It started a little later than usual, but spiritual witchcraft is rising—and rising rapidly—in South Florida this October. My community is home to a large population of witches, pagans, Wiccans and other heathens who practice one form of witchcraft or another. Your community may not have palm trees and beaches, but it's likely got a few witches, pagans, Wiccans and heathens practicing witchcraft.
A quick scan of the latest news reveals that reports of witchcraft-related child abuse are on the rise in London; two children were tortured and dumped on the streets over witchcraft in Akwa Ibom; a pastor who runs several churches in Kiambu and Meru was found practicing witchcraft; authorities have tied Texas drug smugglers to witchcraft, cartels and a house explosion; and seven people accused of witchcraft were burned to death in Tanzania.
When I first moved to South Florida, I battled Jezebel and her witchcrafts (see 2 Kings 9:22) with limited success for at least a year before I learned to discern the attack of this spiritual enemy at its onset, submit myself to God's Word, resist the devil and command it to flee in the name of Jesus (see James 4:7, AMP). Now, I am much quicker to sense witchcraft operating in the spirit, but sometimes witchcraft attacks in your sleep.
What do these three things have in common? I'm discussing all of them on my latest radio broadcast with Pastor Greg Young. Click the headline to get to the broadcast link.
When it comes to spiritual warfare—and intercession—many times we don't know how to pray as we ought. We sense spiritual oppression trying to discourage us, demons harassing people we love, or principalities settling over our city like a dark rain cloud—but we don't always have revelation about the enemy we're fighting.
When that happens, I always do one thing: pray in the Spirit—and I don't stop praying in the Spirit until that oppression lifts or until I have a Spirit-inspired strategy to wrestle against what's wrestling against me. I wrestle from a place of victory, but I don't wrestle presumptuously. I need the Holy Spirit to show me how to pray—and sometimes that prayer includes travail. This is scriptural:
"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Rom. 8:26-27).
Nicki Minaj is taking plenty of flak these days for her "Anaconda" song and all-out pornographic video—and well she should. Any song that chants about looking at people's backsides and otherwise opens up women to sexual exploitation is shameful at best. But I'm holding out hope for Nicki Minaj.
In late September, former Charisma editor Lee Grady penned a column called "Why I'm Praying for Nicki Minaj." In it, he acknowledged that the 31-year-old diva is a powerful force in rap music today. Indeed, The New York Times has dubbed her the most influential female rapper ever.
"But what intrigues me most about Minaj is her religious background," Grady writes. "Her mother, Carol Maraj, is a born-again Christian who found God during a traumatic time when her husband was abusing her. In a recent interview in The Christian Post, Maraj said her encounter with Jesus healed her marriage and gave her a ministry to women who suffer in abusive situations."
I don't doubt more darkness is coming to this nation, but I fully believe we can press back this darkness with intercession. That's biblical. We see it over and over again in Scripture. Listen to my latest radio broadcast at Chosen Generation with Pastor Greg Young and pray with us for the nation. Click the headline to access the broadcast.
The python spirit is in the cross-hairs of many spiritual warriors, and practical revelation about how this demon operates has surfaced in recent years. Still, there are many who aren't aware of this enemy's devices. I wrote a column called What the Python Spirit Really Wants last week to open the eyes of those who may not realize this coiling spirit could be working to squeeze out the breathe of life (the Holy Spirit) and cut off your lifeline to God (prayer).
Before we go any further, let's do a quick review of last week's column so you can see this spirit at work in the Bible. You'll find it in Acts 16:16 when Paul encounters a girl possessed with a spirit of divination. The word divination in this verse comes from the Greek word for puthon, which translates in English as "python." That's why many call this evil force the python spirit. Here's the Scripture in context:
"Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, 'These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.' And this she did for many days" (Acts 16:16-17).
The prayer-hating python spirit drew attention to Paul and Silas in a hostile land, distracted them from their apostolic mission, and ultimately persecuted them sorely, even putting them in literal bondage. But Paul and Silas didn't stay there. They prayed and praised their way through—and so can you. But not just any type of prayer will root this spirit out of your midst.
Some claim ISIS, or the Islamic State, is God's judgment on the nations, including America. I don't believe that. I believe our nation is under discipline and that God has removed some of His hedge of protection, but it is absolutely not God's will for Christians to be totally eradicated from cities in the Middle East and if ISIS reaches our soil it won't be His perfect will either. We have authority over this behemoth spirit and we need to fight this battle on our knees. Click the headline to access the interview.
I didn't realize how strong is the spirit of python's chokehold on my region until I started to personally experience the effects of its presence. One of the only named spirits in the Bible, the python spirit is a coiling spirit that works to squeeze out the breathe of life (the Holy Spirit) and cut off your lifeline to God (prayer).
To accomplish its deadly agenda, this spirit will remind you of wounds from your past, surround you with ungodly influences that tempt you to compromise the Word of God—or just barrage you with circumstances that knock the wind out of you.
Symptoms of a python attack may include weariness, a loss of passion to worship and pray, feeling pressured, overwhelmed, helpless and even hopeless. The severity of those symptoms depends on how long this enemy has been coiling itself around you and how much pressure it has applied.
Let me show you this spirit in the Bible. You'll find it in Acts 16:16 when Paul encounters a girl possessed with a spirit of divination. The word divination in this verse comes from the Greek word for puthon, which translates in English as "python." Vine's Dictionary explains how Greek mythology believed the Pythian serpent guarded the oracle of Delphi until Apollo slew it (and then took on the name Pythian). The word was later applied to diviners or soothsayers, inspired by Apollo.
Many believe America is doomed and are prophesying gloom. I don't buy into that. I do believe it's going to get darker before the light shines brightly in this nation again, but prophetically speaking I am also believing for a Third Great Awakening. Will you believe and contend with me? To access this week's broadcast, click on the headline.
I pray for many things every day. I pray for my family, my friends, my ministry, my nation—and, of course, myself. I pray for protection. I pray for a deeper revelation of God's love and over my life. I pray for grace.
But there's one thing I've been praying for more and more lately—and I am convinced that if we would pray more for this one thing we would make better use of our time, live happier lives, and ultimately see more answers to our prayers.
What is this one thing I've been praying for more and more lately? Wisdom. I believe if we pray more for spiritual wisdom—even if it means praying less for natural needs—we'll receive more wisdom and our natural needs will be more than met.