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Destroying Strongholds: Smashing Thoughts That Bind Pt 5

Prayer is powerful. More powerful than many believe.

I say that because prayer meetings are the least attended service at most churches. If people actually believed in the power of prayer, they would join together and seek the face of the Lord for His will to be accomplished on the earth.

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This blog post is part 32 of the series Seven Invisible Barriers to Spiritual Growth.
To see all the posts in the series click here
.           To listen to the audio version click here.

There is Power in Prayer.

Prayer is powerful. It is one of the greatest weapons that we have in our divine arsenal. Our prayers have the ability to affect the thoughts of people, especially in the area of ungodly beliefs.

Now when I say that prayer can affect the thoughts of people, I am absolutely not talking about mind control or any such thing. Prayer does not control what people believe and think.

Our prayers invite the presence of the Lord into a person’s life and helps to expose the lies that they believe so they can be set free.

The crazy thing about believing a lie is that we think it is the truth. No one purposefully goes out to seek lies and deception. They really believe that what they think is the truth.

Therefore, our prayers must be directed toward the lies that people believe. We must ask for God to reveal the lies and help people see the truth.

Hear again what Paul told the Corinthians:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. (1 Corinthians 10:3-6)

Remember that the stones that make up the walls of the strongholds that keep people in bondage are made up of speculations, lofty things exalted against the knowledge of God, and thoughts that plague. It is the lies about God and His ways that keep people from responding to God and from receiving the truth.

Prayer Brings Heaven to Earth

There is a prayer that is prayed every day by millions of Christians. It is called the Lord’s prayer and is found in Matthew 6:9-13.

“Pray, then, in this way:
‘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 this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

The disciples often saw Jesus go away from the crowds to pray. One day as Jesus was praying His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. Jesus’ response was an abbreviated version of the prayer above.that does not include the words “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

I believe that Jesus was not giving the disciples a prayer to say by rote, since the other prayer was not exactly the same. I think He is giving them broad areas of prayer to consider. Prayer includes:

  • Worshiping the Father
  • Inviting His kingdom rule and power to come into situations
  • Discerning and asking for God’s will to be accomplished in people’s lives
  • Requesting His provision for our lives
  • Staying current with God and with others in the area of forgiveness
  • Wisdom to navigate the world in which we live
  • Dependence on God for power to overcome evil

Thy Kingdom Come

For our purposes we want to look at two of the aspects of prayer revealed above. The first is inviting God’s kingdom to come. What in the world does that mean?

The word kingdom means a king’s domain. It is where the authority, dominion, power, and rule of a king is felt. Jesus tells us to ask for God’s kingdom to come to earth.

One thing that confuses many people over this issue is that God is called Lord of heaven and earth by Jesus (Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21). If this is true, then why do we need to ask for His kingdom to come from heaven to earth?

The main reason is that God gave man authority over the earth. Man was told to go forth and subdue the earth and . . . “rule over every living thing that moves on the earth.” When Adam and Eve disobeyed God Satan usurped their authority and became the ruler of the world.

We don’t have space here to go into detail about this concept but we did cover it before in the following posts:

Evidence of an Invisible World
The Effects of the Fall
Satan Becomes Ruler of This World

Or episodes threefour, and five in the audio blog

The world is such a mess because it has rebelled against God’s ways and gone its own way. All the evil, violence, hatred, and injustice that we see is a result of God’s rule not being established. That is why Jesus taught us to pray for the kingdom of God to come.

We are to bring the authority, power, and dominion of God to this earth as His representatives. When we see something amiss, we are to invite God’s kingdom to come into the situation.

The ministry of Jesus was ushered in by John the Baptist. His boldly proclaimed, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). He was telling the people that the rule and reign of God was here and available.

When Jesus began His ministry, He preached the same message. He said, “ The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). He proved the kingdom was available by preaching the gospel, performing signs and wonders’ healing the sick, and casting out demons.

Jesus gave the twelve authority to cast out unclean spirits and heal every kind of disease and sickness. He told them, “As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8).

Jesus appointed and sent out seventy more disciples and sent them to various cities and told them to “. . . heal those in it who are sick and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near you.”

All of the examples above show people ministering to others and proclaiming that the kingdom is near or come. They were to heal the sick and cast out devils. In other words, the message of the kingdom being near is the message of the power of God to break into the lives of people and deliver them from what harms them.

Now let’s consider once again that Jesus taught us to pray “Thy kingdom come.” Not only can we minister the kingdom through the words and ministry we share with others, we can do it through prayer.

Prayer is powerful. When we pray for specific people in dire situations, we are asking God to bring His miraculous power into the situation. We have authority to pray this way from Jesus. Let’s use this divinely powerful weapon to destroy strongholds that are holding people in captivity and darkness.

Thy Will Be Done

The second aspect we want to consider from the Lord’s prayer is asking for God’s will to be done.

This is a vital part of understanding how we are to pray. We are to pray His will.

If you’re like me, just saying the words “pray His will” brings to mind the story of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. In the garden Jesus went through the most difficult time of His life on earth.

He was facing the cross and the pressure of all that was shortly to happen to Him was crushing Him down. He prayed so fervently that blood flowed from his forehead. He earnestly asked God for another way, but if there was not another way Jesus said “not My will, but Yours be done.”

Some things are fairly clear on what God’s will is and others take some prayer to discern what He desires.

For example, from the verses in this post we see that God desires to heal people and cast demons out of people’s lives. He also desires that none perish. Therefore we can confidently pray for a person’s salvation.

The level of our asking is heaven itself. Jesus said we are to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

This type of prayer is not begging God to come and do something like He is somehow resistant and must be moved upon to act. SInce believers have authority given by Christ to rule on the earth, we must invite Him to do what needs to be done.

We are His authorized agents in the earth. We must understand His will and then pray for it to be accomplished.

Prayer does not twist God’s arm and make Him do something. He is more than willing to pour out His glory in a situation, but He must be asked first.

This idea troubles some people. They think that if we pray this way it means that we are somehow controlling or commanding God to do something. No Way!

Prayer is cooperating with God. We are seeking out His will and praying for it to come to earth as it is in heaven. I’m not making this up. Jesus told us to pray this way.

Prayer Destroys Strongholds

Our prayers have the power to demolish the strongholds in the minds of people that are holding them captive. We can pray against the strongholds of speculations, lofty things raised against the knowledge of God, and thoughts that blind people.

This type of ministry is directly in line with the ministry of Jesus. Here are a few verses that describe the purpose behind His coming:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” (1 Timothy 1:15)

“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)

“The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8b)

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19)

Want to know the exciting thing about the scripture from Luke? It is that Jesus came to proclaim liberty to those who are captives. The word for captives is not that of prisoners in a jail. It is used to describe prisoners of war that are dragged away into exile by a conqueror.

Our prayers help destroy the demonic fortresses that entrap people and hold them in bondage. Through prayer we can take the thoughts captive as prisoners of war and see people come to a knowledge of the truth.

The following verse in Timothy speaks of how Satan can hold people captive.

24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

Now I realize that this verse is not talking about prayer but speaking to a person face to face. Yet I wanted to include it to show you how Paul understood that the devil can ensnare people with lies that hold them captive to His will.

Our prayers can destroy strongholds that hold people in captivity and bring them into the light of a true knowledge of God.

Next week we will take a look at another weapon of prayer and I’ll explain how we can specifically prayer for believers, unbelievers, and for ourselves to destroy any strongholds that are holding us back from God’s truth.

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About the Author

Terry Tuinder is the co-founder of Experiencing His Victory. His experience includes thirty-one years of pastoral ministry, an earned Doctor of Ministry degree from The King's University, and nineteen years involvement in deliverance ministry. He helps people grow in their relationship with God.