Spiritual mapping is an attempt to see our city (or nation or neighborhood) as it really is, not as it appears to be. It is a serious effort to discern the spiritual forces of the invisible world which directly influence the visible, everyday world and prevent men and women from hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Spiritual Mapping” and “Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare” — now so widespread that it is referred to by the acronym SLSW
It started with John Dawson’s book, Taking Our Cities for God, published in 1989 by Creation House. The book’s subtitle is: “How to Break Spiritual Strongholds. ”
John Dawson, at that time, directed Youth With A Mission in Los Angeles, California. In a quest for more effective evangelism tools, he taught that demonic forces block gospel efforts. He focused particularly on geographical areas such as cities, especially cities. His thesis: the power and influence of the “principalities and powers” over a city must be broken before the gospel will significantly advance. He said that “satanic forces manifest(ing) themselves in the culture of the city,” (page 19) and will prevent conversions from occurring.
TEARING DOWN STRONGHOLDS
“To overcome the enemy we must resist temptation ourselves and then continue in united, travailing prayer until we sense that we have gained authority and that God has broken through.” (page 21) It is also necessary, insisted Dawson, that “the spiritual leaders of a city are walking in friendship and respect, then the full power of God can be released against principalities and powers.” (page 100) Furthermore, Dawson concluded that faith and obedience must be “strategically” applied. (page 153)
The history of the target city must be studied and understood by the evangelist who takes spiritual mapping seriously. Certain key questions must be answered. For example, How and why did the city begin? Who were the founders and what were their intentions and spiritual condition? What presently characterizes the city, or, what is it known for? This and much more information is necessary in order to “map” the city. The latest demographic study of the city should be analyzed. The history of race relations must be studied along with any traumatic event the city had experienced like an earthquake, a flood, etc. With all in hand then, the demonic spirit(s) in control of the city will be identified and thus their power can be broken by the use of some appropriate human effort. For instance, if a city is characterized by pride, then the Christian response ought to be humility. This offsetting of spiritual traits, the spiritual mappers believe, is the key to breaking the demonic stronghold.