We all have seasons where we seem to be deeply entrenched in a battle. Sometimes that battle is for our lives, our identity, our livelihood, our family. We battle over any number of things. When we are in a spiritual battle we need different weapons than those we use in a natural war. 2 Corinthians 10:4 says that the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. What are those weapons that destroy the strongholds of our minds? The weapons I use most often are praise, worship, prayer, and declarations of the word. Today I want to take a look at these a little more intensely so that we can war more effectively and overcome anything the enemy uses to attack us.
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds
Praise is such a mighty weapon that the leaders of Israel sent the worshipers before the warriors into battle. (see 2 Chronicles 20) What an awesome sight! The opposing army standing at the ready, weapons drawn and the “praise team” meets them rather than the solders. Instead of taking them captive, they turned on each other killing each others forces. My favorite part of this story has to be the end. The people of Israel went into their camps and took the spoils of war after all they had to do was stand. We can go into the enemies camp and take what is rightfully ours! (but that is a whole different post)
Psalm 22:3 says that God is enthroned on the praises of his people. He dwells in our praises. When we are praising him and worshiping him, he is with us. It takes the focus off of the problem and places it where it should be, on the solution. Once we begin to praise the Lord, we are then focused on him and his wonderful attributes. We magnify the one that has the answers and diminish the problem. No problem can ever be bigger than God except in our own minds when we worry.
As we lean on God and trust him in our battles, He fights for us! In Acts 16 we see Paul and Silas have been imprisoned for preaching the Kingdom. They were beaten by their captors, thrown in prison and placed in stocks. I would suggest that they were a little dismayed at their predicament. Their bodies weak, worn, and in pain yet their spirit remained strong because they knew who their God was. As they began to worship God, the other prisoners must have thought they were crazy. Yet worship they did and God responded with an earthquake that released the prisoners. He responds to his children!
The biggest lie we believe is when you feel like the world is against you and it feels like even God himself has stopped listening and responding to you. Put on some worship music and praise the uncreated one that created heaven and earth and even you. Adjust your focus to the God of your salvation rather than the enemy that seeks to kill, steal and destroy. Watch and see the salvation of the Lord!
Praise and worship are very closely related. So much so that many people don’t know there is a difference. Praise is based on the things that one does. We praise our children when they do well. If our baby brings home good grades we praise them. If they do their chores with extra pizzazz, we praise them. We do not, however, worship them. Worship is based on who God is. He is God, He is Father, He is wonderful counselor.
Once we begin praising the Lord, a spirit of worship comes. You can feel the subtle shift from, “Lord, you save me and protect me” to “Lord, you are mighty, Holy and worthy”. Worship is our heart reaching for God in a way that can not be understood by mans standards and God responds by extending his heart to us. He lifts us up and takes us to higher ground so that we can see the situation from His perspective and we can receive His strategies for the battle.
We have all heard and prayed the “now I lay me down to sleep” type of prayers. We have all prayed prayers that didn’t quite hit the mark because we either didn’t know how to pray stronger prayers, didn’t have faith to carry them, or were just plain lazy. I am soooo guilty of this! As a new Christian, I didn’t understand how to make this faith thing work.
We start out with prayers like “God if it’s your will” kind of prayers. Just the start of that lacks faith right? If we can find in the Bible where God said it, then it is His will. His will is never that someone remain sick, in sin or bound. You can not find a place in the Bible that says, Jesus didn’t want this person made well so he made him stay sick. It doesn’t exist. Pray the word with faith and believe it will happen. Double mindedness negates faith. God’s word will never return void so use it.
After praying these types of prayer, you may have to step out on faith. You may have a part to play in the completion of the manifestation of the answer. At different times, my children have been lost in their own mess and as I prayed for them, I had to trust God and take my own hands off of them. I had to trust God to fix the situation and not meddle in it. I had to exercise my faith and let them go. Now, I’m not saying that I didn’t have to pray and ask God for help letting it go. I had to remind myself fairly often to trust God. As I did, he worked through my faith to bring a resolution to the situation. As a result, my faith grew.
Declaring the Word
The word of God will never return void but will always perform what was intended. This is at the very heart, finding what you need in scripture and declaring it out. For example, when life throws things at you that are hard, you can stand on the promise of God that “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you”.
When I have gone through hard things, my mind said I can’t take any more Lord. I would bow my head and say I can do all things through Christ. He strengthens me and if He is the one strengthening me, then what can stand against me. (Phillipians 4:13) I was doing 2 things here. 1. I was strengthening my own faith and building my self up and 2. I was declaring to the enemy that he didn’t get me down.
Saying the word out loud activates your mind and your spirit. Your mind because you had to think about it, your saying it and your hearing it all at the same time and your spirit because your spirit hears the declaration causing your spirit to lean more on Jesus and less on you.
Life is going to throw us curve balls. That’s just the way it is. How we respond to those curve balls and difficult situations most often determines the outcome. Do we respond in faith or fear?
Make praise and worship a routine activity. Include it in your time with God and when hard things come, you will be able to activate that much more quickly to adjust your focus and get the answers and strategies you need from God. I receive many downloads from God during worship even ahead of what might be about to hit my life.
In your bible study time make lists of scriptures you can declare over your life and over the lives of those you are praying for. In your prayer time, they will be readily available when you need them. If you have a prayer journal, keep them in there. Many ministries online have all sorts of biblical declarations already written out for you as well- Just make sure they are biblical!