Breaking Down Strongholds through Praise.

By Cindy Jacobs


It was at the end of a powerful meeting for women.  As the seminar came to a close,  a women came forward and requested prayer.  Tears streamed down her face as she told of a serious problem with depression.  She seemed on the verge of a nervous breakdown.


The ministers gathered around her.  Although they prayed repeatedly there was no breakthrough.  Recognising the depth of the women's 

problem,  they called for someone to lead the group in intercessory prayer  - Praise Warfare,   as some call it.  Rising to their feet,  the women sang,  clapped and shouted.


Suddenly the lady for whom they were praying began to weep.   She said the cloud of depression had lifted from her mind and for the first time in years her thoughts were clear.  How we rejoiced together at the goodness of God on her behalf!


Our primary motivation for worshipping God is that he is worthy of our praise and adoration.  First and foremost,  praise and worship delights the Lord and brings us into his presence,  so he needs to be the focus of our attention.  Yet,  as more and more Christians are discovering,  praise and worship is also an effective weapon in our battle against demonic powers.



The Weapons of Praise Warfare


I believe true intercession is twofold: one aspect is petitioning God for divine intervention on behalf of a person or group:  the other is warring against the works of Satan.  The incident when Israel prevailed over Amalek as long as Moses interceeded, might be considered an illustration of both aspects - petition and Warfare.


The Bible illustrate many ways to incorporate prayers with intercessions in our prayer groups and personal prayer times.    The Hebrew language has seven words for praise,  which can all be used at different times.


Halal means to be boastful or excited;  it represents a tremendous explosion of enthusiasm in the act of praising God  (See Psalm 117:1)  Jewish tradition relates this to  the overthrough of the wicked.


Yadah means to thank,  to give a public acknowledgement to,  to extend the hand,  to worship with raised hands (See 2 Chron 20:19-21)  Barak means to bless,  to bow,  to kneel in adoration (See Psalm 103:1-2)   Zamar means to touch the string,  to make music to God.  This is a musical verb,  to praise.


Shabach means to speak well of in a high and befitting way,   to address in a loud tone,  to shout, to command triumph (See Psalm 117:1)

Tephillah means intercession for someone,  supplication,  a thanksgiving.  It means to give the sacrifice of praise.


These seven words provide us with a variety of praise activities which honour the Lord and bring us into his presence and release his power in intercession, but there is much more.


Walking and marching: God told Joshua 'Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. (Josh 1 :3)


The march that Joshua and his troops made around Jericho was a type of intercession. In particular, it illustrates the importance of persistence in intercession. How many of us have stopped praying when only one more time around 'Jericho' would have brought about a breakthrough in our circumstances?


This type of marching produces deliverence today, just as it did for the Israelites. A man named Rick went to a prayer meeting that Joy Towe was holding in Dallas, Texas. Rick was a Television producer with a big problem. He had a job lined up with no TV equipment and none he could rent. Joy put Rick in the middle of their circle and they marched around him after seeking the Lord in prayer. In Rick's words 'We persued agressivey with warfare - we were militant'


After Rick left the meeting he ran into somebody from a T.V. production company, who was looking for a manager. They had the equipment and the offices they needed. He ended up making money for them as well as meeting his own need.




"You shall have a song as in the night. The Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard and show the descent of his arm and the indignation of his anger and the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering tempest and hailstones. (Isaiah 30: 29-30)


Our son Daniel was born with a club foot; it would not flex. The doctor said he could not bend it forward and so he would not be able to walk well. One night as I held Daniel a Chorus came to my heart. "The Devil had me bound but Jesus set me free" I sang it over and over again for about an hour and then put Daniel to bed. The next morning, while changing his diaper I noticed that his foot was flexible, his little shoe went on easily. Something happened to his foot when I sang over Daniel - the power of the enermy was broken, and God touched his foot.




"Oh clap your hands all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph" (Psalm 47:1). The word 'clap' in this passage is 'taqae' which means to clang, strike or smite (Nahum 3:19) exemplifie show teqae relates to triumph over enermies. "Your injury has no healing, your wound is severe. All who hear news of you will clap their hands over you" Clapping in the Bible is associated not only with praise but also with triumph in warfare. Clapping is one means of breaking yokes.




"And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: 'Shout, for the LORD has given you the city! (Josua 6:16)


Shouting can also be an important aspect of praise warfare. What would have happened if the people circling Jericho has not shouted? Perhaps the walls would not have fallen down, and the victory would not have been won.




The weapon of laughter is extremely powerful and even necessary as an intercessory manifestation. As intercessors, we often hear many sererous problems and needs during a day, that can waer us down. But laughter is an important safeguard against heaviness in intercession. As Proverbs

15:13 says  "A merry heart makes cheerful countenance,  but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken".


What does laughter have to do with intercessory praise?  It breaks Satan's power to depress you and oppress you in the midst of a battle.  Depression dilutes your spiritual strength.  Medical studies have shown how laughter works like medicine.  Deep laughter oxygenates the blood and causes positive physical changes.


Laughter also can be a formTmy.  Psalm 37:12-13 says,  "The wicked plots against the just,  and gnashes at him with his teeth.  The Lord laughs at him because he sees that his day is coming."

Keep visiting,  more will be here again within the next few days..





Laughter and joy are often interrelated in intercession.  Joy is an important part of our intercession because it is our strength for battle.  Psalm 149:2 says,  "Let Israel rejoice in her Maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in heir King"


In her book 'Praise is'  Joy Towe says,  "The Hebrew word for joyful in this passage is 'guwl'  meaning to spin around (under the influence of a very violent emotion)  Somehow our idea of joy is not the same as that.  We are much more familiar with the quiet joy  that is within us with our every day walk with the Lord.  The joy that comes with intercession,  however,  can run the gamut from laughter to violent emotion to quiet peace.


Joy in intercession can include jumping,  leaping and rejoicing.  It is often manifested as a dance.  To our western culture this may seem strange,  but it is not at all strange in the Jewish culture,  which is full of dancing,  where people spin,  leap and rejoice.



Some Practical Applications


So can you include intercessory prayer in prayer meetings? One of the first things to remember is that the Holy Spirit has many moods and ways by which He manifests Himself. To know how we should intercede, we need to maintain a sensitivity to his desires.

Another thing to consider is that the Lord works within our culture and often our belief system. Don’t try and force any type of intercession, but let God establish it in your group. What might be appropriate in one church, might be greatly out of order in another.


How do these different types of intercessory praise come together? Here is one possible framework revolving around worship in any intercessory meeting. It is good to begin with worship because many people come to prayer with heavy hearts. Jesus said ‘ Take my yoke upon me and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart. And you will find rests for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light..’ Mat 11 29-30. As we worship the Lord, he will place on us his yoke or his burdens for prayer rather than our own. Many people are truly unhappy to intercede for the needs on God’s agenda because they are too caught up in their own problems. They end up praying out of their emotions rather than by the Holy Spirit. But Math 6:33 exhorts us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”


It is often good to begin the worship with singing. Some will be hymns or contemporary choruses. Either way it is a good opener for your prayer meeting. Psalm 101:4 says ‘Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise. Be thankful to him and bless his name.’ Gates in the Old Testament were important places in the city. It was there that the elders sat to decide legal matters. The gates of the Lord are the places where his strategies are developed. As we begin out intercessory meetings with thanksgiving and praise, we open our hearts and minds to the revelation of his will.


During this time of worship consider the seven Hebrew words for praise listed earlier. When God orchestrates our intersession the whole group will move together with the Holy Spirit. You might have, for instance, a time of Barak when you adore him silently. Other times you might lift your hands and clap. You might then have a time of proclamation: ‘Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your boarders, but you shall call your walls salvation and your gates praise. Isaiah 60:18.

Proclamation means calling out God’s attributes, His name, character and nature.


Many times as a group worships together a song will come to someone’s mind. The leader can determine whether the song is appropriate. It might be exactly what needed to bless and comfort someone, to offer thanks to the Lord, or to break the power of the enemy in the situation about which the group plans to petition. As you move into the intercession time, your group may use the other examples of the intercessory praise discussed here. You might begin clapping, for instance. This is a hard smiting type of clap. It is done with the intention of stopping Satan’s devices in the situation you are warring with. You will know it is accomplished because everyone will just stop. The Holy Spirit is the divine orchestrator, it’s amazing how this just happens.


Treading on Financial Problems



In some instances you might march over a tough case or actually put your feet down hard or tread. We used this kind of warfare at the North American Renewal Conference at Indianapolis in August 1990. The group was in prayer at 1.00 am when one of the leaders of the renewal congress came into the prayer room . He explained that the congress was in serious financial jeopardy. They needed a $300,000 miracle by the end of the day.


One intercessor pulled some money out of his pocket. People who had very little gave sacrificially. One catholic nun who works in a leprosarium and lives by faith, gave all she had. When the money was piled on the floor, we began to pray with intercessory praise. We knelt and adored the Lord (Barak) thanking him for his provision. We wrote Satan a message and taped it to the bottom of our shoes! We let him know that he would not put the Renewal congress in debt and cause a blight to come on the name of that organisation. Then the intercessors trod on the name of the enemy. We marched and rejoiced in God for his provision.


The next evening the final session closed and people were starting to leave. The offering taken that evening totalled $150,000 – a great amount, but $150 too short. Some of us were standing around a platform when a small unassuming women came up and asked what the deficit was. She then declared she would like to pick up the deficit and that her foundation would sent a cheque next week!

God had provided and he will continue to provide for us for healing, assurance, financial needs and protection. As we learn more of his desires for us and come before him in an attitude of intercessory praise, we will see a breakthroughs we might never have imagined before. Powerful tools are at your disposal. We need only learn from him how to use them.


-the end-



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