“Are the attacks on pastors and leaders greater than they used to be?” That was a topic of discussion recently in one of the forums I visit. One of the members mentioned my husband’s story as an example, but he could have listed dozens of other pastors and Christian leaders who have been recently knocked out of service, for one reason or another–which of us can’t name at least one?
Here’s my response:
When we still didn’t know what Rick’s diagnosis was, when doctors were telling me he may not survive, God highlighted some specific verses to me. Several had the same theme: “You have trained my hands for battle and my fingers for war.” I found that peculiar, but time has proved it true. We were entering a war zone, as much spiritual as physical.
Satan has always had a bead on God’s leaders—his goal is ALWAYS to stop the flow of truth. Whether his attacks have escalated in proportion recently, or whether our technology is simply keeping us more aware of those attacks, who knows? Either way, pastors aren’t exempt from trouble, so seeing one fall, for whatever reason shouldn’t surprise us–for several reasons.
1. Pastors are, like the rest of us, human. Made of clay. Clay breaks.
2. God sees further than we do. Afflictions–for any of us–may have absolutely nothing to do with us. Rick and I don’t focus on the “why’s” because the reason is really none of our business. We rest on the fact that God has allowed my husband’s illness and our subsequent losses (and triumphs) for his own sweet purposes.
David believed that “in faithfulness you (God) have afflicted me” and we agree. He has used the Nile journey we’re still very much on tremendously for his glory. We believe that one of the most significant factors in that was the high level of prayer initially raised on our behalf.
3. Part of the problem may be US! God is always greater than Satan, and he chooses to work, among other ways, through the prayers of his people. If it is true that more pastors and Christian leaders are under attack, perhaps the fault lies in our own lack of strong, effectual prayer for our leaders. Consider this disturbing quote from an article I’ve just discovered by David Cannistraci in Charisma, in 2003:
“Are you praying and fasting for your spiritual leaders? Others are, but not in the way you might think. Many of us are now aware that witches routinely fast and pray for the downfall of our Christian leaders.
“Spiritual warfare specialist Ed Murphy tells a shocking story of a conversation he had on an airplane with an occult leader who admitted that he and others were fasting for key spiritual leaders to fall into sickness and disgrace.
“The truth is, pastors too often go unsupported during these times of attack. One significant pastor I know suffered a massive heart attack and then a stroke from ministry pressure. Shortly afterward more than 100 families left his big-city church.
“Their reason? They thought his faith was not strong enough. If he had been a true man of God, they reasoned, these things would not have happened to him.
“We had better figure out whose side we are on and keep our eyes open. David made it clear that failing to properly protect your leader is a serious sin (see 1 Sam. 26:13-15).”
Here’s the link to the remainder of that article: http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/features2/418-prayer-and-spiritual-warfare/8067-your-pastor-is-under-attack#ixzz15B8RX8zg