Is there a spiritual realm, an unseen dimension to what happens here on earth? Is spiritual warfare just our imagination? Does what we do spiritually make any difference to what happens here on earth?
Understanding the reality of an unseen dimension that affects what goes on here on earth jolts us out of religious complacency and a legalistic, religious Christianity.
For many years we were involved in a church plant in the East End of London in the UK. At that point in time, the area was not the gentrified place it has since become. It was a very run-down, neglected area of around 120,000 people, with 93% government housing. The unemployment rate, if I remember rightly, was about 17%. Within our church, (effectively a network of home groups) we had maybe 10 or 12 people who had been out of work for some considerable time with no prospect of employment.
As a fellowship we decided that this wasn't just a natural problem but it had a spiritual component to it. So in one particular gathering, we put all the people who were looking for a job in the center of the room, while the rest of us prayed for them. Someone suggested that we treat it like the battle of Jericho, so we actually marched round them 7 times, shouting praise to God the final time. Then we prayed for each person individually.
Were we crazy? It must have looked crazy to any outsider. But over the next few weeks, every one of those people found a job.
Another example from a similar time period: There were riots going on in London, and they were approaching our area of town. The fear in the air was so palpable, you could almost smell it. There was a small corner store across the road from where we lived, and I remember looking out our living room window and watching the owner board up the windows.
In the front yard of the house next door, a young teenager was preparing his arsenal of weapons to throw. We pulled together a few people and started praying, using the spiritual weapons of praise and the Word, believing that God would intervene and that Satan had no right to come onto "our ground." As we listened to the news, the reporters gave a street by street blow on which areas of town were affected. The riots stopped at the very first street we regarded as our territory.
The spiritual realm is real! In 2 Kings 6, when Elisha is under attack, surrounded by the troops of the enemy, he prays that his servant will see the reality of the spiritual realm. All of a sudden, his servant can see horses and chariots of fire. God delivers them from the hand of the enemy. We need to have our eyes opened to see what's really going on.
Adapted from Felicity Dale's blog, Kingdom Women. Felicity Dale is the author of numerous books including Simply Church. She is an an advocate for women in the church and trains people to start simple, organic house churches around the world.