Published in Breakthrough Intercessor, January 2005
Baptist church property in our town sat derelict for years. An oil-rich multimillionaire was to pay off the entire mortgage with one check but was murdered only weeks before writing it. His heirs informed the church they would get nothing, and the church lost the property. Another church bought it, but foreclosed. So it sat. Along came a Uni-Daoist religious organization and bought it 1999. Though they put on a good front, my Taiwanese friends knew enough about its dark side that the thought of it moving into town scared us all.
Before we even knew about it, they got their permit in 2000 to demolish the church building and put up a temple the size of a football field. It was to be their North American headquarters! We repented for our lack of vigilance and began fasting and praying, asking God to dry up their money and thwart their plans. We prayed the existing church building would never be destroyed, and that a Christian church would reclaim it. The Uni-Daoist organization was so big, and we were just a handful of intercessors. But we remembered David before Goliath.
God did dry up their money. After a year they had not torn down the church building. Then in 2001 their money began to flow again. But their building permit was set to expire. They needed the city planning commission to grant an extension. We needed to pray.
We pleaded with God that the extension would not be granted. Many people spoke at the meeting that night of October 17, 2001. Many more prayed in their churches and homes. At the end of it, we were joyfully stunned as the city planning commission reversed its vote and denied them the extension. The Uni-Daoists sat more stunned than we were—though not joyfully. Nevertheless, they vowed to come back in March. So we continued interceding.
My friend and I felt led to pray on the property and reclaim it for the Kingdom of God. He suggested we apply God’s promise to Joshua, “I will give you every place where you set your foot” (Joshua 1:3). So off we went around the property line. It was easy until we got to the hillside, where six-foot tall dried brush rose above choking dried weeds. So we crawled through the thick brush on our hands and knees, reclaiming it for Jesus. Along the property line adjacent to neighboring homes, one neighbor was ready to call the police, while we tried to assure her that we were just out for a walk.
We felt led by the Spirit to read Ezekiel 36, a prophecy to the mountains of Israel. God speaks in verse six to the “mountains and hills, to the ravines and valley, to the desolate ruins and the deserted towns that have been plundered and ridiculed.” Before us lay hills, ravines, and the desolate church building. In verse seven God proclaims that the nations that caused this would suffer scorn, and we prayed it would be so for the Uni-Daoists. In verse eight the Lord proclaims that His people would “soon come home,” and we prayed for God’s Kingdom to be restored in that place.
I suggested we apply the Jericho march. So we started marching around the building. The second time around a rattle snake slithered out from behind an electrical box beside the building. It coiled and hissed. I stopped. Sometimes things happen in the physical realm that speak of unseen realities in the spiritual realm. I knew in my gut I must not back away or divert my path from any spiritual battle. So I asked God’s protection according to Psalm 91 and kept walking, passing only a foot away from the snake. The third time around it still sat there. I rebuked it and told it to leave, although it surely didn’t know English. God seemed to tell me that just as the snake refused to budge, so also Satan resisted relinquishing the property. We would have to persist in prayer. I felt the assurance that we would win, but it wouldn’t be easy. The fourth and fifth time around it still hissed. The sixth time around it had slithered into the grass. Then it did something very strange: It faced me with tongue hissing and, with some difficulty, wriggled backwards into the brush. The seventh time around we praised God for future victory.
The Uni-Daoists kept saying they would come back. They even placed ads on local television, announcing that they would soon build their temple on that spot. For two years we kept praying and watching, diligently expecting victory. They never returned to the city planning commission, and the property went up for sale!
Totally unknown to us, but known to God, in May 2003 a young, growing church felt the Holy Spirit leading them to start praying for that property. By September they began trusting God for money they did not have to buy the place.
Churches across our community prayed for them. Some raised small offerings to them purchase the land. But they were unable to raise the million dollars they needed to close escrow, so they withdrew their offer on the land. Amazingly, just as God used Zerubbabel to free the Israelites in exile, God seems to have moved the temple leaders and real estate agency to come back with a plan to adjust payment down to $500,000. After another round of faith stretching fund raising, they still couldn’t do it. Again they withdrew their offer. The business leader of the Uni-Daoists immediately came back and said, “I don’t know why, but for some reason I want you to have this property. Could you do $400,000?” Yes. And they closed escrow Friday the 13th of February 2004.
They cleaned and repaired for months. Now the Kingdom of God has reclaimed the address.