40 DAYS OF REACHING CITIES & COMMUNITIES FOR CHRIST: DAY 3 – INTRODUCTION PART 2
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 2 Chronicles 7:14-16 (NKJV)
(Ed’s story continues from yesterday)
They chose Resistencia for a number of reasons. First, they were invited by several pastors who had been meeting regularly. Second, the city had an unusually low percentage of believers (1.5 percent of the total population), which made it an excellent testing ground for their principles. Third, Resistencia is a key city in northern Argentina. Like Ephesus in the book of Acts, Resistencia is a “mother of cities” all over the Argentine Chaco. Fourth, the city was under the spell of a satanic principality called “San La Muerte” (Spanish for “Saint Death”). Its roots go back to the founding of the city.
Resistencia was designed to be a military outpost on the western bank of the Parana River to defend the wealthy city of Corrientes across the river. Most soldiers at the time were recruited from among the prison population of Argentina and many “agreed” to serve in the army because it was the only way out of that miserable life. The military outpost was no match for the large Indian population, and the soldiers’ greatest fear was death by torture at the hands of the Indians. This fear, along with local fetishism and African/Brazilian voodoo, gave birth to the cult of San La Muerte. Those who made a pact with San La Muerte were promised a painless death, which met the deepest felt need of the desperate soldiers. As a city grew around the military outpost, these beliefs and practices were passed on to its inhabitants. Even though the people of Resistencia are well educated and there is a prosperous middle class, in 1988 the entire population was touched in one way or another by this local cult.
They saw all this as a definite plus since they had been learning about spiritual warfare and were eager to try their newly acquired knowledge. What they did not know at the time was how little they knew about spiritual warfare. (Read more about Ed’s story on tomorrow’s devotion.)
When our Lord sent His personal messages to the seven churches in Asia Minor through the apostle John, He admonished them to hear what the Holy Spirit was saying to the churches. That exhortation is still valid today. Each generation of Christians must tune in to the particular emphasis the Spirit chooses for that specific age of the Church.
Today, the Spirit is delivering a dual emphasis of prayer and evangelism. Prayer is one of the central parts of the life of the Church. Intercessory prayer is an extension of the ministry of Jesus through His Body, the Church, whereby we mediate between God and people for the purpose of reconciling the world to Him. It is also for the purpose of enforcing the victory of Calvary between Satan and people.
All of this has been elevated to a higher level of intensity by the resurgence of militant intercession at the beginning of this century. Spiritual warfare is a central part of the message the Spirit is giving to the churches today. Spiritual warfare through Intercessory prayer has resulted in effectively positioning the Church for the other part of the Spirit’s message to churches today.
The five principles of reaching cities and communities for Christ continue:
3. Spiritual Warfare destroys the devil’s influences over cities and communities
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10-20 (NKJV)
4. The church has powerful weapons to destroy the devil’s strongholds
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NKJV)
Rev. Obadiah Swen
Pastor, BWOC-City of Glory
APPLICATION AND PRAYER FOR TODAY
1. Why is prayer so vital to the advancement of the kingdom of God?
2. Why should the church be aggressive in sharing the gospel?
3. Pray for the leaders, churches and Christians of Northern Virginia.
4. Pray that Christian leaders across Northern Virginia would seek God’s heart for vision, wisdom and direction. (Jeremiah 33:3)
5. “Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God; not only by unbelief, but by thinking that you know what he can do. Expect unexpected things ‘above all that we ask or think.” ~ Andrew Murray