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I was brought up in a Christian family of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. My parents were missionaries in the Philippines for nine years during the 1950's and early 1960's. I went to Bible College and the University of Minnesota in the late 1960's. My real understanding, however, came in the decade of the 1970's, particularly as I worked as an assistant pastor in Arizona. Then in 1981 I started a church in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and this is where the real story of spiritual warfare began.
My first call into spiritual warfare occurred on November 12, 1981. I was apprehended without my conscious consent, much like the Apostle Paul was apprehended on the road to Damascus. I knew little or nothing about spiritual warfare, and certainly knew almost nothing beyond what is called “deliverance” ministry. But God is more interested in our willingness than in our ability. If we have a willing heart, He can teach us anything we need to know as we go.
During most of my life up to that point, I had often prayed to be submitted to God and to do His will, but I had no clear understanding of what I was asking. God does not wave His magic wand over us and suddenly turn us into better Christians. He merely changes our circumstances and puts us into difficult and often heart-wrenching situations that mature us in the end.
I did not know that the Net of Prayer engaged in its first spiritual battle on November 12, 1981—the day that my whole life changed. This organization was new; I had not heard of it. How this warfare affected me cannot be fully disclosed in a public writing. However, that evening I received an accusatory telephone call that shocked me to my core and made me realize vaguely that I was in some sort of spiritual battle. I told my wife about the telephone conversation and asked her, “What’s going on here?”
On December 5, 1981 I resigned as pastor of the church. We put everything into storage and left town a few weeks later on December 30. This began a “wilderness” journey for the next 414 days, which was so rigorous that I was forced to seek God until I heard from Him. (See my book, Hearing God’s Voice, chapter 3.)
Precisely one year after my resignation, I received a packet of newsletters and battle reports from the Net of Prayer. This was Dec. 5, 1982. Three weeks later, on December 30, I was offered a job in Batesville, Arkansas. This was precisely one year after leaving Las Cruces, where I had been pastoring. We knew immediately that this job was of God, and so we moved to Arkansas on January 23, 1983. This was 414 days from my original resignation from the church on Dec. 5, 1981. I know now that I had been on “cursed time” for being in a calling that was not mine. I am not a pastor by calling. I am a Bible servant. (For a complete study of cursed time [414 days], blessed time [490 days], and judged time [434 days], see my book, Secrets of Time.)
Just before moving to Arkansas, I joined the Net of Prayer on January 17. In July 1983 I asked for—and received—copies of the original battle reports from the Net of Prayer warfare in 1981. The prayer wall of protection around America (in the heavens) had been breached, because the “Sheep Gate” had been abandoned by the those who were called to defend the nation. The newsletter at that time reported that on Nov. 6, 1981 the Lord took the leader of the Net of Prayer into the heavens where he saw this:
“I could see the masses of demons marching into the Israel nation (Church). They were taking a stroll, it seemed; no one was bothering them, no one knew. The numbers astounded me; they were pouring in by the tens of thousands. Then the Lord gave me an aerial view; above them, it looked like the so-called PEACE SYMBOL without the circle.”
The report also included a vision occurring on Nov. 12, 1981—the day that the Net of Prayer had been called into spiritual warfare. The report read:
“Strange thing, in the midst of this [battle, as seen in a vision] a Christian in the Spirit walks up to me (I believe he was praying, a new Christian and was drawn by the Spirit of God) and he asks, ‘What’s going on here?’ Here I am in the midst of a furious battle. I said, ‘Look! What do you see?’ He looked and was shocked. ‘What are THEY doing here?’ He prayed and took on the armor of God and joined the fight.”
The vision seen in the midst of warfare occurred at the same time that I had received the accusatory telephone call, the evening our world had crashed around us. When I read this, I remembered that same evening asking my wife, “What’s going on here?” Those words seemed to have penetrated the heavens, and nearly two thousand miles away the leader of the Net of Prayer heard it.
In 1981 we knew little about spiritual warfare, but the strange telephone call made us realize we were somehow involved in spiritual warfare. However, it would be well over a year before we understood why these events had occurred. In reading these old battle reports, I began to understand how people are affected by prayer, intercession, and spiritual warfare. What we think are just earthly events are actually earthly reflections of a spiritual dimension. Events in our lives are just physical manifestations of spiritual events unseen even by Christian people.
Since that introduction, I have experienced literally hundreds of similar things. I have seen the effects in the world of what are essentially spiritual events occurring in the heavens. I will try to transmit and transfer these little-understood concepts to your understanding of the connection between spiritual events and that which happens in earth. I can only assume that discovering this connection will be as great a comfort and benefit to others as it was to me.
In 1981 the demonic forces of evil broke through the “prayer wall” around America. Every nation that has Christians in it ought to have spiritual defenses set in place by intercessors of their own nation. But in 1981 those defenses around spiritual America were broken down or abandoned. We were invaded by a demonic army that was seen in the spirit as coming in from the West. It was pictured in a vision as an army 300 miles wide and a thousand miles long in the shape of a broken cross, coming in over San Francisco, California and heading for Corpus Christi, Texas.
The nonbelievers are not responsible for the prayer wall. There are easily enough Christians in America to keep the prayer wall intact. There are easily enough watchmen on the walls to sound the alarm when danger threatens.
Perhaps the main problem is that fewer and fewer watchmen have ears to hear and eyes to see spiritual events, as was the case with Israel (Isaiah 56:10). Many are flesh-watchers, distracted by evil men and their conspiracies. There are too many trumpets being sounded by those who watch all the evils happening in the world. Not many have the ability to see in the spirit and hear the voice of God.
For this reason, while most of the watchmen slept or were being distracted by other evils, the prayer wall was breached at San Francisco. The spiritual invaders headed straight for Corpus Christi, “the body of Christ.” Their object was to bring “war on the saints.” I was caught in the middle of this battle, for if you draw a line from San Francisco to Corpus Christi, you will see it passed through Las Cruces. This was where the three arms of the cross converged in the formation of the broken cross.
At least one man had the spiritual vision to see what was happening and to sound the alarm. He was led to issue a prayer call to any that would hear, and to lead them in spiritual warfare against this broken cross formation. The overall result was to break up this formation into pieces that would lessen the effects of the invasion.
During the battle, they also saw many Christians set free, who joined the effort. I was one of these set free from the broken cross (i.e., the corrupted church system). Within a few weeks I had resigned as pastor of the church that I had started. God had mercy upon me and did not leave me to continue blindly building my own little kingdom or denominational system.
On December 5, 1981 I resigned as pastor of the church in Las Cruces. We packed up and left town on December 30 after putting most of our belongings into storage. In the next year we spent six months in a small town in Wisconsin, followed by another six months in Minnesota.
Finally, on December 5, 1982 I received and read the Net of Prayer battle reports that someone sent me. I knew then that my “wilderness” time was ending. On December 30, 1982, precisely a year after leaving Las Cruces, I was offered a job in Arkansas, and we moved there on January 23, 1983.
A year later, as I pondered our move to Arkansas, I asked the Lord for the reason why I had to go through this wilderness time. He gave me Ezekiel 4:5,
5 For I have assigned you a number of days corres-ponding to the years of their iniquity, three hundred and ninety days; thus you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.
I said, “Oh, Lord, I have no idea what this means.”
He then said, “Count the days.”
So I counted back 390 days inclusive from the day we had arrived in Batesville, Arkansas (Jan. 23, 1983). It came to December 30, 1981, the day we had left Las Cruces. I suddenly understood that my wilderness time had been for the purpose of intercession for the Church, that is, for “the house of Israel.”
It would take many more years before I learned more about this intercessory time period. From the day that I had resigned as pastor in Las Cruces (Dec. 5, 1981) to the day we arrived in Arkansas (Jan. 23, 1983) was precisely 414 days. It was a period of “Cursed Time,” which is a disciplinary period on account of my being in a calling that was not mine. (I am called as a teacher, not as a pastor.)
What is perhaps most amazing of all is how God can conserve time by accomplishing more than one purpose at the same time. Not only was He disciplining me in order to bring me to the place where I was able to hear His voice, but also He called me to be an intercessor. The very discipline became an occasion to bring about a positive result that would be of benefit to the Church itself.
After arriving in Arkansas on January 23, 1983, I took a plane to El Paso, Texas, rented a truck, and brought our furniture out of storage to Arkansas. Then I immediately began a week-long time of prayer and fasting in early February.
During that time of fasting, the Lord told me that I was to reconcile with those with whom I had come into conflict in my exit from the ministry in 1981. I was to make the trip, leaving on March 10 and return home by April 9. This I did, arriving home precisely 76 days after my period of Cursed Time had ended. Not until 1991 would I understand the importance of this 76-day period. 76 is the number of cleansing, and it is the factor that brings us from Cursed Time (414) to Blessed Time (490).
Thus, years later, I discovered that God was already setting me up to learn these secrets of time. Because I kept records, I was able to see that I had already lived these time cycles personally, and this would provide confirmation to me that they were true.
It was, therefore, a disciplinary period in my life necessary to bring me into my true calling as a Bible teacher. The time was 414 days of “wilderness,” followed by 76 days of “reconciliation and cleansing.” Once I had arrived home in Batesville, Arkansas on April 9, 1983, I was then ready to begin a new life preparing for the work of ministry that yet lay ahead.
The initial training period was in the Net of Prayer, where I began to learn the art of intercession and spiritual warfare on a level not often seen in Christian circles. The original revelation in the Net of Prayer was to issue a call for Christians to commit themselves to five years of intercession and warfare. I did not realize it at the time, but this was the time frame that God had appointed for me to be part of the Net of Prayer. It really began in 1981 when I joined in that first warfare without realizing it. It would end in 1985 when the Lord told me to leave.
I did not leave when told, and so, as I will relate later, I again found myself in a calling that was not mine, and so I found myself in Cursed Time again. This time it ran for 3 x 414 days. Yet through all of this, God never forsook me, but sustained me and grounded me in the Word in many remarkable ways.
Because of my own personal experience, I have come to see that the term “Cursed Time” is really not the best way to express this time period of 414 days (or years). It is really a GRACE period, during which time God brings us to repentance so that we may be cleansed (76) and be restored fully into Blessed Time.
From 1981-1986 the NOP (Net of Prayer) conducted prayer campaigns every year. Since I was not the head of that group, it is not my place to give its full history. I left that organization in 1989, and my perspective has been broadened by a further understanding of times and seasons. But the Net of Prayer was my training ground, and for this reason God joined me to that organization for a season.
Throughout the many prayer campaigns in the 1980's, there was one overriding shadow that made the warfare very difficult. We were always limited by what the Lord called, “Church decision.” In other words, we were limited in our authority and could not, in the end, overrule what the Church as a whole had decided in its collective heart. Unfortunately, the Church overall is not what it ought to be.
It is not our purpose here to spend time criticizing the Church. There are more important matters to reveal and teach. Yet we discovered as we interceded that the Church seemed to prefer judgment instead of mercy, not knowing that judgment begins at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). Blind to their own faults, many Christians feel safe in judging the world of sinners, not knowing that God will judge them first.
The NOP could stand in the gap and intercede for a time; they could postpone or deflect certain judgments; they could reduce death tolls from many natural disasters that came as God's judgments—they could win battles, but never the war. They would always win while they had the authority to intercede, but in the end, the will of the Church always prevailed, and there was nothing the NOP could do about it. This was very frustrating.
It was a matter of authority, but during the 1980's, none of us ever really comprehended why God would not allow us to overrule the decisions of the Church. Only after I had left the NOP did God begin to show me things from His perspective. With the revelation of timing that God began to reveal in 1991, I came to understand this question.