Spiritual warfare in Costa Rica
“What does spiritual warfare look like and how do you stand?”
Steve (EFCA ReachGlobal Latin America missionary) and I asked my teammates this question at the beginning of our short-term trip to Costa Rica this past May. I was preparing to lead the team devotion later that week on Ephesians 6 (focusing on spiritual warfare), and I was anxious to glean my teammates’ perspectives.
Little did I know that, a few days later, I would personally encounter spiritual warfare in a real and dramatic way — building my confidence in God and empowering me to answer my own question.
Five days into the trip, we piled into a van to go visit Turrialba, a potential location for a church plant. We divided into teams of three or four people to pray throughout the town.
Right away, my team noticed a 6-ft. concrete snake bench in the square. This visual reminded me of the serpent who deceived Eve in the garden (Genesis 3), and I thought about Satan’s presence in this town. We prayed, declaring that our God is God Most High — El Elyon. He reigns over heaven and earth, and He crushed the enemy through the work of Jesus Christ, our Victor.
After we declared His supreme sovereignty over Turrialba, our small group left the square and walked up an adjoining street that marked my first spiritual attack.
Physical attack from the enemy
I began to pray out loud as we walked, and I noticed several trucks drive by in succession as though purposefully drowning out my prayer. Not only could I not hear myself pray, I could hardly focus on what I was praying. My mind clouded with confusion, and I felt lightheaded and nauseous. The mental static I felt completely distracted me from my prayers.
We quickly left that block to pray elsewhere. My nausea subsided, but my prayers still did not flow freely.
When we reunited with the larger group, Steve asked to take our team back to the place where I had sensed that strong spirit of confusion.
As we returned to that spot, I asked the Lord to shut the mouth of the enemy and to remove all of his distractions, just like God had done with the lions in the story of Daniel (Daniel 6:21). I prayed that God’s name would be proclaimed in power and authority.
Then something strange happened.
I immediately felt like someone punched me in the stomach — but no one was there. I doubled over and tried to vomit. I had trouble breathing. I felt like I was being attacked.
It was real, it was invisible, and it was demonic
In Ephesians 6:12, the Bible warns us, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
I heard Steve pray over me, and then I was fine… for a moment.
Steve heard me and calmly said, “Claim your authority.”
Thinking of Ephesians 6, I boldly declared, “In the Name of Jesus and by His blood leave. Help me, Jehovah Sabaoth [Lord of Hosts].”
Immediately the demon was gone and I was standing firm in Jesus’ Name.
As I reflect over this experience, I realize God taught me several things:
- The battle is real, and it is for God’s glory among the nations (Revelation 7:9).
- His power is amazing, and He rules and reigns on His throne. Not even demons can separate me from His love (Romans 8:38-39).
- His name is the most powerful gift given to every believer.
- God has already won. He will fight my battles, but He asks me to put on His armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) and stand firm in Him in watchful prayer.
- God can take something evil and bring good out of it to advance His kingdom and to glorify Himself.
I continue to pray for Turrialba and for God’s name to be proclaimed there in power and truth.
Story written by a short-term missionary to Costa Rica who asked to remain anonymous.
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Bring a short-term team to Costa Rica. Contact us to discuss options!
- For the church planting project in Turrialba — that God would direct and lead the team throughout the process, giving them wisdom, strength, and perseverance.
- That God would protect the church planters and other Christians in Turrialba from spiritual attack and that His name would be proclaimed there in power and truth.