Updated: Jun 17
In my previous blog, I did not include prayer because safeguarding a church from a toxic culture and the abuse of power through prayer needs a blog of its own.
Prayer is the power undergirding the transformation of a church culture from a toxic culture to a safe culture. Jesus told us
, "...apart from me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5).
When we pray, we must listen to how God responds to our prayers. God's intervention may be unconventional, so it's important not to put God in a box as it relates to how He wants to transform our churches. You may be praying that God "send someone," and God may be sending you. We all must be ready to respond to God's invitation like Isaiah, "Lord, here am I send me." (Isaiah 6:8). God may be inviting you to be courageous like David and fight the Goliath of toxicity and abuse of power in your church, or you could be called to be an Esther; you may be called to go and speak to the King: those who are in power with the same resolve of Esther, "If I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:16). Pray. But listen for the response because God might invite you to put some feet on your prayers and take action.
Don't underestimate the power of fasting. Esther called a three-day fast (Esther 4:16), and Jesus even said when the disciples could not drive out a demon that some demons can only leave by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21). (Resource on Fasting)
Gather your prayer warriors and intercessors and seek God about fasting and praying on behalf of your church. Seek God for:
How many days is He calling you to fast,
The type of fast that you should be on,
Listen for the specific things that God would have you pray about.
One of the church's most prevalent demonic spirits is the Jezebel spirit. The spirit of Jezebel's goal is to kill the prophets and hinder the message and the ministry that proclaims what the Truth is.
If you discover that your church is being ruled by the Jezebel spirit, don't overlook that Jezebel did not function without Ahab, so if Jezebel is reigning, then so does the spirit of Ahab. Ahab is described as a King who did "more evil in the eyes of the Lord" than all who were before him" (1 King 16:30).
In Cindy Trimm's book, The Rules of Engagement, she describes the spirit of Jezebel as "pious, puffed up with pride, and blatantly disregards delegated authority. It works contrary to the laws of spiritual protocol, refuses to submit, and instead rallies for the authority and influence that rightfully belongs to God's appointed leadership. It operates thru both males and females and appeals to the iniquity of the heart, often utilizing those overtaken by the spirit of Ahab to fulfill its wishes".
She describes the spirit of Ahab as a person who "complies with wishes, commands, and directives given by those influenced or possessed by the spirit of Jezebel even when it goes against their own personal will and conviction. This spirit undermines a person's rights and authority and totally opens them to be disrespected and have their boundaries violated, be they territorial, personal, or psychological. This spirit is a doorkeeper, and its discretion opens doors to other principalities and strongholds." If you believe that the spirit of Ahab and Jezebel rules your church, I highly recommend you purchase the book by Cindy Trimm, The Rules of Engagement.
When you pray, remember that you are not wrestling with flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). And the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in pulling down strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4). The people and the persons who have the power to bring about the change are not your enemies. Nor are the leaders who are abusing their power. Those people have been deceived. They may be controlled by the spirit of Ahab, Jezebel, and or other demonic principalities that have overtaken them. How did this happen, you asked? At some point in their lives, they gave them permission to control their lives, perhaps through selfish, ambition, deception, indifference, pride, etc. You will need to stand in the gap for them. Don't just pray "against" the spirit of Ahab and Jezebel; you must also call forth the Spirit of Holiness to control their lives like the spirit of Truth and love and all of the other fruit of the spirit.
Pray that they will renounce the authority that they have given to the spirit of Jezebel or Ahab in their lives. They will not be free from the spirit of Jezebel or Ahab without renouncing the authority they have given to that spirit. They need to revoke the permission of the spirit of Jezebel and Ahab in their lives.
The scriptures say in Matthew 12:45 that "when a house is swept clean, seven more will come and overtake it," so don't just ask for those spirit's to be removed, but also ask God to fill those persons with the Spirit of God who can "stand up in them" and deliver them.
If you think you have the spirit of Jezebel or Ahab, click on the following prayer(s) and pray it out loud.
Lastly, when you pray, ask God to search your own heart (Psalm 139:23). I also recommend that you pray Psalm 51 so that no root of bitterness (Hebrews 12:15) forms in your heart because if we have cherished sin in our heart, God will not listen (Ps. 66:18). Before you pray about anything concerning your church:
Start by spending time confessing your sins.
Name your sins specifically. Ask God to bring your sins to your mind and heart for you to confess.
Confess them by saying, "Lord, I confess (agreeing with God that it is a sin and offensive to Him) that (name the sin) is sinful, and I repent.
Ask for Forgiveness.
Then receive the forgiveness that comes with confessing your sins (1 John 1:9).
This should be your practice when praying about anything. Many prayers go unanswered because we are not coming to God with clean hands and a pure heart (Ps. 24:4, Isaiah 10:12, Isaiah 33:15-16, Micah 6:8).
If you meet as a group, begin your prayer time with a confession. Give people time to confess sins out loud and or silently before spending time praying about the situation in your church.
Then pray for your church etc.; some things to pray for are: that Truth will prevail, that every congregant and leader will walk in humility and that God will open up the blinded eyes, etc.,
I will conclude this blog with a prayer:
O God, come to our assistance. O God, hurry to save us. O God, hasten to help us. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.*
*Harper, Steve. A Pocket Guide to Prayer, Deluxe Edition (p. 20). Upper Room. Kindle Edition.