“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” II Corinthians 10:4
In case you were not aware, a great majority of my ministry experience has been related to prayer. Many would have more specifically termed it “strategic” prayer. Strategic prayer could be defined as not just prayer in communion with our Heavenly Father, but targeted intercession desiring specific results and breakthroughs. Personal prayer in the presence of God IS the most important thing you can do, but we often unknowingly relinquish too much power, influence, and territory to the enemy in our regions and communities because we do not take intercession to the strategic level.
Every region has a history just as your own life has a history. There was a conception and a birth. There were also moments of celebration as well as moments of trauma. All of us can recall key moments in our life that have shaped our current personality and mindset. Some people never overcome traumatic events in their life and their destiny is altered in a major way.
We know our enemy, Satan, is trying to destroy us because we are God’s creation. So he offers enticements to try and draw us away from God’s best for our lives. In other words, our choice to sin is a “welcome mat” that invites his influence into our lives. If that pattern continues, a stronghold develops. A stronghold is simply a faulty thinking pattern based on lies and deception. Many strongholds develop as a result of our vulnerability in the flesh. When we face some difficult situation we are confronted with many choices. Satan always offers some form of false comfort in the mix, but what appears good at the time is just bait with a hidden hook in it.
Most of us can recognize what strongholds may have developed in our lives by taking note of what we turn to in moments of stress, trauma, and rejection. We can turn to alcohol to deaden the pain. We can turn to pornography or other unhealthy emotional attachments for a false sense of acceptance after being rejected. Strongholds can even have a religious appearance. For example, some people may think they have to work harder “for” God after some sin in their life, in order to earn His love and forgiveness.
How do strongholds develop in communities and regions? The following are some questions to ask and research. What were the circumstances surrounding the birth of your city and/or community? Example – Many California cities were birthed as a result of the Gold Rush. Is greed a stronghold today in that area? Are there any moments of trauma that have affected the area throughout its existence?
NEXT TIME: We will take a look at how to research and discover what strongholds may be hindering you, your church, and your regions opportunity to respond to the love and truth of Christ.
Small Group/Family Discussion Guide:
Can you recall a time in your life when you had a bad day, week or event and you realized you had a choice between biblical answers and enticements of the flesh and/or the world? What choice(s) did you make? What happened as a result?
Was there a major negative moment or event in your past or childhood that has shaped much of your life afterwards? How did it affect your relationship with God? How did you overcome any stronghold that may have developed?
Does your region seem to struggle with certain negative and ungodly patterns, such a high crime, teen suicide/pregnancy? Are churches in your community growing? Are people receptive to the Gospel?
What are some ways you can allow God to renew your mind and overcome strongholds that have been besetting you?