How to Break Strongholds with the Bible and Prayer

Learning how to break strongholds through prayer and the Bible is a much needed super power. But don’t worry, if you put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord then you have the super power dwelling in you (Holy Spirit) who enables and equipped you to break strongholds with your divine weapons.

In this article we will define strongholds, learn how strongholds are formed and how to break strongholds using the Bible and prayer. Three key truths or verses from God’s Word will guide the teaching today.

title: break strongholds

Three Key Truths

Learning how to break strongholds is life-changing.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Our heart is the control center of everything we think, feel and do. When a heart is guided by Truth, our thoughts, feelings and actions will follow suit. We will experience life abundantly – more peace, more joy because we see things through the lens of truth. When a lie makes a way into our heart and we believe the lie, it will also impact our thoughts, feelings and actions, but it won’t result in more peace or more joy. Additionally, it is important to know – a lie has no power until it is believed. Once a lie is believed, it forms a stronghold. (We’ll define strongholds in the Bible shortly.)

Taking thoughts captive is life-changing.

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. 2 Corinthians 10:4–5

Taking thoughts captive is identifying lies or strong hold by holding them up against the Truth. In other words, if my beliefs have strayed from the Bible (knowledge of God) then we must take those thoughts captive. The apostle Paul tells us to demolish strongholds with our divine weapons, which brings us to the third truth.

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    We are equipped with the weapons of our warfare.

    In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Ephesians 6:16-18a

    Our gracious God knew we would need to be equipped with “weapons of our warfare”. We have an enemy, the father of lies, who wants nothing more than to root lies (strongholds) in your heart in an effort to steal the abundant life God has for us when we abide in Truth. The Ephesians passage actually starts in verse 10 and goes through verse 20. I encourage you to read the full passage on the Armor of God. But, I am highlighting the Sword of the Spirit and praying in the Spirit. Breaking strongholds requires the Word of God, praying in the Spirit and the shield of faith (Truth believed as life changing), all of which is empowered by the Holy Spirit.

    Define Stronghold in the Bible

    I spent some time using the free online tool, Blue Letter Bible and plugged in the key word ‘strongholds’. What I found was that the word stronghold was mostly used in the Old Testament and one time in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 10:5). In the Old Testament it was used to reference safety, security or refuge. Many verses pointed to physical places of safety to flee toward for physical safety. Other verses pointed to safety in God who is our refuge or a place of shelter. 

    This brings us to stronghold in the New Testament as discussed by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:5, where he refers to mental strongholds. The theme for stronghold is a place of protection. Now imagine if some of the information that has made a way into your heart (Proverbs 4:23) is a false belief – that’s a problem. A mental stronghold is defined as a firmly held belief. Remember, a lie only has power if believed. When we believe a lie or have confidence that a lie is the truth, then we have a mental stronghold. In other words, protecting a false belief is a mental stronghold.

    It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. -Mark Twain

    Mark Twain’s quote rings so true when we think about protecting false beliefs, firmly declaring those false beliefs are the truth. As a result, mental strongholds will guide our thoughts, feelings and actions.

    How are strongholds formed?

    Firmly held false beliefs or mental strongholds are the way we see ourselves, God or the world/people around us. This might not seem really significant, but a stronghold will guide and direct how we do life.

    Strongholds are formed from past and present events. During our childhood we are trying to figure out the world around us – so we attach meaning to events in our lives. Strongholds can also be formed by present life events and trauma that happen in our lives.

    Strongholds are firmly held false beliefs about ourselves, God and the world around us. False beliefs are anything that does not align with God‘s Word.

    Examples of Strongholds of the Mind

    Examples of strongholds of the mind that shape how we see ourselves might be: I’m not enough, I am insignificant, something is wrong with me, I’m bad, I’m a failure. These examples of strongholds of the mind will change how we do life! When a lie  takes root in our heart about our identity it guides our thoughts, feelings and actions. Another example of strongholds of the mind might be what I believe about God. Such as, firmly held false beliefs that He is not good, does not love His children or is not trustworthy. That will also change how I engage in a relationship with my Heavenly Father. Are you seeing the powerful impact strongholds have in our lives? How mental strongholds (firmly held false beliefs) can mislead us?

      Spiritual Strongholds and Spiritual Warfare

      The apostle Paul is very clear that we are fighting a spiritual battle (Ephesian 6:12). Jesus tells us who the enemy is – the father of lies (John 8:44). Satan wants you to firmly believe a lie (stronghold). He can’t steal your identity in Christ, but he can deceive and mislead you into living according to a lie. Remember – A lie has no power until believed.

      I wanted to highlight this for two reasons. First, whether you use the verbiage spiritual stronghold, mental stronghold or simply stronghold – remember you are engaged in a spiritual war or battle. Which brings me to the second thing – we must grab onto the weapons of our warfare to fight the spiritual battle and break strongholds.

      How to Break Strongholds

      And Ephesians, chapter 6, Paul discusses the full armor of God, however I want to highlight verses 17–18.

      Take the helmet of salvation and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:17-18

      God’s powerful weapons are His gracious gift to a child of God to do spiritual battle.

      The first divine weapon is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. It is paramount that we are intentional in renewing our mind because this is how we battle the mind and break down strongholds. Without Truth we are unable to shed light on the lies. Once we have knowledge of the truth, we must decide if we are going to believe the lie or believe the Truth. And this is done with the shield of faith (Ephesian 6:16).

      The second divine weapon is praying in the Spirit. Exercise humility and dependence on God through praying in the Spirit. When a lie has taken root in my heart and God‘s Truth exposes the lie, I talk to God about it. I confess it and ask Him to give me the faith to believe His word over my thoughts or the enemy’s word.

      These two divine weapons are empowered by the Holy Spirit. These weapons are divine because of the source of power behind them- God‘s Holy Spirit. How could you begin to utilize your defined weapons more effectively?

      A Prayer to Break Strongholds of the Mind

      Father, I praise you because you are mighty, and all knowing and the Father of every good gift. I ask you to search my heart and renew a right spirit in me. Please expose any lies that I’ve taken root in my heart. Help me to have the faith to believe Your Word over any lies I have believed. I confess I have bought into the following lies…(fill in the blank). Please forgive me and I ask that you give me the faith to believe Your Word. Thank you for Your faithfulness to complete a good work in me and helping me. In Jesus name, Amen.

      Wrapping Up How to Break Strongholds with the Bible and Prayer

      Strongholds are firmly held false beliefs and we are equipped and empowered to pull down mental strongholds with our divine weapons. Our divine weapons are the Bible and prayer empowered by the Holy Spirit. Once we have knowledge of God‘s Word we can choose to believe the Truth. Additionally we can depend on God through prayer to help us, empower us and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

      What struggles have you seen God demolish in your life? Leave your answer in the comments.

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