As you can imagine, I prayed and did my level best to project a responsible, civic-minded image driving by scores of SWAT officers—all of whom looked to be armed and menacing—during a recent combined training exercise at a large, public high school.
Tempted to reach for my camera several times, the still, small voice of the Lord intoned, "No, now is not the time to aim a camera at a massive display of man- and fire-power." A few of the SWAT members closest to my vehicle literally moved away as I drove a foot or two from where the larger group congregated. I nodded respectfully in passing.
The scene and its implications were not easy to shake, even hours later. Trained, impressive-looking sharp-shooters preparing in July's heat for the unthinkable—an active shooter situation on a high-school campus—as students swim or sit inside air-conditioned homes on summer break, thinking of everything but returning to the classroom.
Yes, Commander Nick Goldberger of the Boulder County Sheriff's Department in Colorado told me, the three SWAT teams I observed near Fairveiw High School were training for "any type of real event." This type of scene unfolds daily around the nation as law enforcement marksman prepare for the worst, but hope for the best: Schools that are safe, violence-free zones of learning.
Unfortunately, students at Fairview heard about a "real event" back in March when three survivors of a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida traveled to Boulder to share their stories.
The experience reminded me how to use three spiritual weapons: pray, plead the blood of Jesus, and invite angels to surround public schools, where mass shootings continue from the earliest of their kind: the tragedy at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.
Spiritual warfare is against rulers, powers, world forces of darkness, and wickedness in heavenly places—not flesh and blood—according to the Apostle Paul. (Eph. 6:12)
Thankfully, other intercessors with ministries big and small are practicing these spiritual disciplines regularly and consistently—without a visual reminder from an ominous-looking, armed SWAT force on school grounds.
Standing in the gap for students, another type of SWAT—a Spiritual Warfare Attack Team—is creating hedges of protection through intercession at public, private and charter schools in northern Colorado this summer. As others are doing around the nation.
Last summer, SWAT members—all men from different churches and backgrounds—prayed at 33 different schools.
This year, SWAT is locking arms with women warriors in intercession, entreating heaven for protection over as many schools as possible before classes resume.
"We are a small group of men and women that has decided not to wait until something terrible happens in in our schools, on our watch," said Brad Tuttle, an intercessor and SWAT leader, echoing the commander's preparation for a real event.
"As Christians, we are watchman and guardians of the land; we see this as an honor, privilege and responsibility," Tuttle said.
Until SWAT's assignment is complete, intercessors will continue to pray against school violence, including suicide among students, he said.
An intercessor with a national ministry, Cindy Jacobs, encourages prayer on school campuses. She offers a six-point action plan, including a call to "prayer walk" and "engage in spiritual warfare for the school."
Head of the Reformation Prayer Network, Jacobs suggests the following action items:
Adopt a school. If your child attends a local school, adopt that one. If you have children in multiple schools, determine if you can do more or at least help coordinate prayer efforts for the other schools. If you do not have children in a local school, ask the Lord which school(s) you can cover in intercession.
Prayer walk or drive around the school on a regular basis. You could do this as often as your schedule allows, but try to do it at least once a week.
Get others to join you. Form a prayer group designated to praying for your adopted school. It can be comprised of other Christian parents of students attending the school or it could be members of your church that are interested of joining you. It could be a group of close friends with a similar burden. Where two or three are gathered in His name, there He commands the blessing, so try to get others together for prayer.
Engage in spiritual warfare for the school. Find like-minded believers who understand how to war for the future of these children. Carry out specific prayer strikes, as the Lord leads. Map and pray over the land and any past violence on it. Drive the darkness out. Invite God's love and revival to come. Take responsibility for the spiritual climate over your adopted school!
Volunteer in your children's or grandchildren's schools. Become spiritual eyes and ears for the school. Prayerwalk as you move through the school building. Find the Christian teachers who may pray with you. Pray for students who are open to it.
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