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SPIRITUAL WARFARE AND PRAYER IN MISSIONARY STRATEGY
John G. Kayser, Ph.D.
IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER FOR MISSIONS - THE STORY OF THE LISU PEOPLE
Prayer is increasingly being recognized as critical part of missionary strategy.
The Lisu people of Yunnan Province in China live in rugged, mountainous terrain. Only a few decades ago they were enslaved and controlled by demons.
In one area the demons forced their priests to propitiate the "great spirit" by recruiting "purified" volunteers to climb a ladder of sharp swords, in their bare feet.
FRASER ON THE LISU PEOPLE
James O. Fraser, an outstanding missionary among the Lisu wrote:
They all tell me that no man so 'prepared' is ever injured, though they frequently tremble from fear beforehand. They say, too, that no one 'unprepared' would dare attempt it, for the blades would just about cut his feet in pieces. When they get to the top of a kind of platform, they look down with glaring eyes and give messages from the spirits. At times they make a huge fire in which they burn iron chains until red-hot. Then, in some kind of paroxysm, they pick them up and throw them around their shoulders. In this case also they say that no harm comes to them.
FRASER AT HIS WITS' END
For all his efforts, Fraser saw little fruit. Even the few converts fell back into the clutches of their previous demon-worship. Fraser himself was under constant attack - ill health, deep depression, doubts about the Word of God, and even thoughts of suicide from time to time.
VICTORY THROUGH PRAYER
Breakthrough occurred when two events took place. First, he learned to pray the "prayer of faith" and, second, he succeeded in forming a support team of 8 to 10 people in his home country who prayed for him every day.
Regarding the "prayer of faith" he wrote,
Deliverance from the power of the evil one comes through definite resistance on the ground of the cross. I found that I could have victory in the spiritual realm whenever I wanted it. The Lord Himself resisted Satan vocally, 'Get thee behind me, Satan!' I, in humble dependence upon Him, did the same. I talked to Satan at that time, using the promises of Scripture as weapons. And they worked. Right then the terrible oppression began to pass away.
MISSIONS IS SPIRITUAL WARFARE - GREAT SUCCESS BECAUSE OF PRAYER
Fraser began to learn that missions is spiritual warfare and that there is victory ground in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. As attacks would come thereafter, he would often go out on the hillside and shout his resistance to Satan and all his ways on the basis of the Redeemer's victory on the cross.
This aggressive stand, coupled with the strong prayer support given by faithful men and women in England, resulted in a dramatic turn-around in the response of the Lisu to the gospel. Within weeks, without any further effort on his part, he saw the Spirit of God transforming the lives of people. Hundreds of families turned to Christ. Eventually a people movement involving tens of thousands of Lisu resulted. To this day in southwest China and northern Burma the Lisu are missionaries to other tribes.
"I COVET EARNEST, BELIEVING PRAYER"
Regarding the place of prayer, Fraser wrote,
I am feeling more and more that it is the prayer of God's people that calls down blessing upon the work. Solid, lasting missionary work is done on our knees. What I covet more than anything else is earnest, believing prayer. I used to think that prayer should have the first place and teaching the second. I now believe that it would be truer to give prayer the first, second, and third places, and teaching fourth. We are not dealing with an enemy that fires at the head only - that keeps the mind in ignorance - but with an enemy that uses poison gas attacks, which wrap the people around with deadly effect and yet are impalpable and elusive. The breath of God can blow away all these miasmic vapors from a village, in answer to your prayers. We are not fighting against flesh and blood. You deal with the fundamental issues of this Lisu work when you pray against the principalities, the powers, the world rulers of darkness, the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies.
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A VISION FOR WORSHIP ... ! In Spirit, In Truth | STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS - Learning From Those Who Preceded Us in Faith | SAVED BY HIS LIFE - A Guide to Understanding Romans | IF WE WILL OBEY ... ! God's Grace for Me through the Ilokano People |HOW SHALL WE HONOR? | SPIRITUAL WARFARE AND PRAYER IN MISSIONARY STRATEGY | DON'T WORRY! Easy to Say, But Can We Stop Doing It? | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR
John G. Kayser, Ph.D.
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