Hey, Everybody! I promised you this blog post after asking for testimonies late last week about freedom in Christ from areas of bondage. I was teaching on the subject in a television taping the next day and wanted fresh stories to build up the faith of people who feared they’d never be free. As I compiled the list of strongholds, I shook my head over the goodness of God and the immeasurable reach of His grace. People testified to freedom from heroin, meth, alcohol and pornography addictions and being released from strongholds of anger, rage, bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred and insecurity. The list went on and on. The common denominator? Every person testifying believed beyond a doubt that Jesus alone had set them free. Some had been set free instantly. Others took longer journeys to freedom. Some were in support groups, others were not. Some went to counseling, others didn’t. The routes to freedom varied but the end result was the same: they’d all been set free by Jesus and those who described the process of their liberty almost without exception named the crucial role of Scripture. As I jotted down all the strongholds mentioned, I tweeted how everything under the sun had been mentioned.
THEN, I sat and stared at the list for a moment and thought, “Wait a minute. I don’t see any food-related strongholds!” I followed up with another tweet saying no one had mentioned it and asked if anybody had a testimony. Several stories of freedom came though but my feed was swamped by responses of people struggling with bondage to and unhealthy relationships with food, whether they manifested in overeating or under-eating.
I am no expert but I stick by a philosophy of serving based on the words of Peter to the lame man begging for alms in Acts 3:6. “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give you.” I don’t have impressive training and expertise with food-related strongholds – those voices are out there and please seek them out – but, in the meantime, anything I have is yours. I’ve studied freedom in Christ for 20 years, holding it close to my heart as part of my life-message because Jesus saved my sanity through rewiring my mind with Scripture. I am convinced to my bones, if He could rescue me and set me free, He can do it for anyone.
When I need a breakthrough in a really tough area, I find no approach more power-packed and effective than combining prayer with Scripture. That’s what the book Praying God’s Word is all about. With my publisher’s permission, you’ll find 31 Scripture-prayers from various chapters of the book below. I am so grateful to my beloved coworkers, Kimberly McMahon (K-Mac) and Nancy Mattingly, for gathering a cross-section of them and typing them up meticulously for you here.
You’ll notice quickly that the prayers are not only about moderation and care of the physical body. There’s a good reason for that. Food-related strongholds aren’t just about appetites. They are often about real-live needs and wants that have gone unmet and unanswered. They can be about loneliness and emptiness. Those are the kinds of issues to talk to godly counselors about but I want to make sure you know this here and now: whether or not you are free from a stronghold has absolutely no bearing on how loved, accepted and chosen you are by God. This is about your liberty. Not about your worth. Your value is not wrapped up in this. In fact, accepting your inestimable value to God in advance of a whit of victory will be the single biggest leap toward freedom you will ever take. Beating yourself over the head with your Bible will never set you free. It will only bruise you. The Word of God bringing life and truth into the heart and mind of a follower of Jesus sets you free. These are the mindsets for demolishing strongholds based on the charge in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (“to destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”): Choosing to believe and confess that God is well able, that you are well loved, that you can do anything He calls you to do through His power at work within you and that no sin or stronghold has the right to master you. That’s why the prayers below are a cross-section of professions rather than a compilation strictly about eating.
Use the prayers below anyway you want but say them aloud as often as you can. It will build up your faith which will build up your strength. After you get the general idea, go dive into your Bible where you will find no end to the verses that you can turn into prayers to profess the power and greatness of God, His love for you and His promises extended through the Lord Jesus Christ. In Romans 8 alone you’ll find such a wealth of promises that simply reading the words out loud as professions of your faith will start snapping chains and quaking concrete floors where you feel imprisoned.
We love you. We share your battles. Now, let’s share some victories. Jesus, do what You do.
1. My Father, great are Your works! They are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are Your deeds, and Your righteousness endures forever. You have caused Your wonders to be remembered; You, Lord, are gracious and compassionate. (Psalm 111:2–4) The works of Your hands are faithful and just; all Your precepts are trustworthy. They are steadfast for ever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness. (Psalm 111:7–8)
2. Father, so often I feel like the boy’s father who first exclaimed, “I do believe!” then in a flood of sincerity cried out, “Help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) Please help me to overcome my own unbelief, Lord, so I can start taking You at Your Word.
3. Father, I don’t want to be like the ancient Israelites who were not able to enter the Promised Land “rest” because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 3:19) Help me to believe You and follow You to the place of Your promised land in my own life.
4. Father, Your Word says that if Your disciples believe, they will receive whatever they ask for in prayer. (Matthew 21:22) Lord, as you mature my faith, also teach me how to pray and what to ask of You in prayer. I have so much to learn. Keep teaching me, Father.
5. Christ Jesus, You said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:27) Lord, I cannot see Your visible hands, but if I’m willing to really look, I can see the visible evidences of Your invisible hands. Help me to stop doubting and believe!
6. Lord God, You don’t want me to be persuaded just by the wise and persuasive words of men. You want me to be persuaded by the demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that my faith will not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:4–5)
7. Lord God, You have said that Your righteous one will live by faith and if he shrinks back You will not be pleased with him. (Hebrews 10:38) Lord, I want to live a life that is pleasing to You. The life that pleases you is also a life that You so readily bless. (Hebrews 11:6) I don’t want to miss the great adventures You mapped out for me by shrinking back from a walk of faith.
8. Father, I desire to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
9. Father, according to Your Word, in his pride the wicked does not seek You; in all his thoughts there is no room for You. (Psalm 10:4) Please help me to always make room in my thoughts for You, God. Don’t allow me to continue on in pride that stops me from seeking You.
10. Father, You have promised that if Your people, who are called by Your name, will humble themselves and pray and seek Your face and turn from their wicked ways, then will You hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14) Please help me to understand that corporate revival begins with personal, individual revival. Help me to humble myself and pray and seek Your face and turn from my own wicked ways. Thank You for hearing me from heaven and forgiving my sin and bringing healing to my heart.
11. Sovereign Lord, Your hand has made heaven and earth, and through You they came into being. Your Word says, “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2) Father, I can hardly imagine being someone You esteem, but I sincerely want to be! Make me that kind of person through the power of Your Holy Spirit, Lord.
12. Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. (Psalm 25:4–5)
13. My all-powerful God, enable me to stand firm, with the belt of truth buckled around my waist and with the breastplate of righteousness in place. (Ephesians 6:14) Help me to understand that without the girding of truth, I am defenseless against the devil. Truth is my main defense against the father of lies.
14. Lord, without You I would be foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. I would live in malice and envy, being hated and hating others. (Titus 3:3) I don’t want that kind of life, God! I want to live life in the power and fullness of Your Spirit.
15. Father God, You command me for my own good not to merely listen to the Word but to do what it says. If I only listen and do not obey, I will undoubtedly deceive myself. Help me to comprehend that the Word of God is my perfect law of liberty! (James 1:22, 25 kjv)
16. My Jesus, according to Your Word, whoever has Your commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves You. He who loves You will be loved by Your Father, and You too will love him and show Yourself to him. (John 14:21) O, God, please help me to live obediently and have the joy of seeing You revealed in all sorts of marvelous ways.
17. Lord, according to Your Word, what a man desires or craves deeply is unfailing love. (Proverbs 19:22) Every other use of the words unfailing love in Scripture is attributed to You alone. You are the only one capable of perpetually unfailing love. Help me to understand that my deep cravings for someone to love me with that kind of love were meant to be satisfied in You alone. Thank You, Lord.
18. I praise You, Lord, with all my soul, and I desire never to forget all Your benefits—You, Lord, are the one who forgives all my sins and heals my diseases, who redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion, who satisfies my desires with good things so that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s. You, Lord, work righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. (Psalm 103:2–6)
19. Lord Jesus, You asked Your Father to give me a Counselor that would be with me forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept the Holy Spirit, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But I know Him, for He lives with me and is in me. You have not left me as an orphan. You came to me. Even though the world does not see You any more, I can see You through the work of Your Holy Spirit. Because You live, I also live. Help me to realize that You, Jesus, are in Your Father, and I am in You, and You are in me. (John 14:15–20)
20. Father, Your Word says that a person who lacks self-control is like a city whose walls are broken down. (Proverbs 25:28) Sometimes I feel like there is so much rubble, I can’t rebuild the wall. (Nehemiah 4:10) Your Word claims that You are the Repairer of Broken Walls, and the Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. (Isaiah 58:12) Please introduce Yourself to me by these wonderful names and rebuild the rubble in my life.
21. For I know that my old self was crucified with You, Christ, so that this body of sin might be done away with, that I should no longer be a slave to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. (Romans 6:6–7)
22. “Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I desire not to be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12) Lord God, help me to recognize and discern what is not beneficial for me. Help me to see that authentic liberty is being free to do certain things and free not to do others.
23. Lord God, I acknowledge that it is for freedom that Christ has set me free. Your desire is for me to stand firm, then, and not let myself be burdened again by the yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1) Help me, Lord. Empower me.
24. In view of Your mercy, Lord, I offer my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to You, God. This is my spiritual act of worship. I desire not to be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Then I will be able to test and approve what Your will is—Your good, pleasing, and perfect will. (Romans 12:1–2)
25. Lord, though I live in the world, I do not wage war as the world does. The weapons I fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. Your power can demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of You, God, and take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3–5) Enable me, Lord! Help me not just to read it and say it, but to believe it and do it!
26. Lord, I have too long given the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:27) Please help me to stop offering him so many opportunities to bring defeat into my life. Your plan for me is victory.
27. God, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which You have called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13–14) Help me to forget all past failures or even achievements and to focus on pressing forward with You now.
28. Lord Jesus, I can do everything through You because You give me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
29. Lord, I can find great encouragement in knowing that many believers, weak in their natural selves, have walked faithfully and victoriously with You. (Hebrews 11) Therefore, since I am surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, help me throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and help me run with perseverance the race marked out for me. Help me fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of Your throne, O God. (Hebrews 12:1–2)
30. Lord God, Your divine power has given me everything I need for life and godliness through my knowledge of You who called me by Your own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)
31. Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. (Psalm 142:6) Lord, an important part of my victory will be admitting that without Your complete intervention, my oppressor is too strong for me. I am unable to be victorious without You. Come and rescue me with Your mighty hand.