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

 

Prayer:

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.

 

Prayer:

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.

 

Prayer:

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.

 

Prayer:

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.

 

Source:

Praying God’s Word, Beth Moore

 

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