"But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding."
Job 32:8

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Reality of the Spiritual

I have a strange fascination with certain horror movies. Now, I'm typical when it comes to horror movies where I'll watch it for the thrills and then avoid all the mirrors in my house for the next two days. However, when it comes to horror movies not only concerning the supernatural but particularly demons, exorcisms and the like, I sense something different.

Now, I don't want any of you to be troubled by me admitting that but what interests me about these films is not so much the special effects or the scripting, but the elements on truth in them. The very real dangers that demons pose in this world, the reality of their oppression, the forces of good against it, the power of Christ against them etc.

And yet, there are other things that completely unnerve me. There is a new YouTube channel that is a cartoon mini-series about this kid and Satan. Its humourous and I have friends who watch it but what truly unnerves me is the deception behind it. This familiarity that is created with Satan and I keep thinking "Sure, he may be not be like that but he's definitely real."

See, the thing is: not only is the world unaware of the spiritual realm but, often as Christians, we are not as aware as we should be. Even more so, we neglect the influence and power we possess with regards to the spiritual realm.

As a rare occasion, my message will have a primary text that will be examined. Today, I want to focus on Daniel 10, so if you could all open your Bibles... nah, I'll give you the needed passages.

Now, some of you may be familiar with this passage. Before Daniel 10, Daniel had been praying on several occasions, receiving visions and interpreting dreams and now we read how Daniel was suffering. He had no food or wine and had not used any lotions for weeks. Then a man appeared to him and Daniel describes this man and, like any angelic description, the description of him depicts nothing short of majestic.

Now, the part I want to focus on is the angel's words. Notice, after he comforts Daniel, he says in Daniel 10:12 NIV,

"Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them."

Isn't that awesome? As soon as Daniel spoke, Heaven was stirring and God was planning to send an angel to speak to him. Now, the next few passages is where things get interesting. 

Daniel 10:13 NIV says, "But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia."

Now, here the term 'prince of the Persian kingdom' is in reference to a spiritual being, not a physical one, that had influence over the Persian kingdom in the interests of Satan (NIV Study Bible's words, not mine, don't want to plaigarise :P). Now, I don't know if we can know for certain whether this demonic power knew of the angel's mission, but he stopped him regardless and it was not until Michael, the angel who is the commander of the Lord's army, came and aided him. 

Why did this all happen? 

Daniel prayed. 

Then, following this, in Daniel 10:20, the angel says that he will go back to fight the prince of Persia who will be aided by the prince of Greece. I don't know about you but this is starting to sound pretty epic. 

Now, I could give a message on the power, meaning and necessity of prayer, though I will not do that this week. What I do want to focus on is the power we possess in our prayers. 

I'm not sure if we have forgotten this story of Daniel but I think we have a tendency to forget how God works: how He does the impossible by making the Earth stop spinning or causing water to come from a rock. When it comes to prayer, its even more fascinating in some ways because the impact of our prayers impacts the spiritual realm in such a way. 

One of my favourite quotes on prayer is by D. L. Moody who said,

"Next to the wonder of seeing my Saviour will be, I think, the wonder that I made so little use of the power of prayer." 

Some other time, I may get more in depth with other aspects of prayer but here the author marvels at the little use they made of prayer because of the power there is in praying. 

The Bible says that our battle is not against fleshly powers but against spiritual powers and the weapon that God gives is His Word. How better can we use this weapon but to teach. preach and pray? 

1 Thessalonians 5:16 says to "pray without ceasing". Now, don't drive yourself insane by keeping your eyes closed in the hopes you won't walk into a wall, but remember, prayer is simply conversations with God. 

I've spoken before on the importance of remaining fully present with Him (link) and one way of doing this is to simply keep asking Him every few minutes "Am I in Your will?" and simply listen. We know that the prayers that are effective are the ones that aren't the longest, or the best-sounding or the loudest, but the ones done in faith. 

Don't wait until the end of the day and pray out all the prayer requests like a diary or a long, tedious list that begins to feel like a chore. Pray when God calls you to, pray continuously. Remember, the words you speak in prayer impact the spiritual and yourself more than we can comprehend. 

I hope, one day in Heaven, we can look back and see all the things that happened because of those prayers we gave in faith to God. 

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13 NIV)

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