Saturday

Gatekeeping in my Neighborhood

Several years ago, my family was in a tough way and needed to find a home to rent. We made two lists: things we needed in a home, and things we wanted in a home. Through a series of miracles, financial and otherwise, we actually purchased a house that had everything on both lists. We were elated.

But the elation was short-lived. Our home had everything that we knew to ask for, but there were some things we didn’t know to ask for. In our first week living there, I learned of three drug dealers on our block. I watched drug deals go down at the front door of the house across the street while my kids played in my yard. They knew about that dealer, and they told me about the other two dealers on the block, and which houses they lived in.

This was absolutely not OK with me. I talked to the authorities, and they told me about the standards of evidence that they needed in order to intervene. I talked to other neighbors, and they shook their heads and “tsk tsk’d”.

Then I talked to God. More precisely, I whined at God. “God, why is this going on? This isn’t right! Make it stop!”

It seemed as if he let me vent for a while, and when I paused to catch my breath, He interrupted. “So what are you going to do about it, Son?” Hunh? That stopped my whining immediately. Once my head stopped spinning, I asked more intelligently, “Uh… what can I do?”

He gave me some prayer strategies: some specific ways to address the situation in prayer, rather than through legal means, social means, or whining. The specific strategies aren’t important except that they involved me obeying Him, and they involved me making some particular declarations over my neighborhood. Throughout the process, God used the metaphor of a gatekeeper with me: the one who decides who can come in and who cannot.

So I obeyed: I prayed the things He said to pray for, the way He said to pray it. It was odd stuff, so I did it in the middle of the night and the wee hours of the morning: I didn’t want someone calling the cops on me!

His instruction to me was to establish some "gates" at the entrances to my neighborhood. That felt really weird. I didn't see anything in the natural, looking with my "spiritual eyes," they looked like the gates of an ancient walled city.

Fundamentally, the decree to the "gates" was: "Welcome in the Holy Spirit, and the human spirits of the people who live here, and their legitimate guests. Keep out every other spirit, human or demonic."

Suffice it to say: it worked. Within 30 days, the three dealers were gone. The one across the street sold the house to a family with a daughter the same age as my daughter. The other two just picked up and left, leaving empty houses. All three houses were soon remodeled.

I was stunned. I don’t think I’ve ever seen prayer answered in more detail than I did in this adventure: first our house, then the removal of the drug dealers. Life was good!

Then my next door neighbor invited a woman to live with him. She brought guests: two silicon implants for him, two full-blooded wolves for herself, and a host of demonic co-habitants. Life was no longer good.

I called every government agency I could think of that might have some authority with wolves: federal, state, and local agents told me time and time again: “No sir, wolves don’t belong in a residential neighborhood, but yes sir, she does have the necessary permits for them. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

I ignored the time that they lunged from the back of her Toyota pickup and nearly ate me. But when they tried to eat my daughter (they didn’t succeed, but just barely – she was unscathed), I confronted the neighbor: politely, gently, because he was a wimpy little guy and I didn’t want to intimidate him. But the wimpy little guy got big and snarly when I suggested that the wolves shouldn’t live there: he cussed me up one side and down the other in his rage, and vowed in no uncertain terms that they were not leaving, not today, not ever!

Hokay! That’s not going to work!

So I tried prayer. Again, I whined at God; again, He interrupted, but more quickly this time. “What are you going to do about it?” Again my slack-jawed “Hunh?” Then He went on, “You’re my representative in that neighborhood. It’s up to you. What’s your decision? Do they stay or do they go?”??

That floored me. I didn’t have a theology to deal with that kind of a question, but I didn’t hesitate. The wolves wanted to eat my daughter, and God was saying that it was up to me? “Heck no! They cannot stay. They have to go!” and I knew I was speaking with the authority of a judge announcing a decree.

That very weekend, they moved out. No explanation. The guy that cussed me out and shouted that they were staying, took their wolf-house down himself, packed it into the Toyota truck and moved it away. We never saw the wolves again, or their owner with the implants, except once, and the Police arrived en masse with drawn weapons to make sure that didn’t happen again. No explanation for that either.

Since then, I’ve tried to exercise this authority in other ways, and when I felt that I was following God’s leading rather than my own, I have found that things often unnaturally change.

I have also found that I need to increase my skill in wielding this power: I watched a porn shop close after I made some decrees, only to be followed by another in its place, and that one was more firmly rooted (though it had a “going out of business!” sign on it regularly). A pagan worship center was closed, only to open up again a couple of blocks away. Both have since gone out of business

These are curious stories, and true ones, but what’s the purpose?

I have developed a couple of guiding principles from these events, and the others that surrounded them (this was an interesting season in my life!):

1) God delegates authority to His representatives in an area. (My “area” of influence was only a couple of blocks; others’ territory may be smaller or larger.)

2) He takes that delegated authority very seriously. When He gives authority, He means it.

I guess there’s a third principle:

3) I probably ought to exercise the authority that I’ve been given, and I probably ought to exercise it for good purpose.

I know I’m nothing special. May I suggest these principles for the life of the church in this season? May I suggest these principles for you?

The Pilgrimgram comes from an elder Pilgrim about the thing we call "church." Seldom politically correct, this is what I hear God saying to and among His Church today. Feel free to share it with others.

5 comments:

Michael King said...

I would love to discuss this more with you, specifically surrounding the concept of territory. I am generally of the opinion that I'm here, God is in me, and if God doesn't tell me NOT to do it, I'm pretty well within the bounds of my rights as a co-heir with Christ to deal with most any situation.
She is of the opinion that we have rights over certain territories and not over others. I think one of the issues I see with this concept is that it has a large potential for some serious legalistic flaws.

First, what are the rules that decide whether one has territorial rights over an area? Is it habitation? If so, how long do I have to live there? Is it ownership? I mean, is renting sufficient to have territorial rights, or do I have to hold the deed? And what about when no one owned land, way way WAAAY back in the day? They still lived there. What decided the boundaries then?

I get that some of this has to be by revelation, but does this mean we are to ask the Lord occasionally to clearly define our boundaries? I feel like that means I have to know whether someone is "in my territory" before I heal them, when my personal belief is that they're sick, Jesus paid for it, they therefore meet all the requirements for healing to take place, and I'm allowed to heal the sick. All of them. Well, that's how I see it anyway.

Thoughts? I'd love to hear your ideas, experience, and even the revelation God has given you on the subject.

John Taylor said...

Thank you for this most inspiring testimony. A key factor is surely, the place of authority and realm of territory He's given each one of us - including our families, peoples and nations!

Surely, the authority of any decree arises with the placement of each believer's territory, as assigned by God, and yet the "training for reigning" process brings us up and into the realm of our authority, progressively. Little by little, we learn to take ground.

And yet, when "wolves are threatening your daughter", you need a Miracle-Worker to work the miracle, a Doctor to perform the treatment, and a Needs-Meeter to meet any such need. But our faith for all such things comes from the Word we've heard from God, and our willingness to use it.

What a great life He's set us up with, "tip of the mountains" to "depths of the valleys", we can't help but to win, for our God is faithful.

Northwest Prophetic said...

Michael, you KNOW I'm not going to head for rules of what is legal and what's not. Surely what He has declared is part of that. But functionally, it's about "Do I feel a sense of identity, a sense of responsibility for the region?"

And since healing is dealing with human beings, it's really easy to say, "Yes, I identify with the human species."

SARAH said...

That's a great strategy. Thanks for sharing!

Jon B said...

A problem bar beside my house closed down when I lived in Lancaster. I did decree, but it didn't happen nearly as quickly as what you described though!

My dad also lives in a neighborhood surrounded by some really bad areas. Once he went outside to find gang graffiti spray painted all over his back fence. It was something about "revolution".

He felt his spirit rise up and declared "There is going to be no revolution here except that which is of the kingdom of God." The next day, the graffiti was gone! There were no marks on the wooden fence of it being scrubbed or cleaned. Nobody knew what happened.