One-a-Day...for the Heart: War in Heaven
That doesn’t sound right—war in heaven?? Heaven is a glorious place with streets of gold and Jesus walking about…friends and families present, lions lying beside lambs, pearly gates, mansions, angelic beings, etc. Heaven is certainly not a war zone, or is it?
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago — whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows — such a one was caught up to the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2 NKJV). Paul the Apostle wrote the letters to the Corinthians and was speaking of himself in this verse. For a brief time, he was supernaturally translated to a place he called the “third heaven.” Genesis 1:1 says, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. For Paul to have visited the third heaven, it is a logical deduction that first and second heavens exist as well.
The first heaven refers to the visible heaven we see, i.e. the sky, moon, stars, clouds, and sun. The third heaven is where the Father dwells. It is also called Paradise, and Jesus used this term when He promised the criminal on the cross beside Him that they would be in Paradise together, "I assure you, today you will be with Me in Paradise," Luke 23:43 (NLT).
It is the second heaven where tremendous spiritual activity occurs, and in this arena between the visible heaven and Paradise, angelic and demonic beings engage in intense warfare. This is the area—the “heaven,” if you will—where principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places (mentioned in Ephesians 6:12 KJV) fight against the Angel Armies of heaven to control the destinies of men and kingdoms for the purposes of God or the purposes of Satan.
Most of our prayers are focused on things right in front of us—those things directly in our physical lives and proximity. When we realize that things happening to us and our world are determined in large part by the spiritual warfare that occurs in the second heaven, our prayer focus changes and takes on a powerful dimension as we exercise the authority we have in Christ. We are not timid, chicken-hearted, cowardly church mice approaching the Lord with our requests. We are sons and daughters of the Most High God! We are, according to 1 Peter 2:9, a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. We can come boldly before His throne of grace with the least or the greatest concerns.
When the unseen world becomes more real to us than the seen world, our prayers begin to take on dynamic new meaning and purpose. The effectiveness of now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep prayers or good-bread-good-meat-oh-boy-let’s-eat blessings pale when compared to the excitement of engaging in spiritual warfare that has the potential of releasing amazing answers to immovable mountains obstructing our lives, our nation, and the world. Be bold in your prayers! The Lord tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and to pray in agreement with His desires (if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us 1 John 5:14).
Derek Prince, in his book, War in Heaven (page 119), gives us three simple questions to consider before we pray:
1. Are my prayers based on Scripture or are they just the expression of my own wishful thinking?
2. Do I pray the kind of aggressive, irresistible prayers that will reach God’s throne?
3. When I pray, am I prepared to deal with satanic spiritual forces in a heavenly realm and not merely with situations on a purely human level?
When Daniel prayed for three weeks about a certain situation that seemed impossible (Daniel 10), he had no idea that his prayers activated one of the most powerful warring angels, the Archangel Michael, to engage in battle in the second heaven with the powerful demonic prince of Persia. His fervent, consistent prayer availed much, and the Lord sent the Angel Gabriel to tell Daniel that his prayers were heard from the very first day he began praying! Don’t give up! Just because we can’t physically see what is happening in the second heaven doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! Nothing is further from the truth.
Even while we sleep, second heaven warfare goes on. Indeed, the Lord fights for us while we keep silent (Exodus 14:14 NASB). By asking the Lord to do battle against demonic principalities or powers that are affecting our lives, we can realize the dramatic effect of evil forces being destroyed and victory and blessing being released. Never stop praying. A LOT is going on behind the scenes!