SPIRITUAL WARFARE FOR THE LOST
From “How to Pray for Lost Loved Ones” by Dutch Sheets
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT) 3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
Strongholds are not demons; they are places from which demons rule. Satan has a place of strength within unbelievers from which he can imprison or hold on to them strongly. They are prisoners. Luke 4:18 tells us that Yeshua came to “proclaim release to the captives.” We participate in the destruction of the “prisons” through prayer.
Knock down – καθαίρεσις kathaíresis, kath-ah’-ee-res-is; from G2507; demolition; figuratively, extinction:—destruction, pulling down….a pulling down, destruction, demolition
2 Cor. 10:3-5 (KJV) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
God’s plan is for us to become demolition agents, tearing down satan’s strongholds through a systematic, ongoing, ‘one blow at a time’ war against the enemy’s strongholds in people’s lives. Our intercession may be strategically placing the dynamite of the Spirit for days, weeks or months. But every time we take up our spiritual weapons and use them against the strongholds of the enemy, we are placing our explosive charges in strategic places. Like demolishing buildings, eventually the strongholds will crumble to the ground and people will fall to their knees.
2 Cor. 10:3-5 (NASB) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
There are three major components of the fortress, or prison. These are the things we will begin to call out in prayer and demolish as we pray over individuals.
The first aspect of the stronghold is “imaginations/speculations – logismos.
This word speaks of human reasonings, wisdom or logic. It’s the sum total of the accumulated wisdom and information learned over time. Our prayers focus the attention of God’s powerful weapons on the logismos fortresses of satan in the minds of unbelievers. Speculations become what one really believes – the person’s mind-set. Other translations refer to them as “theories.” The word logismos includes philosophies (conscious or unconscious), religions, humanism, atheism, Judaism, materialism, roots of rejection, perversions, alcoholism, other addictions and anything that causes a person to think a certain way.
Logismos blind individuals and veil truth because when people hear the gospel, before they even have time to think or reason about what they’re hearing, it’s filtered through the subconscious or memory where all other information is stored. This means that unbelievers don’t hear only what we’re saying. They hear what we are saying plus what they already believe. What they hear is filtered through a belief system – a veil that causes them to hear something totally different than what we may be communicating to them. They simply do not see the same image of Messiah that we do. To clearly see Him is to love and want him.
We need to pray for people and ask the Holy Spirit to remove the veils and tear down the logismos, allowing them to see clearly. Perhaps you already know what these logismoi are in the people you are praying for. If not, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal them to you. When He does, call them by name, quoting 2 Cor. 10:3-5 saying, “In the name of the Lord, Messiah, Yeshua I am destroying you, stronghold of….” Do this regularly until those people come to Messiah.
The second part of the stronghold we must demolish is “every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.”
High or lofty thing is the Greek word ὕψωμα hýpsōma, hoop’-so-mah; from G5312; an elevated place or thing, i.e. (abstractly) altitude, or (by implication) a barrier (figuratively):—height, high thing.
By disobeying God, humankind, like satan, exalted themselves to a place of equality with the Most High. We became however, not the Most High but our own most high, filled with pride. This word encompasses all mind-sets that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God and involve a desire to rule our own lives, decide for ourselves right and wrong and basically be our own god.
The good news is that we can also tear down this stronghold in people through prayer so they can humble themselves and bow their knees to Messiah.
A strategy is to begin praising the Lord that people are going to become a brother or sister in the Lord to us. Stop begging God but continue to thank Him for the work He will do the people’s lives we are praying for.
Pride is a desire to rebel against authority and rule our own lives. We need to tear this down and demolish this through intercession.
2 Cor. 10:3-5 (TLB) It is true that I am an ordinary, weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. 4 I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. 5 These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding him. With these weapons I can capture rebels and bring them back to God and change them into men whose hearts’ desire is obedience to Christ.
The third aspect of strongholds involves taking “every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah.”
The word “thought” is noema, which also means plans, schemes, devices or plots. It refers to the spontaneous thoughts and temptations satan uses to assault the unbelievers, as well as the schemes and plans he uses to keep them in darkness. In prayer we must declare boldly that no weapon of satan’s will prosper. We must bind his plans and stand against them through prayer. We can and should pray that the unbeliever be shielded from satan’s thoughts and temptations.
We can turn unbelievers “from darkness to light and from the dominion of satan to God.” (Acts 26:18) We are called to enforce and make effectual the freedom Messiah procured. The unbeliever cannot war for himself. He cannot and will not overcome the strongholds of darkness, or understand the gospel until the veil lifts. Remember it is the Lord who is great and awesome and who fights for those we pray for.