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My name is Cheryl
I’ve heard some parents and Christian leaders advise against teaching kids about spiritual warfare and the devil. They say that in doing so we may frighten children. I disagree.
In a world with domestic violence, school shootings, and terrorists’ attacks, most children are well aware the world is a dangerous place. To release children into the world without an understanding of who their enemy is—and the authority they have in Christ—is like sending them to war without weapons.
Children face threats to their physical well-being. In addition, children today are engaged in a battle for their minds and their souls. Just take one look in the children’s department of bookstores, the ads on their gaming apps, movies, Netflix, and, I’m sorry to say, even the curriculum in our schools. You’ll discover evidence of Satan’s trap set to ensnare our children in the dark side of the supernatural. Witches, warlocks, ghosts, and every strain of the occult including voodoo and devil worship are a part of that. We must make sure that our children are filled up with the Holy Spirit lest they become tempted to fill their spiritual hunger for the supernatural with an unholy spirit.
Take Authority—If children are to be successful in spiritual battle, they need to know who God is, who their enemy is, and how to “take the authority” they have in Christ. Reassure children that God has already won the war with Satan, because God is more powerful. And because of Jesus’ death on the cross to pay the penalty for sin, Christians—even kids—are guaranteed victory over the devil. “Taking authority” simply means commanding, out loud, any actual or potential activity of the enemy to be shut down, as seen in Matthew 4:10; Luke 10:19; Acts 16:18; James 4:7; and 1 Peter 5:9.
One way to demonstrate spiritual authority to kids is by comparing it to being “knighted.” Children may be familiar with the British custom of knighting someone. When a person is knighted, authority is conferred on him to fight in the king’s name, as well as the honor of being known as belonging to that king’s service, and as his soldiers (Philippians 2:25; 2 Timothy 2:3; Philemon 1:2).
To illustrate this, you may want to hold a knighting ceremony. Gather the kids in a circle. If you have a toy sword, you can “knight” each child (touch him or her lightly on each shoulder with the flat of the sword). You can say something like, “Kevin, because of your faith in Jesus, you are a soldier of Jesus Christ. Jesus has given you authority to fight in His name and to have victory over all the power of the enemy. Be strong and courageous!” Repeat with each child, inserting the appropriate name. Then give kids the opportunity to thank God for the privilege of serving in His army. Remind them to thank God also that He gives them power over the enemy’s tricks when they fight back in Jesus’ name.
Ten-year-old Allyson learned to use Christ’s authority over spiritual battles she was facing when she struggled with feelings of fear and loneliness. She often felt like nobody loved her, not even her parents. At school, sometimes the other girls would have clubs and would exclude Allyson. Or they would let her in for awhile and then vote her out. Allyson often had repeated dreams that frightened her. When she awoke she cried and felt scared and lonely.
After awhile Allyson began to realize that she was in a battle—but not with people. She was in a fight with the enemy, who is a spirit. This was spiritual warfare, and Allyson knew she had to fight back.
She asked Jesus to help her. She remembered that the Bible says, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). So she asked Jesus to give her power and love, and to take away the fear and feelings of being unloved. She commanded the enemy to go away in Jesus’ name and to stop trying to make her feel fearful, sad, and alone. The Lord always made her feel stronger and reminded her of how much he loves her.
When the feelings seem to return, Allyson knows what to do: “I pray—right out loud! The enemy has to listen to Jesus, and Jesus lives in me!”
Pray for our Enemies—As a former school teacher, I’ve seen firsthand how cruel children can be to one another. Whether it’s being left out of a clique, persecuted for being different, or bullied for no reason at all, school children often feel like a grasshopper in the land of giants. Dealing with rejection from friends and classmates can be one of the biggest battles children and youth face. Equipping them to pray and respond in a Christ-like manner toward their enemies is one of the most important weapons of war we can put in their hands.
I heard of one little girl back in the sixties who encountered unimaginable persecution in her own community. As she walked home from school, frenzied people lined the streets, screaming, cursing, and threatening to kill her.
Why? Because Ruby Bridges was black, the first black child to attend that all-white school. And in New Orleans in 1960, enough people hated the idea of black and white children sitting in the same classroom that Ruby needed protection from the daily barrage of hate.
You’d think that Ruby and her family would bow under the pressure. Even if she didn’t quit school, surely she would become depressed and frightened. But she didn’t. Ruby was cheerful, happy to be in the school. Even her teacher couldn’t understand it.
“You know, I don’t understand this child,” the teacher told Robert Coles, a psychiatrist who was watching Ruby to see how she handled the pressure. “She seems so happy.”
Dr. Coles didn’t understand it either. Surely, there was something wrong with Ruby that she just wasn’t showing. She couldn’t possibly be as cheerful as she appeared.
One day Ruby’s teacher saw her stop outside the school and talk to the crowd. Startled, the teacher mentioned it to Dr. Coles.
That night, Dr. Coles, went to Ruby’s home to find out what had happened. “Ruby,” he said,” your teacher told me she saw you talking to those people outside the school today.”
“Oh, I wasn’t talking to them,” Ruby answered, “I was just saying a prayer for them.”
Every day, Ruby and her family prayed for those screaming people. Why? “Because,” Ruby explained, “they needed praying for.”
Our children will probably never encounter the severity of opposition and persecution that Ruby did, but we can still equip them to respond to their enemies in the same way she did. The sword of the Spirit, God’s Word, is a powerful weapon in warfare. Jesus commanded: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
Break Curses— Kids today are exposed to the occult on a regular basis at school, on YouTube, in ‘harmless’ streaming apps like Disney +, and even in the homes of their friends. Involvement in the occult is not a harmless pastime. It is a dangerous involvement with the dark side of the supernatural. Your child’s friends, or their friends’ siblings or parents, may be speaking or “praying” curses over them. A curse is quite simply “an appeal to a supernatural power for evil or injury to befall someone of something.”
Unknowingly, your child may be subjected to the influence of demonic spirits and accompanying curses. So it’s important to pray for protection over your children regularly, breaking any word curses over them and closing occult doors in Jesus’ name. Children who are old enough to understand can learn to pray for protection over themselves from such things. The Bible warns us not to be ignorant of Satan’s schemes, “that he may not outwit us” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
In our naturalistic society we often do not give credence to the reality of the supernatural (much less curses), but it is all too real—and increasingly so as occult involvement is on the rise. While “cursing” was well understood in biblical cultures (and still is in many other cultures today), in Western culture we underestimate the power of words spoken with purposeful intent and conviction. But spoken words do have power—for good and for evil—with lasting results.
God’s Word gives us both a promise and a commandment for dealing with curses. The promise is, “Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest” (Proverbs 26:2). Jesus’ commandment is, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28). When you become aware or even suspicious that there may be curses being spoken against your child or your family, prayers of protection (for your child) and forgiveness and blessing (for the offender) are in order. Identify any known curses and declare God’s protection over your child.
Pray for His blessing to be poured out. If the child is aware of action that has brought him or her into contact with cursing, the child should repent of any known wrongdoing and renounce any activity in which he has participated, and any curses he may have encountered in so doing. Forgive the one who has uttered curses against your child and pray for God’s blessing to come to that person, especially the blessing of salvation.
The Armor of God- In junior highs and high schools today it is becoming quite popular for kids to embrace all religions as ‘their truth’, opening the door to many religions, and leaving out the truth that their is only one God, and one way to heaven– through Jesus. Support of all beliefs and walks of life is the new way to popularity. To be in opposition of any belief system is to be a bully and intolerant. It is becoming increasingly difficult for kids to stand up in schools as a believer in any one thing, especially Christianity.
In the Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan gave the Pevensie children special gifts to help them overcome the obstacles they would encounter in their adventures and battles. Our kids have been given special gifts, too—by Jesus—to protect, equip, and empower them. As with any adventure, there will certainly be dangers, enemies, and both human and spiritual opposition along life’s way. Our children need to know they are armed with the knowledge that they are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37)!
The Armor of God is the Christian’s gift from God to protect against discouragement and doubt. Ephesians 6:10–18 is a great family study session! Focus especially on verse 12, where the writer proclaims, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” You can even make the armor of God with all of those leftover Amazon boxes and a quick trip to the local craft supplies store. Let the role play commence!
Our kids will not be immune to the presence of evil in this world, yet they need not be overcome by it. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,” the apostle Paul exhorted his readers who were living in the pagan culture of Rome (Romans 12:21).
Cheryl Sacks is the best-selling author of The Prayer Saturated book series: The Prayer Saturated Church, Prayer-Saturated Kids, and The Prayer Saturated Family—How to Change the Atmosphere in Your Home through Prayer. Her newest book, Reclaim a Generation, 21 Days of Prayer for Schools, will be available soon at ReclaimAGeneration.com
You can learn more about Cheryl and her husband Hal’s work at PrayerSaturated.life and BridgeBuilders.net.
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