There is an unclean spirit whose sole purpose is to convince us that he is God. He comes sounding very much like God and plays on our weaknesses and on our sinful thoughts and desires. It is sent to deceive those who have a strong gift of intercession, and it seeks to gain access to our hearts and minds to use our prayers to bring harm to the Body of Christ. One of its goals is to cause our mouths to come into agreement with the realms of darkness.
This demon may present himself as a gift of discernment or even a prophetic revelation. It may begin by flattering you and try and convince you that you are one of the few who really hear God’s voice and speak for Him. It seeks to elevate your opinion of yourself to raise you above those who would be your teachers, thereby making you unteachable. These are only a few of the ways this spirit operates.
This demon is known as the religious spirit.
But don’t let his name fool you – he is subtle, but destructive. He wants to gain access to your mouth to release Hell’s destructive powers on the earth. And he seeks to gain access to your heart through any areas of your heart and mind that are not yet yielded to Christ, or any part of your heart that has been hardened by the presence of cold love.
I have seen this spirit deceive many sincere, godly people and use them to divide and destroy the Church. They feel they have been given a “message from God” that others in the Body of Christ are not right spiritually or have “secret sins.”
They may have had a disagreement with a church or an individual, but instead of walking in true forgiveness, they become resentful toward them. Instead of praying for them, they begin to pray against them, asking God to bring judgment on them. They may even feel that they “know” what God’s judgment against them will be, and pray according to what they feel it should be.
Believing that they are warring against principalities, they war against their brother or sister in the Lord. But in actuality, they are fighting against Christ Himself.
I have heard people say to me that “God” has told them that He is going to destroy such and such a church, ministry or person. But instead of them being genuinely terrified of that happening and praying against it, I have gotten the sense that they would love nothing better than to see that organization or individual destroyed.
Without realizing it, these people have come into agreement with the powers of darkness. Instead of standing in the gap for their brother or sister, they view them as being out of God’s reach. They have unconsciously put them in the category of the “unredeemable.” They may even feel that these people are standing in God’s way of really displaying His power in the Church, and in an attempt to “help” God, they pray for their removal.
Instead of believing for God’s mercy to prevail in their brother’s life, they feel that he is not as “spiritual” as he should be, so they determine in their heart that God must want to wipe him out. THIS IS NOT THE HEART OF GOD!
Prayers that are prayed outside of God’s will and in accordance with the selfish desires of our own hearts are called soulish prayers. And when we pray against others, we cause the powers of darkness to be released on them. This can cause horrific warfare for them. This is witchcraft, and if we dabble in it, we open up our own lives for these destructive spirits to come back on us and wreak havoc in our own lives.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37
“…For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38
It is very dangerous to assume that we know God’s will for others and then pray for that to happen. We may find ourselves fighting against the will of God for their lives. We should always confirm what we feel we have heard in the spirit with the peace of God. If we do not have peace about the word we have received, if it does not come from a heart full of genuine love for our brother, then we should disregard it.
The Religious Spirit
The religious spirit is the same spirit that drove Paul to persecute the first Church. As he harassed a small group called the Nazarenes, he honestly felt that he was working for God. He killed and imprisoned hundreds of the followers of Christ and felt right in doing so. He was convinced in his heart that he was fulfilling the will of God.
But when the Lord revealed Himself to Paul on the road to Damascus, He showed Paul that he was not fighting for truth, but for the realms of darkness.
What agony Paul must have experienced when he learned the truth of his actions. He did so much want to fight for God, and yet he found himself fighting against Him. How he must have agonized over his sin; his grief must have been immeasurable. However, Paul repented and turned from being the greatest persecutor of the early Church to being its greatest defender.
We too can turn away from praying for God’s punishment to come on those we do not approve of, and start praying for God’s will and mercy to be evident in their lives. We can be led by the Spirit of Truth found in God’s Word that says, “The wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:17-18).
It is essential that we all seek to guard our hearts with the love of God because “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). The Lord has warned us in Matthew 24:12 that the love of many will grow cold because of the increase of lawlessness, “but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (v. 13). The only way of guarding our hearts is for our hearts to be bound to the Lord. Any places in our hearts that are not yielded to the Lord are areas of vulnerability to the enemy.
We must not pray for others out of a sense of frustration or anger. The greatest and safest prayer we can pray for ourselves and others is “THY will be done!” Not their will or our will, but pray earnestly for God’s will to be accomplished in their life.
God Will Bless You
If you feel you have been the victim of soulish prayers or witchcraft you may at times feel a heaviness or an ominous sense of failure. You may have an increase of strife in your relationships, experience confusion or an overwhelming feeling of self-loathing. But take heart, half the battle is knowing what is attacking you.
Like it or not, you will need to pray for those who have prayed against you. Pray that their words against you will be powerless and that they will stop praying out of the will of God. Ask God to bless them with His peace, love and mercy.
Above all else, we must forgive them because they really do not realize what they are doing. They are victims of this unclean spirit as much as we are. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12), meaning: We do not fight each other, but we “wrestle” satan and his demons. The enemy is our enemy. And we do not wrestle in the natural but in the supernatural realm.
Repent of any unforgiveness you may be harboring against them or others and ask God to give you His unconditional love for them. And, if possible, be an encouragement to them – it will be very difficult for them to continue to hate you if you respond to them in love. Note: It may take time for the spiritual atmosphere around you to be cleared of all their prayers, so continue to cover yourself in prayer often.
Finally, be sure to watch how God will bless you through this, because in every trial we face, there is a blessing in it for us if we yield to God. If the enemy has targeted you, be encouraged by it because he must know of something very powerful in your future or he wouldn’t bother harassing you.
Speaking Life Ministries