Virtually the whole world has been dazed to watch the wildfires ravaging the beautiful island nation of Australia. How do you attack a savage maelstrom that seeks to engulf an entire country? It has been called the biggest fire in the history of the world. So far it has torched 1.5 million acres and destroyed half a billion animals.
One of the words a friend alerted me to in this epic event is the word backfire. Firefighters courageously move ahead of the fire and burn the combustibles out of the way so that when the wildfire reaches that place there is nothing left to burn. Simple but strategic. And essential. The bigger the threat, the more indispensable the backfire becomes.
At the risk of over-dramatizing the parallel, may I suggest that in the global destructive carnage in process in the great controversy, God also has an effective backfire plan. It’s called a prayer group. Any size. Any age. Any color. Any language. Any time. People with an insatiable desire to change the vile culture around them so when the presence of a demon-led onslaught approaches, the “combustibles” have been transformed and the conflagration is stifled.
For instance: A group of prayer warriors I know well became aware recently of a pastoral family in trouble. A former strong spiritual leader, he became ill, then other complications appeared. His wife and children were surprised, then frightened. Before becoming a believer he had dabbled seriously in the occult. Could this be a residual? Where to turn?
This group of six or eight incurable intercessors didn’t need to understand the cause or the diagnosis, only the need. So they began to pray, via conference call, every day at 11am Eastern. Every day. Six pm on weekends. These anointed fire fighters asked God to clear the “combustibles” out of the pastor’s life. To forgive him. To heal him. If there were compromises going on in his life, to give him victory. To undo whatever damage the enemy had done. To provide a fresh anointing. To give him a new story to tell.
The change is conspicuous though not complete and the battle still rages. The group is in its third week and an amazing thing has happened to them, as well as to him. They tell us about the victories in their own lives, the sense of God’s presence when the group prayerfully embraces the pastor and his family. One pastor in the group described a new awareness of the presence of God in his own church, with new guests, new victories. A serious commitment has developed within the group to not let go of the hand of God till the victory is won.
Backfires. Everywhere. In your church, too?
By Don Jacobsen