Sunday, October 1, 2017

Prayer Warrior: Praying Your Way To Victory - Session 10 - Identify The Immediate Battlefield

The Church of Divine Guidance Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study Group is going through
Prayer Warrior The Power Of Praying Your Way To Victory by Stormie Omartian.  For a copy of the book, click or touch this LINK or the image, of the book at the end of the notes.

No one can sit on the sidelines today when it comes to spiritual matters. A war is going on between good and evil, and every believer is involved. For every Christian who wants a meaningful prayer life that is more than just asking for blessings.  Bestselling author Stormie Omartian shows how to pray with strength and purpose―prayers resulting in great victory, not only personally but also in advancing God's kingdom and glory.

These are my notes for the study. The audio of the study is at the end of the notes.

Review From End of Session 8

We know that we should be specific in our prayers.  Last week Darlene had a question about the prayers where we were very specific in our requests and praying the promises of God.  Are we being demanding when we pray like that.  I said that Jesus said that we should be both specific and persistence but at the same time not demanding.  I  wasn’t satisfied with my explanation and wanted talk more about that today after doing some thinking praying and research.  I came across something written by Max Lucado in his book Anxious for Nothing that I think provides a pretty good answer.  
  • A specific prayer is a serious prayer. If I say to you, “Do you mind if I come by your house sometime?” you may not take me seriously. But suppose I say, “Can I come over this Friday night? I have a problem at work, and I really need your advice. I can be there at seven, and I promise I will leave by eight.” Then you know my petition is sincere. When we offer specific requests, God knows the same.
  • Specific prayer is an opportunity for us to see God at work. When we see Him respond in specific ways to specific requests, our faith grows. The book of Genesis relates the wonderful prayer of Abraham’s servant. He was sent to Mesopotamia, Abraham’s homeland, to find a wife for Abraham’s son. How does a servant select a wife for someone else? This servant prayed about it.
“O'Lord, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham. See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.” — Genesis 24:12–14 NLT
Could the servant have been more detailed? He asked for success in his endeavor. He envisioned an exact dialogue, and then he stepped forth in faith. Scripture says,
Before he had finished speaking, Rebekah appeared. — Genesis 24:15 ISV
She said the words. The servant had an answered prayer. He saw God at work.
  • Specific prayer creates a lighter load. Many of our anxieties are threatening because they are ill defined and vague. If we can distill the challenge into a phrase, we bring it down to size. It is one thing to pray, Lord, please bless my meeting tomorrow. It is another thing to pray, Lord, I have a conference with my supervisor at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow. She intimidates me. Would you please grant me a spirit of peace so I can sleep well tonight? Grant me wisdom so I can enter the meeting prepared. And would You soften her heart toward me and give her a generous spirit? Help us have a gracious conversation in which both of us benefit and Your name is honored. There. You have reduced the problem into a prayer-sized challenge.
This is no endorsement of the demanding, conditional prayer that presumes to tell God what to do and when. Nor do I suggest that the power of prayer resides in chanting the right formula or quoting some secret code. Do not think for a moment that the power of prayer resides in the way we present it. God is not manipulated or impressed by our formulas or eloquence. But He is moved by the sincere request. After all, is He not our Father? As His children we honor Him when we tell him exactly what we need.
On my good days I begin my morning with a cup of coffee and a conversation with God. I look ahead into the day and make my requests. I am meeting with so-and-so at 10:00 a.m. Would You give me wisdom? This afternoon I need to finish my sermon. Would You please go ahead of me? Then if a sense of stress surfaces during the day, I remind myself, Oh, I gave this challenge to God earlier today. He has already taken responsibility for the situation. I can be grateful, not fretful.
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. — 1 Peter 5:7 NIV
Casting is an intentional act to relocate an object. When the disciples prepared Jesus to ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, they “cast their garments upon the colt” (Luke 19:35 KJV). The crowd removed the garments off their backs and spread them in the path of Christ. Let this “throwing” be your first response to bad news. As you sense anxiety welling up inside you, cast it in the direction of Christ. Do so specifically and immediately.
I did a good job of “casting my problems” in a high school algebra class. My brain scans reveal a missing region marked by the sign “Intended for Algebra.” I can remember sitting in the class and staring at the textbook as if it were a novel written in Mandarin Chinese.
Fortunately I had a wonderful, patient teacher. He issued this invitation and stuck to it. “If you cannot solve a problem, come to me and I will help you.” I wore a trail into the floor between his desk and mine. Each time I had a question, I would approach his desk and remind him, “Remember how you promised you would help?” When he said yes, instant gratitude and relief kicked in. I still had the problem, mind you, but I had entrusted the problem to one who knew how to solve it.
Do the same. Take your problem to Christ and tell Him, “You said you would help me. Would You?”
Excerpted with permission from Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado, copyright Max Lucado.

As Stormie says prayer is the battlefield and we should be engaged at all times.  That’s what we talked about last week.   Engage” means to pledge. To promise. To give an oath. To pledge one’s word to assume an obligation. To enter into conflict. It also means to bring troops into conflict. “Engage” means choosing to involve oneself or commit oneself to something. It means you have pledged to be involved in entering into conflict. It means you recognize that a war is going on and you understand God is calling you to pray.
For us as prayer warriors, “engage” means to pledge to God that you are choosing to oppose the plans of the enemy by praying for God’s will to be done on earth.

We shouldn’t be afraid to engage because as we’ve seen we have authority, armor, and weapons, and if we’ve trained in their use we are more than a match for the enemy.  If we use our weapons which are powered by God’s word what happens?  The enemy will flee.

We know there is the kingdom of God which we are part of and there is the kingdom of Satan or evil, our enemy.  God wants us to advance, or grow His kingdom to increase it’s population.  That’s what Jesus was really saying when He gave His disciples the “Great Commission”  

Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)18  Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.20  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

It’s not easy the enemy won’t just give us his territory, even though we know he’s been defeated.  Like Stormie said yes, God gave us His kingdom but we to have to grab it in order to enjoy the gift.  

The NLT gives a pretty clear rendering of just what Jesus meant in the Matthew 11:12 verse that she used  

Matthew 11:12 (NLT)12  And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it.

Of we’re not fully engaged in prayer we are in danger of wandering close to enemy territory which wi when we vulnerable to attack.  

Stormie says that the battle is when and wherever we’re praying but specific battles happen on the battlefield, and we should need to identify them so that we can be prepared for that specific battle.

Some battlefields are relationships, work, finances, family, and health  We can and should use the armor and weapons that we’ve talked about on all the battlefields.  

Our book discusses three specific battlefields our minds, marriages, and children.  Most of us, in fact all of us except one, don’t have to worry about the marriage battlefield but the tactics of the  prayer warrior on the marriage battlefield will work for all relationships.  In fact the tactics in the book will work on any of the specific battlefields.

The Battlefield in the Fight for Your Clarity of Mind

There is a major war zone that is not in the government, or in crime-infested neighborhoods,
or in a computer hacker’s mind, or in the realm of a human trafficker, drug dealer, child molester, or rapist. It is in the invisible realm that is every bit as real as the physical. It is the battlefield of our mind.

Spiritual warfare consists of struggling against evil forces in our minds. The Bible is clear that this is not a battle which is fought on a physical plane at all, but rather a spiritual one.

Ephesians 6:12 (HCSB)  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (KJV)3  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:4  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)5 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;6  And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

The devil wants to establish strongholds in your life

Strongholds are built on imaginations or thoughts

The enemy uses our own feelings of guilt, condemnation, fear, anxiety, worthlessness,
hopelessness, self-hatred, and other negative emotions against us. These thoughts and feelings are in us because of what has happened to us in our past, even as recently as yesterday. Somewhere along the line we bought into the lies of the enemy. And because we are not aware of what God’s Word clearly says about us—or we don’t fully believe it—we don’t discern what the enemy is doing.

A stronghold is anything that exalts itself in our minds, pretending to be bigger or more powerful than God. The New American Standard Version (NASV) calls them fortresses.  They are built by the “ imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,” as stated in 2 Corinthians 10:5 above.

A minister I know defined an imagination as a nation of images (imagi-nation), or a series of connected images that become a stronghold or fortress.
These imaginations can be a superstitious belief, an addiction, wrong thoughts, and despair over a loss, etc. They can consume our emotions, cause us to become overwhelmed, and sap our mental strength.  If we try to ignore them we will never be able to live the life of victory promised by Jesus.          
John 10:10 (HCSB)  A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

The devil’s chief target is the mind, because the most effective way to influence behaviour is to influence our  thinking.  He did that to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden causing Eve to doubt God’s truth.  

Genesis 3:2-5 (HCSB)2  The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden.3  But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’”4  “No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman.5  “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  

He even twisted God’s truth when he tempted Jesus.  

Matthew 4:1-11 (HCSB)1  Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil.2  After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry.3  Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”4  But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”5  Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,6  and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He will give His angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”7  Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”8  Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.9  And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”10  Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.”11  Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him.  ​
To win this war against Satan, we need to take control of our thought life – “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  We take those thoughts captive with the Word of God that addresses them.  When you identify and attack a stronghold in your life find the truth that confronts and it.   Find out what God says about it.  Then attack and destroy it.  Find it in your the concordance of your bible, read it, speak it, sing it, and apply its truth over and over and over until the stronghold is destroyed.  Put it on your mirror, your refrigerator, in you car (don’t read it while you drive).  Bombard the stronghold and destroy it.   The truth destroys strongholds.

John 8:32 (HCSB)  You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”


Here are some strongholds that can be established in our minds and then exploited by Satan along with weapons from the Word of God to pull them down and destroy them.


Psalm 37:8 (NLT) Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.  

Ephesians 4:26 (NLT) And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,


Psalm 23:4 (NLT) Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

Psalm 27:1 (NLT) The LORD is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

Psalm 118:6 (NLT)  The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?


Psalm 27:10 (NLT)  Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.


Isaiah 50:7 (NLT)  Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.

1 John 1:9 (NLT) But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.


Proverbs 12:22 (NLT)  The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.

Financial Lack

Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT)31  “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’32  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Psalm 37:25 (NLT)  Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.  


1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Hebrews 4:15-16 (NLT)  This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.16  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

1 John 2:16 (NLT)  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.


1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.


Psalm 40:1-3 (NLT)1 I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.2  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.3  He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.

Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)38  And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.39  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)  Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.  


Matthew 5:4 (NLT) God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

John 14:1-4 (NLT)1  “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?3  When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.4  And you know the way to where I am going.”

These strongholds may not affect your life right now but until Jesus returns you will have imaginations and thoughts that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God,  there are literally thousands of potential strongholds that you may need to pull down and destroy.  The only way to win is with the “sword of the Spirit, the Word of God which is the weapon that can destroy them all.  

To win this war against Satan, we need to take control of our thought life – “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  We take those thoughts captive with the Word of God that addresses them.  When you identify and attack a stronghold in your life find the truth that confronts and it.   Find out what God says about it.  Then attack and destroy it.  Find it in your the concordance of your bible, read it, speak it, sing it, and apply its truth over and over and over until the stronghold is destroyed.  Put it on your mirror, your refrigerator, in you car (don’t read it while you drive).  Bombard the stronghold and destroy it.   The truth destroys strongholds.

John 8:32 (HCSB)  You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ​

The following is 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 from the Amplified Bible

“For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete.”

Stormie suggests and I agree that;

When the battlefield is your mind, you will experience tormenting, confusing, or negative thoughts; irrational fears or extreme doubt; anger; or other destructive emotions.  But the Bible says we are to deliberately think about opposite things: Paul said, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Dwelling on these things that are true will help you to identify the thoughts that are not.
We cannot afford to ignore this battlefront. In fact, you should secure this front first before going on to others so you will not be weakened. You don’t need to be fighting the battle on two fronts. It’s not that you can’t do that. You can fight a personal battle and do warfare for others at the same time. But dealing with the personal first makes you stronger in all areas.

The Battlefield in the Fight for Your Children’s Lives

Here’s what Stormie says;

Recognize that the battlefield is not with your child; it is with the enemy.  You must stand your ground in prayer on that battlefield where your child has been attacked and take your child back from the enemy’s clutches. Now don't freak out and get scared that you have to talk to the enemy—I know how some of you are. You don’t have to.

Yes, your sins can come down on your child.The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children to the third and fourth generation unless they are broken by you or by the child, or by someone who is strong in faith and the Word of God. We have seen too many instances of where a parent’s sinful choices have left a child uncovered and trouble finds them.

Exodus 34:7 (NLT)7  I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected— even children in the third and fourth generations.”

It appears that Stormie is saying that there are generational curses.  

There is a lot of discussion and debate in the church about and on generational curses.  Are they really curses as the result or the sins of our fathers and grandfathers?  Are they not really curses but the result of our social environment?  Are they the result of heredity and there’s nothing we can do about it?  Over the past few months I have heard people talking about things being the result of generational curses.  I have also heard people talking about breaking or how to break generational curses.

First let’s get a definition of curse because that is very important in determining if generational curses are from God or some other place and if the scriptures people use to defend generational curses are appropriate.  

  • an offensive word that people say when they are angry
  • magical words that are said to cause trouble or bad luck for someone or the condition that results when such words are said
  • a cause of trouble or bad luck

Let’s eliminate the first definition and assume the next two are the definitions used by the proponents that generational curses are initiated by God because of what somebody did at some time.

Based on these scriptures it looks like those who say that generational curses are real and biblical, can say that in fact God himself will punish the fathers and the following generations. The word curse doesn’t appear in the verse by the way. The warning that God gives here is part of the Old Testament Law given to the nation of Israel not to individuals.
The sons did what the fathers did which was practice idolatry so the punishment that God promised was felt by the sons, not because they were the sons of men who practiced idolatry but because they continued the practice.  The nation could have repented and stopped the practice of idolatry at any time and God would have relented.
Today in the church there is the tendency blame every sin, illness and problem on some sort of generational curse.  It is true that sin has consequences and those consequences affect following generations.  When a father has a sinful lifestyle, his children are likely to practice the same sinful lifestyle or repeat the sins of the father.  There is no question about the fact that heredity and environment do pass some things on to descendants.  But is that a curse?   
Notice Jesus’ response to His disciples when the subject of a generational curse came up:

John 9:1-3 (HCSB) 1  As He was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2  His disciples questioned Him: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3  “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “⌊This came about⌋so that God’s works might be displayed in him.

As one might expect, external influences do help to shape our personality. However, the result is not always predictable. For example, early years full of painful experiences leave deeps wounds in some, but in others, they contribute to the development of depth and perseverance.

Whether your younger years were joyful or painful, it can be valuable to consider what their impact was, back then as well as in the present. You might start by exploring your responses to key childhood events. Next, identify traits that you appreciated in your parents and others--qualities you'd like to nurture in your own life. Finally, think about people with characteristics that impacted you negatively. Ask God for healing and freedom from the patterns you may have developed in response. Then shift your focus to godly attributes you want to exhibit instead, such as peace, grace, and gentleness.

The heavenly Father wants to free you from any negative trends that took root early in life. He can break any unhealthy pattern and replace it with hope and deep satisfaction in Him.

Luke 4:16-21 (HCSB) 16  He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read.17  The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written:18  The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed,19  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.20  He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him.21  He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”

But you must take dominion over the forces of darkness attempting to work in that child’s life. And that happens in prayer.

There’s the story of what happened to her daughter and the part that prayer for her child played in her protection and even more in the rest of her daughter’s life.   

She and her daughter believe that their prayers resulted in an angel becoming visible to her attacker and causing him to freak out so that she was not molested or perhaps killed.  Our prayers for children, loved ones and even ourselves can result in similar supernatural things on our behalfs.

From Stormie; “Our prayers have power. Don’t ever believe otherwise. The more you pray, the more power they will have, and the more answers to prayer you will see. We went to battle in prayer and the enemy was defeated. Praise be to God, our prayers added up to a miracle.”

Bible Study Audio

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