Armed for Battle

Veteran Missionary Interview

from Pioneers in Thailand

From their first day in Surin, Thailand, a Pioneers team experienced spiritual battle. In the following interview they provide insights on the spiritual warfare they and other workers may face, ways we can help them, and tips for facing battles that may also come our way.


Q: How would you define spiritual warfare? What is it, really?


A: We feel that spiritual warfare is an attack of the enemy.


The evil one will do something strategic to confuse us, throw us off course, hurt us, discourage or depress us, or thwart our plans to follow God’s will. This can be played out physically, emotionally, through relationships, or spiritually. We’ve found spiritual warfare to be very real in our lives. It tends to grow more intense when we are in places cut off from the gospel.


Q: How do cross-cultural workers typically experience spiritual warfare?


A: In our experience, cross-cultural workers typically experience spiritual warfare in the following ways:


• Sleep problems/nightmares

• Depression

• A feeling of heaviness, physical or spiritual

• Disruption in family life (children acting out, unexplained marital conflict, extreme irritability, etc.)

• Unexplained team issues or miscommunication


Less commonly, our team has also seen and felt evil spirits on or around us.


All of these issues tend to increase dramatically as spiritual holidays and celebrations are recognized among the people we are working with. For us, it’s also usually several of these issues happening at once.


Q: What effect does it have on new believers and seekers in your context?


A: New believers are under a lot of pressure.


We were sharing the gospel with a woman named Ning. Ning’s friend has a spirit inside of her that she said told her that Ning was needed be a spirit medium of a specific dead monk. Ning was very torn between this new “high calling” of being a spirit medium of a very prominent man, and seeking Jesus. She has yet to believe in Creator God.


In another instance, a family member threw away a new believer’s Bible and told them there was no reason to be seeking any other god than the gods they already worshipped.


Many loved ones tell seekers that if they turn their backs on their spirits and dead ancestors the spirits will come back and harm them or the family. They’d have no protection since they’d abandoned the spiritual practices that they believe are protecting them.


Some people have dreams of spirits “warning” them to not follow Jesus as well.


Q: How would you ask friends and supporters to pray for you in the midst of this battle?


A: We would ask friends and supporters to pray physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational protection.


• Pray that we would persevere through attacks.

• Pray that God would continue to train us up to be mighty warriors for Him.

• Pray that we would be humble and teachable, allowing the Holy Spirit to discipline us through the battle.

• Pray that we would continue to act in love and grace, and point others to the Father.

• Pray for our intimacy with God—that we would seek him in every way even when it’s the hardest thing to do. 


Q: What advice would you give others about recognizing and responding to spiritual warfare in their own lives?


A: Ask God to reveal what is going on in the spiritual realm and how to come against it.


Pray for the gift of discernment. Also, seek wise counsel from those who are familiar with spiritual warfare. Ask them to pray with you and for you. Be sensitive to how the Holy Spirit may be using them to help you understand more about spiritual warfare.


In our opinion, the best (and maybe only) response to spiritual warfare is prayer and worship. Sometimes it may be necessary to pray with others if the attacks are so intense it feels impossible to pray on your own. We would also encourage others to seek balance. Believers don’t want to go around thinking that anything bad or negative that happens in our lives is spiritual warfare. But on the other hand, we don’t want to think that spiritual warfare doesn’t exist. 


Q: How can we prepare ourselves for the battles that may come our way?


A: Study Scripture about spiritual warfare.


The Bible reminds us that spiritual warfare is real. It also teaches us how to respond to it. Another thing we can do is to have a deep and rich prayer life. The deeper we dig our wells in prayer, worship, and the Word, the more we can pull from those wells when battles come our way.


See more of this team’s story and the unique challenges they face in the video, The Soul of Surin.


We want to connect you with the unreached—through prayer, financial investment and even exploring how your gifts, talents and passions intersect with the expansion of the Kingdom of God among the nations.