Powerful Prayers to Break Spiritual Strongholds

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Break free from spiritual strongholds as you pour out your heart to the Lord and allow the Bible to renew your mind. 

Do you ever feel trapped in a mindset or behavior you can’t seem to break free from? 

You want to change, and maybe you’ve tried with the best of intentions in the past, but your best efforts were futile as you seemed stuck in entrenched thought patterns and ingrained habits.

In moments of deep struggle, the lies of the enemy taunt us: 

  • Your situation is hopeless, things will never change for you
  • With your past, these struggles are inevitable and to be expected.
  • Accept this as a part of who you are and move on with your life managing the consequences as best you can.

My friend, If you’ve surrendered your life to Jesus Christ and He is your Lord, each of the above suggestions is a bold-faced lie.

Nothing can keep a child of God in bondage – we’re fully equipped to break free from any stronghold!

We must, however, appropriate our freedom in the exact way Scripture instructs, and that is precisely what this post addresses.

17 common strongholds with Bible verses are also included in this article to help you break free from spiritual captivity.

What is a spiritual stronghold?

A stronghold is any unbiblical system of thought exalted as truth that’s raised up against the knowledge of God. This can include any type of deception, false ideology, or worldview inconsistent with Biblical truth.

You and I will always act out of what we believe to be true – even if what we believe is a lie. 

When lies become ingrained in our belief systems we act on them, and they become like a fortress in our minds, actually having a strong hold on us.

This propels us into a downward spiral of believing a lie, acting on it, and further entrenching us in that lie and the negative behaviors resulting from it. 

In other words, we get further sucked into the clutches of that particular stronghold!

We need to tear down those high places of mental strongholds and replace them with the liberating truth from God’s Word.

Our mind is a battlefield.

God's truth sets you free Bible verse

The Opposing Forces in Our Battle

 Like it or not, every follower of Jesus is engaged in a spiritual battle. Let’s take a moment to identify the forces at work in our battle. 

Satan

Scripture describes the enemy of our souls as a roaring lion prowling around for someone to devour. (1 Pt. 5:8). 

He’s shrewd, cunning, and evil to the core. He is the Father of lies and tempts us to believe lies about who we are, our circumstances, and who our God is. 

Satan and his demons are astute observers of their prey.

They know the exact temptations to dangle in front of us to lead us away to sin, and these temptations are individually catered, as the things that entice us vary from one person to another. The powers of evil pounce to attack in times of trouble, when we’re vulnerable, and in areas of weakness. 

The cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does also war for prominent thoughts central to our thinking. (See one John 2:16)  

The desires of our flesh are intense.

We need to surrender to the power and authority of the Holy Spirit to be victorious over our flesh while standing on the truth of Scripture.

The power of the enemy is intense. You and I are no match for him but make no mistake, he’s no match against the mighty power of our Lord, Jesus!

The Victor, Jesus Christ

We have zero ability in ourselves to be victorious in spiritual battles.

Our ability to stand in victory rests in Jesus Christ. The indwelling Holy Spirit enables and empowers us in battle

The Lord is our power source, and our identity as a child of the King is where our power and strength come from.

There’s no self-help manual that will deliver results, no pill to pop for instant freedom and no frame of mind that will set us free.

The power of God is unparalleled – He alone is omnipotent and reigns sovereign

Paul provides instructions regarding how we can be free from strongholds in the following New Testament reference:

“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

Person standing with outstretched arms in victory

Understanding our weapon

A divine battle necessitates a divine battle plan and divine weapons.

Our weapons don’t originate from planet Earth! We can’t create them, invent them, borrow them from someone else, or go to the store and buy them. 

It’s important we understand how to use our weapons and have confidence in them.

Imagine if an Army soldier was given a water gun for his weapon as he walked onto a battlefield. That soldier would be completely ill-equipped for protection, (and victory) and he’d have zero confidence in his ability to perform. 

You and I weren’t handed a weapon unable to deliver results. 

We have at our disposal all we need for guaranteed victory! Every. Single. Time. 

Paul is clear: 

  • We’re in a battle.
  • We need a divine weapon, and it’s been provided for us. 
  • Using our weapon is not optional – it’s essential!

We can wield our two-edged sword to come against every lie that has set itself up against God and trust it will always be victorious. (see Heb 4:12)

John MacArthur provides insight into what our weapon does, ” The objective of our warfare is to change how people think – taking every thought they have and making it no longer captive to a damning ideology, but captive to the obedience of Christ. To do so, the proper weapon is necessary. To assault and throw down the fortresses of false religions, opinions, beliefs, and philosophies, only one weapon will suffice: the Truth.”

The apostle Paul identifies our weapon in Ephesians 6 as the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. 

In that same chapter, Paul elaborates on the protective gear the Lord provided for His people in spiritual battle. The whole armor of God includes the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the gospel of peace, and the shield of faith.

How to tear down a stronghold and make it obedient to Christ

Now that we’ve established that Scripture is our weapon, we need to know how to use it!

Recognize a lie 

When we’re in a place of spiritual captivity there are lies we’ve allowed to permeate into our belief system regarding who God is and/or who we are in Him. These lies need exposed and brought into the light of truth so they can be torn down. 

It’s crucial that you and I know the truth of God’s Word in order to identify false thoughts and beliefs we’ve allowed to fester and take root in our minds in order for them to be properly dealt with.

Replace lies with Truth. 

After we identify the lies we’ve adopted in our belief system we need to replace them with Scripture verses that correct these lies.

We need to find specific Bible verses that correct the lie so we can align what we believe accordingly.

Scripture is our authority and we must allow it to trump anything we’ve deemed as true – including our feelings or emotions that’s inconsistent with Truth.

For example, I may feel that I’m not worthy of God’s love, but that’s not what Scripture says regarding His children. I need to choose to believe what Scripture says over my feelings.

Pray specific Scripture verses over yourself and your situation. 

After identifying those verses, pray them over yourself at the moment you face a temptation to think or act in opposition.

And I literally mean in the heat of the moment.

In other words, the second you realize your thoughts starting to go in opposition to truth, STOP and realign your thinking by quoting a particular verse, and pray!

When Truth permeates your thoughts and beliefs you will begin to act according to truth and not according to the lie. This is evidence of the renewing of your mind, and it will lead to changes in not only your thoughts but behaviors.

It’s not enough to merely know the truth – you must lean into and internalize it.

Allow Truth to be a part of you intrinsically. It must be embedded into your belief system to rewire your thoughts and take root in your heart. 

An example of taking your thoughts captive

Let’s say an individual recognizes a stronghold of fear in their life.

This individual may have tried to suppress their fearful tendencies using many different tactics, and while they may have been successful temporarily, it didn’t last because they weren’t engaging their weapon that guarantees victory.

In order to successfully tear down the stronghold of fear, this individual needs to renew their mind regarding the specific things they fear, and why they fear them, if possible. 

Being specific is extremely important so you target your weapon with precision – like aiming for a bull’s eye with a bow and arrow. 

After identifying the specific struggle with fear and “the why” behind the struggle (if possible), you need to find specific Bible verses that address your specific issue. It’s helpful to write these verses down, memorize them, and pray them over yourself often.

Let’s say in our example that one reason behind their struggle with fear is they don’t believe God is in control of all things – especially on the world’s scene which appears to be in chaos and out of control. They’re often gripped with fear when it comes to their future and their children’s and/or grandchildren’s future.

While this individual watches the nightly news, their fear escalates with each segment the news anchor reports. “What-if” statements start to flood their mind as fearful thoughts take on a life of their own and a sense of impending doom rises.

In the heat of the moment with the onset of fearful thoughts the choice needs to be made to stop the fearful train of thought and then declare the truth. In this scenario 2 Timothy 1:7 would be appropriate, “For it is written, God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind!”

Other Scriptures pertaining to God’s sovereignty and His promises to provide for His people would be helpful to stop the mental progression that has been ingrained and force the opposing thoughts captive to Christ and His truth.

weapons we fight with bible verse

You also can ask God to give you the grace to choose to trust His Word over your thoughts and feelings, and any false statements you would have immediately defaulted to in the past.

It’s not enough to merely acknowledge the truth in a superficial manner, it must abide in us intrinsically so we begin to know and act on TRUTH – not act on a LIE!

17 common strongholds with prayers integrating Scripture

Never forget that it’s not eloquent words, a neatly outlined structure, or the length of a prayer that qualifies it to be powerful. Christ is our power source, and our position in Him qualifies our prayers as powerful as we come in the name of Jesus!

There is power in prayer, Scripture is the most powerful tool to demolish lies, and the Holy Spirit empowers us as we engage in the battle against strongholds. 

The below list is not comprehensive of every area of captivity, but several common struggles are included to get you started on your journey to freedom!

Personalize the list below by including additional Bible verses specific to your personal struggles and begin the process of renewing your mind with confidence as you pray in the mighty name of Jesus – the name above all names! 

Unforgiveness

Lord your Word says in Colossians 3:13 to “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Lord, you have been so gracious and merciful in forgiving me… and I know in response I am to extend forgiveness to others. I want to be free from the ugly effects of harboring unforgiveness, and I want to obey you in extending forgiveness to ___________. Please give me the grace to forgive _________ for ________.

Bitterness

Lord your Word says to, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31) Help me to release the bitterness I’m harboring toward ______________ regarding ______________. 

Fear

Lord your Word says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3) Lord I’m really scared regarding ____________. Give me the grace to trust you, and not fear___________. Help me to turn my focus away from the things that cause me to fear and turn my gaze to you.

Anxiety

Lord, I’m so anxious about _____________., and I battle anxiety regarding ____________ Your Word says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds increase Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7) Help me put this into practice in the moments when I’m anxious. As I pour out my heart to you give me the grace to rest in your promised peace. 

Hatred

Lord your Word is clear regarding hate: “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life resigning in him.” (1 John 3:15) Give me the grace not to harbor hate in my heart toward ____________. Hate is a heart issue, help me to apply the truth of Psalm 19:14 which says, “May the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.” 

Addiction

1 Corinthians 6:12 says, “‘I have the right to do anything’ you say – but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ – but I will not be mastered by anything.” Father you alone are my Master, and nothing else is to rule over me. Help me to break free from the bond of addiction regarding ___________ in Jesus’ name I pray.

Insecurity

Lord help me to see myself the way you do, Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus.” Help me to accept and believe this to be true of myself, and to be free from the bondage of insecurity.

Shame

Lord your Word says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) I confess ___________ and desire to repent from these sins. I walk forward in freedom from shame knowing and believing you have cleansed me and declared me righteous in your sight.

Take every thought captive Bible verse

Lust

Lord Jesus at times I feel I cannot stop my desires for ___________. Your Word is clear – “For everything in the world- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:16) Help me to turn my gaze from my desires _____________ focus on you, and yield to your authority. I know on my own I cannot break free from this passion for __________________, but in you, I know it is possible for me to be free,

Self-condemnation

Lord God help me to stop beating myself up with self-condemning thoughts. For it is written: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) This includes condemnation from myself. Give me the grace to believe this and stop speaking self-degradation lies over myself! 

Pride

Lord, I confess my sin of pride that I’ve seen manifested in this way __________ and I’m tempted to be prideful in this situation _____________. Your Word is clear regarding your view on pride and how you deal with it. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Give me the grace to humble myself before you, in Jesus’ name I pray.

Unbelief

Dear God, I cry out to you in the midst of these awful circumstances ____________________, and I ask you to help me overcome my unbelief just like the man in Mark 9:24 who cried out to you: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 

Obsessive thoughts

Father, it’s so hard for me to get control of my thoughts regarding _______________ and I’m finding myself ruminating over ____________. Your Word tells me in Philippians 4:8 “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Help me to put this into practice to stop thinking about _____________ and begin to ponder on things that are pleasing and honoring to you, and beneficial to me and those around me.

Unworthy of love

Lord, I feel unworthy to be loved, and I know that goes against who you say I am as your child. You are my loving Father, and your Word tells me in Matthew 10:30-31 that “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.” Help me to see myself as you do, and believe it to be true.

Anger

Lord God I confess to you I am so angry about ________________ / toward ____________ / tempted to hold onto anger regarding ________________. Your Word tells me in Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger do not sin; do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Give me the grace not to sin in my anger, and then release this anger so I don’t hold onto and nurture this emotion.

Jealousy

Lord your word is clear: “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” James 3:16. I don’t want to be jealous of _________________. Help me to repent of this, and turn my perspective in this situation.

Seeking approval from others

Heavenly Father, I’m driven by the desire for the approval of other people, and this directly affects my thoughts and actions in ways it shouldn’t. Your Word says in Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” I am your servant, Lord. Help me to seek your approval above any other person’s. I want to please you above anything or anyone else. 

I hope the above examples of praying Scripture over specific areas of spiritual bondage were helpful to serve as a springboard for you in your journey to freedom. 

pin titled how to break strongholds with Scripture and prayer

You can be free from spiritual bondage as you allow Truth to renew your mind while incorporating Scripture in your prayers.

Related articles on prayer and breaking spiritual strongholds:

Heartfelt Prayer to God

Bible Lesson on Prayer for Adults

Holding Grudges: Why Choose Forgiveness

Prayer Points for Victory in Spiritual Warfare

FREE Download: The Full Armor of God

FREE Prayer Journal Template Printable

Bible Verses to Overcome Insecurity in Relationships

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