Why does Scripture tell us that some curses “alight” — attach to us, affecting us (Proverbs 26:2) — while others do not?
It’s a complex question; there are many reasons. Interior uncleanness. Hidden anger. Occultism. Lack of spiritual awareness. Sloth. Idleness. Generational issues. Unforgiveness.
It is a long list. Cleanse and we allow the Holy Spirit to alight.
Or as a website called the “Elijah List” says, as regards curses that attach to us:
Some have blamed sin, and certainly we need to examine our hearts and make sure we do not have open “sin-gates” through which the enemy can gain access to our lives. However, I think in most cases there is a different answer concerning the intensity of this assault: Satan rages when he knows his time is short (Revelation 12:12).
I do not mean that we are at the time when Revelation 12:12 is fulfilled, but to say that, in the context of all that is occurring in our world — the restoration of Israel, the preaching of the Gospel throughout the world, etcetera — these are signs of the Lord’s return and Satan’s ultimate defeat. In other words, we would be foolish to not expect increasing warfare towards the end of the age.
WE MUST NOT EXAGGERATE THE ENEMY’S POWER =========================================
Having said that, let me also state that it is vital that we never exaggerate the power of the enemy, which is worse than underestimating him. The truth is, if we were not individually protected by the sovereignty of God, Satan would have destroyed each of us long ago. The Lord has given His angels charge concerning us. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit and, even in our imperfections, spiritually covered by the Blood of the Lamb.
We are protected, but we are also living in a world that, at some point, will actually see the devil cast down to earth “having great wrath” (Revelation 12:12). Even in this, the Lord is working all things for good. God is using the eruption of hell’s fury to move us to greater, more focused prayer. An increasing element of God’s protection will only be manifest through the intercession of others on our behalf. Each of us must have people for whom we pray daily; and we each need others who pray daily for us.
An “unprayed for” Christian is potentially more vulnerable to spiritual attack than a Christian who is held before God daily in redemptive intercession. Likewise, a church that has only minimal intercession might think its prayer level is adequate until the battle suddenly escalates.
We assume a weekly hour of prayer is sufficient, yet God desires His Church to be a house of prayer with 24-hour intercession rising from a united citywide church. So, He sets the vision before us. The Holy Spirit warns of increasing warfare, but we do not really listen. [Twenty-four Adoration: a necessity in our time, in every community?]
THERE IS A CAUSE
Yet, what God’s warning seeks to accomplish, the warfare itself fulfills. It is not as though the curse has alighted without cause. There is a cause: our modern traditions have minimized the priority of intercession.
Consider the untimely death of James in the Book of Acts. James, like Peter and John, was a singularly important Apostle. He was one of Jesus’ closest friends, an intimate who stood with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. Additionally, the early Church certainly had a strong prayer stance. In fact, the Apostles previously had been imprisoned, but had been supernaturally delivered at night by an angel. So bold was their victory that they were fearlessly preaching the next morning (Acts 5:17-21).
However, the battle unexpectedly intensified. If we study this account we can see the difference prayer made between the outcome of James’ life and that of Peter’s.
James had been imprisoned and, instead of being delivered, he was beheaded. The experience of the early Church was that God sovereignly delivered the Apostles and He would do the same for James. There had been no great prayer surge on behalf of the Apostles and they assumed there was none needed for James. No alarms went off when James was put in jail. But James did die, and his death absolutely shocked the Church. How could this happen? How could the enemy penetrate the protection God had provided previously? Somehow, the early Church did not recognize a shift in the battle and the need of unceasing prayer.
AFTER JAMES WAS MURDERED, PRAYER INCREASED
After James was murdered, Satan’s advantage actually seemed to grow. Herod quickly jailed Peter and planned to put him to death also. However, in Peter’s case we read: “So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God” (Acts 12:5). The difference between the death of James and the rescue of Peter was fervent prayer. Instead of comfortably (or “prayerlessly”) expecting God’s sovereign protection, the Church realized that, in some ways, Divine protection was being released through fervent intercession. In fact, the church prayed so intensely for Peter, that even when he was delivered, those praying refused to cease praying to let him in! (Acts 12:12-16)
Besides communicating the historical narrative, the spiritual point of this story is that prayer provides added protection and deliverance. As Satan used Herod to kill James, we should not think it strange the evil one would use any means available to injure or destroy the people of God today (John 10:10). Jesus said Satan was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). When a murderer’s rage increases, calamity increases as well.
THE OUTCOME OF THE CHURCH’S INTENSIFIED PRAYER
The antidote, as I said previously, is to pray. The outcome of the Church’s intensified prayer for Peter was that “an angel of the Lord struck [Herod]…and he was eaten by worms and died. But the Word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied” (Acts 12:23-24). Herod was struck by divine judgment. With Herod removed, and the fear of God heightened, the word of God’s redemption continued to spread exponentially. But, let us look squarely in the face of this story. The breakthrough for the primary Church spokesman, Peter, did not occur apart from citywide, night and day, prayer on his behalf.
Let us understand that, through Jesus, God has granted us “legal protection” from our adversary. But, the parable teaches that just knowing Jesus purchased our protection is not enough; there are times when it takes “day and night” prayer to activate protection (Luke 18:5-7).
[resources: books on curses]