He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son. —Colossians 1:13
I’m going to make a strong statement here that might surprise you. When I met Jesus Christ, He radically stopped Satan from killing me.
He demonstrated His power over the enemy to completely destroy the stranglehold he had on my life. He forced Satan to release me from the chains he had linked around my soul. Psalm 107:14–15 (nkjv) says, “[God] brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their chains in pieces. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” That is what God Almighty did for me.
God rescued me because one godly woman cried out to Him with faith in His love, His power, and His commitment to answer the prayers of His people. This woman was my mother, Isobel, and she had a God in heaven who we knew actually listened to her. She prayed with such open- ness and expectancy as if He were her closest friend! She would take spiritual authority over fear, doubt, and unbelief, and just bring her God and His power down upon us and into the situation. She looked past the natural into the supernatural and focused on the truth that God really is almighty and that He always has the final word about whatever happens in our life.
Isobel had a deeper understanding of the power of prayer than most Christians and understood how to battle in the spiritual realm. She learned that going into God’s presence in daily prayer, and taking her prayer needs before the one and only Holy God, meant that all things were possible. “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (Matthew 19:26). In prayer, by prayer, and through prayer, God has chosen to move on behalf of His people.
After Isobel prayed for me to be released from my rebellious life and the strongholds that had me bound, she praised God for hearing and answering her prayers before she even saw the answer. Many people think it isn’t rational to praise God before we have answered prayer. But Isobel knew her God worked by faith, and that praise would pull down all of the negative thoughts attacking her mind about the ungodly life I was living. And God miraculously answered her prayers and praise and delivered me literally from death. The book Face to Face with God13 is the testimony of my early life.
My mother’s prayer and praise pulled down the strongholds that I had permitted Satan to have on me through my lifestyle and choices. “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3–4). We must grasp this truth: we have the power in Jesus to destroy strongholds!
We must grasp this truth: we have the power in Jesus to destroy strongholds!
What is a stronghold? In the natural, a stronghold is a place that has been fortified and strengthened, such as a fort. Spiritually, it is a thought, plan, or action with a hold on our lives that stands against the knowledge of God and His Word. Satan tries to fortify those negative thoughts or plans in our minds and use them to keep us in bondage and away from freedom in Christ. That’s why we must recognize that Satan is a real enemy and not just someone’s dark imagination.
Can you see why prayer is so important in the life of the church? When you recognize the power of prayer, can you see why Satan hates prayer? Can you see why he tries to make personal and corporate prayer so unattractive to Christians? When was the last time you or your church had a prayer meeting packed with people pulling down strongholds for the lost in their lives? Ouch! I’m not trying to throw guilt or condemnation on anyone. Daniel and I just want to see the church wake up. We want to equip you to grow in Christ, to become more productive for the kingdom of God, to be a spiritual warrior in prayer for your family, your friends, your pastor, your church, your career, your neighbors, the country, and the world. We want people to say of us what they said of the early Christians in Acts 17:6: “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.”
Here are a few reasons why Satan tries to hinder Christian prayer:
- The church was designed by God to only receive power from Him through prayer. Isaiah 40:31 (nkjv) says, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
- Satan knows that true spiritual power, pulling down spir- itual strongholds, only happens when we call upon God in prayer. So, he has gone to great lengths to fill our minds with every negative thought possible about how prayer is “not really accomplishing anything.”
- Christians, leaders, and the average person sitting in the pew often have the misconception that doing something accomplishes more for God than first spending time sat- urating their efforts with prayer. The truth is, walking on prayed-over ground will permit our efforts to be much more effective. “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16 nasb).
- Satan knows that prayer will stop his destructive plans. “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all per- severance” (Ephesians 6:16–18).
What strongholds do you want to see destroyed in your life or the life of a loved one or a friend? “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 nlt). Who do you know with rebellious or negative thoughts that are destroying their minds, thoughts that are preventing them from knowing Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior? I said earlier that I want to see you and those you love unshackled, unstuck, and unhindered. Satan can bind us up, but Jesus can set us free. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
Let’s pray together with the power of God’s Word to free us and those we love. We will ask almighty God to break any strongholds that have bound us or those we know, praying that those who need Jesus will surrender themselves to God’s love and the cross of Jesus Christ.
Excerpted from “21 Days of Deeper Prayer: Discover an Extraordinary Life in God” by Jim Maxim with Daniel Henderson, © 2020 by Jim Maxim. Published by Whitaker House, New Kensington, PA. Used with permission. All rights reserved. www.whitakerhouse.com.
Free audio prayers found here: www.acts413.net/deeperprayer