Acts 16:16-23, Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour…

The scene in the above Scripture happened in Philippi, where Paul and his companions were commissioned to preach the gospel. It happened that every time they went to a place of prayer, a certain slave girl who was able to tell people’s fortunes through divination kept interrupting them. This eventually annoyed Paul so he casted the spirit out in the name of Jesus. The spirit of divination that was using this girl is the python spirit, the type of spirit that is against prayer. Which explains why the slave girl kept disturbing the men on their way to a place of worship. The python spirit aims at squeezing the breath of God out of people so that they eventually get separated from their Creator.

God created us to be alive with His breath. This is the reason why Jesus, before His ascension, breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (20:22). He knew that they would not be effective in their Christian walk if they did not have His breath in them.  People without the breath of God do not have the desire to pray, read the Bible, and go to church. They are spiritually dead. Hence the python spirit targets to quench the breath to make people to backslide. When a physical python wants to kill its prey, it slowly coils itself around its prey and begins to squeeze the life out of it bit by bit. In the end the prey suffocates and dies. Its aim is to snuff out the breath of its prey.

The spirit of the python works the same way in people. It slowly slithers its way to a person’s life and coils itself around their spiritual life. It then squeezes out the breath of Jesus bit by bit. While the breath is gradually departing, the physical effects start manifesting. The person loses interest in prayer, and when that happens, the voice of the Holy Spirit cannot be heard. When the voice that gives direction is silenced, people start to reason things out the way of the world. When they have to give their offering, they question the Bible and make their own calculations. In most cases they no longer care to fast; they complain that fasting compromises their immune system. Even the Bible stops making sense because the Spirit, who gives understanding of the Word of God, has been muzzled through disobedience.

During the lockdown, the python spirit was slowly squeezing the breath of God out of people and the effects were very obvious. They stopped praying and receiving the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Eventually they started doing things which are against the will of God. They spoke for the devil, saying churches of Christ should remain closed because they are death traps. Most people were obedient in attending the online services when the lockdown started. But they grew weary along the way and started missing services even though they were not going to work. They used to make sure that they had enough data to watch the services until the end, but now they make excuses about air time. Those are the effects of the python spirit tightening its grip.

When the President gave us the go ahead to open churches, you could see the pain felt by the pythons through the things they were saying. When Fire filled Christians complained that the maximum number of people allowed during a church service was too little, the pythons reacted by attacking them. When we recently announced that we will be having drive-in services, they complained. Some were quick to raise concerns about those who do not have cars. They said that it is better if everyone stayed at home because those without cars will feel left out. Would a Fire filled Christian say such things? No, that is the language of the devil! When you hear a person complaining when Christians are celebrating, just know that you are no longer dealing with a person but a spirit. Real children of God celebrated this milestone, even those without cars.

The python spirit not only attacks spiritually. It also attacks through physical sicknesses. Many people with breathing conditions are not dealing with a physical issue as much as they are dealing with a spiritual issue. Think about the severe symptoms of coronavirus and tell me if they are not similar to the attacks of the python? Those with severe symptoms experience shortness of breath. They suffer from extreme pressure in the chest and chest pains. When a physical python squeezes its prey, they become unable to move. People with severe coronavirus symptoms eventually become unable to move and suffer from speech loss. Does this not sound like the attacks of a python? If Christians remain on their knees, even the shackles of the coronavirus shall be broken.

If you are a Christian who is no longer enjoying giving, praying, and reading your Bible, the python has coiled itself around you. If you are now feeling irritated when you think about going to church or seeing an obedient child of God, the breath of God is being snuffed out of you. Remember that the devil is no man’s friend. When he has separated you from God, he will stop you from making progress in your life. Do not allow yourself to be seduced by him. He is not a covenant keeper. The devil wants to kill your spiritual life so that you do not see progress in your life. He knows that he cannot steal from you if the anointing of God is moving in your life. Hence his aim is to stop the flow of the Holy Spirit.

This is a difficult time for the Church of Christ. We are going through a test. Make sure that you do not fail it. When all of this is over, you shall testify that you have walked through the valley of the shadow of death and remained standing. When you have passed the test, you shall proceed to the table that the Lord has laid out for you and feast in the presence of your enemies. Your dreams have to come to pass even during the coronavirus times. Refuse to be squeezed by the python spirit.

Defeat the enemy with your praise and worship like Paul and Silas did. We are told that when the masters of the slave girl saw that their hope of profit was gone after her deliverance, they got Paul and Silas arrested. While in prison, they forgot about their chains and started praising God. As they were worshiping the Lord, the shackles were automatically unfastened by the power of their prayers. The same thing happened when Peter was in prison. Angels were sent to set him free after the Saints earnestly prayed (Acts 12). This shall be the case with you, child of God. The python grip shall be loosened by your active prayer life. The angels shall be busy because of your prayers. When you do not pray, demons play. 

Do not allow yourself to be among those the devil wins during the time of lockdown. Do not allow the python to squeeze you. Tune in to the voice of God and allow the Lord to restore your breath. Be blessed in the name of Jesus.