Encounter: A stronghold is something that people depend on for safety, like forts of old. Spiritual strongholds are the arguments and pretensions (the stories we tell ourselves that are not true) that people use in opposition to the knowledge of God. Carve out a few minutes in a quiet place to read or listen to these passages that give insight into understanding the nature of strongholds in our daily life. 2 Cor. 10:3-5, Psalm 27:1-3, Psalm 140:7, Col 1:12-14, Heb 4:15-16
In May of 2015, Jack and I traveled on a river cruise down the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland. Along the beautiful landscape were turreted fortresses, grand cathedrals, historic cities and medieval towns. Remnants of castles long abandoned spotted the countryside and all it took was some imagination to write stories in our own minds of those who once lived in these amazing strongholds along the river.
The architecture of these castles spoke loudly to any passersby. “You are not welcome unless invited! We are keeping things safe and protected inside these walls.” There are also stories that can be heard from these same walls. “You are my prisoner held captive, we mean you harm and will not protect you inside the walls. Both are strongholds. One is meant for your good and one is meant for your demise. One brings freedom, the other keeps you captive.
Living in the 21st century seems a bit removed from castle living, but what is written into the years of our lives are stories of strongholds that protected us and strongholds that kept us bound to something that harmed us and our relationships.
The picture of God as the one who is our fortress we run to for protection, deliverance and provision is written throughout the stories of God’s people from Genesis to Revelation. The scriptures also warn us of strongholds that need to be destroyed and instructs us in what weapons are needed in that battle. There are prayers of deliverance that help us put words to what we are experiencing in the here and now with “songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7), that lead us to the rock that is higher than us, greater than the one who is in the world and an ever present help in times of trouble. Our only hope is to be delivered from the stronghold that means us harm to the Stronghold whose walls stand the test of time.
You are invited to come within his walls and those walls cannot be shaken. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Praying for Deliverance,
Reflect: Do you find it challenging to ask for help?
Share about a time when you asked for help—or should have!
What strongholds, or things that hold you back, have come up in your life that you have needed deliverance from? What strongholds might you struggle with today?Is there something or someone you need to uninvite for your stronghold to remain safe and protected. Take time to pray for deliverance. Here are some things you may need deliverance from:
From my enemies
From my fears
From my sin
From my heart failing/distress
From ignorance (teach us wisdom)
From false identities
From the stories and lies we tell ourselves
From idolatry; where we run for safety instead of God
Encourage: The writer of Hebrews describes Jesus as our “high priest,” which means we have access to God through Jesus. In what seasons of life have you found it particularly meaningful that you have access to God who loves you and offers you grace and mercy?
Gather: Let us pray for deliverance for each other. When we walk in freedom, we can more fully join God’s kingdom work in the world. Pray for deliverance from evil in Sudan and other places where evil is causing harm.
Spiritual Practice Take 10-15 minutes to pray and answer these questions:
1. What areas in your life have you turned over to God?
2. Are there areas of your life that you still need to fully surrender to God?
Read Hebrews 4:15-16. Close your time in prayer asking God to help you fully surrender your life to him.