Posts Tagged ‘The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare’

Someone is out to get your pastor.

It’s not the FBI … nor the CIA … nor the NSA … nor the IRS.

Well, maybe the IRS.

But who among all beings would like to see your pastor discouraged … depressed … and ultimately destroyed?

Answer: The devil.

Dr. Ed Murphy – and I don’t know if he’s still alive – has been one of the world’s foremost authorities on spiritual warfare for decades.

I took two classes from Dr. Murphy – one in college, another in seminary – and have had the privilege of lunching with him and consulting with him.

In 1992, Dr. Murphy published his magnum opus titled The Handbook of Spiritual Warfare.  On pages 444-445 of the book, Dr. Murphy writes about a story whose accuracy he has personally verified.  He writes:

“One of my prayer partners in the San Jose area … was flying out of San Jose.  She sat in an aisle seat.  The seat next to her was empty but the window seat was occupied by a young man.  When it was time for the stewardess to serve the meal my prayer partner accepted hers.  The young man refused, saying he was fasting.

‘I overheard you tell the stewardess you are fasting,’ my friend said.  ‘Then you must be a Christian.’

‘No, I am a Satanist,’ was the reply.

Pat was taken back by his remark.  She did not know if she should look for another seat on the plane or what!  She decided to stay where she was and engage the young man in conversation if he would.  In fact, he was quite willing to talk of his faith and witness to the power of Satan.

In the course of the conversation, Pat asked him about the specific targets of his fasting and praying.  (Such fasting and praying is a curse attempt, not humble supplication.)  He said the targets were the leading churches and pastors in the San Jose area and two leading Christian missions.  When Pat asked which missions were the targets, without hesitation he said they were Partners International and OC International [Overseas Crusades, Dr. Murphy’s organization].”

Dr. Murphy continues:

“Within the next few years a half dozen key pastors in the San Jose area fell into immorality and were removed from their churches.  Coincidence?  This had never happened before.”

I know about these situations because I lived in the San Jose area during that time.

When I began an outreach-oriented church in that area in the early 1990s, the spiritual attacks upon our church were relentless.  Without knowing it, we had moved into Satan’s territory.

The intersection where our church was located was a place where drugs were dealt and money was exchanged for sex.

In addition, during our new church’s startup phase, my family was assaulted with harassing phone calls and threats.

I consulted with Dr. Murphy about these issues, and he told me, “It sounds like someone has put a curse on you and your church.”

We persevered, and had a great ministry for years … but the spiritual attacks – mostly from outside the church – never stopped.

Based upon my nearly four decades in church ministry, let me suggest three things you can do personally to counteract Satan’s assaults on your pastor:

First, pray for your pastor … by yourself … with your family … and with other believers.

Pray for his walk with God … his family members … his leadership and teaching ministries … and his shepherding.

And when you pray for your pastor, let him know that’s what you’re doing.  I was always encouraged when someone said to me, “I’m praying for you, pastor.”

In fact, I’m still encouraged whenever that happens.

In addition, pray with your pastor spontaneously.

Pastors are constantly listening to people’s problems and asking, “Can I pray for you?”

But who ever asks their pastor, “Would it be all right if I prayed for you right now?”

You don’t have to be ordained … or know Greek … or be a spiritual giant … just obey the Spirit’s promptings.

What a blessing it is for a pastor to be the recipient of prayer!

Second, encourage your pastor verbally … especially after a message.

You might think that people are constantly telling pastors, “Wow, that was really a great message today!”

Not necessarily.

When I was a pastor, there were Sundays … sometimes a few in a row … when I didn’t hear any positive comments about a message.

It’s not that I wanted to be praised … I just wanted to know that I was effective.

If I heard from just two people that they benefited from the message, I was content … and was motivated to study hard for the next week’s sermon.

But if I didn’t hear from anybody, I’d wonder, “Is there something wrong with me that I don’t know about?”  And study would come hard that week.

Because spiritual work is usually invisible and slow, pastors can easily become discouraged when they don’t see results.

But when the people they serve say, “We’re glad you’re our pastor … we appreciate your ministry … and you’re really helping us grow” … those comments will infuse courage into a pastor … and keep the devil away.

Finally, defend your pastor when he’s absent.

If you’re with a group of people, and someone starts criticizing your pastor, suggest that the critic speak with the pastor personally … or remain silent.

Re-read that last line again.  It can be the difference between a church that splits and a church that’s healthy.

When churches split, it’s usually because churchgoers consistently talk about their pastor with others until a faction/mob forms and assaults the pastor in some fashion.

When churches are healthy, churchgoers insist that those who are upset with their pastor personally speak with him directly.

Whose job is it to keep a church healthy?

It’s the job of every person who calls that church home.

And what’s the primary way to turn a healthy church into a dysfunctional mess?

Attack the pastor … or stand idly by while others attack him.

As your pastor goes, so goes your church.

And if your pastor leaves, others will leave with him.

That’s what Satan wants.

What do you want?













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