Speakers present prayer as power against Satan
By Jim Hardin
Feb. 3, 2018 at 12:08 a.m.
Spiritual warfare. It's a topic many congregations avoid, according to a former satanist who helped lead a seminar on the topic a week ago in Longview.
That's why he said the most important development of the event was how representatives from multiple churches came together to learn more about the subject.
"It was just nice seeing people come together regardless of where they go to church," Michael Leehan of Edmond, Okla., said after the two-day Spiritual Warfare 2018 seminar held at The Reserve. "Most often, as I travel, it's just usually one particular group or church, maybe two."
"It was pretty inspiring," Leehan said of the turnout at the Jan. 26-27 event, which included representatives from about 20 churches. Leehan said he viewed the representation as a symbol of "community cohesiveness."
Leehan and Steve Hemphill, a Longview author and speaker who has written two books on spiritual warfare, presented the seminar to an audience of about 200 people Friday night and about 100 each at two Saturday sessions a week ago.
"Spiritual warfare is not talked about much," Hemphill said. "We avoid the topic. Churches don't talk much on it."
Because they have similar beliefs on spiritual warfare and the power of prayer, Hemphill said, he and Leehan joined to present the Longview seminar.
According to a news release promoting the event, Leehan, as a young man, thought God didn't love him, so he decided to serve Satan.
Out loud, the news release stated, he said, "Satan, come into my heart." That day, he bought a satanic bible and a book of spells. He cut his arm and made a blood covenant with Satan to serve him faithfully — which he did for 22 years.
Leehan's life as a satanist is detailed in a book titled, "Ascent from Darkness." A movie — "The Adversary" — is in the works. He's also working on a second book, "Spiritual Pornography."
Hemphill said he planned the seminar "because we have forgotten how powerful prayer is and we need to realize how the enemy (Satan) is at work around us."
He defined spiritual warfare as "things happening in the physical world because of the actions of spiritual forces in the unseen." Prayer, he said, affects the unseen forces.
"Michael and I both believe in the power of prayer, that there is an unseen realm that we don't think about or talk about much," Hemphill said, adding that many people think of prayer as a last resort instead of a first response. "We connected on a deep level with our experiences, teaching and love for the word of God. That's kind of how this came about."
Hemphill added that many people treat prayer "like God is our Santa Claus in the sky instead of our partner in ministry. We've forgotten that prayer is an evangelistic tool rather than just a want list for an unseen father in the sky."
Seminar participants, Hemphill said, included representatives from about 20 East Texas churches. He added that there were four people each from New York, New Orleans and Tipton, Oklahoma.
Hemphill said he sold a Longview company he owned for 28 years so he could travel and speak on demons versus prayer.
He has taken his message to 150-plus cities in 16 states and three countries. His books are "My Search for Prayers Satan Hates" and "What Are The Stakes?" The latter book, Hemphill said, provides information about "God markers on the land" that is prevalent in the Bible and a modern way to apply this idea.
For six months, Hemphill has hosted a weekly program on KJTX, a local Christian radio station. On "Hope, Help & Healing," he discusses prayer power, heaven, demons and spiritual warfare at 2:30 p.m. each Thursday.
He also does a Facebook Live video post of each radio program. Last fall, Leehan contacted Hemphill after watching a few episodes of the Facebook Live posts.
Hemphill said Leehan told him, "Steve, your teaching on spiritual warfare exactly fits with my life as a former satanist. Let's do seminars together."
Hemphill said he and Leehan are planning more spiritual warfare seminars.