Posted by: minnow | May 2, 2010

Virtual Warriors and the Virtual War

Let me explain.  The war is between good and evil.  The warriors are both physical and spiritual good guys (believers and angels) and physical and spiritual bad guys (non-believers and demons).  I call it virtual because the battlefield for the most part is in our minds, not on the streets. (Although at time some may have visions of epic battles in the heavenlies).  Our weapon of choice for this virtual war is the stealth bomber–prayer.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!!  Do not think I am about to diss prayer.  Prayer is as vital to our spiritual walk as breathing is to our physical walk.  The Biblical take on prayer is we should do it without ceasing.  That said, scripture also has a few cautionary words as to how we should and should not pray that I will, more or less, get into later.
 
My personal experience of prayer has run the gamut from responsive liturgical readings to spontaneous prophetic prayer and tongues.  I have had people pray for/with me and I have prayed for/with others.  I completely understand the need to pray (other faiths might call it meditate) in order to get our hearts in line with God.  I understand prayer in order to encourage sick or hurting individuals to trust that God is present in their situations.  My trouble with prayer is not with prayer itself but with our use of prayer as a weapon–in our virtual war.
 
In the last couple years I have noticed a growing mind set which concerns me.  We have always had prayer meetings where like minded folk join to pray for government leaders, their local fellowships, or certain issues and causes.  These gatherings are not a problem.  We have long drawn connections between our prayers and various moves of God. These are not necessarily a problem either.  We have even fallen into the trap before of thinking that our prayers somehow control what God does.  But lately one movement in particular seemed to have crossed a line.  Just saying that much enters into dangerous territory.  To be fair, I can not blame the movement in entire.  But, because I do not have a better way to introduce what I see I will say what I have begun to notice originated from the 24/7 prayer movement. 
 
This rogue strain of the 24/7 prayer movement tends to see the world as black and white.  It promotes a strong if-you’re-not-with-us-you’re-against-us mentality.  Logic and reason are out.  Passion and a hyped presence are in.  Coupled with the urgent need for prayer is a focus on the end times.  Much of what is prayed for is Christ’s return.  Those in this circle look forward to the destruction of evil.  Sexual sin as a marker for evil tends to be a primary target. Yet sadly the line between sin and sinner is often blurred. 
 
A growing number in this strain see their calling as prayer Warriors.  They carry an attitude toward prayer like it is their stealth bomb.  Fueled by end times rhetoric which sees the world as continually getting darker and liberal ideology as basically immoral, these bombers set their sites on the evil “out there”.  If enough virtual Warriors get a hold of God’s big guns with enough effort (hype)–BLAM–they can direct the path of God’s explosions.  Evil will be obliterated. 
 
Civilian casualties?  No such thing.  Because if-you’re-not-with-us …Get the picture?
 
The second aspect of this rogue prayer strain which disturbs me is the nature of a virtual war.  Like playing a video game, in a virtual war little to no relationship exists between the Warriors and their targets.  The Warriors ask God to change their targets’ hearts or win the city for Christ but if that does not happen, oh well, at least the Warriors did their part by praying.  A few brave Warriors may venture so far as to make their presence known to non-combatants.  They might give a testimony or try to evangelize.  But again, if these attempts do not result in instant change (repentance and the adoption of the correct mind set) it is perfectly acceptable to simply dismiss the target and obliterate the evil. 
 
It is perfectly acceptable except that it isn’t.  We must stop using scripture like: “shake the dust from your feet” as an excuse to be arrogant, patronizing, self-righteous, and then dismissive toward people who do not believe exactly the way we do.  We must be ready and willing to defend our faith with more than Bible verses and a claim of knowing the absolute truth even though others cannot possibly know anything about God and need to take what we say on faith.  Our deeds, our relationships must become our testimonies.  We need to follow Christ–out of the temple and into the streets.  Jesus did not eat with sinners so He could preach at them; He ate with them so He could relate with them.  He fed the 5000 because they were hungry.  He cast out demons so people could be free.  And, He rose from the dead after being brutally murdered because He loves us and desires relationship with us. 
 
It is love that casts out fear.  It is love that forgives.  It is love that covers a multitude of sin.  It is love that feeds the sheep, clothes the naked, shelters the homeless, visits the imprisoned, heals the sick, and lets the blind see.  It is Love that defeated death.  And it is Love that shows the way.  Our faith is not about being right; it is about being Love.
 
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Responses

  1. I would like to take a moment to make a point about friendly fire. Friendly fire does not affect the Warriors alone but includes those, like me, who see critically. Discernment (discerning spirits) is a gift of the Spirit but it is a gift that must be used with caution and extreme charity. When we judge others, including our Siblings, we come the closest we will ever come to breaking our Father’s heart. Friendly fire hurts. It maims. And at times, our enemy uses it to steal, kill, and destroy those who are hit by it. I never want to give the enemy a foot hold. At the same time, we are called to use our gifts for the edification of the Body and that includes using discernment to admonish one another when necessary. I am talking to the whole Church, the Church I am part of, when I offer these cautions regarding prayer as a weapon.


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