Growing in Prayer: Spiritual Warfare Part 2
by Lisa Hall, international prayer coordinator for TWR Women of Hope
Repeated sins. We all have them. Satan tells us that overcoming them is hopeless and that we will never change. But God offers us hope in defeating these strongholds in our lives.
If you want to defeat these strongholds, here’s how to get started:
- Know the areas where you are tempted.
- Embrace confession, repentance and forgiveness.
- Pursue loving God with all of your being.
- Put on the armor of God daily and stand strong.
- Take captive every thought and compare it with God’s Word.
And taking every thought captive involves these three things: putting off old habits, thoughts and patterns; renewing your mind with God’s truth; and putting on new attitudes and behaviors (Eph. 4:22-24).
One very practical way to renew your mind is to begin a regimen of 40 days of Scripture. Find scriptures that address both the temptation you struggle with and the godly characteristic that is its opposite. If you tend to hold a grudge when someone hurts or offends you, look up scriptures on being offended and on forgiveness. Collect these scriptures and read them out loud each day for at least 40 days, asking God to transform your thinking as you develop patterns of correct thought and action.
One book that I use to overcome strongholds is Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds, by Beth Moore. I cannot emphasize enough that our strongholds must be demolished! You will not experience freedom in Christ if you are holding on to secret sins and remain defeated. And so Ephesians 6:10-18 calls us to put on the armor of God daily in order to stand our ground against Satan’s attacks. May I encourage you to memorize this scripture?
Belt of truth – Truth is the cornerstone of this armor: being honest with God, with yourself and with others. We use God’s truth to recognize Satan’s lies and deceptions. But when we do sin, God longs for us to come to him in true confession and repentance, and his response is always forgiveness. Ask God to help you clearly see his truth, Satan’s lies, our own sin and the way of escape when facing temptation.
Breastplate of righteousness – Righteousness is what we received from Jesus when we placed our faith in him; we are now in right relationship with God. We live righteously when we choose to live according to God’s standards. This is where putting off our old thoughts and habits, renewing our minds through God’s truth, and putting on new attitudes and behaviors are so important if we are to live rightly before God.
Gospel shoes of peace – As we share the good news of salvation with those around us, we are ambassadors appealing to people to be reconciled with God. Through belief in Jesus’ sacrifice for them, they can now have peace with God. And as we keep the gospel fresh in our minds and hearts, it is a deterrent to keep us from temptation and sin.
Shield of faith – God calls us to a life of faith: complete trust in him, his power and his promises. Ask yourself: Do you trust in God’s character? Do you believe that he is good and has your best in mind? Do you believe his promises and the perfection of his timing? Our level of faith in God’s character determines our intimacy with him.
Helmet of salvation – We received our salvation in Jesus Christ the moment we believed. But his salvation and deliverance continue for us today. God is our deliverer from sin and from satanic attacks. The helmet of salvation is the protection over our minds – the place where most of the battles take place. Guard your mind and compare every thought with God’s truth.
Sword of the Spirit – God’s Word is our offensive weapon. Read the Bible, meditate on it, memorize it, study it, pray it out loud. In addition to praying scripture out loud, I often use Wanda Alger’s resource, Words to Pray By. She lists scriptures and prayers she has written on dozens of practical topics with which we all struggle.
Pray in the Spirit – In times of war, this is a call for us to stand strong against the enemy and intercede faithfully for other believers. Our prayers are a strategic weapon against the enemy. Also, we can join our persevering prayers with fasting for the deliverance of others undergoing spiritual attack.
Would you join us on Nov. 2 for the global prayer gathering, when we will explore all of this in much more detail? Stand strong, dear friends.