Alliance News Feed – How to Defeat Your Worst Enemy
by Esther Schaeffer, an Alliance international worker serving in Burkina Faso, West Africa
Â As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated (2 Chronicles 20:22).
Weâ€™re seeing a resurgence here of annual funeral celebrations steeped in demonic practices. During this season of the year, local beer is consumed in mass quantities and masked dancers, known as fetishists, take to the streets.
Forbidden to see the masks, women often cower in their homes during these celebrations. They can also be beaten if they observe another custom that takes place this time of yearâ€”young men marched into the forests, often against their will, to undergo occultic initiation rites.
Some Christians have had their homes trashed when theyâ€™ve refused to engage in these demonic customs. A few years ago, a pastor and his family were chased out of their village when rumors circulated that theyâ€™d allowed young men to take refuge in their church instead of participating in the initiation rites.
Call to Battle
This year, as the date approached for these celebrations to take place in one of our Alliance districts, pastors received threatening letters. Every male was required to fully participate in the events, regardless of his religion.
Christian leaders sounded the call to battle. But this was not to be a fight waged with physical weapons or threats. Congregations began meeting to intercede. Churches opened early to provide refuge for women so they wouldnâ€™t be shut away in their homes while the fetishists ran through the streets.
A day of corporate prayer and fasting was planned to intercede for believers to stand firm and allow the Lord to work.
We received one of the first reports of answered prayer from Pastor John, who recently relocated to a village near our city.
Local villagers were upset he had been allowed to rent a house in an outlying area of their community. But the pastor and his wife began prayer meetings. Although shunned by some villagers, others began to attend.
In a brazen move, villagers decided that this yearâ€™s celebration, which was to begin in the village center, would culminate in a schoolyard in front of the pastorâ€™s house. The area was cleared, and hundreds of chairs were set up.
But when the appointed time cameâ€”with Pastor John and his wife praying fervently inside their homeâ€”the yard remained empty.
Your Medicine Is More Powerful
Late that evening, Pastor John received a phone call: â€śPastor, we know that the medicine you sell is more powerful.â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t sell any medicine,â€ť he responded. â€śI preach Christâ€”the living and true God.â€ť
The man laughed and then said, â€śWell, everyone knows that whoever you are worshiping is more powerful than our traditions!â€ť
The next day, a visitor explained to the pastor why the celebration never took place in the schoolyard. After much drinking, the masked fetishists began moving through the village streets when the grass fringe on one of the costumes caught fire. It quickly spread to a second.
Although the two men screamed for help, the crowds recoiled in horror. No one stepped in to help, and both perished in the inferno.
Instead of continuing to the schoolyard, everyone quietly returned to their homes. No one knew what to think.
Prayer Defeats the Enemy
The next day as the villagers discussed what had happened, it became clear that members of a rival village had set the fire to prove they were more powerful.
But it was the Christiansâ€™ God who won the victory that day. He responded to the prayers of His people to overcome demonic forces on their behalf.
Through stopping the celebration, He thwarted the believersâ€™ persecution. He also earned the unbelieving neighborsâ€™ respect through showing His power over their demonic customs.
If youâ€™re experiencing fear and despair in your life as a follower of Christ, remember to call upon the One in you who is greater than the one in the world (see 1 John 4:4).
Source: Alliance News Feed – How to Defeat Your Worst Enemy