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Prayer Breaks the Hold of Dark Spiritual Forces

In our daily meditations, we have been looking at Paul the apostle’s thoughts that the world is in the grip of unseen dark spirits. We looked at the defenses God has given us, before also looking at the offensive weapons to break the power of evil. The second offensive weapon of the church is prayer: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

We have a modern-day example of Spirit-led prayer overcoming demonic strongholds over a city in Argentina. In the book by C. Peter Wagner, Warfare Prayer pages 30-34, there is the story of a strategy to reach the city of Resistencia in the northern province of Chaco, Argentina. Ed Silvoso, an Argentinean evangelist, initiated a three-year plan to change the spiritual atmosphere over the city so that people could hear and respond to the Gospel. As of the beginning of 1990, fewer than 6,000 of its 400,000 population were evangelical believers, a mere 1.5 percent. He moved members of his Harvest Evangelism team into Resistencia and for over a year laid a foundation of prayer, spiritual warfare, and leadership training. The people responded well and wanted to pray with authority over their city the next morning.

Silvoso writes,

"A group of 80 showed up and marched into the Plaza de Mayo of Buenos Aires, praying for five hours of intense battle against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places. Among other things, the group sensed a spirit of witchcraft and a spirit of death in the Ministry of Social Welfare building where President Peron’s notorious warlock, Jose Lopez Riga, had maintained his office. When the group left the plaza, they felt a sense of victory. The principalities and powers were not destroyed, but warfare prayer had in some measure begun to weaken the evil hold on Argentina. Over the city of Resistencia, people all knew the names of the spirits that were ruling over the city. San La Muerte, the spirit of death, was perhaps the most powerful.

A large number of citizens of Resistencia were so devoted to San La Muerte that they had little bone images of his idol surgically implanted under their skin or under their nipples, believing the false promise that this will assure them of a "good death." Other spirits of equal rank turned out to be Pombero, a spirit of division who brought terror, especially to children during the siesta time and at night; Curapi, a spirit of sexual perversion, the Queen of Heaven, a religious spirit, who had perverted the true character of the traditional church; and the spirit of Freemasonry, a cleverly disguised form of occult power. Surprisingly, the images of these spirits and their activities were depicted on several large folk art murals in the central plaza of the city."

What was the outcome? Ed Silvoso reports that the growth graphs of the churches in Resistencia took a decided turn upward beginning in April when the group prayed in the plaza. In one public event, 250 people were baptized in portable pools. Crowds of almost 17,000 packed into an open field for evangelistic meetings where objects used in occult rituals and witchcraft were burned in a fifty-five-gallon drum each night. Hundreds were healed physically and delivered from demons. At least eighteen new churches started. Most significant of all, the evangelical Christian population of Resistencia virtually doubled in the calendar year of 1990. Perhaps, a weakening sign of the territorial spirits over Resistencia was the tragic fate of the high priestess of the cult of San La Muerte, the spirit of death. Two weeks before the massive evangelistic thrust and after the time of prayer in the center of the city, her bed caught fire. For some reason, the flames seemed to be selective. They consumed only the mattress, the woman, and her statue of San La Muerte![1]

Now, I certainly do not advocate any single person taking on spirits in this way. These believers were over eighty people in one accord and Holy Spirit-led in what they were doing. I am using the story to illustrate the fact that these things are real and that Jesus has won the victory over them at the cross. When the Body of Christ works together under godly inspired leadership, whole towns and cities are won to Christ. Are you a part of a biblical expression of Jesus Christ in your town or city? If not, begin to seek the Lord to show you where you are to fellowship. We need each other. It has always been the pattern. Something special happens when God’s people stand together in unity. You must have other believers in Christ around you. Being together with other believers is a strong defense to you as a follower of Christ. It keeps you from being isolated and, therefore, more vulnerable.

The Lord honors and works through those who lean on Him in difficulties and dependence. He longs to show us that He is our Father and well able to answer our heartfelt Spirit-led prayers. Keith Thomas

This meditation is a shortened version of the in-depth study: Offensive Weapons of the Believer

[1] C. Peter Wagner, Warfare Prayer, Regal Books, Pages 30-34.


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