This chapter will address (1) territorial spirits, (2) setting your church free, (3) setting your neighborhood or city free, and (4) transformation revival that can take place after churches and towns are set free.
Most congregations have—as part of their mission—the goal of evangelism, of fulfilling the great commission (Mat. 28:19, Mark 16:15). In addition, most congregations have been less than successful in this effort.
In the late 1960’s Derek Prince, C. Peter Wagner, Gwen Shaw and others began to notice that in some churches, evangelism flourished, while in others it was extremely difficult or not at all. They began to recognize the existence of principalities and powers over church-es, towns, regions and countries. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s writers began to document the commonalities of such examples. They found that a common denominator was what C. Peter Wagner calls Strategic Warfare Prayer, the 3rd level of praying against darkness.
As early as 1976, evangelist and internationally known minister, Derek Prince, report-ed, “For several years I have believed that over every major city in the nation, Satan has set a ‘strong man’—an unseen spiritual power responsible for resisting God’s purposes and God’s people in that particular area” (Fall, 1976 newsletter).
Consider the following true illustrations:
In Adrogue, Brazil, a Baptist Church had only 70 members after 70 years of evangelism ef-fort; it was a graveyard of church planters. Also, none of the 70 members were residents of Adrogue. Then, in 1974, Eduardo Lorenzo became pastor. By 1987 there were 250 members; by 1990 there were 600; by 1991, 1000; by 1993, 2000. When asked what happened in 1987, Pastor Lorenzo simply replied that he began using spiritual warfare prayer.
Pastor Albarto’s Los Olivus Baptist Church in Argentina had for many years been stalled at 50 members. After attending an Annacondia crusade, Pastor Alberto and his lay leaders held a crusade themselves. After the first service, he gave the invitation to come forward. No one responded. While inwardly agonizing over the apparent lack of power and response, he seemed to hear an inner voice say to him, “Try it the way Annacondia does it.” In semi-desperation, he decided to try it. He prayed a strong warfare prayer and directly rebuked the spirits, as he had previously seen Carlos Annacondia do. When he had bound the spirits with the authority Jesus Christ had given him, he gave the invitation to come forward once again. This time, more than 15 people sprang out of their seats and actually came running to the front of the church to receive Christ as their Savior. In the next short while, the church grew to 900 members and started satellite congregations of 2,100 members. His goal is 20,000 members.
Pastor Steve Nicholson preached the gospel in Evanston, Illinois for six years with virtually no fruit. He and members of his church prayed for the sick and few got well. His Vineyard Christian Fellowship was not growing. Nicholson began some serious prayer and fasting. A grotesque, unnatural being appeared to him. It growled, “Why are you bothering me?” It identified itself as a demon of witchcraft which had dominion over the geographical area. In the heat of warfare, Nicholson named the city streets in the surrounding area. The spirit retorted, “I don’t want to give you that much.” In the name of Jesus, Nicholson commanded the spirit to give up the territory. During the next three months, the church doubled in size form 70 to 150, mostly from new converts coming out of witchcraft. Nearly all of the new believers needed to be delivered from demons.
Three observations can be made from the above examples (as well as from many others not here included):
- All the evangelistic technology and effort in the world will have only minimal effect unless the spiritual battle is won first.
- We need to focus on the spiritual dimension of church growth, not on programs and techniques.
- Many people who have not received Christ as their Lord and Savior have not done so because they cannot, because Satan has blinded them and holds them captive (2 Cor. 4:4).
In each of the above examples, the reason for these meager evangelism results was determined to be spiritual rather than physical: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:12). Even so, “… the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4).
From these examples, a most fundamental observation is that these successful church-es have a more advanced understanding that the real battle for evangelism is spiritual. Signs and wonders, deliverance from demonic powers, miraculous healings, sustained and enthusiastic worship, prophecies, and warfare prayer are seen by many of these ministries as the normal outworking of Christianity.
Unless biblical warfare is understood, there will continue to be frustration, anger, con-fusion, and ineffective ministry within the congregations ignorant of spiritual warfare prayer. Whether attempting to coordinate Christian concerts, plant a church, or perform outreach, the principle is still the same: we need to bind the “strongman” and gain a place of authority over Satan before we will see the full fruit of our labors. Evangelism and other church programs will not thrive until the influence of darkness over the people, church, and sometimes the town is removed. Churches must win the war against strongholds in the church first, before they will be effective in evangelism. Ed Silvoso calls this process Prayer Evangelism (from his book by the same name 2000, ISBN 0-8307-2397-8)
Setting churches free from the influences of darkness that restrains them requires two primary beliefs: (1) a belief that the spirits of darkness inhabit people and places (ground level spiritual warfare) and (2) the sins of people cause a curse on the land, giving certain spirits of darkness a spiritual legal right to inhabit the place or land, until they are expelled (territorial or strategic level spiritual warfare). Cleansing the land requires creating a change in the spiritual climate or atmosphere.
Anyone who has paid more than a casual visit to places such as India, Navajo land, Cameroon, Haiti, Japan, Morocco, Peru, Nepal, New Guinea, and China will attest to seeing elaborate hierarchies of deities and spirits, regarded as commonplace in these locations. These incorporeal beings are perceived to rule over homes, villages, cities, valleys, providences, and nations, and they exercise extraordinary power over the behavior of local people.
Jacob Loewen, an anthropologist and a Bible translation consultant, sees the Old Testament as clearly assuming the territoriality (territorial status) of demonic spirits, frequently called “deities.” He reports that in Central and South America, spirits are considered to be the “owners” of geographical or topographical phenomena. Nomadic Indians never travel from one territory to another without first securing the permission of the territorial spirit dominating the area that they are about to enter.
Vernon Sterk, a field missionary in Mexico for over 20 years for the Reformed Church of America, says that every one of the Tzotzil tribes can identify specific deities by name. He discovered that both evil spirits and guardian spirits have territorial designations and assignments. All of the spirits have geographical limits for their power, even though the reach of the evil spirits seems to be more extensive than that of the guardian or ancestral spir-its.
The above information raises several questions. (1) Is the existence of territorial spirits scriptural? (2) If principalities and powers—in the form of territorial spirits—have such a negative effect on the work of churches, how does this happen? (3) How can they be identified? (4) How can they be expelled or removed?
Is the existence of territorial spirits scriptural? Consider the following:
1 – Satan is the ruler of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11, 2 Cor. 4:4).
2 – Christ, when tempted by Satan, did not dispute Satan’s power to give him “all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them” (Mat. 4:8-9).
3 – Satan delegates his power to principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness (Eph. 6:12). There may be millions of dark spirits of various kinds. Mark 5:9 suggests the name of the spirit was “Legion,” which is up to 6,000.
4 – While some evil spirits (or demons) inhabit persons, others called guardian or ancestral spirits inhabit geographical locations or areas.
5 – Other scriptures speaking of the hierarchy of Satan include the following:
Deut. 12:2-3 and 32:17 1 Ki. 20:23 1 Cor. 15:32
Judg. 3:7 2 Ki. 17:16, 29-31 Rev. 12:6-10
1 Sam. 7:3-4 Dan. 10:13 Rev. 20:8, 10
6 – The bible (KJV) speaks many times about unclean spirits, but much less about territorial spirits. (see examples in Eph 6:12 & Col 1:16)
- Principalities (7)
- Authorities (8)
- Powers (5)
- Dominions (4)
- Thrones (1)
- Rulers of darkness (1)
- Spirits of wickedness (1)
7 – Every idol and goddess worshiped in the bible had a name. Examples:
- Baal Num 22:41
- Dagon Judges 16:23
- Baalim, Ashtaroth Judges 2:11-13
- Ashtoreth, Milcom I Kings 11:5
- Chemosh, Milcom I Kings 11:33
- Succoth 2 Kings 17:30
- Benoth 2 Kings 17:30
- Adrammelech 2 Kings 17:31
- Molech 2 Kings 23:10
- Prince of Persia Daniel 10
- Prince of Greece Daniel 10:20
- Queen of Heaven Jer 44:17-25
- Merodach Jer 50:2
- Moloch, Remphan, Acts 7:43
- Diana of Ephesus Acts 19:27
- Wormwood Rev 8:11
- Abaddon Rev 9:11
- Apollyon Rev 9:11
8 – Satan has demons, dark angels, principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness (Eph. 6, Col 1) assigned to each of the following levels, each level more powerful than the ones below it: nations, regions, cities, neighborhoods, plamodumoangces of idol worship, places of work, churches, homes, and individuals
9 – Defiled or polluted land is mentioned over fifteen times in the Bible.
10 – Scriptures commanding the children of Israel to “destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places” (such as in Num. 33:52) are too numerous to mention.
- Some spirits (such as demons) seem to have much more flexibility. Other spirits (such as ancestral or guardian spirits) have geographical restrictions to their power capabilities. (Mark 5:10)
- In some cases, the spirit seems to be so fixed in a particular house, stream, or geo-graphic location, that everyone living in the immediate area is affected by sickness, mental illness, or serious attack.
- The higher the rank of the evil spirit, the more spiritual power is needed to bind it.
- Most of the limited knowledge and experience in this area comes from those ministering within evangelistic efforts. They experience success in evangelistic efforts only after breaking the power of the enemy over a church, neighborhood, or city.
- The unseen world of dark spirits, as depicted in Frank Peretti’s novels (This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness), may be very close to reality.
How/why do territorial spirits attach themselves to buildings, land, neighborhoods, cities, and regions?
God’s intention in creation was to manifest His glory on the earth and live in intimate, per-manent, covenant relationship with humankind.
The universe is designed to manifest God’s glory and to reflect His eternal power and divine attributes (Job 12:7–10; Psa. 19:1–4; 50:6; 148; Rom. 1:20). Everything, whether phys-ical or spiritual, finds its origin in God. “He is before all things and in Him all things hold to-gether.” Everything was created by Him and for Him so that in everything “He might have preeminence” (Col. 1:16-18 NKJV).
The Creator offered to Adam and Eve a perfect life of intimate fellowship with Him-self and with each other, a beautiful sanctuary, meaningful responsibility to manage God’s earth, and a life free from sin, sickness, disease, hatred, or any other manifestation of dark-ness. This relationship between God, people, and the land formed the first covenant-based spiritual bond between God, man, and the earth.
Man’s sin and rebellion broke that covenant bond—resulting in lost intimacy, identity, and a defiled earth. When Adam and Eve attempted to “be like God” by eating from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their disobedience broke their covenant relationship with God. Intimacy with God was broken, death began (both spiritually and physically), the land itself was defiled (cursed), the humans were expelled from the garden, hatred entered Cain’s heart, and the first murder occurred. When Adam and Eve sinned, they handed over control of God’s world to Satan. Satan is called “prince of this world” three times in the Bible. (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11).
Now in a rebellious state, humans no longer act as royal inheritors and righteous stewards of the earth. The spirit of rebellion which entered through Adam’s disobedience now infects every sphere of life. Satan uses idolatry, rebellion, pride, selfishness, and sin to influence people, communities and nations to oppose God, and to destroy people and the communities where they live. Sin against God and broken covenant with Him always has dire consequences, even to this day.
The earth has a spirit. “And He said, what hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” (Gen 4:10) “And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:40)
The following scriptures speak of the earth/land mourning over the sins of the people. (Jer 4:28, 12:4, Hosea 4;3, Zec 12:12)
When we sin the earth is cursed and in turn, we are cursed from the earth. We reap what we sow.
- “And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand” (Gen 4:11)
- Houses, buildings and places can be defiled by sin. “. . . .when they defile my taber-nacle that is among them.” (Lev 15:31)
- “That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.” (Lev 18:28)
- . . . . that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell. (Num 5:3)
- “For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;” (Lev 18:27)
- “Defile not therefore the land” (Num 35:34)
- “But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.” (Jer 32:34)
There are over 100 scriptures that talk about ways of defiling ourselves. When we defile ourselves, we also defile the house, building or the land on which the defilement oc-curred. If we bring defiled objects into our homes, the home and the land on which the house sits becomes defiled.
Sins that defile the land
There are root sins described in the Bible that defile both individuals and the related community where they are condoned. God warns that these sins will separate us from His presence, protection and blessings. They defile the land as well. These sins are especially highlighted in the Old Testament as sins that defile individuals, their community and the land where they live.
It can easily be seen that land and places can be blessed or cursed by the actions of the people upon them. In Gen. 4:10-11where God is talking to Cain, stating “What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand,” . God curses the land. (Jer 7:20, 32-34, Jer 12:4, 11)
Scripture points to the pollution of the land and curses that came upon it from the sins of the people who lived there. Leviticus 18:25 states, “the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.” Also, Ezra 9:11 states, “The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people … which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness.”
How do powers of darkness establish territorial strongholds? They do so through land defilement, through the sins of the people, through the worship of other gods and idols, and through occult practices. As carcasses attract the vultures of the air, likewise defiled land attracts spiritual wickedness. Where the land has been defiled, demons cluster.
What sustains the demons? They are perpetuated as the traditions and beliefs and the same evil sins, attitudes, and cultures of the past continue. Just as with people, demons re-main as generational curses until they are ejected by the blood of Jesus.
Territorial spirits have no authority to move into an area without permission. Certain conditions give them authority to set up the base of their kingdom, from which they rule over the people in that area. These conditions are frequently referred to as “strongholds.” When a territory has been inhabited by persons who have sinned, the land becomes contaminated, and those territorial spirits have obtained a spiritual right to remain there, thereby keeping the inhabitants captive.
Repeatedly scripture shows the connection between God, people, land and geography, based on the people’s attitude and relationship to God at any given time. (Gen 9:19, 10:20, 31, Gen 11:8-9, Deut 32:8, Job 12:23, Ps 16:5-6, Ps 74:17Ps 78:54, , Is 9:3, Is 26:15, Ezek 16;26-27.)
Primary causes of land defilement:
• Idolatry, idol worship of any kind, including witchcraft.
• Shedding of innocent blood
• Immorality and sexual sins, adultery, fornication, sodomy, incest, bestiality,
• Broken covenants
• Pagan temples and idols
• Witchcraft, covens, Satan worship, and objects or landmarks used for same.
• Fighting, anger, unforgiveness
• Local celebrations honoring various gods.
• Previous Masonic influence
Let us not be deceived into thinking that only violations of the first and second commandments contaminate the land. Corporate (group) sins, such as the following, have been known to do likewise.
Sectarianism False teaching
Strongholds of tradition Apathy or complacency
Religious apathy Control
Financial stinginess Poor stewardship
Self-centered spirituality Believing gossip and rumor
Unwillingness to evangelize Unwillingness to confront sin
Possible modern day sources of personal defilement:
- Things related to heathen worship (voodoo dolls, spirit masks, snakes, dragons, thunderbirds, phoenixes, etc.)
- Things related to past sin or to unholy soul ties (necklaces, rings, love letters, photos, diaries, journals)
- Things with an unknown history which are not inherently evil by design, such as wood figurines, pictures, tourist purchases
- Any objects used in witchcraft or psychic activities, such as fortune telling, Ouija boards, tarot cards, charms, crystals, etc.
- Games such as “Dungeons & Dragons,” “Masters of the Universe,” “Pokemon” (meaning “pocket monster”)
- Buddhist, Hindu, or other Eastern worship-type artifacts
- Items or books related to Satanism, witchcraft, New Age, zodiac, crescent moon, crystal ball, pyramids, or martial arts
- Things or books related to astrology, horoscopes, and geomancy, or to certain authors (Edgar Cayce, Jean Dixon, etc.)
- Comic books, rock posters, hard rock music, and materials with obvious images of darkness
- Pornographic materials of any kind (videos, books, magazines, pay-per-view cable or satellite TV channels)
- Art with obvious demonic representations, such as snakes, spirits, death, gargoyles, skulls, dragons, etc.
- Items or books relating to secret societies like freemasonry (Masons, etc.), Eastern Star, Knights of Malta, Skull and Bones
- Masonic aprons, books, or rings (oriental yin-and-yang symbols)
- Certain children’s books or movies, such as Harry Potter (which encourage children to seek access to spiritual power unauthorized by God)
- Movies with occult messages, extreme violence, excessive foul language, or explicit sexual content
- Objects specifically cursed by others (items of which you are unaware—unless God reveals them to you)
- Books that focus on sensuality or death and destruction (Steven King)
(The above list is taken from Spiritual House Cleaning by Eddie and Alice Smith.)
God places judgments on the land that is defiled. (Ez 14: 1-20) which are the results of sins on the land. The ground becomes cursed. It ceases to yield its strength (Gen 4:12) Land itself “vomith out” its inhabitants (Lev 18:25) in the following ways:
• Drought, famine
• Ecological devastation (natural disasters, earth quakes, floods, hurricanes, tor-nados, storms)
• Economic struggles
Consider these two examples:
Haiti used to be very beautiful and fertile land and was referred to as “the pearl of the Antilles” Two centuries ago Haiti’s leaders made a covenant with Satan. They agreed that if he would deliver Haiti from French rule, they would worship him.
As a result, voodoo became Haiti’s main religion and the land thereafter was cursed. Haiti drastically changed at that point and became the most devastated, poverty-stricken nation in the Western Hemisphere. Such is the curse of idolatry.
United States: Consider the United States. Ez 14:3 speaks of “idols in our heart. Col 3:5 calls covetousness idolatry. Other individual sins prevalent in the US include the following: mammon (money, wealth, possessions), pursuit of pleasure, alcohol, illicit sex, drugs, giving one’s time and affections to television, internet or the media, idolizing celebrities, success or status, sports, psychic activity or occult pursuits, abortion. 75% of the members at a promise keepers meeting admitted to problems with pornography 2/3 were in church lead-ership positions.
Well-recognized sins of America include:
- Sins against the American Indians (over 350 treaties were broken, not 1 was kept)
- The oppression of the Jews through anti-Semitism
- The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II
- The arrogance of the American people
Nahum 3:1 says “Woe to the city of blood.” Blood here represents innocent blood-shed, murder, and violence resulting in death. Bloodshed pollutes, and defiles and must be atoned for before God’s presence can return. Judgment and devastation are the inevitable consequences of a land being full of bloodshed. Since 1973 there have been over 50 million abortions in the US. 1 in 6 are for Evangelical church women. Then we Americans wonder why we have drought, floods, hurricane Katrina, and Sandy?
Church problems that may suggest the presence of dark influences.
- Church splits
- Leadership problems or relationship issues within the board/council/elders
- Lack of focused vision
- History of music or worship problems
- History of constant financial worries
- Inability to retain Sunday school/youth ministry growth over the years.
- Leadership marriage splits
- History of leadership indiscretion
- Hard to maintain spiritual growth
- Have little success at community outreach and evangelism over the years
- Historical involvement of other churches in interchurch events
- Been backbiting, gossip, or general discontent.
- History of sickness or illness especially within leadership families
- Lack of effective conversion growth ( not transfer or biological growth)
Stewardship of the land can be positive or negative. Stewardship of the land reflects the character and nature of God. Sin defiles the land, and there are ramifications of such sin that need to be addressed by each of us as God’s stewards. In this way, land is cleansed, redeemed and healed. This in turn, leads to the transformation of communities, which yields the blessings of God for His people.
The cleansing, redemption and healing of the land, facilitates the transformation of communities and the blessing of God for His people. It can even be termed a reflection of heaven on earth. (Matt 6:10)
Part I Setting your Church Free
The first place to begin to address territorial spirits affecting our evangelism efforts is your local church. How do we set our church free? One of the first steps is identifying the dark spirits that are assigned to our church.
How can territorial spirits over your church be identified?
Spiritual Mapping: Spiritual matting is the process of learning what sins have been commit-ted on the land. It is a form of spiritual investigation or spiritual espionage, which gives information from which to pray intelligently against the strongholds which corporate sin has allowed to enter. This is seeing with our spiritual eyes the spiritual forces and strongholds which hold us back from God’s purposes, giving somewhat of a “spiritual x-ray of the situation in the heavens” and over the church. Refer to Ezekiel 4:1-2 as an example of spiritual mapping, where God instructs Ezekiel to make a map of the city of Jerusalem on a clay tablet, then “lay siege against it.” This obviously refers to spiritual (and not conventional) warfare.
This process is foreign to most church leaders and members and will require assistance from a knowledgeable and experienced facilitator in order for this to be accomplished satisfactorily. A 3-5 hour workshop for this purpose is strongly recommended before any attempt is made to identify corporate strongholds—or else we will be blinded to Satan’s activities and we will not be able to hear the Lord’s voice (there is too much other “garbage” in the way).
This mapping process is accomplished through several relevant steps, identified below:
Steps in spiritual mapping for your church:
- Secure the unity and support of church/congregational leaders.
- Secure the unity and support of the congregation as a whole for this effort.
- Insure the spiritual preparation of the leaders and church members through repentance, humility and holiness.
- Pray to know God’s plan of attack and timing.
- Locate the geographical area over which you have spiritual authority—the church lot, or no larger than the block on which it is located. Unless instructed otherwise by God, the area should be the area owned by the church, or church members. (see Warnings discussed at the end of this chapter).
- Study and research the history and heritage of the land on which the church is located (and the area nearby). At some point in time the church lot was probably a subdivid-ed part of a much larger tract of land. Research in libraries and through courthouse records and old newspapers. Look specifically for points of defilement, such as bloodshed, broken contracts, broken covenants, and racial prejudices.
- Within your religious movement, learn the history of your particular congregation. What were their trials and how did they come about? Are there any clues as to individual or corporate sins that may cause present-day oppression?
- Gather a group of congregational leaders together for a time of prayer and discernment. Utilize an outside facilitator to help the group discuss together the redemptive gifts (strengths) of the congregation as well as the areas of dark strongholds (weaknesses) that may exist (in the past and in the present) over the congregation. Expect the Holy Spirit to give insight. Be aware that God is more interested in your church being set free than you are. (The book “Setting Your Church Free” is very helpful in addressing this step.)
- Pray over the list of “possible church problems” above to see which ones the Lord will identify as yours.
- Ask individuals with the gift of intercession and discernment to pray for your congregation to help identify any oppression that exists. These persons may or may not be members of your congregation. If not, invite them to your meetings when under-taking this process.
- If you discern that there are spirits over the church land or congregation, it is helpful to know their proper names (such as, Kali, Iara, Pele) and/or functional names—emphasizing what they do (for example, a spirit of division causes division). Those who pray to deliver people from demonic oppression have long-since learned, generally speaking, that results are much greater when the evil spirits are identified and specifically commanded to leave in the name of Jesus, rather than ministering with a vague prayer, as in “Lord, if there are any spirits here, we command them all to leave in your name.” There seems to be more power in a name than many of us in our culture might think.
- Identify the redemptive gifts of the church. What is God’s plan for the church.
Spiritual mapping attempts to expose the devices Satan has used to curtail God’s power, blessings, and evangelization and allows God’s people to aim their spiritual weapons against them more accurately. God will enlighten the group of the corporate strongholds and weaknesses in this identification effort.
How to Remove Oppressive Spiritual Influences
Once the dark influences over your church have been identified, how do we remove them? How do we minister freedom within a corporate church body? … in the same way we minister freedom to an individual: (1) find the entrance that allowed the demon(s) to in-filtrate through spiritual mapping, and (2) close it through confession, repentance, identificational repentance, renunciation, and deliverance from evil spirits and releasing healing into each relationship, whether individual or corporate.
Spiritual warfare begins at a personal level and escalates through layers of increasing difficulty, from personal and family to church life and beyond, into the city and country. The process of removal must begin with personal confession and repentance and should precede the “Spiritual mapping” effort mentioned above.
1. Personal Repentance: Evil spirits seek to control a personality or character. They find their entrance into a person’s life through past generational curses and sins, current sins and iniquities, idolatry, victimization, occult objects or practices, trauma at an early age, unfor-giveness, and forms of personal defilement, such as immorality. When these occur, a door is opened in our spiritual hedge of protection (refer to Job 1:6-12) that allows the dark influ-ences to seek control of that part of our spirit or personality. Almost always the person is not aware a door is open or that they are influenced, because Satan blinds us to our own sin and dwells and works in darkness. Our spirits then experience the same “spiritual pollution” spo-ken of previously for churches and lands. We must be clean ourselves first before we can ex-pect to successfully clean our church and church land.
The process is the same for corporate sins as it is for personal sins.
• We identify the sin(s).
• We confess and repent of these sins to God and to our brethren (1 John 1:9).
• We pray the doors of our hedge be closed.
Our own sins seriously restrict our spiritual hearing and seeing. At this point, be pre-pared for resistance. Most Christians do not believe they can be influenced or inhabited by evil spirits. Our experience in over 400 prayer counseling sessions, however, indicates that over 90% of those who come to us have dark influences oppressing them. Leaders should go first, in humbling themselves through the confession of their faults. Usually spontaneous outbursts of worship follow this time of repentance.
Success will not come until the principle of agreement (based on harmonious relation-ships) is employed. “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand” (Mark 3:24). Be aware that spiritual authority is present in direct proportion to the harmony of rela-tionships among the believers as they move together toward a common goal.
2. Personal deliverance: Before any effort is made toward redeeming the church/congregational body (corporate redemption), or land on which the building rests, there must be a cleansing of the individual church members, using the instructions contained in this study. There must also be unity among the church members about the vision of cleansing the church and the land on which it sits.
It will be impossible to retain the redemption of the church, if the individual church members continue to bring personal contamination into the church building. Even if the church is freed from defilement, it will revert if the people who worship there remain defiled. Individual deliverance must precede corporate deliverance. Read the section on setting up a deliverance minister in your church. Delivering the individual church members may take time, but is absolutely required. The process can be expedited by preaching and teaching de-liverance and inner healing from the pulpit, and having a visiting minister who is experienced in “group” deliverance come for a weekend healing seminar to pray for freedom for the group as a whole. Do not attempt to skip this vital first step. If so, the corporate efforts will fail. In the process of teaching/preaching on individual deliverance, the vision of corporate deliv-erance can be shared.
3. Pray to Bind the Strongman: Gather the information from the “spiritual mapping” pro-cess above about the strongholds over the church, and the redemptive church gifts. Hold a corporate meeting mediated through the leadership of an experienced facilitator (helpful sug-gestions are noted in the section on Setting Your Church Free). Begin by praying and claim-ing the protection of Psalms 91 and 1 John 5;18. (This may be done by persons in turn, or in a Korean style prayer where all are praying out loud at the same time, sometimes quite loudly. Refer also to Mat. 12:28-29, Mark 3:27, Luke 11:21-22.
Pray to bind the strongman: It is to our advantage to know who the strongman is in order to properly bind him and divide his spoils (Mat. 12:29, Mark 3:27, Luke 11:21-22). Spiritual mapping helps us identify the strongman. In some cases, this process will give us a series of characteristics that will guide us directly to the territorial prince or power. In other cases, we find ourselves facing a flesh-and-blood person whom Satan is using. And in still other cases, we find ourselves face-to-face with a corrupt social structure.
4. Identificational Repentance: Once the personal cleansing has taken place, and the strongholds identified over the church have been bound, the group is ready to proceed with the step of identificational repentance. This process occurs when a person identifies the cor-porate sins of current or previous generations and is willing to stand in their stead to repent for them (remit the sins). Remember, “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:23).
Sin can be recognized as having two parts: the sin itself and the iniquity or conse-quences of the sin. (For example, if a drunk driver has an accident and injures someone, the sin is on the head of the drunk driver but the consequences of the sin accrue to those injured or killed.)
Exodus 20:5 informs us, “… visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” Within this scripture, the children did not sin—but the consequences of their father’s sin follows them through a generational curse until the original sin(s) are repented of and covered by the blood of Jesus. This does not mean that each person is not personally responsible before God for his or her own individual sins? Jesus took upon himself our sins and died on the cross for us that we might be made free. We, likewise, are able to stand in the stead of another (person or group, living or dead) and pray for their repentance, asking that the consequences of the original sin be removed. See examples of this practice below:
(a.) 2 Samuel 21:1, 3: “Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites…. Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the LORD?”
(b.) Daniel 9:5-7: Daniel repented on behalf of his ancestors and prayed for corpo-rate sin.
(c.) Nehemiah 1:6-7: Nehemiah confessed the sins of Israel. Also, “… the seed of Is-rael separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers” (Neh. 9:2).
(d.) Refer to other scriptures characterizing identificational repentance (Ezra 9:5-15 and Jer. 3:25, 14:7 and 20).
(e.) For a sound biblical basis for identificational repentance see The Biblical Basis for Identificational Repentance, a paper by Gloria J. Wiese.
5. Confess Corporate Sins: One or more persons (in turn) can stand and confess the corporate sins. If a representative of an offended group is available, it is beneficial to confess directly to that person and ask for forgiveness publicly, such as in the case of segregation, didcrimination, or sins against the American Indians. If unforgiveness exists against current members, it is most beneficial to publicly ask for forgiveness.
When remitting the sins, Nehemiah and Daniel confessed their personal sins as well as the corporate sins of their people. Those who remit the sins of others must not fail to identify personally with the sins that were or are being committed, even though they might not personally be as guilty of them as they are of other sins.
6. Pray the Sins Be Remitted: As the leader directs, the group may pray individually that the sins be remitted or they may pray all together at the same time. Any strongholds or cor-porate sins need to be identified and prayed for.
When we have discerned the activity of a principality with a particular characteristic, we need to cultivate the opposite characteristic—not only through resisting temptation but by demonstrating positive action. Is the enemy tempting us to be fearful and stingy? We would come against this greed with hilarious generosity. We’d overcome pride with humility and lust with purity; we’d overcome fear with faith and lethargy with diligence.
Along with resisting temptation and taking positive action, we also are responsible for releasing God’s power when we declare His Word aloud. Within our right of dominion is the privilege of speaking into existence the purposes of God as He reveals His mind to us. We speak in the name of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, because of the shed blood of Jesus, with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
7. Break every covenant: It is likely the land you are trying to redeem has been cursed through pagan and/or satanic covenants. It has to be set free from these ties by symbolic acts that cancel corresponding rites performed when the covenants were first established. It is important to break every covenant that has been made over particular places and to replace them by establishing a covenant of God over such places. The dark covenants can be broken by the power of words spoken by those responsible for the land. The new covenant can be established by the power of words and using the symbols of bread and wine in a Holy Com-munion experience.
8. Walk the building and lot: Symbolically walk around the building seven times. Organ-ize the group into ranks similar to Joshua when Jericho was taken. First the praisers, praising the Lord; then the intercessors crying out for the sins of those that contaminated the land to be forgiven, then the pastors worshiping, symbolizing the presence of God in the Ark of the Covenant. Then should come those who poured the “fruit of the vine” oil as a drink offering to heal the land and break the covenants.
Anoint the building doors and windows. Then comes those who scatter salt (see section below). Finally comes the remaining members of the congregation shouting against all the demons, “we have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony as we have denied our lives until death”. The group should be singing, singing in the Spirit, shouting, waving flags inscribed with bible verses, and placing small rocks inscribed with bi-ble verses around the perimeter. All help celebrate freedom of the land.
Shouting, clapping hands, and raising hands are powerful weapons of spiritual warfare. As the group walks around the building/lot let them shout Dan 2;23 or other scriptures of victory and clap their hands as in Ez 6:11. Verbally decree all covenants broken and a new covenant with God established. If there are those in the group with a prophetic gift, let them prophecy life and blessings to the ground.
9. Stake the Property: Literally using Isaiah 33:20-23, some congregations have found it helpful to physically stake the corners of their property. Obtain stakes (2″ x 2”) for each cor-ner of the property and write scriptures upon them, such as, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7). Then take a group to each corner of the property and pray prayers of protection; pray the power of the blood of Jesus and dedication of the grounds. Drive the stakes into the ground to symbolically secure a “spiritual canopy” and to define the bounda-ries of the land dedicated to God. Give notice to the adversary that everything on the land and the people are committed to God.
10. Holy Communion: Read the chapter in this study on Holy Communion. Hold a wor-ship service for all church members in which the Holy Communion is the focus. Pour out a small amount of the blessed bread and wine on the ground as a symbol of the body and blood of Jesus being poured out for us. Have an extended time of praise and worship.
11. Use of Salt: Some intercessors use the covenant of salt. Salt is a symbol of perpetuity (2 Chron 13:5). Use of salt means that the new covenant is sealed forever. Old Testament sacri-fices and offerings were sealed with salt (Lev 2;13). Salt was also used to bring barrenness to an enemy’s land. (Judges 9:45) Salt was used to purify and heal the water (2 Kings 2;21,22). Salt was used when a baby was born to heal the umbilical cord location and a sign that the parents were covenanting with God that the baby would remain God’s and go straight and true for all his life. (Ez 16:4) It was a symbol of God’s faithfulness, eternalness and good-ness. For more information on the covenant of salt, see “the Covenant of Salt” CD by John Sanford, Elijah House.
Summary in Setting your Church Free
- Satan’s kingdom is a limited hierarchy of evil spirits, with order, authority, and a chain of command.
- High-ranking, supernatural principalities and powers (Eph. 6) seek to dominate geographic areas, cities, peoples, and subcultures.
- While God’s Word tells believers to treat such beings with respect, it also commands us to take them captive, to bind the strongman, to plunder his goods, and to tear down the rule and authority of the evil one within our own area of influence and authority (see warnings discussed at the end of this section.).
- We, as believers, are given authority to overcome the enemy as a result of Jesus’ victory.
- We must strategically apply God’s Word and power based on discernment of the un-seen realm.
- We need to overcome the enemy before we employ methods of ministry among the people.
- Our efforts should be covered with a great deal of praise and worship. In the days of King Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 20), God defeated Judah’s enemies through the singing of praise instead of through direct military action: “… he appointed singers unto the LORD, … to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Am-mon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten” (2 Chr. 20:21-22). A sure way to get rid of darkness is to turn on the light. Establish the Lord’s presence in the midst of His people through praise (Ps. 22:3).
- Travail until birth. The success of a spiritual victory for your church is directly affected by two spiritual conditions: the intensity of your desire and the size of your faith. That which is conceived of God will eventually come to birth. Maintain a holy stub-bornness when praying for breakthrough. Seasons of harvest will come. New minis-tries will be birthed. However, these things will not occur instantly. God’s plan is al-ways longer than our plan.
- Remember, spiritual warfare is not a goal in itself but a tool for more effective evangelism and ministry. Our goal is not exclusively to expose satanic strongholds and bind principalities and powers; our goal is to restore God’s glory to every detail of His creation and purpose. The real battle for effective evangelism and ministry is a spiritual battle.
- Plan for the future. Your church has a corporate past, present, and future. Your part of God’s family has a gift, a promise, and a territory to take. It is essential for you to understand what God has called your congregation to be and to do, if you are to successfully complete the word God has given for your people and your church.
PART II SETTING NEIGHBORHOODS, TOWNS, CITIES AND
We have already established that God loves the land, and that there is a relationship between what happens on the land, and the fruit that the land produces. If the land has been blessed, the land will produce abundant crops and beauty. If the land has been defiled and cursed, the land will produce poverty, crime, death, and barrenness. The spiritual law of sowing and reaping applies to the land as well as to individuals. We reap from the land what has been previously sown.
Once we have set our individual church and its members free, and have participated in a congregational redemption of the building and the land on which it sits, we can then begin to think of redeeming larger tracts of land for God such as neighborhoods, towns and regions. However the Warnings listed at the end of this study should receive close attention. Do not exceed your spiritual authority. The bigger the area of influence, the more prayer war-riors required, and the more unity and cooperation is required among the congregations locat-ed in the designed area.
Examples of redeeming the land from scripture.
• Joshua commanded to destroy idols Ex 23:27 & Ex 34:13
• Gideon commanded to cut down idols Judges 6:
• Samuel redeems the land I Sam 7:3, 4, 6 I Sam 7:13
• David redeems the Land, 2 Sam 21:1-14 & 3 year famine, Gideonites.
• Elijah and the prophets of Baal. They had to die to redeem the land.
I Kings 18:
• Israelite kings were told many times to remove the idols and high places previously established, as a prerequisite for receiving God’s blessings.
Consider the following examples of corporate redemption.
1. A few years ago, in Guadalajara, Mexico (a city of 6 million people), there were only 160 evangelical churches, with less than 0.5% of the population Christians, while other-Latin American countries had 10-20%. Just across the border from Guatemala, 30% of the population attended evangelical churches. Why the inconsistency? It was discov-ered that the spiritual restriction resulted from a plaza called Devil’s Corner, where a beautiful inlaid marble compass pointed north, south, east and west; Satan had symboli-cally claimed the whole city with a blanket of spiritual oppression.
2. Victor Lorenzo discovered that La Plata, Argentina, had been founded a little over 100 year ago by a high-ranking Mason, who designed the city according to the dictates of Masonic symbolism and numerology. Several mummies were buried under strategic plac-es to help insure that the city would remain under the demonic control he was calculating to manipulate. The huge Plaza Moreno in front of the central cathedral contained four bronze statues of beautiful women, each representing a curse over the city.
3. A man by the name of Carlos Annacondia (owner of a nuts and bolts factory in a small town on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Brazil) had a spiritual experience and left his business to become an evangelist. Carlos began to learn and apply the principles of spir-itual warfare prayer as used by Pastor Lorenzo and others, who’s evangelistic work in-cludes an emphasis on spiritual warfare (the challenging of the principalities and powers) and the proclamation of the gospel—not only to the people but to the spiritual jailers who hold the people captive. He begins by praying over cities before proclaiming the gospel there. Only after he senses that the spiritual powers over the area have been bound will he begin to preach.
4. Consider the example of a church in Mallakka, Malaysia, that did not grow along with all the other churches within the city. Then, a prophet from England came to the city; he read the previous history of Francis Xavier—a Catholic missionary’s experience in Mal-lakka, 400 years earlier. The prophet found that the people refused to listen to Xavier, so Xavier went up to the mountain and literally shook the dust from his feet—in effect cre-ating a curse. (See Mark 6:11) The prophet then took a group of pastors up to the same mountain and repented for Mallakka’s rejection of God’s servant over 400 years earlier. The curse was broken, and from that day churches in Mallakka began to grow.
5. Soboba Indian Reservation in Southern California had the highest murder rate in the US, one every month, from a population of only 150. Spiritual mapping discovered that 350 years ago, Soboba men were attacked while working in their fields by the neighbor-ing Pachanga tribe, slaughtering men, women and children in a box canyon how called “Massacre Canyon”. The resulting spirit of anger and revenge spawned centuries of vio-lence as well as stiff resistance to the good news of Christ. Bob Beckett, pastor of the Dwelling Place Family church in nearby Hemet called for a meeting at Massacre Canyon where a Christian from the Pachanga tribe asked forgiveness of four Christians from the Sobobas. They then drove to the Pachangan reservation where they made another pile of rocks and did the same thing. Finally, they proclaimed to the spirits and their principali-ties that their power over the land was broken by Christ’s blood and the old wounds all were haled. There was not another murder for the next five years and that was done by an outsider. Christian meetings were marked by healings and other signs and wonders. One-third of the Sobobas made a commitment to Christ. Revival has spread to many other reservations. (p61 Mega Shift by James Rutz, 2005)
6. Kathie Walters (author of the book The Spirit of False Judgment) reports on page 32: “… when we were living in one place, God revealed to us a spirit of false light and poverty over the area. The businesses failed and most people were really struggling financially and spiritually. It was very hard to get people saved. They didn’t see the goodness of God (which leads to repentance). We bound the thing and threw it out under the anoint-ing. Within three years the area became very prosperous. Businesses moved in, nice sub-divisions were built, and people prospered and got saved. Several decent churches arose there also.”
Identifying the principalities and powers over an area.
We identify the territorial spirits over n town, city or area the same way we identify them over our church or neighborhood, by spiritual mapping or “scanning” to determine why the spirits have permission to remain in the area. You will be looking for reasons the land is de-filed.
Additional Sources of Defilement in towns, cities and regions.
In addition to the suggestions for successful spiritual mapping listed above for churches, there are other sources of possible concerns when scanning towns, cities and regions for sources of defilement which may not be considerations in mapping areas of the church. Ana Mendez in her book Shaking the Heavens, 2000, p 188-192 suggests also investigating the following: How the city and places of interest in the city were named, the city’s coat of arms if it has one, any traditions of “heraldry” (a created system of designs for the coat of arms of each house, kingdom, country, province etc.) and the moral and/or religious tone of an Area’s territorial heritage.
Additional Places of Spiritual Influence
Those that participate in spiritual warfare prayer have learned the importance of certain geo-graphical features that are places of spiritual influence.
Mountains or High places: Mountains are places that are not only spiritual symbols but loca-tions where both the devil and God have often been worshipped. Every time God revealed the blueprints of His design, He chooses a man and He chooses a mountain. Consider Noah, Moses, and David. The Bible mentions “high places” 90 times, most of which are instruc-tions by the Lord to remove the idols from high places in Israelite lands.
Rivers, Streams, Fountains, Seas, Swamps and Lagoons: Water is a symbol of spiritual power. God speaks of the flowing of His Spirit as a river of living water. Satan also uses rivers and streams as seats of his influence and power. The Bible speaks of Leviathan being a mon-ster of the sea. (Isa 27:1) The Bible refers to swampland or pools of water in several places that seems to indicate that swamps are accursed places. (Isa 14:23, Ez 47:11)
Forests; Many pagan people have long considered forests to be magical places. They are hiding places for witches and places of witchcraft. Forests are strategic places, being natural refuges for construction of strongholds.
Most cultures have traditions and words to describe the straight, often geometric alignments that ran across ancient landscapes, connecting both natural and sacred prehistoric structures together. Usually the names given to represent these invisible lines are translated to an equivalent of ‘spirit’, ‘dream’, or ‘energy’ paths. However, apart from the physical presence of the sites themselves, proving the presence of a ‘connection’ between them is something that researchers have found notoriously elusive.
There is much controversy about Ley lines, and whether they have spiritual significance or not, but consider the following true stories from Paul L. Cox, a well-recognized authority in deliverance ministry, from his paper Highways of Holiness (If you wish a copy of the paper, write to Paul Cox).
“Several years ago I was outside of Fairbanks, Alaska praying through a church building. No matter how much we prayed, we could not seem to get a breakthrough. I then had the impression to feel for lines running through the worship center. I felt lines like a grid running the length and width of the room. I then invited the pastor to cut these lines. Immediately the spiritual atmosphere of the worship center changed. I then realized the importance of understanding these lines.
Donna and I have a friend who had just built a new home. Night after night she found it impossible to sleep. In desperation she asked us to come over to the house to see what we discerned. As we walked into the master bedroom I discerned a large “ley line” running across her bed. We had her cut the line. That night she was able to sleep for the first time in her new bedroom.”
“A Swiss pastor and his wife tell an amazing story about their discovery of ley lines in a German home. They had been invited to pray for a crippled woman in a German village. She had been stooped over for many years. As they prayed for her, they learned that there were witches living on each side of her house. They then discerned a large ley line running through her house. As they broke the line, she immediately stood up straight. She had been healed!”
While these examples relate to ley lines running through houses, they also are said to crisscross land. Much controversy exists about whether these are energy fields, or if they have spiritual significance as indicated in the examples above.
Additional information on ley lines is available from Arthur A. Burk www.theslg.com. He has a number of free audio and video downloads on topics such as: Redemptive Gifts of Cities, Seven principle tools for cleansing time and Land, and Land Dynamics. Mr. Burk is one of the leading experts on defiled land, and time. He teaches that personal deliverance, cleansing homes or spiritual warfare prayer over land only brings the person, house or land back from a spiritual negative number to zero. Additional worship, praise etc. is needed by the person or experienced in the house or on the land to bring the spiritual level from zero to a positive number. This corresponds closely with the “after care” recommended for individual deliverances found in this booklet.
Megan Caldecourt (www.gobeyondthehorizon.com) has done interesting work in identifying three kinds of spiritual “portals”, that are places of entry by dark spirits. Portals point toward spiritual deposits in the land, affecting it either positively or negatively. She writes that defiled land can be determined by the number and behavior of animals, birds and vegetation in the immediate area, and that portals can produce defiled sound that can be identified. For more information, go to her website and download her MP3 presentations on portals.
Steps in spiritual warfare for your neighborhood, town or city:
- Lead your congregational members in personal repentance and deliverance
- Set your church and lot free using the instructions above.
- Share your burden with other congregations in your neighborhood or town.
- Gather together a group of spiritual leaders/pastors from the congregations in the area.
- Gather the pastors together for personal repentance and deliverance, and forgiveness of one another.
- Do personal repentance and deliverance in each of the collective churches
- Meet the collective leadership group often. Prepare the collective group with prayer and fasting
- Ask God to show you the area He wants you to pray over.
- Hold a mass meeting of the congregations to share the plans and ask for their support.
- Make sure there are one or more persons on the leadership team with a highly devel-oped gift of discerning of spirits. They will be indispensable in helping to identify the territorial sprits, and in hearing the direction from the Lord in the process.
- Read ten books on this subject from the list at the end of this section before doing anything. The first one should be Engaging the Enemy (by C. Peter Wagoner, Editor; read the section on page 145 by Vernon Sterk).
- Delegate the process of spiritual mapping.
- The level of spiritual victory depends upon (1) the intensity of your desire and (2) the size of your faith.
- Do not (individually) try to pray against territorial spirits; normally it requires a whole church (or a group of churches in a specific area) to provide sufficient spiritual power to overcome the darkness. (see material on Warnings” at the end of this section).
- Getting the exact name(s) of the spirits at any level is not crucial but it is important to be aware of the specific nature or type of oppression.
- The higher the rank of the spirit, the more spiritual power is needed to bind it.
- We must initiate the action. Every verse in the Bible dealing with warfare prayer in-dicates that the action begins on earth.
- Warfare prayer is best done by groups of highly motivated, spiritual intercessors.
- Ask the Lord for the names or nature of the oppressive spirits.
- Repent for and confess the sins of those who lived and died before in that particular location.
Remember that setting a neighborhood, town or city free is only part of the process of redemption. It brings the land from negative to zero. Praise, worship, and other positive spir-itual activities are needed to move the land from zero to the positive.
PART III TRANSFORMATION REVIVAL
Whether spiritual warfare prayer is directed at a person, house, a lot, a neighborhood, town, city, or region, there should be identifiable results, that is, changes in the people or the land that afterward reflect a dramatic change in the person’s life, or the lives of those in the focus area of the spiritual warfare prayer effort that reflects qualities of the Kingdom of God. Examples are: broken families now in unity, a sense of love and compassion among the peo-ple, breaking of old hostilities and vendettas, honesty in relationships, joy in the lives of the people, new life in the earth and financial prosperity. These change are called Transformation.
Consider the transformation story of two cities:
A stunning example of supernatural transformation of an entire community is Almolonga, Guatemala. The transformation in Almolonga resulted in phenomenal change in individuals, their families, and every sphere of the community of 20,000 people. Even the physical land itself was dramatically healed.
Almolonga experienced the transforming impact of the manifest presence of God which brought supernatural, measurable, and long lasting change to the people and every level of their society. The community may not be perfect, but the transformation is so pervasive it hardly resembles its former condition.
Before its transforming revival, Almolonga was a typical Mayan community steeped in idolatry, poverty, and spiritual darkness. The town was hostile to the gospel, and the worship of spirits dominated the culture. The community was filled with domestic violence, four overcrowded jails, alcohol addiction, deprivation, and dry-barren land. The people sought relief from the pain of their devastation by turning to alcohol and to a local idol named “Maximon.” The spirit behind the worship of Maximon had held the community in its power for hundreds of years.
But a pastor and his small congregation, under death threats, became desperate for God and began to pray and fast with great fervency with faith that God would change their entire community. They humbly cried out to God during evening prayer vigils for Him to come in His power to break the power of darkness and the stronghold of Maximon.
They repented of the long-standing community covenant with Maximon and re-nounced it openly. They resisted the enemy in their midst and the devastating consequences of his presence among them. The first evidence that God was responding to their faith-filled prayers was people began being healed and delivered of demonic oppression and affliction. Many were saved and became transformed disciples of Jesus.
As transforming revival continued, entire families were transformed by the power of God. The many transforming miracles of healing and deliverance have caused Almolonga to be called the “City of God” and “the Valley of Miracles.” Today, over 90 percent of the people of Almolonga are Bible-believing Christians. When entering Almolonga on the main road, one passes underneath a banner with big bold print that says, “Jesus is Lord of Almolonga!”
Almolonga is a transformed community! It’s four jails were closed due to lack of crime. Most of the 30 plus bars have closed, and now the town is filled with churches. The life of the community—the families, agriculture, businesses, etc.—centers around the life of the church.
The Lord not only saved and healed the people, He also healed the land as in His promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14—“and will heal their land.” Now known as “America’s vegeta-ble garden,” Almolonga’s fertile valley produces vegetables of biblical proportions—carrots the size of a man’s forearm, radishes as large as a fist, and cabbages as large as basketballs. Productivity of the land has increased a thousand percent. As a result of their abundance, they are providing vegetables for neighboring communities and other countries in Central and South America.
If you walk the streets of Almolonga, you can sense the resting presence and peace of God everywhere. People are joyfully working and praising God as they go. Families are re-stored and the faces of children shine with the joy of the Lord! The marketplace is filled with an abundance of nutritious produce and with people whose lives overflow with God’s love and joy.
Visiting a community saturated with the presence of God—where almost the entire community is saved, where God’s glory is evident on the faces of the people, where jails are now used for other purposes due to lack of crime, and the land itself is bursting with life—was beyond what most would ever consider possible, at least in our present age.
The transformation miracle of Almolonga was first documented by The Sentinel Group in its first video (1999) entitled Transformation I. The documentary shocked the church-world concerning how far God was willing to go with His transforming power as Je-sus impacted not only the church but also every community sphere in Almolonga. Below is their story in outline form.
Almolonga, Guatemala -before transformation
• Town of 20,000
• Steeped in idolatry, poverty and spiritual darkness
• Hostel to the gospel
• Worship of spirits dominated the culture
• Domestic violence
• Four over crowed jails,
• Much Alcohol addiction
• Deprivation was everywhere ,
• Dry-barren land
• Local idol named “Maximon
• Steeped in Witch craft.
• City officials sought out the witch doctor for advice
• Entire families were transformed by the power of God
• Miracles of healing and deliverance began to occur
• Now called City of God & Valley of Miracles
• Over 90 % are Bible-believing Christians.
• Sign Jesus is Lord of Almolonga
• Four jails are closed due to lack of crime.
• 30 plus bars have closed
• Now town is filled with churches.
• Community and family life centers around the church
• The barren land begin to be fertile
-carrots the size of a man’s forearm
-Radishes as large as a fist
-Cabbages as large as basketballs
• Agricultural productivity of the land has increased 1000%
• Now provides vegetables for neighboring communities and other countries in Central and South America.
• They buy new Mercedes trucks to haul the produce with cash.
• People are joyful
• Peace is everywhere
• Families are restored
• There is no poverty
• Market place is filled with an abundance of produce and products
More details can be found in Spiritual Warfare Strategy C. Peter Wagner pages 210-213.
Town # 2 Manchester, KY
Consider the story of the town of Manchester, in Clay County, KY.
• Town of 2,200 in the Appalachians
• 1964 CBS called Manchester “Depressed City, USA”
• 2004 was the 6th poorest county in the US
• Much Poverty
• 60% of the people were drawing government checks
• More people in prisons than resided in the county seat.
• More unsolved murders than any county in Kentucky.
• Much violence: Family feuds killed more than ten times the # of family members killed in the infamous Hatfield and McCoy rivalry.
• 10th poorest school systems in the nation
• School system at the bottom in the State of Kentucky.
• Police department was full of corruption.
• Systemic corruption in the court system
• Most of the community was involved in using, dealing or stealing to support drug ad-diction
• 1-2 young people every week went into drug overdose.
• Because city and county officials were involved, the drug trafficking was unchecked and in the open.
• In 2001 the Drug Enforcement Agency included Manchester in a region listed as the “Painkiller Capital of America.”.
• Health functional families and community life were virtually non-existent.
• The community was devoid of all hope.
• Churches didn’t do anything about the problem because they were afraid and intimi-dated and lacked unity.
• Church Congregations began to grow
• People were getting saved
• Local drug dealers began surrendering their lives to Jesus and getting delivered from drug addiction.
• Prayer began in schools in classrooms for the school board.
• A Christ-centered rehabilitation center was completed in 2008.
• The church partnered with the police. In Operation Unite
• At one point 100 FBI agents and Drug Enforcement Agency agents showed up in Manchester and quickly arrested 17 high-level drug dealers.
• Drug arrests increased by a staggering 300 percent with a 90% conviction rate.
• Over 3,000 people were arrested in Clay County, 800 in Manchester alone and sent to prison or rehab.
• The following year, Manchester became the only area in the region where painkiller prescriptions actually decreased.
• A Sting operation caught high level officials. Within 3 years, over 60 people were ex-posed and jailed for racketeering, distributing drugs, voter fraud and go to prison. These included:
– the former Mayor, City councilmen,
– the city clerk
– the 911 Director,
– Asst. Chief of Police,
– the Fire Chief,
– the City Manager,
– Circuit Court judges,
– the School superintend,
– school system employees
• Students are being drug tested in school
• Bible elective courses are being offered in high school
• Clay County was chosen as having the model-reading program for children in the state in 2008.
• God healed the water. Before, the local water supply always needed filtering before use. In 2008 the water of Clay County won first place in municipal water systems in the state.
• God healed the land. Now Clay County has the largest elk populations in the country
• Turkey, bear and deer populations are making a comeback following generations of having almost no presence in the area.
What happened in these two communities that resulted in transformation revival?
• A pastor and his small congregation began to pray and fast.
• They had threats of death
• They were desperate for God
• They prayed that God would change the entire community.
• They humbly cried out to God, to break the power of darkness and the stronghold of Maximon.
• They repented of the long standing community covenant with Maximon and re-nounced it openly.
• They resisted the enemy. The pastor was killed.
• Other churches began to join in. Marches and demonstrations were held.
• The Witch doctor was run out of town.
• They took 2 Chron 7:14 literally.
• In 2003 desperation began to boil over
• People started asking pastors to do something
• Pastors began praying Saturday mornings
• First only 10-20 people came
• Then over 100 began to come
• In 2004 the Lord began to speak to other leaders
– A congressman from Kentucky formed a new drug enforcement organization called Operation Unite
– Soon 50 undercover cops were dispatched to Clay County and began to target the community to arrest drug dealers and provide counselors in high schools.
• Prayer intensified.
• As they prayed, the Lord began to give pastors His strategy for breakthrough.
• On May 2, 2004 63 churches and 3,500 people joined to march saying “enough”.
• Church Leaders publically repented before God for their lack of civic involvement.
• Hope was resuscitated.
• At the rally, 63 pastors asked the Lord to forgive them for their focus on their indi-vidual programs and buildings, for their division and competition.
• Pastors got on their knees and prayed.
• The presence of God filled the park.
• Some people could hardly breathe
• Many were weeping
• On Monday the pastors gathered in teams and visited every county official and re-pented to them saying ‘would you please forgive us for not being the church?
• They then prayed for each of them.
• Immediately the Lord began to answer the Prayers.
• The following Thursday, Operation Unite arrested 50 drug dealers
• Then they asked the pastors to join them and talk to dealers about the Lord.
• The churches formed a new partnership as the Lord began to uproot the Kingdom of darkness and bring His kingdom e of light.
• Testimonies increased
• Lives began to be impacted and changed
• Hope began to fill people
• Local drug dealers soon began surrendering their lives to Jesus and getting delivered form drug addiction.
WHAT IS TRANSFORMING REVIVAL?
The transformation that occurs after land is healed is sometimes called transforming revival, as revival and renewal usually follows land redemption.
• is a corporate encounter with a supernatural God that is tangible, measurable, and o-servable by all who live at the visitation location. God’s presence brings accompanying fruit that characterizes His nature and His heavenly kingdom with transformational changes happening at every level—individuals, families, church, society, and land.
• refers to the entire process of change a community undergoes as a result of God’s manifest presence and subsequent spiritual awakening. It impacts individuals, churches and society.
• involves an acute awareness of God and His holiness that changes the spiritual climate of a community or region with transformational results. It’s a manifestation of God’s glory, love, wisdom, and power to people who have intentionally abandoned them-selves to prepare for His divine presence.
• is a significant invasion of God and His kingdom to people and the community where they live. It extends beyond personal salvation to honoring Jesus as the Lord over spheres of society such as education, business, finances, and the land. In transforming revival, God is not just filling big buildings with people, He is also bringing redemp-tion and His kingdom to every sphere—family, church, society, and the physical land itself. This is a radical new dimension in revival!
• is God’s salvation destroying the works of the devil; His extravagant grace replacing poverty and lack; His justice conquering injustice; and His love bringing life to the brokenness of society. It is reclaiming part of the earth and bestowing the Kingdom of God.
• extends beyond personal salvation to honoring Jesus as the Lord over spheres of soci-ety such as education, business, finances, and the land. In transforming revival, God is not just filling big buildings with people, He is also bringing redemption and His kingdom to every sphere—family, church, society, and the physical land itself. This is a radical new dimension in revival!
• produces objective evidence that God and His kingdom are impacting the visited communities with dramatic changes in their spiritual atmosphere and physical envi-ronment. This change includes broad-scale salvation in the community, deliverance from demonic oppression, miraculous reduction in addictions and abuse, and many times supernatural transformation of the land itself.
• is God’s restoration of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, destroying the works of the devil. His extravagant grace replacing poverty and lack, his justice conquering injus-tice, and His Love bringing life to the brokenness of society and to the land.
• is followed by a visitation by the Lord is in response to a formal invitation by the community in the form of intentional preparation by desperate believers.
• occurs as a result of profound obedience to remove every obstacle to God’s holy pres-ence.
WHAT ARE THE INDICATORS OF TRANSFORMING REVIVAL ?
• Political leaders publicly acknowledge their sin and dependence on God (II Kings 11:17-18; 23:2; Jonah 3:6-9)
• New laws, curricula, and business practices are put into effect (II Chronicles 19:4-10; Nehemiah 10:31)
• The natural environment is restored to its original life-nurturing state (Leviticus 26:4-5; II Chronicles 7:14; Ezekiel 34:27; 36:29-30)
• Economic conditions improve and lead to a discernible lessening of poverty (Chronicles 17:3-5; Psalm 144:14; Isaiah 60:5; Amos 9:13)
• There is a marked change in social entertainment and vices as Kingdom values are in-tegrated into the rhythm of daily life (Ezra 10:1-4; Nehemiah 8:10, 16; Ecc 10:17; Acts 19:17-20)
• Crime and corruption diminish throughout the community (II Kings 12;13-15; Nehe-miah 5:6-12; Isaiah 60:17-18)
• Volunteerism increases as Christians recognize their responsibility to heal and under-gird the community (Isaiah 58:10-12; 61:1-4)
• Restored hope and joy leads to a decline in divorce, bankruptcy and suicide (Nehemi-ah 12:27-28, 43; Isaiah 54:11-14; 61:3,7; Jeremiah 30:17-19; 31:11-13; Hosea 2:15)
• The spiritual nature of the growing socio-political renewal becomes a hot topic in the secular media (I Chronicles 20:29; Nehemiah 6:16; Isaiah 55:5; Ezekiel 36:36; Acts 19:17)
• Overwhelmed by the goodness of God, grateful Christians take the embers of revival into surrounding communities and nations (I Chronicles 17:9; Isaiah 61:6; Acts 11:20-26)
• Unusual manifestations of the Spirit (Acts 2) sheds fear of the manifestations of the presence of the HS.
Evidences of transformation
Jerry Trousdale, (Miraculous Movements 2012 ISBNB 978 1 4185 4728 8, pp 123-126) speaks of the results of transformation in Muslim communities in Africa where he has helped establish over 6,000 home churches.
• Healed families
• Spirit of freedom
• Spirit of love
• Diminished violence
• Less addiction
• Redemption and hope
• Evidences of divine favor
• Grace in persecution
• Freedom from demonic oppression
• Power of individual prayer
Eight Components of Transformation Revival
1. Forerunner Intercession. Usually God touches a small group of people to begin to pray. Eventually many people will be praying as “great supplications ascend from home after home in the area:
2. Fullness of Time – when God answers is up to God. We must wait on His timing. Habak 2:3 “wait for it: it will certainly come and will not delay” requires faith and per-sistence. God wants to see if you really are serious.
3. Extraordinary Unity in Prayer. – the power of agreement Matt 18:19-20. First the bur-den falls on a few forerunner intercessors, then to a broader base of people in unity pour-ing out their prayers together. “They prayed in one accord.” (Acts 1:14) Until the an-swer came.
4. Covenant Prayer – Persistence in praying the promises and having faith. Standing on the covenants of God with Abraham (Gen 12, 15, 17).
5. Divine Magnetism – In revival people come from everywhere. It spreads like fire. It has a supernatural drawing power. People are drawn there.
6. Presence and Holiness. – a community saturated with God. The presence of God is everywhere, in homes, the marketplace, churches, places of entertainment and by the road-side. It is an all pervasive spiritual atmosphere. Revival come with a deep consciousness of God’s holiness that resulted in a solemn fear of God and deep conviction of sin among believers and unbelievers alike.
7. Community Transformation – People begin to spontaneously pray and repent of their sins. Lives are changed, marriages are healed, families restored, drinking houses are closed, jails are empty, the land becomes fruitful. Pastors and spiritual leaders began to see their community through the eyes of Jesus. Social and governmental change takes place.
Each community that has attracted the presence of God has done so by humbling themselves before the Lord, taking responsibility for their desperate condition, repenting of their sins corporately and returning to covenant and intimacy with God. Societal transformation flows out of a season of preparation and invitation by God’s people in response to His initiative.
Participants in supernatural community transformation are keenly aware that the systemic problems communities are facing cannot be resolved with human wisdom or methodologies. Human strategies will never produce supernatural change. Man’s solutions are temporary at best and usually flawed.
The devastation prevalent in our communities is rooted in spiritual causes and there-fore cannot be resolved by a man center approach.
If generations have offended the Lord by continuing in sins like immorality, idolatry, and shedding of innocent blood, the darkness and defilement that flows for a community cannot be remedied by natural efforts.
John the Baptist, Jesus, and the twelve disciples were to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God i. e. the kingdom of heaven is near. The moving in of God’s kingdom is demonstrated when the sick are healed, the dead are raised, the lepers are cleansed, and demons are cast out. Transformation is the kingdom of God and the will of God in heaven being manifest on the earth.
Results of Transformation on the Land
Many villages that have now gone through the Healing of the Land transformation process have seen miraculous healing of their land. A family which usually harvested 10 sacks of rice during a season, now harvests 100. In newly planted rice crops, the harvests were four times what would have been normal. Both the size and the quantity of fish have increased. Villages with insufficient water now have an abundant supply.
In northern Thailand revival is being spread by children as young s four years old. The Christian population was .3% now it is 2.88% in 4 years. Over 200 villages now have a Christian church.
In the year 2000, eight communities were identified as being supernaturally trans-formed. By 2010, over 1,000 communities in 45 nations have been impacted by the fire of transforming revival. Clusters of these communities exist in: FiJi, The Amazon, Papua New Guinea, and Canadian Arctic. Unfortunately there were only two identified in the U.S. and two in Africa.
The following videos documenting transformation are available from The Sentinel Group.
• Let the Seas Resound – FiJi
• Unvoncentional War – Uganda
• Force for Change, – Sao Paulo Brazil Police Dept.
• Applachian dawn – Manchester, KY USA
• Four transformed communities
• It’s only Cookie Dough (2016)
Revival is not an end in itself. God does not intend for revival to end with the church. He intends for the manifestation of His presence and power to affect the society in which revival occurs and the land on which they live.
“Transformation is a neighborhood, city or nation whose values and institutions have been overrun by the grace and presence of God. It is a place where divine fire has not merely been summoned, it has fallen. Transformation is society in which natural evolutionary change has been disrupted by invasive supernatural power and a culture that has been impacted com-prehensively and undeniably by the Kingdom of God. It is a location where kingdom values are celebrated publicly and passed on to future generations!” George Otis, Jr. (CEO, the Se-ninel Group, from IFTP Core Definitions & Values
One of the most prominent unresolved issues among members of the Spiritual Warfare Network is: “on which, if any, of the three levels we are given biblical authority for intentional ministry?”. Some feel we should not advocate engaging spiritual forces that may be occupying geographical areas, buildings, animals, human social networks, churches or physical objects, such as trees, mountains, or idols. Nor to do strategic level warfare prayer to name, rebuke, or otherwise address so called territorial spirits. Others prefer to give literal interpretation to such sayings of Jesus as “Behold I give you the authority . . . over all the power of the enemy . . . (Luke 10:19) and do confrontational spiritual warfare on all levels (see Col 1:16-20, John 16:15).
It is imperative that individuals do not take on this task alone. There needs to be a community pastor or Christian leader who is willing and able to call other churches into the effort as well. The most successful redemptions are those where pastors and church members from a high percentage of churches in the area join together in the process. Therefore the first requirement is that of unifying a number of churches and church leaders in the spiritual war-fare process. This process can take a minimum of several weeks to several months, or even years. Don’t try to omit any steps or take any short cuts else the results will be limited.
Three major warnings:
• Never invade the devil’s turf without clear orders from the Lord. An old saying truthfully acknowledges, “There is no safer place than in the center of God’s will; there is no more dangerous place than outside of it.” When not spiritually protected, the darkness can overcome not only the situation but also the individuals involved in the situation. Move out of the enemy’s territory when the battle is beyond you.
• Don’t venture beyond your own area of spiritual influence and authority without spe-cific direction from God. In other words, don’t pray over what you don’t have legal ground to pray over. Don’t pray over someone else’s house without their involvement and permission. Don’t pray over a community without involvement of most of the churches in that community. Doing so removes you from the protective spiritual can-opy and exposes you to the enemy’s weapons. Doing so also encounters a sin of pre-sumption—of making an attempt to extend God’s Kingdom without His specific di-rection. You have authority to pray for your church but not the city or strongholds of the city (such as porno shops) unless God so directs (read Needless Casualties of War by John Paul Jackson).
• Don’t focus on the darkness more than you focus on the light. While some considera-tion must be given to the powers of darkness in this process, the more attention they receive, the more they will collect. Praying and doing spiritual battle have to be a work led by the Holy Spirit. We must not enter the spiritual world in a causal manner and without direction.
As you can see from the list below a number of authors have taken this subject very seriously. Please be very well read before venturing into this area of ministry.
List of Related Resources
Anderson, Neil Winning Spiritual Warfare 1990 978-0-89081-868-8
Anderson, Neil T. Setting Your Church Free 1994 0-8307-1682-3
Annacondia, Carlos Listen to Me, Satan! 1998 0-88419-524-4
Beckett, Bob with Sytsema, Rebecca Wagner Commitment to Conquer 1997 0-8007-9252-1
Bernal, Bob America Spiritually Mapped 1994 1-884920-02-0
Bernal, Bob Storming Hell’s Brazen Gates 1988 0-88144-124-4
Bernal, Dick America Sprituall Mapped 1994
Bernal, Dick Come Down Dark prince 1989
Dawson, John Taking Our Cities For God 1989 0-88419-241-5
Dawson, John Healing America’s Wounds 1994
Dawson, John Taking Our Cities for God
Greenwood, Rebecca Authority to Tread 2005 0-8007-9387-0
Hepworth, Ken Reclaiming the Ground 2008 978-1-85240-499-4
Hughey, Rhonda Desperate for His Presence 2004 978-0-7642-0007-6
Jackson, John Paul Needless Casualties of War 1999 1-58483-000X
Jacobs, Cindy Possessing the Gates of the Enemy 1991
Jacobs, Cindy Deliver Us From Evil, Putting a Stop to the Occuiltic Influenc 2001 0 8307 2800 7
Jacobs, Cindy Reformation Manifesto, Your part in God’s Plan to Change Nations 2008 98 0 7642 0502 6
Linthicum, Robert City of God, City of Satan 1991
Mendez, Ana Shaking the Heavens 2000 0-8307-2496-6
Nwankpa, Emeka (Ghana) Redeeming the Land 1994
Otis, George The Twilight Labyrinth 1997 0 8007 9255-4
Otis, George The Last of the Giants
Owen, Jimmy & Caroll Heal our Land 1997
Petrie, Alistair Releasing Heaven on Earth 2000 978-1-85240-481-9
Pratney, Winkie Healing the land
Shaw, Gwen Redeeming the Land 1987
Sheets, Dutch Watchman Prayers 2008 0 807 4541-8
Sherman, Dean Spiritual Warfare for every Christian 1989
Silvoso, Ed That None Should Perish 1994 0-8307-1690-4
Silvoso, Edgardo That None Should Parish 1994
Torres, Hector P. Pulling Down Strongholds 1999 0-9667481-6-6
Trimm, Cindy The Art of War for Spiritual Battle 2010 978-1-59979-872-1
Wager, C. Peter Spiritual Warfare Strategy 1996 978-07684-3845-1
Wagner, C. Peter Breaking Strongholds 1993 0-8307-1638-6
Wagner, C. Peter Engaging the Enemy 1991 0-8307-1516-9
Wagner, C. Peter Prayer Shield 1992 0-8307-1514-2
Wagner, C. Peter Warfare Prayer 1992 0-8307-1513-4
Wagner, C. Peter Churches that Pray 1997 0 8307 1658 0
Wagner, C. Peter & Pennoyer, F. Doulgas, Editors Wrestling With Dark Angels 1990 0-8307-1446-4
White, Tom Breaking Strongholds 1993
Burk, Arthur A (Thesig.com)
Sapphire Leadership Group
Many free audio and video downloads
Deliverance 24 videos
Land Dynamics 19 videos
The Sentinel Group www.glowtorch.org
George Otis Jr.
Transformation videos I & II plus others
Caldecourt, Megan (http://www.gobeyondthehorizon.com)
MP3 downlods on portals