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Battling Insurgents in the Desert
The Road to Writing “A Warrior’s Prayerbook for Spiritual Warfare”
By Kathryn McBride
“The devil does not sleep, nor is the flesh yet dead; therefore, you must never cease your preparation for battle, because on the right and on the left are enemies who never rest.”
– Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
A friend of mine has given many years of his life in defense of our country during several tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He once said to me, “I’ve been on the battlefield and looked into the eyes of men and seen demons. They have looked into mine, seen Jesus, and shuddered.” Paul, in Ephesians, gives us a glimpse into this supernatural world that we are born into. This world is at war and we are a part of it, whether or not we want to acknowledge it. Ephesians 6 clearly states that our war is not against “flesh and blood,” but is against “powers and principalities.” God has not brought us into this war unarmed, but has given us the tools that we need to fight. These weapons are beautifully described in Ephesians 6: He has given us truth (belt), righteousness (breastplate), salvation (helmet), peace (shoes), the Scriptures in one hand (sword) and faith in the other (shield). Just as a soldier gears up every morning for battle, we need to put on the armor that God has given to us. A soldier “sleeps with his boots on” and is ready, day or night, for battle. Isn’t this exactly what Paul is instructing us to do?
Dr. Alan Redpath famously said, “When God wants to do an impossible task, he takes an impossible individual and crushes him.” This quote has been oddly comforting to me. It shows me that there is a purpose for the pain that God allows into our lives and that not one of our tears is wasted. My desert experience was not in Afghanistan, but began in a cozy home in suburban Chicago. In 2010, I was privileged to participate in Chuck Colson’s Centurion Program in Washington, DC. It is an intensive, year-long course in Biblical Worldview. While there were many blessings that I enjoyed as a result of being part of the Centurions, it was also during that year that other parts of my life began to fall apart. God used these struggles to draw me closer to Himself; however, at the same time, I sensed a new level of warfare with Satan that became increasingly fierce. It seems that the closer we get to God and the more effective we desire to become for Him, the more the battles and the attacks accelerate. During my time in the desert, I have suffered physically and financially, I’ve experienced the deepest heartbreak of my life, and had at times been tempted to feel that God had turned His face from me – which has been the deepest pain of all.
During this time, I was blessed to find a church home at the Moody Church in Chicago. Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Moody’s Senior Pastor, has said, “Only desperate people learn to pray.” I have certainly found that to be true in my life. This desperation led me to seek out wise Christian mentors to help me sort through the difficulties in my life. Even though I had grown up in a family filled with Christian missionaries and had heard many stories of demonic opposition to God’s work throughout the world, I had not fully comprehended that I, too, was in such a battle. One mentor in particular really helped me understand Ephesians 6 as a practical construct to think more Biblically about the spiritual warfare I was encountering. She introduced me to books written by Mark Bubeck, C. Fred Dickason, Neil Anderson, Karl Payne, Marcus Warner, and others. As I read their books, I began collecting their prayers, quotes and Scriptures that were helpful to me. Soon, I had many loose pieces of paper on my hands; and being a graphic designer by profession, I found myself organizing these materials. As a result, I gathered the papers and put them together into a book format. It was a funny thing – I started this project for myself, but as the “book” developed in the weeks and months that followed, friends began requesting copies of my compilation. Once I realized that this resource, which had started as something truly personal had become helpful for others, I worked day and night to complete it.
As time went on, I felt the Lord impress upon me that I should publish it. At first it seemed like an impossible task to get permission from all of the pastors and teachers whose prayers were included. Over the next few months I watched God perform one miracle after another. With the encouragement and first of many needed permissions of my former pastor, Dr. Ray Pritchard of Keep Believing Ministries, I decided to move forward with the project. Through a friend, I was able to make contact with Dr. Mark Bubeck. He was a great blessing as he not only gave me permission to publish his prayers, he also helped me acquire permission from other authors.
Before I published the book, I sent my introduction around to some trusted Christian friends for their input. I received one reply that suggested that a spiritual warfare book “isn’t exactly Christianity 101.” He asked if I really needed to include the Gospel message. However, it seemed to me that we should take every opportunity to spread the message of the Gospel. Months later I attended a conference in Wheaton, Illinois, and learned that many who were in attendance had benefitted practically from the book. One woman in particular came up to me and said that she received a call from a mother whose 12-year-old daughter was in a psychiatric hospital. There had been a fear that this girl was a victim of demonic possession, but since neither the girl nor her mother were believers, they had no weapons with which to fight. The woman relaying the story said that she gave the mother my book and prayed that it would help their situation. Within a week or so, the mother and her daughter had both accepted Christ as their personal Savior and the demons were gone. She was a new creation in Christ! Praise God! When I heard this story, I was so grateful that I had included the Gospel message and knew in my heart that if this mother and daughter were the only ones helped by these prayers than it had already been worth everything that it took to have it published. It was because of this story, and many others, that I realized that there were people reading this book who did not have a strong Biblical background. So I asked Dr. Marcus Warner of A Deeper Walk International to write an introduction to spiritual warfare which I could add, which he graciously provided and it is now included in an updated version. A Warrior’s Prayerbook is not for light reading. It is a prayer book with supplications written by great men and women of faith which should be used to guide you in your own prayers as you do battle against the “powers and principalities” that we will all face. There is nothing magical in these prayers – it is only the power of the triune God behind them that makes them effective.
While not all of the difficulties have disappeared, there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel… and that Light is Jesus. I have found in Him One who is true and righteous, One who is our Savior, our Peace, and our Protector. I am astounded by the fact that I have been given an invitation to be in continual communication with Him through prayer. My relationship with Christ has blossomed as He has been faithful while the battle continues on. However difficult it is, there is no turning back. God has been too good to me, too merciful to me; He has sustained me in my weakness and I am all-in because of His sustaining power. It has been said that a loving shepherd will sometimes break the leg of a rebellious little lamb and will carry it on his shoulders until it heals and learns to recognize his voice. This is what I believe our Great Shepherd did for me. He broke me so that I would surrender my plans, my hopes and my dreams to Him. He spoke softly and helped me understand Who He truly is, how He completely loves me, and how He desires to deepen His relationship with me. I now know that no matter my circumstances, I can believe that He is Whom He says He is, and that He will do what He says He will do. I now also know that He will “never leave us, nor forsake us,” even though it sometimes feels as if He has. In this world, we cannot depend upon our relationships, our health or our stored-up treasures; the only thing we can completely depend upon is Him.
My newest project has been to repackage the great Christian classics with the hope that it will reach this generation. I have updated and republished books such as Answers to Prayer by George Müller, Holiness by J.C. Ryle, Origen on Prayer, The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer and several books by G.K. Chesterton and C.H. Spurgeon. I have renamed Quiet Talks on Prayer by S.D. Gordon to If You Seek Me: How and Why We Pray, and have produced the book Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep which is a treasury of classic children’s prayers edited to reflect todays modern language. And this is just the start -- many more are in development.
William Gurnall said, “It is the image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell; it is this at which the demons hurl their mightiest weapons.” We are the image-bearers of God and, as a result, are thrust into this war, but as Pastor Ray used to say, “If you aren’t taking shrapnel, then you aren’t near the target.” Put on your battle gear, grab your sword and shield and take that hill for Christ. God loves us, He made a way to reconcile us to Himself, He made promises to us that He will keep, He provides the power to fight the insurgents in the desert, and He moves when we pray.
KATHRYN MCBRIDE is the founder/principal of Letcetera, Ltd., a graphic design and publishing firm in suburban Chicago. While a visual artist by profession, she also enjoys a variety of creative pursuits. In all that she does, she endeavors to make things beautiful. Kathryn founded and led a ministry for Christian artists and also maintains the website www.AValiantLife.com. She is deeply affected by stories of sacrifice, nobility and courage and seeks to honor those who have given their lives for something greater than themselves. Kathryn was raised in a large family with a rich heritage of Christian missionaries who lived by faith and modeled powerful prayer lives. She resides in the western suburbs of Chicago where she seeks to live out her “life verse”— There is only Christ, He is everything. (Col. 3:11)
Your article encourages to go on with writing what God speaks and sends to me in visions. And I thank Him for I was impossible and He used hardship to draw me to Himself. I was a proud young man behaving as a gentle man without Jesus. I was clever and intelligent at school. I found difficult in choosing a fincee-life partner!! I thought very hard and spent many nights without sleep. On the 2nd May 1976 I rose up and went to church. In short the preacher said " ...Receive Jesus and give him your requests..." I submitted the request "....if you give me a virgin ....I will follow you..." He gave me the virgin..." We lived saintly...and had three children: a boy and two daughters...she died sudnely in 30 minutes. She left me with children of 4, 5 and 6 years in a city where life is extremely hard!!.God crushed me!! Hardship suceeded one another but He started to speak audibly to me -Now I find his words were in the Bible and in hymn books. The Holy Spirit inspired me to write what I heard that time. They are words from God " Pray" in Mat. 26:41 - , "Sing all Psalms", "I will help you , I am God"- in Ps. 136:2.
After thirty years of widowerhood He led me to start a prayer ministry in 2009. He named it " Abba Father"- Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15 and Gal. 4:6. It is a Prayer Teaching Ministry. He promised to give me another wife. I am in prayers for life longing to listen for more voices....
I started saying that you encourage me. I have many pages writen on my computer, I hope to write living testimonies about the living God/Jesus/Holy Spirit.
I like that as Pastor Ray used to say, “If you aren’t taking shrapnel, then you aren’t near the target.” I also like it when after my response of deliverance, prayer and blessing, there is no one left to counter attack! Of course that means the attack will change from "roaring lion" mode to "snake in the grass" mode. Here come the credentialed Christians who have a secret. One was a Christian hypno-robot who used hypnosis to teach occult definitions of Bible words. One was a Church trainer who was steeped in Kundalini worship. One was a nationally known pastor who was teaching new definitions for Bible words, due to occultic influence by "experts"". Standby for the next!
Write! Yes, share your testimony! That is how the world will see the powerful work of God in your life. By sharing our lives and stories with others, they will know that our God is the One True God. It is so important that we live our lives for God’s glory and not our own. The story in the bible of the man who was blind from birth (John 9) shows us that our sufferings aren’t necessarily the result of any sin that we have committed, but he was blind from birth for that moment, when Jesus could heal him! He was ordained to be a living testimony to the power and glory of God! Amen!
Your suffering appears to have been great, so let God use that suffering for His glory. Whether we get the “desires of our heart” on earth or in heaven is up to our Heavenly Father. Write your testimony … shout it from the rooftops! God is good, merciful and just and will use all of the pain we have endured for His glory and for our good.
Jesus said that we should be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” We are naïve to think that Satan wouldn’t infiltrate the church to try to deceive God’s people. We must continually pray for discernment and protection which begins with putting on of the armor of God daily. There are many “wolves in sheep’s clothing” out there and so we must test everything by the scriptures.
My website is over 200 pages long and gets about 4,000 people coming out to peruse it a month. I get emails and calls from all over the world for help. But it's just not built to be a book.
The Order of Saint Patrick is designed to be an organization, but my Aspergers syndrome limits my ability to organize it. Any ideas?