This morning as I was walking my dogs, I sensed a subtle impression from the Spirit that I was to walk further than normal and walk up the hill to the castle. During the walk, the wind became very noticeable. We’ve had frequent high winds in our area this winter so that wasn’t surprising. But what I sensed this morning was a mood in the winds… anger and defiance. I reached the top of the hill next to the castle and immediately prayer just began to flow from deep within. This reminded me of Mark 4:35-41 (Amplified version):
“On that [same] day, when evening had come, He [Jesus] said to them, “Let us go over to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee].” So leaving the crowd, they took Him with them, just as He was, in the boat. And other boats were with Him. And a fierce windstorm began to blow, and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already being swamped. But Jesus was in the stern, asleep [with His head] on the [sailor’s leather] cushion. And they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are about to die?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still (muzzled)!” And the wind died down [as if it had grown weary] and there was [at once] a great calm [a perfect peacefulness]. Jesus said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith and confidence [in Me]?” They were filled with great fear, and said to each other, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
There are constantly winds blowing against us and the work of Jesus. The COVID-19 virus is blowing against the world and the plans and purposes of God in many facets. The global economic system is in fear; the masses are frantic; and travel has been disrupted.
I wonder what Jesus is doing? Could He be asleep, metaphorically speaking? While His disciples were so afraid they thought they would die, Jesus was sleeping.
Some of us are many days into a fast and I can’t help but think about those whom God has called globally to participate at this time. It’s as though Jesus put together a sleeper cell (pun intended) to be at rest in the place of fasting and prayer during this fear and virus outbreak. I don’t think we can miss the timeliness of this fast or take it lightly.
Jesus was on the move during this storm and heading into ‘new territory’ to dismantle strongholds of the enemy in the Gerasenes and to release revival in that area (Mark 5). No wonder the winds were against Him. Some have even noted that Jesus ‘rebuked the wind’, which implies He was speaking to an entity in the wind or which was behind the wind itself. This force was trying to stop the progression of Jesus and His plans. Remember, our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the powers, abasing the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).
Jesus muzzled the wind and the sea calmed. There was now peace for the way forward where there once was fear. I believe Jesus was showing and provoking His disciples to act in faith. His response to them was, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith and confidence [in Me]?”.
A major result of fasting with prayer is an increase in faith. In Matthew 17 when the disciples could not cast out a demon, Jesus responded to them in terms of their lack of faith. “You unbelieving and perverted generation… / Because of the littleness of your faith… (Matthew 17:17, 20). Jesus associated their inability to cast out this demon with their lack of faith, just as He noted their fear of the storm and of dying was based in their lack of faith. Then, Jesus said to them, ‘BUT, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting’ (Matt. 17:21). Are there some demons that can only be delivered through prayer and fasting? I believe so. However, I believe what Jesus was referring to was their own unbelief and lack of faith. Prayer and fasting expel unbelief from our lives!
With fear heightened and the COVID-19 virus in every headline, I wonder if Jesus is rebuking His followers in love, wanting to train them to grow in faith and to do the works He did and even greater (John 14:12). I believe we are the ones to be at rest when the winds of opposition blow. We are the ones who should rebuke the winds so that the way forward may be open. We are the ones to carry out and break down the demonic strongholds over individuals, regions and nations, and to see Jesus exalted amongst the nations (Isaiah 61:1-4).
As some of us continue to fast together, may there be a constant cry and prayer of ‘Lord Jesus, increase my faith!’ I believe God has given us a grace pray specifically against the COVID-19 virus and rebuke it. Beloved, you were marked for such a time as this to make a way forward to see Jesus exalted!
In the midst of your prayer list and the things for which you are seeking God for breakthrough, I want to suggest a prayer concerning these matters.
‘Lord Jesus, increase my faith in You! Jesus, just as you rebuked the wind of opposition, we rebuke in Jesus’ name what the enemy is trying to do through the COVID-19 virus. We seek to bind the influence of COVID-19, and ask You to cause it to cease and die out in Jesus’ name! God, we will be alert and wise, but we will not let fear become a motivation for our actions and lifestyles. We pray for the believers worldwide that You would grant mercy on those of us who are living in fear. We pray against the fear that headlines are perpetrating. Where the world panics, may we be found like Jesus in the stern of the boat. Father, we believe that we are embarking on a powerful revival, a harvest that will glorify Your name in Ireland and in the whole earth! God we give ourselves to You to be refined by fire. We humble ourselves before You. And we give ourselves to You to walk by faith, not by sight. Amen