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Hell's Toxic Trio: Defeat the Demonic Spirits That Stall Your Destiny

Hell's Toxic Trio: Defeat the Demonic Spirits That Stall Your Destiny

by Ryan LeStrange


Learn More | Meet Ryan LeStrange

Chapter 1

The Reality of the Unseen Realm

God took me into a vision of the future as I was ministering with a dear friend of mine who carries a strong prophetic mantle for the nation of America. We were ministering to people prophetically, laying hands on them, and releasing the word of the Lord. I walked onto the platform next to my friend, and I was immediately caught up into another dimension. It came in an instant! It was as though a whirlwind was carrying me higher and higher up into the spirit realm.

Suddenly I was swept up into this powerful encounter in the realm of the spirit. I was caught up, and God was about to show me something of great significance. This is how prophetic communication and experiences often occur in my life; they come in a moment, carrying great purpose. In a single instant God can give a message that changes the course of a person, ministry, family, or nation. We must learn to recognize, emphasize, and value these types of experiences. They carry communication from another realm.

As I was swept into the realm of the spirit, I saw the stadiums in America erupting with uncontrollable fire. The fire of deliverance was hitting the masses. It was not calm, but violent in nature as the purging fires of heaven burned out demon powers. There was an intermingling of fire and glory bringing mass deliverance. I asked the Lord about what I saw; He told me that there is a dimension of glory so heavy that it displaces demons. People can be set free in this glory.

In this vision I saw the fire of Pentecost knocking multitudes off their feet with Upper Room power. There was an extreme outpouring of fire like what fell in chapter 2 of the Book of Acts. What I saw was unlike anything I ever witnessed in large gatherings. It was much more intense and radical. The Lord told me, "It is coming!"

There is a fiery move coming forth. The Lord told me this fire and glory will be carried by the pure. He is going to use those who have refused to change their message to please religious spirits. He is mantling those who have chosen not to bow to political systems in the church but have stayed tuned in to what heaven is declaring. They will operate in this next level of fire and glory.

Dimensions and Viewpoints

Almost a year later, I was hosting a conference where one of the great prophets in our nation was speaking. He began to weep as he shared dreams the Lord had given him for America. He shared about the move of mass deliverance he saw coming to the nation. As he poured out from his spirit, it was like lightning hit me. I heard him speak of the very same things I had seen that day when I was shown the coming move of fire.

These encounters may sound strange or unusual, but they are typical for born-again people filled with the Spirit of God. Prophetic experiences and encounters should be a daily activity for Christians. It should not seem strange or unusual that people are having dreams and visions of that which is and that which is to come. It was these types of supernatural encounters that fueled the move of God in the early church. As heaven spoke, the people moved.

We are living and breathing here on Earth, yet we are born of another dimension, called to occupy another space. We are spiritual beings temporarily parked in this natural realm.

    Brothers, become fellow imitators with me and observe those who walk according to our example. For many are walking in such a way that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ. I have told you of them often and tell you again, even weeping. Their destination is destruction, their god is their appetite, their glory is in their shame, their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, from where also we await for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our body of humiliation, so that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working of His power even to subdue all things to Himself.
      —Philippians 3:17–21

Paul paints a vivid picture of people living with two drastically different perspectives. One group has their minds set on earthly things, therefore missing the heavenly prize. They are so focused on this present world that their lives are void of spiritual power and significance. Paul boldly declares that this would not be his pathway, nor would it be the journey of the Philippian church. They were navigating two spaces, this present world and that which is to come. They were active and effective in living, working, and building during their time on Earth, but their walk was empowered by the realization that they were effectively representing another dimension. They were heavenly citizens, ambassadors, equipped to subdue the powers of darkness, shipwreck the strategies of hell, and release the kingdom.

This is a picture of how we are to walk. We are to be representatives of the heavenly sphere with supernatural power and authority functioning in the now. We are not waiting for a one-day breakthrough or blessing. We are to be moving, living, working, and functioning in it right now!

There is an often unseen realm of the spirit. Many pastors and ministry leaders are facing conflict and challenge in their churches. They think they are just having difficulty with a rebellious person, but there is something deeper at work in these situations. Many families are facing sudden struggle that is so overwhelming that family members are battling the urge to leave and break up the family. Their minds are under siege, and their commitment is being tested. The devil wants to hide behind natural reasoning and human wisdom.

Let me be clear: I believe in counseling, renewing the mind, and growing in wisdom. Not every challenge can be resolved by casting out a demon. Sometimes people must work to grow in wisdom, to advance in understanding, and to change some things about themselves. We are three-part beings.

    May the very God of peace sanctify you completely. And I pray to God that your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
      —1 Thessalonians 5:23

To be sanctified wholly, we must deal with our threefold nature. We are a spirit. The spirit part of our being contains the DNA of heaven. My spirit is not ever depressed. My spirit does not desire the nature of the enemy or lust after the works of hell. When I was born again, the kingdom came to rest in my spirit with all power and authority. If believers learned how to live and dwell in the spirit realm, they would live their lives in victorious exploits. The enemy works to bombard and overwhelm them, to trap them in the beggarly elements of earth, but God has called them to soar high above the works of darkness.

The second part of man is the soul. I believe this complex part of our being is the mind, will, and emotions. It is the part that feels, understands, and chooses. This part can become toxic without the washing of the water of the Word of God.

    That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.
      —Ephesians 5:26

The Word of God is like a Holy Spirit washing machine that removes the stains and pains of past experiences, turmoil, and torment. The reality of the Word of God can and will annihilate bondage in a human soul.

Healing Wounded and Damaged Souls

A wounded and damaged soul becomes a breeding ground for wrong spiritual influences. In fact, wounded emotions can act as gateways to demonic powers. The devil understands that your beliefs determine your direction. One of his warfare strategies is to infiltrate the way you think. He wants to empower false belief systems, toxic thinking, and reckless emotional upheaval.

    That you put off the former way of life in the old nature, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new nature, which was created according to God in righteousness and true holiness.
      —Ephesians 4:22–24

Healing wounds in the soul is a critical step in personal freedom. It firmly closes an open door to the powers of the enemy. Here are some simple steps that serve as keys to help you dismantle emotional bondages that the enemy has constructed in your life.

Recognize the problem.

The first step to recovery is recognition. You can identify patterns, emotional outbursts (when the wound is triggered), and unhealthy cycles. Seeing that there is a problem empowers confrontation and healing. Denial empowers the bondage to remain. Many people with soul wounds live in a continual state of denial and false blame. This allows the hurt to remain and the problem to be camouflaged.

Get to the root.

You need Holy Spirit’s guidance, deliverance, healing, and cleansing. Once you have recognized a problem, allow Holy Spirit to shine a bright light on the root system. How did this begin? What was the point of trauma? What is the root system that I need to deal with? For example, a wound of rejection can manifest as anger, but that is just the fruit, not the root. The healing must go down all the way to the root. The entry wound needs to be dealt with. Often this process will require assistance from other skilled ministers, depending on the depth of the issue.

Confront inner thoughts and lies.

Lies come to block the working of truth. The Word of God is truth! It is your foundation and must be the basis from which you draw your identity. Every deep emotional wound will form a series of lies that empower the existence of the wound. You must boldly confront the lies and make a decision to uproot them.

Replace lies with truth.

There is healing in the Word of God. If the enemy has planted a lie in you that says you are not valuable, then you must get Scripture that contradicts that lie. The Word acts as an antidote to the toxic infection of lies and bondage.

Meditate on the Word.

Release transformation through meditation. Meditation is the system of spiritual digestion. You must get in the truth and pray over those verses. Speak them, ponder them, and allow them to penetrate to the deepest recesses of your mind and emotions. This process draws out the healing properties of the Word of God. Sometimes you will spend days and months in the same verses because you are chewing them up and digesting them. You may need to write them and post them up on the walls as reminders of your promise.

Break behavior patterns and cycles tied to lies.

Each and every wound will create bad behavior patterns and cycles. Once you have dealt with the root, you have displaced the power of the wound, but there may be residual patterns that need to be broken. If you have acted a certain way for years, it is now routine and you have to make a conscious decision not to allow that behavior anymore. When you catch yourself falling back into an old pattern, be quick to do a course correct. Sometimes, if the wound was severe, you may actually have to learn how to act normally. This is particularly true in the area of relationships.

Resist, worship, and walk it out.

Coming out of these patterns can be a process. There must be resistance on a regular basis. Worship and inviting the presence of God into your life brings oil into what can feel like a dry process. Then you must walk it out—day by day, bit by bit. Don't get discouraged if you have a thought that is not healthy—this is a temptation. Cast it down and keep pressing on. Give yourself permission to walk out the process.

Rest in the grace of God.

You must come back to the perfect work of the Cross. One of the things Jesus did was take all emotional upheaval and wounds in your place. His unfailing love and perfect work empowers your freedom. You must not and cannot get trapped in condemnation and self-righteousness. Having a strong understanding of God's grace and goodness will empower your recovery.

Part of maturing in the new nature is accessing new ways of thinking. The Word of God becomes the road map to proper thinking and therefore opens the gateways to kingdom living. Once you think differently, you live differently. Renewing the mind is not a single-step process but a journey of continual change, growth, and renewal.

Here is a list of ten types of damaged souls, their symptoms, and Scripture passages to renew your mind and put you on the path toward proper thinking.

  1. Conflicted soul—unable to make rational decisions, tossed to and fro, highly unstable and overly emotional

    A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

      —Proverbs 14:30, The Message
  2. Tormented soul—high levels of accusation, fear of punishment, dread over past mistakes, a heavy lack of peace

    There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

      —Romans 8:1

    And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

      —Philippians 4:7
  3. Fearful soul—fearful and anxious on a regular basis, unable to do certain activities because of abnormal levels of fear

    For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control.

      —2 Timothy 1:7

    There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. Whoever fears is not perfect in love.

      —1 John 4:18
  4. Anxious soul—nervous and easily panicked, a void of peace and rest, anxiety attacks and bouts with a racing heart and/or heavy breathing

    Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God.

      —Philippians 4:6
  5. Rejected soul—easily offended and continually needing unnatural levels of affirmation

    If my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me in.

      —Psalm 27:10

    All whom the Father gives Me will come to Me, and he who comes to Me I will never cast out.

      —John 6:37
  6. Weary soul—tired and frustrated, a lack of flow in the Spirit, feeling frustrated and assuming that kingdom works will not produce promised harvest

    For I satiate the weary souls and I replenish every languishing soul.

      —Jeremiah 31:25

    Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me. For I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

      —Matthew 11:28–29
  7. Offended soul—holding grudges and refusing to let go of past wrongs; this type of emotional wound is yoked to a spirit of bitterness and infirmity that can manifest in various crippling illnessesBear with one another and forgive one another. If anyone has a quarrel against anyone, even as Christ forgave you, so you must do.
      —Colossians 3:13

    Pursue peace with all men, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord, watching diligently so that no one falls short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness spring up to cause trouble, and many become defiled by it.

      —Hebrews 12:14–15
  8. Lost soul—vagabond mentality, refusing to be established in the Word of God and the will of God

    Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season; its leaf will not wither, and whatever he does will prosper.

      —Psalm 1:1–3
  9. Wounded soul—enduring hurts and long-term wounds; this creates a toxic mental environment that sees everything in a negative light

    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.

      —Psalm 23:1–3

    [The Lord] gathers together the outcasts of Israel. He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.

      —Psalm 147:2–3
  10. Confused soul—vacillating between ideas, unsure of identity, lacking clarity; not resolute and firm in thought, decision, or direction

    The steps of a man are made firm by the Lord; He delights in his way.

      —Psalm 37:23

Your Earthly House

The third part of man is the body. Your body permits you to be here on planet Earth, the house for your spirit man. Hebrews 9:27 says, "As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment." This verse is not referring to spiritual death but to physical death. It teaches a basic Bible doctrine that every human being will eventually experience death in the flesh and then enter eternity.

    Instead, I say that we are confident and willing to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
      —2 Corinthians 5:8

The moment our natural bodies take their final breath, we are instantly swept into another dimension. We do not die in terms of the spiritual dimensions; we simply shift arenas. We are no longer confined by the limitations of earthly bodies but are swallowed up into the realm of the spirit to receive our eternal rewards. This is one of the reasons why we must boldly teach and preach that the spirits of the dead are not hanging around on Earth. Grandma is not coming back to talk with you—it is a demon spirit that is mimicking her. She has entered the realm of eternity. No loved one who passed away is in your present; they are in your future.

The physical body has appetites that must be bridled in order to do the will of God. To have a rich and vibrant spirit life, you must conquer fleshly living.

    I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. These are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are revealed, which are these: adultery, sexual immorality, impurity, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, rage, selfishness, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I previously warned you, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
      —Galatians 5:16–21

You must learn to live from the realm of the spirit and subdue the nature of your flesh. Discipline is a key ingredient to victory. Our bodies were created to serve us; we were not created to serve our bodies. There is often a struggle between the desires of the flesh and the realm of the spirit. It is conquered by being intentional and consistent in developing the spiritual life. As you learn to live from the place of the spirit, you will override the natural appetites of the flesh.

    See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.
      —Ephesians 5:15–21, NKJV

Maximizing Spiritual Moments

Paul encourages us to live rich spiritual lives, redeeming the time. He gives us a picture of maximizing moments and reaching the full spiritual intention of each season. How is this accomplished? It is reached through a daily infilling of Holy Spirit! He instructs us not to be drunk on wine but rather to be filled with the Spirit. The indication here is that there is a dwelling place in the glory of God that produces a similar effect to drunkenness.

Have you ever been in a restaurant enjoying a quiet evening only to be interrupted by people who have had too much to drink? They forget about everyone else. They are louder, bolder, and brutally honest because they are drunk. It is the same picture that we have in the Upper Room. Newly filled disciples came staggering out of a prayer meeting and were accused by the religious of being drunk. (See Acts 2:13.) They acted and spoke differently. Their level of boldness increased. There is a realm in the spirit that produces the intoxication of heaven and fuels personal, regional, and global revival!

This is the type of radical spirit living that comes from a fresh flow of Holy Spirit power in our lives. We are no longer timid but free to be as bold as lions (Prov. 28:1). Intentional communion with Holy Spirit brings greater awareness of the realm of the spirit and supernatural living. The picture in Paul's writings is not of a single encounter but a daily walk. We are called to receive a fresh flow of heaven daily. We are called to receive heavenly wisdom, heavenly insight, and heavenly empowerment. We were never called to live spiritually stagnant.

The word dwell means "to remain for a time; to live as a resident; to keep the attention directed; to speak or write insistently." This is not a picture of passive pursuit but of an intentional lifestyle. We are called to live in the dimension of the spirit. One of the schemes of hell is to cause our minds, attention, and eyes to be fixed upon the natural realm, which dilutes our spiritual sensitivity and shipwrecks our faith.

Prayer Is a Cornerstone

One of the cornerstones of spirit living is prayer. At its heart, prayer is communication with God. There are many types of prayer that are valid and important. For example, the prayer of agreement is when two believers simply agree on a promise. A prayer of binding is when a child of God exercises legal authority over the works of darkness, forbidding their operation and advancements. There is a prayer of deep groaning and travail in the spirit, a gut-wrenching birthing in which the spirit dimension takes over the faculties of a believer to cry out in unknown languages and sounds until victory is realized in the spirit. A seasoned believer learns and utilizes the different facets of prayer. To engage the realm of the spirit, a person must be seasoned in prayer and active in daily fellowship with God.

    Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Examine all things. Firmly hold onto what is good.
      —1 Thessalonians 5:16–21

These verses illustrate the lifestyle that unfolds the spirit dimension. We are instructed to "pray without ceasing." What does this look like practically? Is this stating we should neglect our family responsibilities and commitments and remain in a prayer closet 24/7? I don't believe these verses communicate that at all. I believe they are telling us that in all things we are to maintain an attitude of continual prayer. I say it like this: "Live tuned in!" We live with an ear on the heartbeat of Jesus, continually leaning in and looking into the realm of the spirit, listening, and being quick to heed His instructions.

In John Eckhardt's best-selling book Prayers That Rout Demons, he writes, "Our source of power is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. We build ourselves up in faith when we confess the Word of God. We experience greater confidence when we understand the Word and walk in revelation. Prayer plugs us into the power source. Prayer connects us to God and allows His power to flow to us in any situation."

We were made to live in communion with God. We are called to dwell in His presence. We are marked and mantled as carriers of the glory. You can never carry the glory if you have not first heard His voice! The accuracy of hearing Him is contingent upon the strength of listening. Prayer is a two-way conversation. It is a dialogue in which you offer your heart up to God through intimate conversation and come into His presence, allowing Him to reveal His heart to you.

Every world changer has a red-hot prayer life! Prayer is the lifeblood of spiritual progress, breakthrough, and exploits. Without clear direction, intimate fellowship, and radical pursuit, there will be no supernatural displays of power.

    Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much. Elijah was a man subject to natural passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.
      —James 5:16–18

The word fervent in James 5:16 comes from a Greek word meaning to be active, operative, or put forth power. Another definition is "energize, working in a situation which brings it from one stage (point) to the next, like an electrical current energizing a wire, bringing it to a shining light bulb." This type of fervent prayer releases spiritual power that opens the heavens and releases the strength of the kingdom. It is vital in spiritual warfare because things are never moved in the realm of the spirit without prayer. Prayer is the power that turns on the light of revelation. Without prayer, there is no revelation, and without revelation, there is no effective warfare.

Sometime ago I was preaching and felt prompted to follow in the footsteps of the apostle Paul. Paul prayed a powerful and effective prayer on behalf of the church at Ephesus as chronicled in Ephesians 1. He asked that the eyes of their inner man be opened. I prayed this prayer over a lady, and she told me that almost immediately she became aware of the spiritual realm in a much more profound way. (This is one of the things that apostolic people and leaders must do—release life-giving impartation and activate the spiritual sight of the church.) Her spiritual vision surged as she became acutely aware of atmospheres, bondages, needs, and potential breakthroughs. At first she was almost overwhelmed by all that her spiritual senses were picking up, which is often the case when people have their spiritual senses kicked into high gear. She shared with me the struggle that she was having sitting in a church service when she began to see and sense things. She lost track of what was happening in the meeting, distracted by the tangibility of the spirit realm and all that was going on around her.

Mature prophetic people come to understand that seeing or knowing something is not an automatic release to act upon it. Once your eyes are opened, you find yourself seeing frequently because the veil between the spiritual and natural realm is torn down. Prophetic seeing and knowing must be weighed by the Word of God. It must be weighed by the spiritual authority in your life and ministry. All things in the kingdom are subject to authority. This means that if I am under another person's authority, I must be subject to his or her chain of command and protocol. Many believe that once their spiritual senses become active, it is a license to release anything at any time, but that is an extremely immature prophetic paradigm.

    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
      —Romans 13:1–2

In the early church the apostles were on the front lines exposing demon rulers, confronting them, and mobilizing the church to tear them down. Paul fervently sought an impartation of insight and heavenly vision for his spiritual children. He wanted them to be keenly aware of the spirit realm. Without this awareness, there is no action plan for victory. The enemy will reduce you to a realm of carnality and defeat. This is part of his strategy—to bombard your natural senses, physical desires, and emotional well-being until you become oblivious to the realm of the spirit.

Demon powers find satisfaction in the destruction of humanity. They war against the children of God because our very existence reminds them of the downtrodden and cursed place in which they have been assigned to live. They strive to kill the God nature in us and degrade our lives to a series of monotonous, carnal activities with no spiritual impact. They infiltrate our thinking with humanistic arguments and fleshly wisdom, denying the realm of the supernatural. This is a master strategy that keeps demonic entities under the cover of darkness without exposure and empowers their wicked schemes.

Prophetic People

Prophets and prophetic people are like spotlights. They violently break through the murky abyss and uncloak the weapons of the enemy. James W. Goll masterfully describes these vital roles in his book The Seer:

    As an anointed people, we as the Body of Christ have been called to carry a prophetic-type burden that will cause us to live on the cutting edge of God's eternal purpose. The prophetic ministry is but one aspect of the fivefold calling of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. As such, it is resident to a degree in every ministry and more evident and active in certain ones. God's ultimate weapon is a man or a woman who has encountered the prophetic anointing. God does not anoint projects; He anoints people!

    People anointed with a prophetic ministry speak the word of the Lord in the name of the Lord. They carry weight in the Church by virtue of the ethical, moral, and spiritual urgency of their message. Their credentials, credibility, and status as prophetic vessels stem not from birth or official designation, but by the power of their inner call and by the response of those who hear them.

I often say that all prophets and prophetic people live with giant targets on their backs because the forces of hell realize they can see them. The enemy cannot afford to be exposed, because exposure is one of the first steps of deliverance. Without proper revelation, a person, family, ministry, or region will remain firmly within the grip of demonic forces. The hidden demons must be uncovered, the plans made manifest, the attacks revealed, and the schemes divulged. This is one of the life-giving aspects of healthy prophetic ministry. Prophets and prophetic anointing shine light in the dark places and work in tandem with apostolic leaders to bring revelation that empowers building.

Learning to live with a keen sensitivity to the realm of the spirit is imperative to living a life of victory. Heaviness manifesting is often a sign of a hidden demonic power. God has provided a series of prophetic tools and spiritual gifts by which He speaks to His people. As children of God, we must educate ourselves on His methodology of speaking and be quick to recognize the message. Once we have received communication, we must effectively steward it. Learning to live with spirit eyes and ears open is key!

Prophetic power tools are given to reveal and release the will of God in the lives of people. Where the will of God is known, strength is provided. Prophecy releases power. Far too often the gifts are abused to unnecessarily wound God’s people. Young and immature believers mistake what they hear and see as permission to bring accusation and manifest a spirit of rebellion.

    But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification and exhortation and comfort.
      —1 Corinthians 14:3

Recently I had an encounter with a group like that. I was conducting a multi-day training seminar and activating people in prophetic gifts. As time went by, I sensed an extreme heaviness hitting the room. I began to pray, and the Lord immediately highlighted 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter. He told me to read those scriptures the following day and ask the participants to repent for any areas where they were not walking in love. He told me to have them minister to one another and let go of anything hindering them. As I obeyed the instruction of the Lord, it became obvious that there were some heavy offenses brewing in the group.

I confronted a few people and found out they were faultfinding and criticizing people in the prophetic classes. As I gave them instruction and wisdom, they had a defense for every correction. They were blinded to their own wrongdoing and walking in open rebellion. They were deceived by experiencing things they deemed as spiritual; they believed they were right and everyone else was wrong, including those in authority over the seminar.

This stance violates several simple prophetic protocols, but deeper than that, it opens the door for the enemy by partnering with a spirit of rebellion. If indeed they were picking up on issues with others, the first step should have been to develop the heart of an intercessor for those who were hurting. This is key to changing atmospheres and lives. God releases and reveals to bring us into a place of prayer and petition. Intercession is vital.

    For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing to all, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might according to His glorious power, enduring everything with perseverance and patience joyfully, giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled us to be partakers in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of His dear Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
      —Colossians 1:9–14

Paul was a mighty apostle of God moving in strength and demonstration, yet he was a passionate intercessor who gave much of his time and energy to praying for others. Intercession is at the forefront of transformation. God will often reveal something as an invitation to pray. Prayer releases angels, strengthens people, allows us to partner with the heavenly realm, moves things in the heavens, and lifts people out of bondage. Prayer releases power.

In understanding the dimensions of the spirit, we must comprehend atmospheres. The atmosphere in a place is the emotional climate, the vibe, the feeling. Have you ever walked into a room where people were having a heated disagreement and stopped as soon as you walked in? Even though the verbal communication ended, the emotional and spiritual temperature was at a boiling point. We would say, "You could cut the tension with a knife." That is a reference to the atmosphere. Atmospheres are manifestations of spiritual forces.

Atmospheric Shifts

I remember the first time I visited Disneyland. They call it a place where dreams come true. As a small child, I had never experienced any place like it. My senses were on overload. There were costumed characters everywhere. The smell of carnival foods filled the park. Every section had a theme, and even the shrubs were cut in the shape of Disney characters. None of that happened by accident. A huge team of people worked around the clock to cultivate an atmosphere that made guests feel happy.

Just as Disneyland creates an atmosphere, churches and ministries create atmospheres. I have spoken in places where the atmosphere was so filled with hunger that you could just say the name of Jesus and people would begin to shout! It is easy to move in the supernatural and release strong prophetic preaching in places like that because they are like spiritual wombs, alive with power and presence.

Recently this was illustrated to me in a profound way. God had given me a strong prophetic message to preach. I released it in one place with great power and authority. As I preached, it was as though layers of revelation were being released. Words, statements, and thoughts blazed across my consciousness with ease. The place erupted with shouts as I spoke. I traveled to another place and preached along the same lines, releasing the same revelation, but it felt as though every word fell flat with no impact. When I finished, I couldn’t wait to leave. I felt heavy and extremely frustrated. I asked the Lord why. He told me it was the atmosphere. He said that some places have the right atmosphere to release strong prophetic insight while others do not as the people have not prepared themselves and the word will not be received.

When a home falls into sudden strife, it can be the manifestation of a demon spirit. When this happens, people are swept into the atmosphere of the thing without praying and discerning the source behind the heaviness. If we would be more sensitive, we would avoid a lot of unnecessary trouble. One of the most prophetic tools we have is our use of words. All of creation came into existence as a result of what God spoke in Genesis 1. We must guard and appropriate our words to create the right atmosphere and to shut the door on the wrong ones. When we announce things such as "I am in a bad mood," we are inviting in spirits of heaviness and anxiety. When we say, "I am on edge," we open the door for torment and fear. When we proclaim, "The stress is killing me," we release a two-edged attack. We empower spirits of stress, trauma, and confusion, and we also release a death decree over our bodies. Many times we say things without any thought of the consequences. These are all proclamations that shift atmospheres.

Many people just accept the current vibe in their home as the reality without attempting to discern what is happening behind the scenes. Climates and atmospheres are typically the result of spiritual laws and principles. Atmospheres must be governed. We have authority to cleanse our homes. We can declare the promises of God, bind the forces of hell, and release the glory of God in our homes. The same principles can be applied in the workplace. I am convinced that many kingdom people are being sent into the marketplace to release and demonstrate the kingdom of God. Entire companies could shift as a result of prayer and decree!

I have seen churches and ministries suddenly come under a cloud of heaviness. This is often the result of anti-anointing spirits lurking undercover, creating false accusations, releasing division, and plundering the camp. It takes rich prophetic insight, powerful intercession, and strong apostolic authority to turn back the tide and break the attack. Powerful churches are closed today because Jezebel walked in the back door and was not discerned or dealt with. Properly discerning the spiritual climate and identifying and effectively breaking the driving force of an attack can save the life of a ministry.

Points to Consider

  • Are you sensitive to the realm of the spirit?
  • Are you aware of the atmosphere around you?
  • When you sense something negative about another, do you pray or criticize?
  • Have you developed regular prayer habits? If not, then when, where, and how will you start?

Where to Begin

  • Become aware of atmospheres in various places.
  • Be intentional about praying over the atmospheres where you have authority.
  • Pay attention to dreams, promptings, and leadings.
  • Don't brush off heaviness. Ask for discernment about what is behind it and take authority over it.

Prayer

    Father, I thank You that the eyes of my inner man are open. I thank You that I hear, see, and know in the realm of the spirit. I thank You that I do not overlook Your subtle promptings and clear directions. I ask for divine insight and spirit leading in my life. I commit my steps to You, and I will be aware of Your instructions. In Jesus's name, amen.

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