Strongholds & Warfare Praying

Sermon Notes

Key Passages: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Ephesians 6:10-18

  • Looking at prayer regarding:
    • Strongholds
    • Praying the Word of God
  • Warfare praying – lifting petitions to God in the midst of spiritual warfare

 Truth to always remember:

       Life is spiritual warfare.

  • That’s why praying The Lord’s Prayer is important.
  • That’s why daily formal prayer time is
  • Keeps us in contact with our Father and Savior.
  • Warfare praying is mandatory.


Part 1 – Why is spiritual warfare so important?

Many people hear the words “spiritual warfare” and automatically think of possession

  • Possession is ugly, time consuming and draws attention
    • The devil doesn’t want to draw attention to himself – he wants to draw attention away from Jesus
  • Spiritual warfare isn’t so much about possessing the person – it’s about controlling the mind.


We indirectly engage the enemy on a daily basis.

His activity and his influence is all around us every day.

That’s why life is spiritual warfare.


We are living in the End Times.

 Proper Biblical Definition of “End Times”

  • Time between Jesus’ ascension and His return
  • The Nazarene Church has no official doctrine of the end times
    • End times theology – eschatology
    • No official eschatological doctrine
    • I don’t know, don’t care how God is going to do it.
    • I just know that He is – and we need to be about His work until Jesus comes back

Revelation 12:12

Therefore, rejoice, O heavens!
And you who live in the heavens, rejoice!
But terror will come on the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you in great anger,
knowing that he has little time.”

  •  The second Jesus ascended to Heaven the devil knew his days were numbered.
  • So he stepped up his game.
  • Wants to take as many with him as he can.

The enemy knows scripture better than we do.  He knows the truth of

2 Timothy 3:1-5

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

  •  The devil knows this
  • He knows that life is spiritual warfare

WE need to know it.

We need to know:

Ephesians 1:3

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.



Part 2 – Strongholds

2 Corinthians 10:3-5          NIV

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

So much in those verses to help us in our spiritual warfare:

 Vs 3 – For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

  • Big surprise! God doesn’t want us doing things the way the world does.

 Vs. 4 – The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

  • We don’t fight with weapons of the world
  • Our weapons have divine power to demolish strongholds

Vs. 5 – We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

What is a stronghold?

  • Any argument that “sets itself up against the knowledge of God.”

Beth Moore – Praying God’s Word p. 3

“A stronghold is anything that exalts itself in our minds, ‘pretending’ to be bigger or more powerful than our God. It steals much of our focus and causes us to feel overpowered. Controlled. Mastered.”

  • Quite often can be something we obsess about
  • But it is something that consumes so much of our emotional and mental energy that
    • Stifles our walk with Jesus
      • Abundant life isn’t available
    • Work for God is limited and ineffective

That is the enemy’s goal in spiritual warfare.

  • You are believer – child of God – you’ve already been bought and paid for
    • He’s lost that battle already
  • What he wants to do now is make you ineffective
  • Wants you so caught up in a stronghold that you are effectively useless to the kingdom

The battlefield is the mind.

The chief battlefield is the mind – because the most effective way to influence behavior is to influence thinking.

So, if the enemy can build a stronghold in the mind of a Christian he is well on his way to rendering them ineffective in the Kingdom.

  • Few things in our lives will be more formidable than a stronghold
    • Look at the word – it means something has a “strong hold” on us


Remember – in our modern language – a stronghold is:

An obsessive thought or thought process

It is a mental barrier that you cannot break through

  • How many kids in our schools here are thinking:
    • No one loves me – no one cares about me
    • No one knows who I am – if they really knew me they would hate me
    • I hate who I am
    • I’m worthless, stupid, ugly, pathetic…
    • No matter how many people tell them otherwise THEY CAN’T BREAK THROUGH THAT THOUGHT PROCESS
  • How many adults are thinking:
    • I’d be happy if…
      • I had a better job
      • I had a nicer car
    • My family doesn’t care about me
    • If God cared about me he would…
    • I’m too old, I’ve missed my chance
    • I’m worthless, stupid, ugly, pathetic…

These are stronghold – Christians have them as much as non-Christians


Part 3 – Our Weapons

 Christians are burdened by strongholds

  • Non-Christians are burdened by strongholds

The difference is – we have weapons to demolish them

 Ephesians 6:14-18

Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

These are our weapons.

Armor: defensive

  • Belt of truth
  • Body armor of righteousness
  • Shoes of the Gospel of peace
  • Shield of faith
  • Helmet of salvation
    • to protect our minds


Weapons: offensive

  • Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God
  • Pray in the Spirit – spirit-led prayer


Strongholds are mighty fortresses in the mind that we and the enemy have built together

  • The enemy planted the thought
  • We bought into it

You’re not going to “chip away” at them with

  • Personal determination
  • Secular psychology
  • Denial

You can’t ship away at a huge fortress – you have to demolish it

 How do you demolish it? – YOU BLOW IT UP

  • Demolish it so it can never be used again


God has given us two divinely powerful sticks of dynamite

  • His Word & prayer

 If you take these two sticks of dynamite and strap them together they become exponentially more powerful.

  • So we pray the Word of God
  • We pray the scriptures


We will never win a spiritual battle without prayer.

  • Prayer is not a means to an end – it is the end
  • In spiritual warfare our primary strength is our godliness
  • Godliness is achieved through intimacy with God
  • Intimacy is achieved and maintained through prayer

2 Corinthians 10:5

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 

  • When we pray the scriptures
  • When we read the Word of God and turn it into our own prayers
    • Just like we did with the Lord’s Prayer


  • We are retraining and renewing our minds to think like Jesus
  • Every time we choose to think like Jesus about any situation or stronghold instead of Satan’s way or our way
    • We take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ

 In praying the scriptures we find ourselves

  • In intimate communication with God
  • Our mind being retrained and renewed (Rom. 12:2)
  • Thinking His thoughts rather than mine


Beth Moore – Praying God’s Word

  • 14 examples of most common and most disabling strongholds
    • Idolatry
    • Unbelief
    • Pride
    • Depression
    • Addiction


Idolatry – Before you dismiss the idea of idolatry in your life there are three points she wants you to consider:



  1. Virtually every stronghold involves the worship of some kind of idol.
  • Pride – involves the worship of self
  • Addiction – associated with the worship of a substance or a habit

In one way or another something has replaced God in our lives


  1. As long as our minds rehearse the strength of our stronghold more than the strength of our God, we will be impotent.
  • We focus on the grip the stronghold has on us rather than the healing power of God
    • The stronghold will stay in place
  • Pray6ing the scriptures retrains and refocuses our minds


  1. We may be forced to admit that we have the wrong picture of God.
  • Rather than a true picture of God
  • We have a picture we have conjured up in our minds often to justify the existence of the stronghold


 Colossians 1:15-17

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together



You, my Christ, are the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by You all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by you and for you. You are before all things, and in you all things hold together.


Psalm 40:5

Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.



Many, O Lord, my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.



Unbelief –

  • It is not uncommon to struggle with unbelief
  • There is a difference between believing in God and believing
    • You are forgiven
    • I will care for you.


1 Timothy 4:1

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.



Lord, your Spirit clearly says that in the later times some will abandon the faith of follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Please help me to be very discerning of deceptive teaching. Help me never to abandon the faith for a lie.


Romans 11:20

 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble.



Father, according to your word, it is possible to be broken off from part of your plan because of unbelief. Your word says not to be arrogant but to be afraid. O Father, I do not want to miss any part of your plan because of my unbelief! Please forgive me for any unbelief and help me walk by faith.



Praying God’s Word, Beth Moore


Types and Aspects of Prayer

Sermon Notes


Part 1 – Expanding and Beyond the Lord’s Prayer

Luther strongly suggested doing what we have talked about with The Lord’s Prayer

  • Working through each petition in your own words
    • Great value in this
      • Focuses our minds – rids distracting thoughts
      • It is actual prayer

Then Luther points out two things:

  • After praying through the Lord’s Prayer – one should feel free to “pray from the heart”
    • Free form prayer – pray as you feel led
    • Own petitions
  • Luther also points out be on the lookout for the Holy Spirit
    • The Spirit might impress upon you an insight from scripture and instruct your heart
      • In this case – put aside all other petitions, sit in silence and listen

Luther says:

“The Holy Spirit himself preaches here, and one word of his sermon is better than a thousand of our prayers. Many times I have learned more from one prayer than I might have learned from much reading and speculation.”

  • So, as we move into free form prayer we lift up our other concerns and personal petitions to God

This is not to say that anything goes in free form prayer.

Remember – One of the greatest myths of prayer: Because it’s prayer, my motives will always be pure.

        St. Augustine – our hearts are “disordered”

  • Simply by our human nature – our hearts are disordered
    • Things of greatest importance can be 3rd or 4th in priority in our hearts

St. Augustine:

“God, whom we should love supremely, is someone we may acknowledge but whose favor and presence is not existentially as important to us as prosperity, success, status, love, and pleasure… Unless at the very least we recognize this heart ‘disorder’ and realize how much it distorts our lives, our prayers will be part of the problem, not an agent of our healing.”

  • This why so important to meditate on scripture and pray the Lord’s prayer
    • Settle our hearts & minds
    • Focus more on the things of God
    • Settles the disorder and centers our priorities


Part 2 – 2 Types of Prayer

Two types of prayer – private & corporate

  • Either praying by ourselves
  • Praying in concert with other believers
    • Everything else – different types of requests or petitions


Jesus Describes Private prayer: Matt. 6:5-6

 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Corporate Prayer: Acts 4:23-31

 As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said.24 When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— 25 you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying,

‘Why were the nations so angry?
    Why did they waste their time with futile plans?
26 The kings of the earth prepared for battle;
    the rulers gathered together
against the Lord
    and against his Messiah.’

27 “In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. 28 But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will.29 And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. 30 Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

31 After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.

 Those are types of prayer – private and corporate

  • Two legs of prayer life


This illustrates another of the myths of prayer: Private prayer is more important than corporate prayer.

  • Private prayer is not more important – more convenient
  • Equally important – 2 legs of your walk

 It is America’s sense of rugged individualism that has led us to believe this myth

    • I pray for myself
    • I pray for others
  • If you look at the attendance of the average church – most pastors report less than 2% of a congregation will attend a prayer meeting
  • W. Tozer once said not to expect a big crowd when God is the only attraction.
  • For a church body or an individual to have a truly effective ministry without a thriving corporate prayer life
    • Just like trying to win a race on one leg
    • You’ve handicapped yourself right out of the gate


Part 3 – Many Types of Petitions

 Everything else we’re talking about are petitions

  •  Requests we make of God

Phil 4:6 NIV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

 Here we have a lot of different types.

Let’s look at four types of petitions: Supplication, Intercession, Faith, Thanksgiving

Supplication to ask God for something – typically for yourself

  • “Give us today our daily bread” – supplication

 James 5:13-15

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

  Luke 11:11-13

 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

 St. Augustine – pray for a “happy life”

Happy life as defined in Psalms 27:4 –

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,

 This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray for other things

    • The Lord’s Prayer shows we need many things
  • But, if God and knowing Him is truly our greatest pleasure It transforms how we view our happy life.


Intercession – to plead or mediate on behalf of another person

  • Praying earnestly for the needs of others
  • This is probably where we will spend the bulk of our time in prayer.

Many examples of intercessory prayer in scripture:

        Abraham prayed for Sodom – Gen. 18:22-33

        Elijah prayed for rain for Israel – 1 Kings 18:41-46

        Elisha prayed for a boy to come back to life – 2 Kings 4:32-36

        The church prayed for Peter – God busted him out of prison – Acts 12:1-18

Paul gives us a beautiful explanation of how to pray for someone:

Col. 1:9-14

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,[c] 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.


What does this passage teach us about intercessory prayer?

 Pray persistently

        Vs. 9 – “we have not stopped praying”

  1. What to pray for.

                        – grow in complete knowledge of His will

                        – spiritual wisdom and understanding

        Vs. 10 – Why?

  • So their lives will
    • Honor and please God
    • Produce every kind of good fruit
    • Know God better and better

Vs. 11 – Prays that they will be strengthened w/ His glorious power

  • So they will have
    • Endurance and patience

Then he prays:

  • They will be filled with joy
  • Always thanking the Father


Petition of Faithtwo kinds – pray in faith/pray for faith

        Pray in faith – rooted in confidence in the Lord’s word

Mark 11:22-25

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

         Matt. 9 – The Bleeding Woman

                Vs. 21 she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”

        Pray for Faith – one example

Mark 9:23-24 – Father asked Jesus to heal his son – “Have mercy on us if you can.”23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

  • This one example – but a strong one
  • James says if we lack wisdom we can ask for it

This indicates if we lack faith we can pray for it.


  • This should be a standard part of all prayers
  • Praise and worship brings us into the presence of God
  • Praise and thanksgiving are powerful weapons
    • Disarm two deadliest weapons of the enemy
      • Unbelief and satanic attacks

Many Psalms of Thanksgiving

Psalms 100

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
    Worship the Lord with gladness.
    Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
    He made us, and we are his.
    We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
    go into his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
    His unfailing love continues forever,
    and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

 1 Thess. 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.


How to Pray


Here are the notes from this past Sunday, Nov. 5. You can also view the entire study on our Facebook page “Clearlake Nazarene Church”.


Pastor Chris



  • You would understand how we can prepare our hearts for prayer.
  • You can take the structure of The Lord’s Prayer – greeting, petitions, conclusion – and put them in your own words.
    • Secondary goal:
      • See the importance of having a formal prayer time each day

There is wrong with “popcorn” prayers, praying while driving, doing dishes, etc.

  • But it is important to carve out 5-10 minutes each day for a formal, quiet, centering prayer w/ God.
  • When we only pray while driving or doing dishes or the like, it’s like existing on snacks – every day you’re only eating snack foods and not having a full meal
  • Formal prayer time provides a full meal with the Spiritual calories and nutrients you need

Martin Luther – talked about cultivating the habit of prayer through regular discipline

 Luke 5:15-16   But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.

  • Pray twice daily – morning and evening
  • Luther said we are commanded to pray just as strongly as we are commanded don’t kill, don’t steal.

I understand that we are all busy with work, own a business, have kids & busy teenagers.

  • That’s why it is important to cultivate the habit of prayer now.
    • Won’t always be busy
    • Won’t always have teenagers
  • Build the habit now and it will grow when you are not so busy.


Luther also strongly urges to begin prayer time by meditating on scripture.

Pick a scripture & think about it – meditate on it

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

4 suggestions

  • What is the instruction of the scripture?
    • What does it want you to learn or know?
  • How does the instruction of this passage lead to praise and thanksgiving?
  • How does it lead you to repent and confess?
  • How does it lead you to supplication and petition?
    • What does it lead you to ask of God?

Too often we think of prayer as the thing we have to do to get to something else.

The only thing in our spiritual life more important than prayer is our relationship with Jesus.

Prayer is the main event – not an afterthought.

Meditating on scripture before prayer also cultivates a correct attitude.

True, heavenly-minded prayers will always begin and end with a humble, broken spirit.

  • Only then with they be welcomed at the throne of grace.


The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:7-13 NIV

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father who is in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

(For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.)


Primary Sources:

St. Augustine’s Letter to Proba:

Martin Luther, A Simple Way to Pray:

Click to access simple_way_pray_luther.pdf

John Calvin on Prayer:

Click to access copr.pdf

Timothy Keller, “Prayer”