Leanne Payne on Spiritual Mapping and Misguided Spiritual Warfare

Peter Wagner and many others have written and taught that 'strategic level spiritual warfare' including the pratice of 'spiritual mapping' will turn out to be a spiritual technology for completing the Great Commission in our generation.  Leanne Payne - one of my mentors - takes strong exception to this whole movement and writes about it in the Pastoral Care Ministries newsletter.

Spiritual Mapping: A Misguided Focus on the Demonic

In her article: Spiritual Mapping: A Misguided Focus on the Demonic, Leanne Payne speaks of  "the extraordinarily grievous effects that misguided practices of spiritual warfare have had upon Christian leaders, communities, and families, and most particularly upon children growing up in homes where an all-consuming focus on the demonic."  The effects emotional and spiritual illnesses and even dissociative identity disorders.  Leanne Payne Spiritual Mapping a misguided focus on the demonic

Leanne Payne observes when people start focusing on demons, naming them, placing them in hierarchies, aggressively attacking them, listening to them, and forming fanciful mythologies about what they "hear" and "see" them doing, they begin to "speak out" an unreality that is far from Christian. This has an absolutely deleterious effect upon the growing minds and imaginations of children.

Leanne Payne found it necessary to write and strictly warn of these ideas and methods from a pastoral perspective in Restoring the Christian Soul (1991) and then again several years later in Listening Prayer (1994).2  She believes the theology of the spiritual warfare movement strikes at the very heart of the Christian faith and does not support unity with the leaders of this movement.

She expresses grave concern with evangelical leaders such as C. Peter Wagner and others who "dress up these unscriptural ideas and methods in pseudo-technical language" and then give them a platform. 

In Leanne Payne's account these ideas grew out of  individual and group "deliverance" ministries that operated on the fringes of Charismatic renewal in the fifties and sixties and that, in the early seventies began to believe and practice the more confrontive and aggressive methods in focusing on "principalities and powers" (i.e., demons perceived as ruling demonic spirits). 

Leanne Payne had her initial experience with 'strategic spiritual warfare' when a group of 'prayer warriors' used these techniques to cover one of the PCM conferences with prayer.  They were convinced that they had done a good work.  The result was the opposite of good.  Leanne Payne experienced a level and strength os spiritual warfare unlike that at any other conference.  Dark forces seemed to be able to penetrate defences that normally were in place.  She usually experienced what I call "Hidden in Christ' but this time she experienced "exposed to the enemy."

The lesson whe learned it be much more careful and selective in who you have pray for you.  One needs to avoid partnering with this group who practiced 'binding' Satan and 'binding' territorial spirits.  That is when she began to write and teach warnings about this teaching.  It is from Leanne Payne that I learned of the danger of practices that I had been taught and practices. 

Since this time I have repented of these practices - turned away from them.  I no longer associate with those who advocate  them if they do not respond to my Christian warning.  I am much more careful who I have pray for me.  In my work among the Body of Christ in Toronto I was involved in prayer movements of the nineties and made sure that the focus on the demonic and territorial spirits was not what we did.

The dangers of unhealthy spiritual warfare can also be experienced by any Christian ministry that makes a consistent practice of speaking at, commanding and binding demons.  This simple over-focus on demons can invite their presence and give them a welcome mat to bring it under spiritual attack.  I have seen a complete Christian counselling ministry, that followed this practice, go down under spiritual attack.

Action to take:

  1. Repent of - meaning turn from - these practices and do not invite prayer from those who use unhealthy prayers.

  2. Confess as sin the practice of taking up authority that is not yours to exercise, the lack of trust that God would take care of it and the pride and arrogance of usurping authority and power.  Ask God for firgiveness.  Share this prayer with someone who can pronounce forgiveness or use Listening prayer forgiveness prayer which is more in depth inner healing.

  3. Ask God for a renewal of humility and protection.  Humility is our invisibility cloak.  Ask to be hidden in Christ.  Ask for supply lines to be hidden in Christ.  Praise God for being your Protector.  Find and memorize scriptures about God as our protector. 

  4. Learn to draw near to God in praise and worship and statements of love and adoration (like Brother Lawrenece did as described in Practice of the Presence of God.)

  5. Seek wisdom and discernment of the false from the true.  Leanne Payne in her autobiagraphy (Heaven's Calling, Baker Books, 2008, page 114,115) notes that she was early (1950's) aware that the renewal movement of the Holy Spirit lacked healthy leadership and was operating without good discernment of the true from the false.  The false practices she saw growing were the prophetic movement where 'personal prophecy' is like divination and can become demonized with spirits of divination, 'the misguided spiritual-warfare movement' and egoistic extravagant imbalance in the healing movement.  Read Leanne Payne and read over my writing on Listening-prayer.com and HealMyLife.com.

  6. Journal of your experiences so that you can develop your own discernment and personal listeing prayer.

George's HealMyLife book - a manuscript in process on Listening Prayer Therapy

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Print off for personal use only.  Do not publish.  © George Hartwell, Mississauga, Canada, 2011

George Hartwell M.Sc. is a Christian counselor with a masters degree in clinical psychology, 30 years experience and who integrates prayer therapy into his counseling practice. 

To learn all About George or his professional practice see: George's Professional web site, Christian marriage counselling, Christian phone therapy, and Christian Marriage Retreats