You mentioned that angels and demons are variables with influence and free will that affect prayer and other situations. Do they actually have influence or power over people?
As I read scripture, yes! Demonic powers, Satan, principalities and powers and rulers and authorities, all that stuff is mentioned in the New Testament. They definitely have influence over people. It’s part of the fallen structure of the world. That’s what temptation is! There’s this lure towards the dark side. That’s one of the ways they influence us.
At least, a great deal of the evil in this world is the result of the influence of principalities and powers and demonic forces luring people into destructive and dangerous decisions. Having said that, I want to say that, while I think they have a significant influence in the world, just like we do but even more so. It is also the case that, when it comes to our soul, we can never be, I don’t believe, no matter whatever degree of influence the enemy has (because we make ourselves vulnerable to him), when we are walking with God and sealed by the Holy Spirit and we are walking in dependency on Jesus Christ, there is a protection, at least, in our innermost being, in our hearts. And that’s why the Bible tells us to guard our heart. It wouldn’t tell us that, if it wasn’t possible to guard our heart. So I don’t think that a person can be made evil without their wanting to be made evil or, at least, in incremental stages to go down that path.
However, I do think that scripture really shows that there can be influences in other areas of our life. Just as with our own free will as human beings, we can harm innocent people with our decisions, so, also, in a war zone, innocent people take hits from spiritual forces. I’ll touch on that a little next week. So the answer would be, yes, they can influence those things.