Operating in the Invisible Realm
I am going to do several posts this week on the importance of understanding and operating in the realm of the spirit. The Scriptures often refer to this realm as “heavenly places” or “the heavens.” Much of it will be taken from my book, Authority In Prayer, one of my best books on prayer.
I never do a post just to sell products. My staff, however, has asked me to mention a unique book, Praying for the Impossible. A while back, my publisher combined two of my best selling books, Intercessory Prayer and Authority In Prayer, into one binding. In other words, it is a set of two books, bound as one. This has now been discontinued, and they offered us a significant discount on those they had left. We want to pass much of the discount on to you. If you would like this presentation - two books in one - you can order it through our product department on my website while they last. If you already have these books, this would be a great gift to someone you want to introduce to a deeper understanding of prayer.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. And raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
This sounds like one uninterrupted passage of Scripture, doesn’t it? It is actually 5 separate verses from Ephesians 1:3, 1:20, 2:6, 3:10, 6:12. I became fascinated one day as I read these verses consecutively, with none of the in-between sections. When I saw how well they flowed together, I realized they really do provide a continuity of thought. In summary, they tell us we have been given everything we need in order to operate in heavenly places; Christ has been given all authority in this realm; we have been seated there with Him in that position of authority; through us, from our position there with Christ, God intends to deal with the kingdom of darkness; finally, the last verse describes the evil kingdom, listing its various components.
What are “heavenly places”? This is not referring to heaven, God’s home, but to the invisible atmosphere all around us. We must understand this relatively unknown dimension in order to fully partner with God and experience the fullness of His blessing. It is the unseen realm of the spirit - invisible yet real, hidden yet very active. Much of what happens on earth is influenced by it; certainly anything of eternal significance or regulating the destinies of people and nations is influenced from it. Most people, including Christians, give little thought to an unseen world governing the one we see. Many, especially in cultures that emphasize higher education and intellectualism, are actually cynical of this dimension’s existence. But the Bible is filled with descriptions and accounts of it - in fact, this is actually the story of Scripture. Apart from the invisible realm, there is no God, Satan, angels, demons, fall of humankind, birth of Christ, redemption through the Cross, miracles, or resurrection of the dead. Yet again, surprisingly, most American Christians live their lives without weighing how much this realm affects us, let alone how we can influence it.
Consider the following significant statement: the more we learn to function in the invisible spiritual realm, recognizing and applying its governing principles, the more we can partner with God, positively impact our world, avoid the snares and influence of the evil one, and enjoy the blessings of our salvation.(1) As I meditated on the Ephesians verses, God began revealing to me that I was not conscious enough of this realm. It was not a new subject to me. I have comprehended it for many years and realized that we can influence it through our prayers and actions. But Holy Spirit began revealing to me that even so, I was not as cognizant of this dimension as I needed to be.
I saw clearly that if I was to be as effective as was possible in changing situations on earth, I had to understand more fully how this heavenly realm affected them. Also, I needed a greater understanding of how I could influence the invisible world. And, hopefully, do all of this without becoming weird!
The more I meditated on this spiritual realm, the more I realized it is the Bible’s major theme - two invisible kingdoms warring for control of the world. If we could see what takes place around us in this dimension, we would no doubt see a great clashing of kingdoms - angelic and demonic forces engaged in phenomenal warfare. I don’t know exactly what it looks like, but I know it is occuring. The following vivid account of the unseen gives us a glimpse:
When the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he saw; and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Strike these people with blindness, I pray.” So He struck them with blindness according
to the word of Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15-18, NASB)
The invisible forces were there all along - it was just that Elisha’s servant could not see them initially. And so it is with us. We live in a world filled with constant and tremendous angelic and demonic activity. Our natural eyes, however, cannot perceive it.
It amazes me how many Christians, though they claim to believe the Bible and would say they believe in these “heavenly places,” still have a problem consciously relating to it. Many, for example, take issue with any form of prayer dealing with demons, angels, or invisible strongholds.
The world, of course - those who do not profess to be Christians - has an even greater problem acknowledging the invisible spiritual realm. The very suggestion of an invisible sphere influencing the visible world elicits immediate skepticism (or mockery) and often an inference that anyone who believes in this realm is not in touch with reality.
What a boost for the devil’s activities!
At some point, however, if we are going to be truly effective in prayer, we must acknowledge, understand and learn to influence the spiritual realm. We must move beyond our fear of criticism and agree with Scripture. Jesus is our example, and He frequently dealt with the invisible. He was aware of it and consistently engaged unseen entities, stirring up demonic opposition everywhere He went.
The early church in Acts did so as well, confronting forces of darkness and dealing with them when appropriate. We are inconsistent if we confess to be Bible-believing followers of Christ and yet refuse to acknowledge and deal with the invisible kingdom of darkness. Failure in this area has rendered us largely impotent.
Pray with me:
Father, teach us more about the spiritual realm. Give us understanding of how to impact this dimension and extend Your kingdom influence into it. We ask for greater revelation of how to release the victory of Christ into the earth, changing nations, cities and people. Make us more conscious of the invisible realm where much of what happens on earth is determined.
We pray that anointed teachers will be raised up to skillfully teach on the subject. Please awaken them to the need for this so that we can influence this realm with balance, skill, and accuracy. And please break off of the church all hesitancy of engaging with this spiritual realm.
And as we do so often here, we ask You for, and thank You in advance, for sending the greatest awakening/revival that has ever occurred to the nations of the earth. We are asking for entire cultures and people groups to be swept into Your family. We are asking You to break off of them the control of principalities and evil spirits, freeing them to see truth and receive Your love and provision. And we ask all of this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
We boldly declare that the spirit of wisdom and revelation is being released into the church at the highest level possible.
Portions of today’s post were taken from my book Authority in Prayer.
Click here to watch the video:
Dutch Sheets and Chuck Pierce, Releasing the Prophetic Destiny of a Nation, (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image, 2005) pp 75-76.