Women in Battle

Woman with sword


When God said to the Serpent in Eden, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen. 3:15 NIV), it became evident that war was on between woman and Satan. Nevertheless, God has always raised up women who know how to fight the Enemy.

Five Biblical Warriors

Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, was an inspirational prophetic warrior. When Mary, pregnant with the Christ child, came to visit her, “Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” and said to Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:41-42 NKJV). Mary responded by offering a most beautiful hymn of prayer.

When Elizabeth gave birth to her miracle son, others tried to convince her to name him after her husband, Zacharias, but she declared, “No; he shall be called John” (v. 60 NKJV)—the name which had been prophetically given (v. 13). Zacharias affirmed Elizabeth’s answer, and then offered his own incredible hymn of praise to God (vv. 68-79).

Anna is one of the most significant intercessors in the New Testament. After seven years of married life, her husband died, and thereafter she devoted herself to fasting and prayer in the Temple. Anna spent some 60 years praying through the prophetic promises of God in the Temple. At age 84, she was still ministering to the Lord, looking for the coming of the Messiah, the hope of Israel, when she saw the manifestation of her intercession with her eyes—Jesus Christ was brought to the Temple to be consecrated to God (Luke 2:36-38).

Jochebed was a warring mother who said, “No crocodile will get my son,” and began a war that saved a nation. When Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe in the water where Moses was floating in a basket hidden in the bulrushes, she and Miriam were nearby warring in prayer (see Ex. 2:1-5).

Miriam warred with her tambourine when the Israelites made it safely across the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s soldiers were drowned (Ex. 15:20-21). Yes, even musical instruments can become weapons of war. Isaiah 30:32 says, “Every stroke the Lord lays on them with his punishing rod will be to the music of tambourines and harps, as he fights them in battle” (NIV).

Deborah was a warring deliverer who led the Israelites to battle even though Sisera had 900 iron chariots. Deborah and Barak were terribly outnumbered, but Deborah prophesied, “Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand; is not the Lord gone out before thee?” (Judg. 4:14). Deborah had the word from God. The victory was won.

Today’s “Deborahs” receive power in the place of intercession—the secret place of the Most High God. There they learn how to war for the family, church, and nation.

Esther’s example

God placed Esther in a strategic place for a particular time. Today, God is still put- ting women in strategic places. As God told Jeremiah, “You are my war club, my weapon for battle—with you I shatter nations, with you I destroy kingdoms” (Jer. 51:20 NIV).

When Esther was placed on the throne in Persia to rescue her people from annihilation, it would have been a great sin for her to remain silent. There are times when God’s women cannot remain silent. We must speak.

This was Esther’s time—this was the reason for her existence. Would she rise to the occasion, or would it sweep her away as weak and unequal to the emergency? Esther called her people to three days of fasting and prayer (Est. 4:16). The Jews were to fight on their knees. Corporate prayer is essential in pulling down spiritual strongholds. The Jews were working with God to destroy their enemy.

Fasting puts a cutting edge on prayer. It gives the spirit world notice that we are intent—we will not give up or let go of God until we get the answer. We are using a means that God has chosen to make our voice heard in the heavenlies.

In the introduction to Lee Bueno’s Fast Your Way to Health, Pauline Hearthern describes what happened when fasting became a regular part of her life: “Spiritually I witnessed miracles beyond my wildest dreams. People set free from drugs and alcohol, an insane woman delivered from a mental institution, a man healed of cancer, marriages restored, rebellious children restored to parents, incurable diseases cured.”

Maria Atkinson

Much of my early training in intercession came from Maria Atkinson, the mother of the Church of God in Mexico. My prayer life was never the same after being sent by the World Missions Department to Mexico to research her life and ministry. Yes, she was a great preacher and minister of healing . . . but intercession was her greatest ministry. She spent thousands of hours in prayer.

One night after a Wednesday-evening church service, Sister Atkinson knelt in prayer. She continued praying for hours, as was a custom of hers. When she ended her season of prayer, she heard the foot- steps of the saints coming into the church for Sunday-morning service. She had been lost in prayer from Wednesday night to Sunday morning and was not aware of how long she had been there.

On another occasion, Tony Bonilla, a ministry colleague whom Maria had won to the Lord, was in San Antonio when he had to have an emergency sinus operation. At the time of the surgery, Maria felt a knifelike pain in her own sinus area and saw a vivid picture of Tony on an operating table. She hurried to a prayer room and stayed there until she sensed Tony was safe.

Once while on a street corner, Maria felt a horrible sinking feeling as if on a plane about to crash. Suddenly she saw a mental picture of Vessie Hargraves, then superintendent of the Church of God in Latin America. She again rushed to a private place to pray until she was assured by the Lord that her father in the Lord and the passengers on the plane were safe. She and Brother Hargraves later rejoiced about the exact timing of her prayer burden—the moment his plane was in serious trouble.

During one of her battles with chills and fever, Maria prayed for sunshine. Immediately the sun began to shine in her back-yard while raining in the neighbors’ yards. Conchita Desouza said, “Mama Atkinson, every time you pray, something happens.”

Our Warfare

Battling for identity. Before we battle for the world, we women of God must battle for our own needs. This begins by know- ing our authority in Christ. As a Christian, the same power that raised Christ from the dead resides in us (Rom. 8:11). We should not look for the move of God; we should be the move of God. We should not search for signs and wonders; we should be a sign and wonder.

Women of God may have been plagued by feelings of inferiority, helplessness, and weakness. But God is raising up a new army. We must let the Enemy know we are arising with power.

Warring through the Word. Speak the Word of God into every impossible circumstance in your life. When your problem is big and everyone has given up on you, the Bible is still the answer for your every need. War with it—it is your sword (Eph. 6:17). The way to get the Word to work for you is to put it in your mouth. Read the Word; then proclaim it loudly and clearly. Speak verses of victory in the face of defeat. Speak blessings in the face of desperate need. Speak healing scriptures and see your miracle come.

Looking for opportunities. A Facebook friend of mine recently posted about his sister arriving on the scene of a serious accident. The victim seemed to be dying, but the warring woman of God pushed through the people to the victim and prayed life into her body. She immediately revived. Do we pass up opportunities like this every day? We can do exploits for God if we know who we are in Christ.

Fighting for the family. You can win the battle for your family on your knees. God will draw your children to Christ if you battle for them. God will minister healing to your children if you battle for them. Walk through your home praying the Word of God and see God work for you.

Warring for the nation. We must not give up on our nation. When Israel was in trouble because they had forsaken the Law, God told Jeremiah to send for the mourn- ing women. He said to send for the most skilled of them (Jer. 9:17). Then He said these women should teach their daughters to weep (v. 20). Today, if women will begin weeping and praying over our cities and nation, revival will come.

Warring for other intercessors. Exodus 17:8-13 records the story of Israel’s war with the Amalekites. Joshua and his chosen men went to fight the battle while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of a nearby hill. As long as Moses held the rod of God up in his hand, Israel prevailed. When he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. Today, intercessors are understanding their need for other intercessors to hold up their hands.

Sandra Wooten, an intercessor from South Carolina, is praying on assignment from God for a country in Africa. She has enlisted a strong force of hand-picked intercessors praying for her while she prays for Tanzania. These intercessors who hold up her hands as she prays are part of her ministry.

Isaiah cried out to the women of his day, “Rise up, you women who are at ease” (Isa. 32:9 NKJV). The Holy Spirit is still sending that message out today. God is calling women today to stand before God for their families, their churches, their cities, and their nations. Will we answer the call?

Peggy Scarborough is an author, radio speaker, minister for healing conferences, prayer clinics, pastor’s wife, and intercessor who lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Evangel.