not, must be free to make wise decisions. This is the reason for Paul’s exhortation in I Timothy 2:1-2, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” The populace, as well, must be freed from excessive fear in order to play their part. We therefore pray for our leaders and for all men and women. In this case, however, we must address the demonic element and defeat it. Pray that our new President will be influenced by the right voices and that he will be led to pick up his gift of inspiring oratory to infuse hope and positivity into the national mood.
This is no time for right wing religious negativity, but for focusing on the goodness and faithfulness of God while we exercise our authority over every scheme of the devil. Please pray, but let’s focus our prayer where it will do the most good.
Prophetic Moments is an occasional bulletin produced
by Pastor R. Loren Sandford
New Song Church and Ministries