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Male Number of posts : 6
Age : 58
Registration date : 2008-02-09

Character Profile
Name: Deacon Bower Heads
Church Attendance: Never Misses a Church Service
Outside Occupation: Full-Time Pastor/Minister

PostSubject: POWER PRAYER Part 1   Sat Feb 16, 2008 11:54 am

POWER PRAYER IS PRAYING beyond ourselves. It is pressing beyond our limited human reasoningís and our vulnerable emotional states to make a faith connection with God. It results in our perspective being altered to see things clearly and Godís power being released to change things radically.
I vividly remember a personal experience of powerful prayer that occurred when I was in the fifth grade. I woke up one morning with abdominal cramps. I had experienced them before on several occasions and feared that it might be appendicitis. But, the cramps and pains always went away within a few minutes. So I comforted myself on this occasion with the thought that these symptoms would let up this time as well. Only, they didnít.
Pushing the fear to the back of my mind, I went to school only to find myself getting progressively worse. By the end of first period class, I took my few books in hand and made my way to my next class. By the time I made two bends in the hallway and entered the classroom, I was so weakened that my mind was racing with fear. Instinctively, I dropped my books off and made my way to the bathroom where I stood against the wall with both hands over my stomach. I was beginning to double over from the pain, and chills set in. Reflecting on my brotherís bout with appendicitis and surgery a year earlier, my eleven-year-old mind became frantic with fear.
I made my way back to class to get my books and ask permission to go to the clinic. Second period was recess, and there were only a couple of students left in class. I went to pick up my books and found that I was so weakened that I couldnít lift them. So, I asked a fellow student if he could help me get to the clinic, and he obliged.
I scuttled my way to the clinic as I could not lift my feet. The nurse was out, the beds were empty, and my companion dropped off my books and left so as not to miss recess. Making my way over to one of the beds, I spent a good two minutes trying to get in a laying down position on the bed. If I laid my head on the pillow, my knees were up in the air. If I flattened my legs, my head was up in the air. The pains, chilling, and cramping just wouldnít let up, and my mind was racing.
I began to pray frantically, "God, youíve got to help me! Please, God! Do something! Youíve got to do something! Please, help me!" Meantime, my imagination was picturing the revolving lights of an ambulance coming to get me and fearing it would not make it in time if the nurse didnít show up soon.
Suddenly, I heard the Lord speak to me in my thoughts. I donít remember His exact words, but it went something like this: "If you believe Iím here to help you, why are you so troubled?" Instantly, all fear left though the symptoms remained the same. I said out loud, "Thatís right, Lord. If I believed you were hearing my prayer, I wouldnít be acting like this. Okay, God. You said, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." (See Mark 11:24) Now I desire that You touch my stomach and heal me. Iím asking You to heal me. I believe I receive it, and I know I have it!
At the instant that I finished saying these words, I suddenly saw in my minds eye a cloudy sky and noticed that the clouds dissipated at once to reveal a perfectly clear sky. I had the sensation that my vision had been clouded over but that I could now see all the way through to a clear sky. At that moment, two things happened back to back quicker than it takes to tell about it. First, I felt as though God gave me an injection of faith. All doubt vanished, and I positively knew that I was healed. Second, upon receiving that assurance of faith, my body flattened out on the bed as though someone had lifted a barbell from across my waist. All symptoms vanished. I stood to my feet pressing against my stomach to see if I could find the slightest sign of pain. There was none.
Iíve chosen to relate this particular experience because it demonstrates praying beyond ourselves and pressing into the dimension of Godís reign where faith is imparted and supernatural power is released. I did not know it when I was 11 years old and laying in that clinic, but the vision God gave me at the moment He came to heal me connects graphically with a biblical teaching underscoring the need to exercise faith when we pray.
The apostle Paul writes, "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (See 2 Corinthians 4:4.) The word translated "blinded" in this verse, tuphloo, means "to dull the intellect," and the simple form of the same verb, tupho, means "to make smoke." Dutch Sheets, commenting on this verse, says that "it is like a smoke screen that clouds or darkens the air in such a way as to prohibit a person from seeing." [Sheets 1996:166] I saw the smoke screen! And, at the moment the injection of faith came, the clouds dispelled.
The smokescreen that clouds our spiritual vision and disables our ability to pray in faith is erected by the "god of this age" (See 2 Corinthians 4:4a) -- a biblical reference to Satan. Elsewhere in Scripture, these clouds that blind our minds are referred to as spiritual "strongholds." (See 2 Corinthians 10:4.) In this teaching, weíre going to talk about spiritual strongholds -- what they are, how they are formed, how they hinder our prayer lives, and how they can be identified and demolished through powerful prayer.
What Are Spiritual Strongholds?
The definitive text concerning spiritual strongholds comes from 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, which reads as follows:
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
The word translated "strongholds" in this passage could also have been rendered "fortresses." In its verbal form, the word means "to make firm." [Vines 1985: 605] Just as military forts are established in firm places such as on a hilltop or at the mouth of a bay, so Satan attempts to established strong forts in our minds to hold our thought life captive.
In the passage cited above, Paul defines strongholds as arguments, pretensions, or thoughts that set themselves against the knowledge of God. Any beliefs entrenched in our thinking that are contrary to truth as revealed in Scripture are strongholds of the Enemy that stand in the way of our knowing God and making Him known. Thus they hinder us in our walk with the Lord and in our prayer lives.
The best working definition of spiritual strongholds that I have found is Edgardo Silvosoís. He states: "A spiritual stronghold is a mind-set impregnated with hopelessness that causes us to accept as unchangeable, situations that we know are contrary to the will of God." [Silvoso 1994: 155] With this definition in view, hereís a few examples of strongholds and Scripture references that demonstrate how these assertions are contrary to the will of God:
ē My husband is hopeless. Heíll never be saved. (See 2 Peter 3:9.)
ē Iím just a carnal person. Iíll never be free from lust. (See Galatians 5:16.)
ē No upward mobility for me! Iíll always struggle to make ends meet. (See 3 John 2.)
ē Iím getting older. Feebleness and disease is inevitable. (See Psalm 103:2-5.)
Each of these assertions reflect beliefs entrenched in the mind that are contrary to the revelation of Godís will as revealed in Scripture. Since Godís Word is truth (see John 17:17), these beliefs reflect minds clouded by Satanís smoke screen from seeing things the way God desires us to see them. They are spiritual strongholds.
How Are Spiritual Strongholds Formed?
The Apostle Paul gives us a key to understanding how spiritual strongholds are formed by listing three descriptive terms for strongholds. He says that strongholds are arguments, pretensions, and thoughts contrary to the knowledge of God. (See 2 Corinthians 10:5.) Letís look at each of these terms to gain insight into how strongholds are erected.
First, Paul states that strongholds are arguments contrary to the knowledge of God. The word Paul uses is logismos, which would be more correctly translated as "reasoning's." [Vines 1985: 319] The word does not imply arguments with other people but the battle that goes on in oneís mind when the conclusions drawn by human reason and those given through divine revelation in Scripture contradict each other. In such cases, to believe our own human reasoningís is to reject the revealed will of God.
Second, Paul refers to strongholds as pretensions contrary to the knowledge of God. Paulís word here is hupsoma, which literally means "high thing" and can also be translated "height." [Vines 1985: 304] It speaks of pride by which we exalt our own human reasoningís over divine revelation. It puts the intellect in the place of God so that one is more comfortable trusting his reasoningís than believing Godís Word. This is mind idolatry.
Third, Paul calls strongholds thoughts that are contrary to the knowledge of God. The word used here is noema, which refers to a "purpose" or "devise of the mind." [Vines 1985: 630]. This word is particularly helpful in that it is also used in 2 Corinthians 2:11 where it refers to Satanís schemes. Paul writes: "We are not unaware of [Satanís] schemes." The relevant point here is that when human reasoningís are allowed to become schemes that set themselves against Godís Word, the mind has essentially become captive to Satanís schemes. In such situations, Satan has effectively planted thoughts into our minds and deceived us into thinking that those thoughts were our own reasoningís.
How are strongholds formed? They are formed when we:
ē Reason through situations in life without looking to God for guidance.
ē Draw our own conclusions without consulting Godís Word for validation.
ē Set our rationalizations above Godís revealed will in Scripture.
ē Devise schemes for handling life situations contrary to Godís directives for living.
It is important to note here that when a person first comes to Christ for salvation, he quite likely has strongholds in his life already. His directions for living have come through parents, teachers, authority figures, his own human reasoningís. Any number of things from genetics, to environment, to parental discipline, to traumatic experiences in life have played a role in shaping his values and conditioning his responses to real life situations. Now, as a new Christian, it is his responsibility to feed his mind and heart upon Godís Word so that he can learn to live by the Holy Spiritís directives rather than by his previous conditioning. This reorientation process involves developing a lifestyle of demolishing strongholds and building godly foundations for living.
How Do Spiritual Strongholds Hinder Prayer?
Spiritual strongholds hinder our prayer lives by turning us into double-minded people. If as Christians we profess to live under the authority of Godís Word and yet allow our lives to be frequently directed by human reasoningís contrary to the revelation of Godís will in Scripture, we have become spiritually schizophrenic. There are two obvious ways in which such a condition hinders our prayer lives.
Double-mindedness tries to balance competing agendas. Jesus said that the heartbeat of prayer is deference to Godís reign in our lives. Weíre to pray: "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (See Matthew 6:10.) But, as Neil Anderson points out, double-mindedness determines to have a Plan B of human reasoning to fall back on in case the Plan A of Godís revealed will doesnít come through. [Anderson 1990: 157-158] As long as we hold a Plan B in reserve, weíre not able to pray with faith and confidence for Godís Plan A to come through.
A biblical example of double-mindedness trying to balance competing agendas help us to see just how this tendency sets us at cross purposes with Godís work in our lives. First, right after Peter received a revelation that Jesus was the Christ, Jesus commended him for having gotten this insight from the Holy Spirit by revelation. Then, when Jesus began to foretell how He would suffer crucifixion as a part of his Messianic calling, Peter rebuked Him and said, "Never, Lord! . . . This shall never happen to you!" Jesusí response to Peter was, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." Peterís honorable intentions reflected Plan B thinking when he realized that the Plan A of Godís will for Jesus was something horrible from which he wanted Jesus to be spared. Yet, without following through on Godís Plan A of Jesusí crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, eternal salvation for humankind would have never been secured.
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