Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual warfare is a Christian ideology of waging a spiritual battle against the works of supernatural demonic forces. Christians hold belief that demonic forces or evil spirits are responsible for the negative happenings that befall humans on a regular basis. To counter assaults by the devil and his agents, Christians came up with the concept of spiritual warfare which is a collective term for several individual practices as mentioned and explained below:

(a) Prayer

This is the most common form of spiritual warfare practiced by Christian against evil forces. The Christian community holds a deep seated belief that prayer changes things. Basically, the belief is that prayer is a connection to God; they open a dialogue with Him and offer the praying individual a platform to develop a closer relationship with God. In the Christian bible, the book of Jeremiah chapter 33:3 says “Call on me and I will answer you; I will tell you wonderful and marvelous things that you know nothing about.” It is recommended that a Christian or any other believer who is faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, to go deep in prayer, so that they may invoke to their presence the One who makes a way where there is no way.

Further, Christians believe that prayer has evolved from how it was done in the Old Testament, to how it is done now because of the sacrifice made by Jesus on behalf of all mankind. That Jesus already did what needed to be done to defeat the enemy. This therefore implies that a believer who prays does so from a position of victory, not for victory. In the book of Luke 10:19, Jesus says; “Listen! I have given you authority, so that you can walk on snakes and scorpions and overcome all the power of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you. Thus prayer is believed to be a potent one of the most potent weapons available to Christians against attacks from demonic spirits and forces.

(b) Excorcism

Exorcism is the practice of casting out demons that have possessed an entity or an individual. This is an age old practice that is exercised in several other religions as well. Demonic forces and spirits can interfere with the life of a human being by possessing them and influencing their decisions, thought patterns, actions, and behaviors. Part of spiritual warfare is casting these demons out of a possessed entity through exorcism and liberating the said person from their influence.
In the Christian community, an individual charged with the responsibility of performing exorcism is referred to as an exorcist and is often a member of the church, probably a clergyman, or any other church member endowed with special skills or gifts. In performing exorcism, the exorcist usually chants a special prayer or uses other religious materials and paraphernalia such as amulets, symbols, icons, gestures or structured formulas. It is common for most exorcists to invoke the name of God, or Jesus, or archangels and angels to intervene during an exorcism session. Thus exorcism is also considered an effective weapon against demonic attacks within the context of spiritual warfare.

(c) Laying on Hands

This is a religious practice which literally means placing hands by a figure of religious authority as a way to spiritually transfer blessings, confer spiritual authority or to invoke the Holy Spirit for divine intervention. From a perspective of spiritual warfare, Laying on hands is usually applied in invoking the Holy Spirit to intervene in cases of demonic spiritual attacks. This practice of Laying on hands has been around since the days of the Old Testament.

(d) Fasting

In the New Testament of the Christian bible (New King James Version); the book of Mark 9; 14-29, a man distraught by his son’s possession of demonic spirit approached Jesus for help. The bible says that as soon as the spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into a fit so that he fell into the ground and rolled around foaming in the mouth. So Jesus gave a command to the evil spirit “Deaf and dumb spirit, I order you to come out of the boy and never go into him again.” The spirit screamed, threw the boy into a bad fit, and came out. The boy looked dead and everyone thought so. But Jesus took the boy by the hand and helped him up. After Jesus went indoors His disciples asked Him “Why couldn’t we drive the spirit out?” to which Jesus replied, “This kind can only come out through fasting and prayer.” This is a big part of the reason why fasting and prayer can be used as an effective weapon in spiritual warfare.

(e) Anointing oil

Anointing the head or the body with oil was a common practice among the Jews in ancient times; a practice that is still in use today and that has spread to other religions as well Christianity being among them. Anointing oil was used for several purposes especially spiritual purposes. For instance, people chosen by God to carry our specific tasks like say maybe leading a nation, or revealing prophesies were usually sanctified as a means to sanctify the influences of the Holy Spirit upon them.

In spiritual warfare, anointing oil is usually used to consecrate or protect a person or a designated area against malefic energies. There are sources which believe that anointing a person or property through the use of anointing oil has the same effect as the blood of the lamb that the Israelties used during the Passover.

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