Equipped by the power of prayer
By Joseph F.K. Mensah
Africa is rife with demonic activity because the African acknowledges the supernatural and the existence of ancestral spirits, lesser gods and an omnipotent God. The power of charms, fetishes and amulets, coupled with the fear of offending the gods or ancestors, rules the lives of nominal Christians and Muslims. The fear of witchcraft and voodoo
curses, mixed with the desire to please the gods and the dead or offer sacrifices to appease them, explains the presence of marabous and witchdoctors.
Spiritual warfare is the clash between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan (Matthew 12:26-28); it is the battle between the Church of Jesus and the gates of Hades (Matthew 16:18); it is the fight between the indwelling fleshly lusts and the desires of the Spirit (Galatians 5:17); it is the war between Michael and the angels of God on one hand and the dragon and his angels on the other hand (Revelation 12:7).
The ministry of Jesus Christ, our Lord, shows us the importance of spiritual warfare. No instance in the Old Testament reports the casting out of demons. The closest we have is 1 Samuel.16:23, when King Saul was plagued by an evil spirit from God and young David played on the harp to calm him down. However, the Gospels report Jesus confronting demons, and casting them out with authority (Mark 1:23-28, 39; 3:10-11; 5:1-20; 7:25-30). The multitudes were surprised at Jesus’ teaching because he commanded the unclean spirits and they obeyed him.
Moreover, Jesus gave power and authority to his 12 apostles and the 72 disciples so that they also drove out demons in his name even before the cross and his resurrection (Luke 9:1; 10:17-19). After he rose from the dead, he declared that, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me …” (Matthew 28:18).
“It is vital that every missionary in Africa is trained in spiritual warfare. There is power and authority in the name of Jesus.”
Doing battle with prayer and fasting
I served four years in North Africa with my family as a missionary, teaching basic computer skills. My wife Georgina taught in the university, and my sister served as a doctor both in a private clinic and in the community. The country was majority Muslim, with an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor. The corrupt police defrauded taxi drivers. Sanitation was almost non-existent. Sunday was a national working day. The situation called for desperate action. So, the Christian leaders prepared a comprehensive prayer list covering every possible national concern, and mobilized the few evangelical churches in the capital to begin 40 days of fasting and spiritual warfare.
The result of this fast was astonishing. In the same week we started praying about the corruption of the police, the taxi drivers went on strike. Upon investigation, the Government ordered the police off the roads immediately and the check-points were removed, to the relief of everyone. Also, in the week we were praying about the sanitation in the city, about 50 big refuse-collection trucks donated by Israel moved around the city clearing the refuse. Our final surprise came when the President announced the changeover to a Saturday-Sunday weekend. The country was making this change after 30 years of a Friday-Saturday weekend. This is the power of fasting, prayer and spiritual warfare.
It is vital that every missionary in Africa is trained in spiritual warfare. There is power and authority in the name of Jesus. We need to keep this in mind and remember that the more equipped and experienced we are in spiritual warfare prayer, the more useful we shall be in mission.
Joseph F.K. Mensah and his wife, Georgina, live in Ghana, where they run Christlike Disciplemakers Movement Bible College. They have written a number of books, in support of their passion to make Christ-like disciples worldwide. They have five children and three grandchildren.