from Evil Spirits
by Francis MacNutt
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THE MOST EFFECTIVE PRAYER AGAINST EVIL CAN BE TO AVOID IT TO BEGIN WITH
by Michael H. Brown
Last week I was flying back from the South on a packed flight when a tall heavyset man settled next to me. I was in the aisle seat. He was in the middle. He seemed troubled. He had no greeting. In short order he pulled out a magazine with a sexy cover and began to look at it.
I began to feel very uncomfortable and remembered a similar event that had happened to the author of a book I had read. He related how he was on a plane when passengers on both sides of him started reading racy magazines. "Lord," he prayed, "I can't cope with this today. Please chase evil far away." To his astonishment the man on his right suddenly swore and put his magazine away. The other noted that and put his magazine away too.
Since I was now in the same situation, I tried it myself. I prayed in the name of Jesus that this man would stop looking at the magazine. I was exhausted from a long day and didn't feel like facing this. I prayed and prayed and the man did nothing but open the magazine and keep looking at it. He was the last to have boarded the full plane, and we were ready to take off. I sighed to myself in resignation.
Then it happened -- something that, in hundreds of flights, I had never seen. A flight attendant suddenly came to our row, looked at this man, and asked to see him privately, in the jetway. I had no idea what that could be all about, but a few minutes later the man came back to our row, reached in the overhead for his luggage, and left the plane. His last gesture was to reach over and take his magazine. He apparently had been on standby and at the last moment they bumped him to let an off-duty pilot take the flight!
My lesson: sometimes the best prayer is the one in which we simply ask God to let us avoid evil -- the prayer that keeps us away from evil to begin with!
There are times when we have to confront evil but often we can avoid it. That doesn't mean we cower. That doesn't mean we give up spiritual combat. As anyone will see by reading my book, Prayer of the Warrior, I believe we often have to take the forces of darkness head on. But there are times when the lion is best dealt with by avoiding it.
Yet too often we find ourselves in the midst of just such evil. Often we stumble into it through curiosity or by exercising jealousy, judgment, involving ourselves in disputes that are none of our business, or simply by being lax in fasting and prayer. You know what an evil sting feels like. The Bible calls them "fiery darts."
It can also happen after spiritual success: seeking to discourage us, the devil will come around to tempt us or do something to diminish our victory.
The higher we move into the spiritual realm, the greater is the danger of even a minor slip. That's why it's important not only to pray to beat evil, to combat it effectively, when we are called to combat, but often to avoid it entirely. As we move deeper into the spiritual realm of the miraculous, we need to pray, fast, and avoid unnecessary temptation. "Keep us out of the arena of evil, Lord!"
When we pray with faith, God offers His supernatural power to do just that.
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