I was at the gym this evening, talking to God about the latest rendition of “the funk” that had settled upon me. I’d been feeling out of sorts since Labor Day morning and hadn’t been very aggressive in pushing back against it or figuring it out. This isn’t uncommon for me, having a melancholic bent, often heightened by prophetic impressions and/or feelings I can’t even put a finger upon. The feeling part of my Myers-Briggs personality type is my weakest, so I often don’t even know what I feel. I just sometimes know if the feelings aren’t normal.
Anyway, as I prayed into it a bit and was led down a path, I found myself contemplating the concept of denial-of-service attacks that Web sites sometimes come under. And I found a lot of good spiritual parallels to pull from. Please pardon the geek speak for a moment.
A denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) or distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) is an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users. Although the means to carry out, motives for, and targets of a DoS attack may vary, it generally consists of the concerted efforts of a person or people to prevent an Internet site or service from functioning efficiently or at all, temporarily or indefinitely…
One common method of attack involves saturating the target (victim) machine with external communications requests, such that it cannot respond to legitimate traffic, or responds so slowly as to be rendered effectively unavailable. In general terms, DoS attacks are implemented by either forcing the targeted computer(s) to reset, or consuming its resources so that it can no longer provide its intended service or obstructing the communication media between the intended users and the victim so that they can no longer communicate adequately.
In more simple terms, the most common form of denial-of-service attacks cyber criminals perform on Web sites involves perpetrators hijacking a bunch of computers and causing those computers to continually bombard a particular Web site or computer network with so much traffic that the site or network can no longer respond to legitimate traffic. Twitter, our dear Facebook, and Google News are some high profile sites that crumbled to DoS attacks in recent months, rendering them inaccessible to millions of people for hours or days on end.
DoS attacks can often happen to us as disciples of Jesus. We can become so bombarded with rogue, malicious thoughts and ideas that we “cannot respond to legitimate traffic” and are “rendered effectively unavailable.” Thus, we “can no longer provide [our] intended service.” Ranging from purely evil, diabolical thoughts to legitimate and entirely innocent concerns, these attacks effectively deny the Holy Spirit His voice and leading in our lives and immobilize us from heavenly fellowship and kingdom work.
This last round for me wasn’t a hyper intense attack. I wouldn’t even say I was entirely taken out by it. A better label for the situation would probably be a degradation-of-service attack (which, Wikipedia claims, can potentially cause more damage than an all-out DoS). But it certainly made its presence known. And it certainly did its job of hampering my communion with God and zeal for His kingdom.
So, in my prayers, what the Holy Spirit proposed is performing a reverse denial-of-service attack, of sorts. If we were to continually flood our mind with the Word of God, with prayers, with things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8), we’d effectively set up a denial-of-service toward the intents of the enemy. He’d be the one getting denied rather than the Holy Spirit.
This is hard work, considering how prevalent the spirit of the age and his messages are in our media-saturated culture. But it’s not impossible. Paul says to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thes. 5:16-18). If it’s God’s will, it’s possible. Where we see ourselves too weak to pull off such a feat as raising a continual prayer firewall against enemy attacks, His grace proves sufficient and His strength finds perfection in our weakness.