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Prayer Warfare Evangelism

The New Order Prayer Cover

“God is gonna have His new order literally, they gonna inherit the earth and God will give them that platform, except He’s goin’ to endorse them with signs and wonders and wisdom. God’s raising up mature sons and daughters that will really inherit the earth with wisdom and affect the entire order of society in the future, in government, in politics, and billions of dollars of finances….”
– Mike Bickle [1]
Vonette Bright, wife of Bill Bright of Campus Crusade, is credited with launching the worldwide prayer movement at the Seoul, Korea International Prayer Assembly for World Evangelisation in 1984. This event launched a whole new style of public prayer activity: prayer marches, prayer journeys, Jesus Marches, lighthouses, prayer concerts, prayer canopies, and prayer initiatives. New doctrines about prayer were concocted and promoted by C. Peter Wagner, John Dawson, Cindy Jacobs, Ed Silvoso, John Maxwell, Chuck Pierce, Dick Eastman, Luis Bush, George Otis and others. These new doctrines included: strategic-level spiritual warfare, identificational repentance, prayer evangelism, personal intercession for leaders, two-way prayer, on-site praying, city transformation, commitment to the land (territory) and spiritual mapping (databanking research).[2]

Dominionist leader C. Peter Wagner’s name has suddenly been pulled from the list of endorsers[3] for Texas Governor Rick Perry’s controversial The Response prayer rally scheduled for August 6th (see the previous four Herescope posts). The Response website has changed continually since the first controversy first broke, and there has been lots of spin and damage control[4] going on. The original “Endorsers” webpage remained up for a period of time, even though it wasn’t linked to from the main webpage. Finally it was pulled entirely and a new webpage “Honorary Co-Chairs” has been posted, which includes the list of “Endorsers,” sans Wagner. But Cindy Jacobs is still on the list.

Why all the fuss about a governor sponsoring a prayer event? Because Rick Perry is a potential candidate for president, and his endorsers, leaders and co-chairs include high-profile members of the IHOP movement (Kansas City “prophets” group) and C. Peter Wagner’s 7 Mountains Dominionist network, the New Apostolic Reformation.

The issue here is not prayer per se. The issue is what kind of prayer and its purpose. Many governors and political leaders over the years have had all sorts of prayer breakfasts and events — typically they are sappy ecumenical affairs that provide politicians and an opportunity to act “religious” for votes. But The Response prayer rally is different because of the personnel involved. The leadership includes people who have a significant and controversial agenda: building a kingdom under the guise of American patriotism.

This type of prayer is not about evangelism. It is about Dominionism. This movement has been going on for decades now, but it gained momentum and popularity under the auspices of C. Peter Wagner, who first articulated this agenda in numerous books on the topic. Wagner, formerly a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, began to experiment with novel forms of worship, including prayer, in the 1980s. Wagner says that his idea about prayer began to change when he was exposed to Paul Cain in 1988 and Cindy Jacobs in 1989.[5] Paul Cain was a father figure in the “Kansas City Prophets” which formed the IHOP (International House of Prayer) movement. Cindy Jacobs has since become one of Wagner’s chief lieutenants in the global Dominion movement, particularly through the vehicle of prayer.

Prayer began to become a method for Dominionism during the 1980s. Al Dager wrote about this change in his 1990 book Vengeance Is Ours: The Church in Dominion, explaining that it was fast becoming a method of “teaching the people how to take dominion over their cities,” and “how to bind spirits.” Various new doctrines were concocted during this time period, including the idea of “waging spiritual evil territorial spirits that allegedly keep cities, states and nations under spiritual bondage. These spirits are believed to be responsible for all the evils that plague civilization, from illicit drugs to abortion, to satanic rituals, to organized crime.”(Dager, p. 123-3)

Spiritual warfare teachings and methods became very effective at supplanting the Gospel of salvation. The basic sinful nature of man was no longer the issue. Suddenly there was a new enemy — outside! An enemy so fierce and unrelenting that it must be continually bound, cast down, overthrown, and warred against. A dreadful demonic enemy that was railing at the gates and threatening to break down cities to steal your children, let homosexuals loose, and destroy America.

Prayer warfare substituted for the old-fashioned biblical concept of simply sharing of the Gospel to the lost. Huge rallies began to be held, prayer marches, and round-the-clock vigils that claimed to keep Satan and his minions at bay. It became a new way to fight evil. The battle became “us versus them” — believers versus Satan and his demons. Not the believer resisting sin and evil in his own life. Nope. It became an external battle. And it consumed the precious time and energy of saints, who rather than walking boldly into Athens to share the Gospel of Salvation on Mars Hill, prayer marched around the outskirts of the city and ranted and railed at powers and principalities (never mind that there is no mention of the Apostle Paul ever doing this).

The more wailing and railing against demonic powers, the more Dominion could be had. The IHOP movement was formed with this belief, combining prayer warfare with an extreme worship style. The Kansas City group wrote in Fall of 1989 that “we believe that this holy, believing, persevering prayer is our most important job as we seek to cooperate with the Lord in bringing His Kingdom forth…. the saints have been asking the Lord to release a House of Prayer where intercessory prayer and anointed worship can ascend to God’s throne 24 hours of every day.”[6] In the case of the Kansas City group, this worship/warfare prayer mix became a consciousness-altering activity which produced intoxicating spiritual experiences.[7] Other groups all over the country began to copy this style, facilitated by C. Peter Wagner and his widespread advocacy and marketing of this agenda.

One of the most obvious Dominionist agendas of the prayer movement was the idea of “claiming territories” for God. C. Peter Wagner expanded upon this idea when he assigned territories and “spheres” to his apostles in his New Apostolic Reformation. Prayer warfare by marching through regions and areas became a way to spiritually practice real Dominionism. This then led to “geographical” claims that there were mountains, portals and other specific areas of the earth that needed to be mapped out, marched upon, prayed over, decreed about, and cleansed and rid of demonic elements before Dominion could be established.[8]

The mission movement also adopted prayer as a way to facilitate rapid global expansion. This movement was so extensive that it belies description. But it all tied back to the same basic components of massive prayer efforts to achieve the “kingdom” on earth. C. Peter Wagner was working on sociological Church Growth concepts at Fuller Seminary when he first encountered John Wimber. For the next several decades Wagner published a multitude of books about how hyper-spiritual activities could be a way to facilitate and maximize marketing strategies for church growth. Dr. Orrel Steinkamp explains Wagner’s core teachings:

Church Growth ideas became the catalyst for the technique-driven methodologies of seeker sensitive churches employing marketing and managerial paradigms so popular in the mega church movement. In turn, Wagner took the pragmatic concepts of church growth thinking a step further and applied them to the spirit world. He took the same pragmatic perception but removed the battle from earth to the heavenlies in what he calls Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare (SLSW), his name for battling territorial spirits. Unknowingly, borrowing from Latter Rain concepts, he saw church growth as dependent on defeating territorial spiritual rulers. The way to make a church grow is not primarily appealing to the felt needs of the people but rather in devising a pragmatic strategy to defeat territorial spirit powers. If these entities can be destroyed or neutralized, the church growth we all desire will be assured. In fact, old fashioned preaching will hardly be necessary once the hindering spirits have been vanquished. Rather than doing market surveys (a la George Barna), church growth, for Wagner, depends on mapping the spirit world, discovering what territorial spirits are in charge of any given locality and then devising spiritual technologies and practices which will render them ineffective in keeping people groups from responding to the Gospel. Spiritual warfare then is pursued as the first step of any evangelistic endeavor and the precursor to the great harvest that Church Growth has always promised.

The technique driven mentality of Church Growth principles, whether in the current marketing paradigm or Wagner’s spiritual warfare techniques, both put the focus on man instead of God. If you find the right marketing technique, then you can make your church grow. Likewise if you prophetically can learn the territorial spirit’s name and if you organize a prayer walk, you can grow a large church. Notice how the focus is no longer on God and the power of God’s Spirit and the preaching of the Gospel, but rather on the brave new pragmatist who knows how to make it happen. God seems to be relegated to an interested cheerleader on the sidelines applauding the implementation of the game plan organized in the mega church conference rooms or in the spiritual Pentagon and war room in the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs….

Spiritual warfare evangelism coupled with another Latter Rain theme of restored Apostles and Prophets is, in Wagner’s view, reforming the global church for the new millennium….” [9]

Dr. Steinkamp relates how prayer changed under C. Peter Wagner’s tutelage, becoming part of the Dominionist agenda:

Current Warfare Evangelism relies on these same two warfare principles – specific intelligence of the spirit world and new spiritual methodologies which purport to neutralize or destroy enemies in the spirit world. All of this is designed to ensure victory in evangelism and to establish God’s Kingdom upon the earth.[10]

Dr. Steinkamp lists a few of the prayer warfare “technologies” in Wagner’s Dominionist arsenal:

  • Command and Control structure (top down apostolic networks)
  • Intelligence gathering – spiritual “mapping” and data surveying in areas where warfare is expected
  • Prophetic Intercession as a Combat Technique to gain victory over an enemy
  • Identificational Repentance to cleanse areas of the earth from previous sins or demonic strongholds
  • Prayer Walking and Jesus Marches to claim territory
  • Spiritual Expeditions for the purpose of dismantling demonic powers, such as the Mt. Everest “Operation Ice Castle”
  • City-Reaching for the purpose of “transformation”
  • Gatekeepers to guard against any future demonic interference[11]

Obviously, none of these activities listed above — and there are many, many more that could be mentioned — have anything to do with actual Gospel of Salvation evangelism. The focus of Dominionism is to change the world, not the inner man. Dr. Steinkamp concludes:

Pragmatically speaking, one of the dangers of SLSW is that it will deplete the energies of Christians. After all the prayer walks, marches, expeditions and stake driving ad nauseam, the Christian community will hardly have the energy to slog it out in preaching and teaching the Gospel, which Paul said was “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:19) and which Hebrews 12: 4 states is “sharper than any two edged sword.”[12]

Prayer as COVER for COVERT agendas

Wagner has had a profound influence on the entire global agenda for prayer, which underwent a massive shift from individual and humble intercession to mass-marketed prayer blitzes and extravaganzas. This agenda implies that God cannot or will not hear unless there are huge outcries, mass rallies, frenzied corporate worship, 24/7 round-the-clock intercession, and scripted calls for Dominion. These massive prayer rallies bear a striking resemblance to mass political rallies, which may be intentional.

In 2005, this momentum for global prayer culminated in the first Global Day of Prayer, a huge “global teleconference” that “allows people worldwide to unite in simultaneous prayer.” The agenda of this movement was to “Continue to pray and contend for the kingdom of God to be release [sic] & revealed ‘on earth as it is in heaven,'” (note how this phrase in the Lord’s Prayer is consistently mis-applied in a Dominionist context). The scripted prayers called for a “kingdom” and “restoration” agenda. The idea behind this event was said to be, “Building a canopy of prayer over all the continents” so that “the glory of the Lord [can] fill the whole earth” to “hasten His coming” and for “Christ’s kingdom to change the way cities and nations are governed.”[13]

Many of the same groups and individuals now endorsing, sponsoring and supporting Governor Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally were also behind last year’s May Day event at the Lincoln Memorial. That event was strikingly similar in its calls for political change, its New Apostolic Reformation leadership, and the Christian Right political activist groups backing the event.[14]

Barely scratch the surface and start looking into the people lending their name to The Response prayer event. It doesn’t take much digging before this all begins to take on some really strange manifestations. John Benefiel, for example, who with Cindy Jacobs is laying spiritual “seige” to Washington, D.C.[15] Benefiel’s Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network (HAPN) is involved in all sorts of curious things, including a recent “Declaration of Covenant this July 4, 2011” where they “divorced Baal” on behalf of America:

“new pilgrims” stood with the Lord to reset our nation according to our apostolic foundations. We affirmed that the land and government is committed by covenant for “the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.” We repented for breaches of covenant. And we again asked the Lord for His hand in marriage….

Journey Through 17 States
Our time at the Lincoln Memorial culminated a journey that began 11 days before, when our three teams began their respective journeys towards Gettysburg and Washington DC. Together we touched 17 states with an assignment to pray through historic wells of awakening and Civil War battlefields, believing God for a historic move of Holy Spirit awakening and union. This is pictured in Ezekiel 37, where the prophet stands on a barren battlefield and calls for God’s awakening winds. An “exceeding great army” emerges!….

On Saturday, July 2, our teams and group gathered on the actual battlefield. We chose the High Water Mark, the “breakthrough point” that turned the tide of the battle. On this small hill that bore witness to the most bloodshed in Civil War history, we divorced Baal.[16]

Cindy Jacobs has been behind all sorts of prayer journeys across major highways in America, including a “Root 52” (Route 52) journey across the state of Kansas in September 2010. This journey was apparently connected with the IHOP movement, and also was influenced by C. Peter Wagner’s lieutenants Dutch Sheets and Chuck Pierce. This journey included such outlandish activities as setting occult “ley lines,” dropping plumblines, shooting arrows, ascribing prophetic significance to various “signs,” pouring oil over all sorts of things, and planting olive trees so that “Kansas is rooted covenantally with Israel.” The journey was described as:

A call from regional leadership was given to Kansas for repentance from division and offense in order to walk together in love and unity. There was also identificational repentance led by regional and Kansas leadership concerning the 7 mountains of our culture. God is knitting together the bones and sinews of an exceedingly great army in both Israel and Kansas and our nation. He is calling us to arise together into a force of “ONE” great army of the Lord….[17]

And this is precisely the point. This group of prayer warriors also thinks they are Joel’s Army, taking up an endtime battle to restore the earth to Christ so that he can return with “his kingdom” which they will govern. Why this unbiblical agenda has become part of American patriotism and enmeshed with concern over immorality in our nation is the question of the hour. Obviously, these prayer events in combination with frenzied political action are replacing the Gospel of Salvation, which alone has the power to minister life and healing to people who live in sinful lifestyles.

Furthermore, one can read through the reports cited in footnote 16 and 17 above and search hard to find any mention of the Gospel of Salvation, the cross of Jesus Christ and His shed blood for our sins, and the necessity of repentance. Oh, there’s a lot of Bible verses — most of them taken wildly out of context and misapplied in some odd ways. But who got saved along these journeys? Anyone? Perhaps this indicates that these prayer routes were not intended to bring converts, but rather establish governing rights for their “kingdom” here in America. A terrible thought.

So why is a Texas governor, who is seriously considering a run for president, hanging out with these amazingly bizarre, self-anointed, self-appointed, false apostles and prophets who want to rule the world?

The Truth:

Extensive, public, long and drawn out, showy prayers was what Jesus condemned in the Pharisees. And the “kingdom of heaven” has to do with salvation, not a literal physical kingdom to build here on earth. Jesus said:

“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves] neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” (Matthew 23:13)

1. Mike Bickle, “The Fact in the New Order in God’s Work,” October 26, 1986, transcript page 25, quoted in Ernie Gruen’s report “Documentation of The Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship (Grace Ministries),” http://www.deceptionbytes.com/AberrentPractices.pdf.
2. Sarah Leslie, “The Global Day of Prayer,” Discernment Newsletter, May/June 2005, http://www.discernment-ministries.org/Newsletters/NL2005MayJun.pdf For more history see “Praying in an Emerging New Order,”
3. See new page, not called Honorary Co-Chairs, http://theresponseusa.com/honorary-co-chairs.php For news accounts from the Left, see “The Mysterious Case Of The Disappearing Endorsers at
http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/mysterious-case-disappearing-endorsers and http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/fact-sheet-gov-rick-perry%E2%80%99s-extremist-allies
4. See for example, http://www.frc.org/prayerteam/prayer-targets-unction-for-our-pastors-and-godly-civil-leaders-theresponseusa-as-solemn-assembly. Meanwhile, the Left was writing things like http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/sarahposner/4903/excuses,_excuses:_the_polite_regrets_of_governors_bailing_on_perry’s_prayer_rally_/
5. C. Peter Wagner,
Churches That Pray: How prayer can help revitalize your congregation and break down the walls between the church and community (Regal Books, 1993). Recounted on pp. 72-73.
6. There was a “Special Prophetic Edition” of the
Grace City Report, which was a “monthly newsletter for the six congregations of Kansas City Fellowship,” dated Fall 1989, which contains many key articles about this group’s history and mission. Noel Alexander wrote an article “Intercessory Prayer: Kansas City Fellowship’s Theology, History and Practice” (pages 15, 17) which outlines the background of what has become the IHOP movement.
7. See the Herescope post “Why Prayer Warfare is heresy,” 12/13/05, which explains the IHOP prayer agenda: https://herescope.net/2005/12/why-prayer-warfare-is-heresy.html
8. See “Three Fallacies Of Third Wave Spiritual Warfare Teachings,” Sandy Simpson, 10/19/05, http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/threefallacies.html for some wild examples.
9. Dr. Orrel Steinkamp, “The Technology Of Spiritual Warfare Evangelism,” The Plumbline, Vol. 7, No. 1. http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/orrel9.html
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid.
13. For a complete report on this agenda and its leaders, and its similarities to the topic of today’s post, see Sarah Leslie, “The Global Day of Prayer,” Discernment Newsletter, May/June 2005, http://www.discernment-ministries.org/Newsletters/NL2005MayJun.pdf Part 2 of this report is posted here: http://www.discernment-ministries.org/Newsletters/NL2005JulAug.pdf
14. For a detailed analysis see “May Day Prayers,” Herescope, 4/27/10, https://herescope.net/2010/04/may-day-prayers.html and read the two related posts, “R & R Revival and Revolt” https://herescope.net/2010/04/r-revival-and-revolt.html and “The Coalescing of the Christian Right with Apostolic Dominionism” https://herescope.net/2010/04/coalescing-of-christian-right-with.html
15. See “Jacobs, Benefiel To Spend 40 Days Laying Spiritual ‘Seige’ To Washington DC,” http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/jacobs-benefiel-spend-40-days-laying-spiritual-seige-washington-dc and follow the links such as http://www.dc40.net/. See http://www.hapn.us and http://www.hapn.us/1111-campaign and http://www.hapn.us/Websites/hapn/Images/Initiatives/1111%20Campaign/1111%20Campaign%20SUMMARY.pdf
16. Report by Jon & Jolene Hamill, “Declaration of Covenant–update!” sent out by Jacquie Tyre on July 9, 2011, to the Kairos Transformation & Georgia Prayer Network, report currently posted at http://www.facebook.com/notes/carolina-strategic-prayer-alliance/1111-campaign-declaration-of-covenant-update/10150319533668132?ref=nf
17. “Recap Report from Kansas: Root 52,” September 3-10, 2010, http://www.governfromtheheart.org/pages.asp?pageid=99886