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 Power Prayer part 2

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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 2   Sat Feb 16, 2008 11:55 am

This example of Peterís poor judgment should give us all pause to consider that many rational decisions we make may stand contrary to specific purposes God has for our lives, and some of those purposes may, in ways we cannot see at the time, include the salvation of eternal souls. Truly, a lot is at stake when we try to embrace Godís agenda for our lives without letting go of our own.
Double-mindedness leads to instability and weakness. Weíve been talking about the human tendency to succumb to spiritual strongholds by professing to live under the authority of Godís Word while tending to actually live by the dictates of human reasoning. I think sometimes we realize that the ideal we uphold and the reality that we live out are not the same, but we hope that somehow they will mysteriously converge at some point -- that God will give us the grace to start practicing what we preach. But, as long as this gap exists between what we say we believe and what we tend to practice, we are building our house upon the sand. Jesus said, "Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." (See Matthew 7:26-27.) Clearly, choosing the strongholds of human reasoning over the revealed will of God for our lives is to build a life that is unstable and that is headed for a great crash.
Double-mindedness makes us unstable in our faith and thus ineffective in prayer. James encourages us to pray for wisdom so that we will know the will of God for our lives. Then he adds, ďBut when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." (See James 1:6-8.)
The basis for strongholds is that we doubt. We doubt Godís Word so we depend on our own reasoning. And, James points out that our tendency to put more faith in our own ability to think through things than in the revelation and direction that God gives through His word produce prayers that waver and a life that is unstable. Truly, strongholds are a disease that must be excised from our souls if we are to live lives that are fruitful and productive.
How Does Prayer Demolish Strongholds?
Paul writes that "The weapons we fight with . . . have divine power to demolish strongholds." (See 2 Corinthians 10:4.) The King James Version reads that our weapons are not "carnal" but are "mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds." (See verse 4.) What weapons is he talking about?
The only weapon that can demolish deception is truth. And, as Jesus said to the Father in His Prayer of Intercession, "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." (See John 17:17.) In Paulís own description of the Armor of God, he only named one part of the armor that was a weapon. He said to take "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (See Ephesians 6:17b.) That the word of God does indeed have "divine power to demolish strongholds" is confirmed by the writer of Hebrews who said, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (See Hebrews 4:12.) By judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, Godís powerful Word distinguishes between those thoughts and attitudes that line up with divine truth and those that constitute human reasoning and demonic strongholds.
Jesus used the Word of God as a weapon to defeat the "schemes, devices, reasoning" of the devil in the wilderness. With each suggestion the devil made to Jesus, he included reasons why Jesus should act upon his suggestions. He was attempting to use human reasoning to build strongholds in Jesusí mind that would influence his own thoughts and direct his actions. Satan does no different with us. Jesus defeated him with the Sword of the Spirit. Every time He said, "It is written" (see Luke 4:4,8,12), He was wielding the Sword of Truth to cut down subtle deception. We should do the same.
One passage of Scripture that demonstrates well how to use the Word of God in prayer to demolish strongholds is James 4:7-10. It specifies four steps we should take in defeating the devilís works in our lives and two promises as to the results that will occur when we do. I want to demonstrate briefly how these four steps to demolishing strongholds imply using the Word of God as a weapon in prayer.
We should use Godís Word in prayer as an avenue for submitting to God. James says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God." (See verse 7.) We acknowledge from Godís Word that Jesus is Lord (see Romans 10:9), that His teachings are a sure foundation for our lives (see Matthew 7:24), and we commit to His rule in our lives. (See Matthew 6:10.)
We should use Godís Word in prayer as an effective way to be spiritually cleansed. James writes, "Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." (See verse 8b.) We acknowledge that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin (see 1 John 1:7b), that we are sanctified by the water of the Word (see Ephesians 5:26), and that God has established a new covenant with us in Christ that gives us "singleness of heart and of action." (See Jeremiah 32:39-40.)
We should use Godís Word in prayer to draw near to God. James exhorts us, "Come near to God." (See verse 8a.) We ask God the Father to draw us to Jesus. (See John 6:44.) Then we enter with confidence into His Holy Place (see Hebrews 4:16), and we worship Him in spirit and with grateful hearts. (See John 4:4 and Hebrews 13:15.)
We should use Godís Word in prayer to stand against Satanís schemes. James urges us, "Resist the devil." (See verse 7b.) We expose Satanís lies with the truth of Godís Word (see Hebrews 4:12) and exercise our authority over him by commanding him to move over and make way. (See Matthew 16:33.)
Godís promise through this passage in James is that when we take these four steps of submitting to God, being spiritual cleansed, drawing near to the Lord in worship, and resisting the devil, two things will happen: God will "come near to [us]" (see verse 8b) and Satan will "flee from [us]." (See verse 7b.) The bottom line is that our relationship with God will be strong and solid and the strongholds that Satan had in our lives will weaken and fall away. The picture of God drawing near to us and Satan fleeing from us says it all.
One final word needs to be said on how to use Godís Word through prayer to demolish spiritual strongholds. That word is -- persistence. Ed Silvoso tells of a friend of a friend who was making some renovations on his home. He needed to demolish a cement wall in order to enlarge a room. The contractor he hired for the job came with three tools -- a sledge hammer and a regular workmanís hammer and chisel. First, with the sledge hammer, he began striking the wall with blow after blow. To a casual bystander, it appeared he was wasting his time. Ten, twenty, thirty blows, and not so much as a crack. But, on the thirty-sixth blow, a horizontal crack appeared in the wall. On the thirty-seventh, several cracks appeared in a spider web pattern. On the thirty-eighth, the whole wall was covered with cracks. Then, the contractor laid his sledge hammer down and with a workmanís hammer and chisel proceeded to bring the wall down one piece at a time.
Some of us may feel that we have stubborn strongholds that defy change -- worry, fear, anxiety, slothfulness, lust, addictions, poverty, disease, or what have you. We try to defeat them with speaking Godís Word into our circumstances and it just doesnít seem to work. But we must keep in mind that faith increases as we continue hearing Godís Word (see Romans 10:17) and such faith gives us victory over all ideologies and reasoning that are of this present world. (See 1 John 5:4.) As we persist in speaking Godís Word against the strongholds of our lives and rendering an obedience of faith in His Word, those strongholds will come down.
Spiritual strongholds are human reasoning that exalt themselves over the revelation of Godís will for our lives as revealed in Scripture. More than human reasoning, they are injected with the poison of diabolical devices and schemes to trip us up in our walk with God. They breed hopelessness that paralyze faith in Godís promises and cloud the mind from being able to see Godís purposes for our lives and the lives of those for whom we pray.
Weíre in danger of succumbing to strongholds when we make decisions as to how we will respond to lifeís challenges without seeking God for wisdom and looking to His Word for guidance. When we do so, we choose to live independently of God and to make idols of our own minds.
Strongholds weaken our lives and make our prayers ineffective by causing us to become double-minded. We try to balance our own agenda with Godís rather than dying to ourselves with a whole-hearted commitment to follow Him. In doing so, we build our lives on a shaky foundation and find ourselves praying prayers that waver through indecisiveness and unbelief.
We overcome strongholds in our lives by allowing Godís Word to be final authority in our lives. We allow the light of Scripture to expose our hearts, to bring us to repentance, to lead us to worship, and to recognize and resist Satanís schemes against us. When we are persistent in wielding the sword of Godís Word against the strongholds of the Enemy, God will draw near to us, Satan will flee from us, the clouds of deception and blindness with dispel, and the walls of Satanís strongholds will come down.
The challenge before us is to apply what weíve learned. Whatís holding us back from a deepening intimacy with the Lord, greater victory over the Enemy, and a fruitful ministry and prayer life? It is our duty before God to allow the Lord to expose any strongholds that we have tolerated and to put the Sword to them. I pray that God helps each of us to meet that challenge.
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