Next week, Asian Access is hosting our Global Leaders' Summit in SE Asia. While we are gathering, we are aware of the important spiritual battles we face. So, with that in mind, we ask you to be praying for us.
Will you join us in prayer?
To help you know how to pray, these words of wisdom about strongholds are from Adrian De Visser, our VP for Partnership Development.
Joe Handley, President
Dealing with Strongholds
"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 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.6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete." (—2 Corinthians 10:4-6, NIV)
Throughout the Bible, warfare and breakthrough took place in many different ways. There was no set formula to win a battle. The most important thing a leader could do is seek God and listen for God’s instructions unique to that battle.
When God intends for us to engage in spiritual warfare, He will reveal specific insights as to what is happening in the spiritual and natural realm.
The enemy is after the souls of people, but also wants to destroy specific attributes that our Father intends to release and redeem in the region.
- A spirit of division is robbing people of unity—and with it, the ability to achieve something great that can only be achieved when united.
- Lust is robbing a people of purity—and by extension is seeking to destroy families, as well as enslave the souls of individuals through addiction and abuse.
When we view these battles from the perspective of the Cross, we can see past the demonic stronghold to the Father’s intention and destiny for a region.
There are five key principles I would like to highlight as we seek to engage our spiritual battles through the power of the Holy Spirit:
1. Deepen our Intimacy with God
Our effectiveness in engaging with spiritual battles begins, and ends, with our relationship with God. When we develop, grow, and deepen our intimacy with our Creator, we are connected to His love and power, able to understand the battle through His eyes, and call upon Him for help.
2. Release the Power of Praise
The power of praise cannot be overestimated. Praise puts our focus on our Almighty God, where it should be—and it is also a powerful spiritual weapon (Psalm 149:6 – 9). In 2 Chronicles 20, we learn how a powerful enemy army was supernaturally routed when King Jehoshaphat sent out "praisers" ahead of his army.
We also see the power of praise in the New Testament:
- When the early church was confronted with opposition and threats from the leaders of the Sanhedrin, their immediate response was to praise and magnify God. From that prayer meeting, God’s power was released to further the Gospel (Acts 4).
- When spiritual conflict in Phillipi resulted in the arrest of Paul and Silas, their response was one of praise and singing. The power of God shook the dungeon, opened doors, loosed chains, procured their release, brought salvation and enabled the continued advance of the Gospel (Acts 16).
3. Move in the Opposite Spirit
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 8:12-13).
A principality over a region fortifies its position by obtaining agreement—and therefore power—over the hearts, minds, words, and actions of people.
For example, nationalism can seem to be a harmless attitude, at least on the surface. But unchecked nationalism can give rise to a sense of superiority, mistrust, anger, hatred, and the willingness to go to any length to protect one’s national identity. Such a spirit can then become a stronghold, strangling even the Church in that country.
By moving in the opposite spirit, we are used of the Holy Spirit to create a space where God’s Kingdom and its values are manifested. Light breaks into the darkness. The Holy Spirit helps us to shake off the influence an ungodly regional mindset may have had over our own lives.
Moving in the opposite spirit is not something we do in our own strength; it is initiated and empowered by the Holy Spirit. For example, having identified a spirit of nationalism, the Holy Spirit may lead us to renounce nationalism and its way of thinking. We can ask the Father to release His compassion through us; He will give us specific strategies to do so.
4. Declare the Father’s Intentions
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).
Jesus spoke of binding and loosing. The word picture used by Jesus is one of tying up the enemy so that he cannot hold onto his possessions or carry out his plans (Matthew 12:29).
This is not about speaking indiscriminate prayers of binding and loosing, but an invitation to see what Heaven is doing and to participate in God’s government. To loose means to allow, unlock and release what Heaven is permitting. To bind means to disallow and command to cease, what Heaven is disallowing.
Power to overcome the enemy and break down strongholds is released when we speak, pray and prophesy in agreement with Father’s intention for a region or nation.
5. Preserve the Unity of the Community
God’s intention is that, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 3:10).
God's purpose in our redemption is not simply to rescue us from hell, as great a work as that is. His ultimate purpose in our salvation is that, for all eternity, the Church might glorify God's grace (Ephesians 1:6,12,14).
The Greek word translated as manifold was often used in the First Century to describe the intricately embroidered patterns found on cloaks worn by the wealthy. Divine wisdom is incredibly rich, even colorful, and similar to the patterns found on these cloaks. Yet God’s glory is even richer, and evidencing it to other creatures displays His magnificence more fully.
But there is another facet to this truth that must be explored. What are the evil angels learning from God's "mystery"? That their leader, Satan, does not have any wisdom! Satan knows the Bible, and he understood from the Old Testament Scriptures that the Savior would come, when He would come, how He would come, and where He would come. Satan also understood why He would come, as far as redemption is concerned. But nowhere in the Old Testament would Satan find any prophecies concerning the Church—the mystery of Jews and Gentiles united in one body…the body of Christ!
The Power of God’s Grace, Expressed through Unified Community, will Give Us the Victory
When the Church in Asia focuses on the volume and intensity of our prayer in spiritual battle, while paying little attention to a deeper walk with God and living in peace and harmony with one another (Hebrews 12:14-15), we risk making a fatal mistake.
How can we correct this mistake? By celebrating this amazing God-given gift through our gracious to one another as we build, strengthen, and preserve the unity of Christian community (Ephesians 4:1-6).
The unity of the Christian community is utterly essential to winning.
Adrian De Visser
ADRIAN DeVISSER is founder and senior pastor of Kethu Sevana Ministries in Sri Lanka. He also serves as national director for Asian Access Sri Lanka as well as A2’s Vice President for Partnership Development. He and his wife Ophelia live in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
- Read an excerpt from Adrian De Visser's chapter in Eastern Voices entitled, "The Blasphemy of Worship: A Call For A New Paradigm"
- Watch Adrian’s related video clips: