(Post by: Madie Hobbs)
I sit here, on a rainy September night, not even knowing quite what to write, but somehow knowing I’m supposed to write something.
Literally just a few minutes ago, I finished a book my dad has been ecstatic about me reading since I was about ten. The title is, “This Present Darkness”, by Frank Peretti, which you will know is one of his favorite books if you’ve ever spoken to him. The book explores the intricate world of spiritual warfare through the style of a thriller novel and provides some unique insights into the spiritual realm.
It is centered around the small town of Ashton, which you come to find out is slowly being eaten up with demonic presences and is methodically being taken over by the powers of evil. You follow the exciting life of Marshall Hogan, the editor of the local paper, and his loyal sidekick and reporter, Bernice Krueger, as they make it their personal mission to find out how a certain corporation is slowly taking over every business, as well as the college, in Ashton. Another character you travel through the story with is Hank Busche, a young pastor who has just recently been supernaturally placed in a small church in Ashton that didn’t really want him in the first place. He is constantly in prayer for the town and has keenly felt the need it has for Jesus.
Through the multiple points of view, you get to see the way demons are preparing to take over the town, and how they are using certain people to accomplish their plans. You also get to meet the various angels watching over Marshall, Bernice, and Hank, as well as the rest of the town and the other characters who are willing to risk everything to expose evil.
I won’t give too many spoilers, because I am officially in my dad’s camp now; you NEED to read it! However, as I am sure all of you assume, the powers of heaven and praying saints prevail in the end, saving the town of Ashton from the vicious clutches of demonic possession.
In the final chapters of the book, you get to see a captain of the Heavenly ranks go up against a prince of darkness in an epic battle you’ve been waiting for since the very beginning of the story. It’s full of twists and turns, bated breath and suspense, and unbelievable relief at the end of it. Throughout the book, you come to realize that the angels fighting against evil primarily gain their strength from the prayers of saints and are constantly impressing upon the hearts of Christians the dire need they have for the strength they can provide.
As the angel and demon come against each other in their grand battle, the angel is wounded, hurting, and tired. He begins to call out to the Lord to impress the need for prayer more sharply on the hearts of the Christians who are gathered together. With the Spirit’s prompting, the Remnant begins to pray more fervently, boldly binding the demonic power in Ashton, and giving victorious strength to the angel.
Once he defeats his enemy, he flies back to his celebrating army, and his good friends, and looks down at the town. Everywhere, physical, and spiritual evil has been vanquished, and Ashton is saved. Tal, the angel, becomes emotional as he gazes at the rejoicing Remnant, and is filled with a deep love for them.
The scene is described like this, “The General touched Tal on the shoulder. Tal looked and saw that big, golden trumpet in the General’s hand.
“Well, captain,” said the silver-haired angel, “how about doing the honors? Sound the victory!”
Tal took the trumpet in his hand and found he could not see through a sudden flow of tears. He looked down at all those praying saints and that little praying pastor.
“They… they will never know what they have done,” he said.”
I’m still not even sure why, but the simple description of Hank, “that little praying pastor”, brought me instantly to tears.
I think it evoked so much emotion inside me because that is exactly how I would like to be described in a book. As that little praying woman, who, without even knowing it, was extremely influential in giving strength to angels, and defeating an army of demons.
That’s what made this book most powerful, I believe. Though the Remnant was awakened with powerful dreams and burdened by the Spirit to come together and pray, to support their little praying pastor, and to care for troubled souls, only the reader knows of the truly incredible effect they had on the Spiritual realm.
Too often, we in the Church believe our impact on the battles of Heaven are minimal.
I think we have been neglecting one of our most pressing obligations.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV).
While I cannot prove our prayers actually give direct strength to angels, and take it from demons, I have often asked myself this question: why wouldn’t they? Why wouldn’t Christ make it so we can play an active role in Spiritual warfare?
After reading this book, and contemplating the gravity of Spiritual warfare, I know I’ve certainly been praying for the angels a little more fervently, and for God’s will to radically defeat our unseen adversaries!
I would challenge you to do the same. Though we may never know the impact our prayerful battles will have in the Spiritual realm, I would say if we can make a dent in whether Good or Evil is victorious, we should put some effort into strengthening the Good.
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you” (Luke 10:19 ESV).
You are powerful through the blood of Christ, dear Christian. But remember, that blood was not shed for you to sit back and do nothing. It was shed for you to overcome the principalities of this present darkness.
“We can be in our day what the heroes of faith were in their day – But remember, at the time, they didn’t know they were heroes.” ~ A. W. Tozer
SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?
= How would you describe your prayer life?
= Do you believe Christians have a role to play in spiritual warfare?