(Every year I spend 3 to 5 weeks in India leading pastors’ conferences and ministering to people and churches. I teach about spiritual warfare, which is very real in India, as this blog shows. Prayers for my ministry there would be greatly appreciated. For more information see India.ChristianTrainingOnline.org) Spiritual Warfare in India 9
About the middle of my 5 weeks in India I needed to take a couple days off to recuperate from food poisoning and to let my voice heal and return. I could barely speak loud enough for the translator alongside me to hear me. I don’t know if this was an attack by Satan or just me experiencing what others experience in India. I am in no means exempt from the ‘normal’ things others go through in life. The rest was good, though. We didn’t cancel any pastors’ conferences, though, but we did combine a couple. I still ended up with 15 conferences in 20 days (2 days being Sundays).
We started this second phase off with a large pastors’ conference and an evening service which 300 attended. This was the largest group I spoke to. The smallest was a group of 9 people. Most were 40 to 60. I got to baptize 6 tribal women, the first in that area to come to Jesus. Only 3 were to be baptized, then 3 more joined them. The tribal people are from an entirely different ethnic background than the Indian people and are often seen and treated as if they are barely human. The huts they live in are thrown together from scrap paper and plastic they find in the gutters. They have a very poor life.
To make things worse, 3 of these 6 women were widows, a very difficult condition to be in in India. Another had been married but her husband left, something not uncommon among the unbelievers. He will go elsewhere and marry again but she will never be able to marry and have a husband and family. It was a real joy and privilege to baptize these women and pray for them. God will use them to spread the gospel to their family and friends and that will be the beginning of the first church among tribal people in that area.
What was most touching was buying and giving them Bibles. They never imagined having a great treasure like a Bible of their own. Tears of joy ran down their cheeks as I gave them out one by one. Several knelt down and touched or kissed my feet – the greatest way of showing respect in India. Having them do that to me was extremely humbling and very moving. I look forward to spending time with each one in heaven, talking about how God used them and what He did in their lives. I know Satan won’t give them up easily, but with God’s Word and a spiritual warfare handbook they have tools to have victory in Jesus.
My rough statistics show I spoke to over 1000 pastors, 350 plus wives and over 1500 people in evening and Sunday church services. I spoke about 100 times, and after each time people would come line up before me asking me to lay hands on them and pray for God to bless them. Jesus did that many times in the Bible, and so did the apostles when they sent others out to new mission fields. Praying individually for these precious people is one of my greatest privileges in India. It is time and energy consuming and comes when I am already tired, but it brings a joy that goes beyond any physical discomfort.
After the baptism and evening service where 300 came everyone wanted to be prayed for so they all stayed seated and I walked through them praying out loud and laying my hands on each head as I passed by. Usually, though, it is a one on one experience. The picture is of Jesus in me connecting with and filling them. It’s not that I am anything special, I never feel that. I do feel that I am God’s chosen instrument, all by His grace, of coming to give them some of God’s truth and compassion. To them I am a visible reminder that God loves them and reaches out to them in their need so in praying for them I feel I am the channel by which God’s blessing flows from Him, through me and into them.
I don’t pray the same thing for each one but something different, something I feel God would have me pray for each. Seeing them gives me an impression of what to pray for, or God puts thoughts and ideas into my mind. I pray for protection and blessing, but the rest is different depending on how God leads me. If I sense something particularly strong from the demonic realm I pray against that, and that is often the case. I want to be sensitive to pray for what He wants to do in their lives.
In asking God to ‘bless’ them I am not asking for material or financial things, although that can be part of what they need and what God provides. That isn’t what they are thinking of when they want me to ask God to bless them. It isn’t a culture that is materialistic and their minds don’t think in those terms as our do. When I ask God to bless them I am asking Him to make them spiritually prosperous, to fill them with His presence, to help them grow in Him and to use them for His glory.
Often they will have a little container of coconut oil and hand it to me. They can’t speak to me and they don’t understand a word I pray, but I know the oil is to anoint them. It is a picture of God’s Spirit filling and using them. I put some on their head and then with my finger draw a cross in oil on their forehead. Every time I do it I get a powerful feeling from God – the cross is what it’s all about. That’s where our hope and power lie. As the song says, the cross says it all. (Friday, March 11, 2011)
Luke 4:40-41 When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ.
Try this today: pray for people who come into your presence or pass you by. A short, silent pray for blessing or whatever God puts into your heart to pray for them is very important. Be aware of others around you and the great privilege we have in prayer. In fact, don’t just do this today, make a habit of it!
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available for free.)