My wife and I had been dating for four or five months. Let's just say that our spiritual experiences at the time were different. Mine were more the type of thing that you can read about on this blog. Hers were more like most normal folks. I don't consider my experiences in the main stream of Christianity, but I think they should be. It is also true that those that know me, never ever uses the word "normal" to describe me.
Be Sure to Read The Demonic Parts I and II.
One evening I decided to make the trek to visit my friends from ministry school out in western Massachusetts. Our classmate that had normally hosted these reunions had since moved to the Midwest. Therefore; a friend-of-a-friend agreed to host our little gathering of Jesus lovers. I decided to invite my new girlfriend and see if she would enjoy it. After all, in our few short months together she had already survived my my mother's funeral, my 25th high school reunion where one of my drunken classmates of old, encouraged her to "reconsider," and 9/11/01!
We arrived at this home where I introduced my friends to M-A. We had pizza and chatted a little bit. There were just four of us at first, and then another couple arrived -- they seemed nice enough. Our conversation moved to the living room. Meanwhile, out in the kitchen, the couple debated what the "most important aspect of church is," with the host. I overheard the man say, "prayer is the foundation of the church." At that moment, I felt this somewhat of chill, and a little bit of fear. It most have shown on my face and M-A asked, "What wrong? (Most people would be gracious to have someone with a heart for prayer in their church. But this statement is a lie. The Bible says, that the church is a "house of prayer" and that its foundation is: Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];) This is the same sort of twisted biblical logic Satan threw at Jesus in the desert.
I replied, something like "Oh, not much, maybe we should get started." Inside I am certain that we are about to have a power encounter with darkness. And I am not looking forward to being thrown to the floor or have this guy grabbing a handful of knives from the kitchen or some crazy thing like that.
I put on the worship CD that I had brought with me and turned it up. I asked every one to come in the living room (away from the knives!) and we stood in a circle and began to worship. I was frantically praying that God would somehow intervene. After a song or two, I said, "The Lord is here to heal. I am going to pray for each of you." What I really meant was, "one of you has a demon, and I need to ease into this." I thought I would start with the man that I did know, before moving on to the one that I didn't know (the one with the lying demon).
The first man sunk to his knees as the power of God came on him. And then he just lay on the floor crying out to God. (Thanks for the support!) I asked the second guy (watching very carefully) if I could pray for him. I gently laid my hand on his chest near his heart. I was not able to speak a single word and he was on the floor manifesting some sort of demon. The ladies, the three of them, were against the wall in a corner and just about pushed the house off it's foundation! I was on my own. I quickly put my hand on his chest and said the only prayer that I know under circumstances like these, "Come out in the name of Jesus!"
Not at all knowing what to expect, and thinking that I probably sounded like a sissy to the powers of darkness-- or if I even had faith for such a deliverance, he became peaceful. Remembering my previous experience in Brazil, I asked M-A to get a glass of water for him. After a short while he sat up, asked for a glass of water and began to talk about the weight that was lifted off him. I can only tell you that I doubted my ability to partner with God for something like this. Sure, "1 John 4:4 greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." Do you believe it? If you really desire to serve God, your faith, in this area too, it will be tested.
The Gargoyles of Norway:
About six years ago I went on a trip to Norway. I was invited to be on the ministry team for a conference in Oslo. Part of the trip was also to encourage a small church there with daily services and training, and to participate in some prayer walking and street evangelism.
We stayed at a small, but quaint little bed and breakfast just outside the city. I had a beautiful single room with a view of the countryside... and the amazing 21 hour days with sunsets and sunrises just hours apart.
After our first full day out on the streets, I was glad to get in bed. I barely sleep on airplanes and I had been up for over 30 hours just days before. I remember lying there in bed, wishing that the window shade could do a better job of darkening the room. My mind was thinking about the days events on the street, the miracles, and the freezer like spiritual climate. It seemed like there was a demonic gargoyle on every government building and the Humanism Society too.
For whatever reason, that night, I began to have these thoughts of worthlessness. I began to recall everything I had ever had done wrong. I was there asking God to forgive me, but the thoughts were intense. I began to wish that I had never been born. Finally, I sat up in my bed an sensed this dark presence in my room. I prayed until I finally fell off to sleep.
The next morning, I awoke to a knock on the door from the team leader and couple of the van drivers from the local church. I invited them into my room and told them the story of my near sleepless night. They began to pray and this wonderful sense of the presence of God came into my room. I can only describe it as peace-- amazing peace.
I didn't have any trouble with that presence for the remainder of the trip.
During our team reunion, a few weeks after the trip, I discovered that each night that same sort of presence visited one of the rooms of my teammates.