The Basics of Spiritual Warfare:
Equipping you for War and to be an Overcomer

Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle;
He is my steadfast love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.

Psalm 144:1-2

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12

We are a Church at War

One pastor of a large church recently said, “Even though we have many big churches, we haven’t made a dent in the culture.” He’s right, the armies of the demonic realm have penetrated every part of society, including the church, and are taking more ground by the minute. The evil we’re immersed in demands that we equip God’s people for spiritual warfare.

Boot camp begins NOW.

Know Who You are and What You’ve Been Given

Those who are blood-bought children of the living God have been given His Holy Spirit as your guide, counselor, healer, and strength. You have every weapon you need to fight your way through every battle. The blood of the cross cleanses you from every sin, you have the spiritual bazooka of prayer at your disposal, and the blazing truth of the word of God. You must never identify yourself by your sin, someone else’s sin (such as your spouse), your failures, vocation, feelings, or, especially, the lies the enemy throws at you. You are a son or daughter of the Living God. See Ephesians 1 and 2, 1 John 1.

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:16-17

What Do You Believe?

Don’t give me trite Sunday school answers or quote verses. We’re not talking knowledge, but the beliefs in the core of your heart. Do you really believe you’re a child of God, or does doubt arise? Do shame, fear, or anger bubble up? Your belief system drives your life, not education or knowledge. It will be extremely difficult to withstand the withering assaults of the enemy and take up your God-given authority in Christ if you believe you’re pond scum of no value to God or others.

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23

You are Given Christ’s Authority

You’re seated with Christ in heaven above all power and dominion, including the demonic realm. You have authority over the dominion God has given you, including your family, home, business. Fathers, you were designed to be the spiritual authority of your home. You’re meant to be a leader and a fighter, not a passive spectator.

And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.
Nehemiah 4:14

When the enemy comes against a believer, you have the authority to say, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave my presence.” You can go a little further and add “and go where Jesus commands you to go. I cancel all assignments of the enemy against me, my family, and my domain.”

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Ephesians 2:4-6

You Must Know God’s Truth

It’s important that you soak in God’s word every day and have a grasp of His truth. The enemy will be throwing lies at you; it’s critical that you know the truth so you can stand on it. Biblically illiterate Christians will implode or flounder.

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…
Ephesians 6:14

Filter the Thoughts that Go Through Your Mind

Don’t allow thoughts of doubt, fear, lust, pride, condemnation, or anything not of God to flow freely through your mind. Once you start biting on such thoughts, they metastasize until they become strong enough to get a grip on your soul. Then you risk falling into sin or becoming the prey of fear, doubt, or other problems. Your mind is the front line of the battle. Allow the enemy a beachhead there, and he can advance. You must refuse to allow evil or sinful thoughts to run rampant through your mind. Turn and Connect will help you overcome in this area. You can also say something out loud such as “No, I’m not buying this. God told me not to fear and I won’t go there,” or quote a no-fear verse like Isaiah 41:10.  Refuse to accept thoughts that don’t line up with Scripture.

Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Discern the Source

Not every thought that runs through your mind that runs contrary to God’s word is from the enemy. Some thoughts may be from your flesh, others from random neuro-sparks in your brain. If your flesh or your emotions are throwing out the wrong thoughts, don’t go in warfare mode. Turn and Connect will help, no matter the source.

Fear and Doubt are Two of the Enemy’s Biggest Weapons.

The enemy uses fear to get a grip on a person’s soul so they can torment them with fear, anxiety, worry, anger, even terror. They may hurl thoughts of cursing (including cursing of God) into your mind, or other evil thoughts to try to terrify you into thinking that those thoughts came from you. Fear and anger are opposite sides of the same coin. Give in to fear and anger will eventually pay you a visit. Never give in to fear. You may experience an initial shock after getting hit with a fear dart. That’s okay. Regroup, and move forward.

The enemy attacks hard with doubt, even to the point of causing people to question their salvation. Sometimes I get hit with crazy thoughts like that. Always go back to the truth. God is with you and you will never be alone. Refuse to entertain thoughts of doubt; don’t allow them to grab hold and fester.

…for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5

Get Healing

The enemy attacks our wounds with fear and anger. Heal the wound, and fear and anger lose their power. If you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed with fear or anger, ask God to show you if there is an area you need healing from. Get help if needed.

Usually there is always a package of lies that have infested the wound.

Feel Like You’re Losing Your Mind?

There are moments when I feel I’m going crazy, as if I’m coming apart. I don’t know how the enemy does it, but they can attack a believer in a way that causes them to doubt their sanity. Recognize this for what it is and move on.

Be Aware of the Elijah Crash

After a time of ministry where we put out a lot of emotional energy, it’s not uncommon to experience a crash to the point of depression as Elijah did. The enemy may attack in those moments when we’re at our weakest. Ask for prayer from others in your tribe when you’re unwinding from putting it all out there. Make sure you take time to rest, and decompress with trusted friends.

Marriages are Under Significant Attack

Husbands and wives, be aware that the enemy will do everything he can to keep the two of you triggered and defeated in discouragement, misfired communication, anger, mistrust, resentment, or anger. Pray together every day. Be careful of the thoughts you allow to float through your mind regarding to your spouse. Your spouse is not your enemy; God gave them to you for a purpose. Your spouse is a broken person who fails and sins, just as you are. Their weaknesses and strengths are probably quite different than yours. Don’t allow yourself to get obsessed about your spouse’s faults and failures or become a score keeper. Continue to release them and allow God to be their Lord and healer.

Husbands and Wives, Have Sex!

A sexless marriage provides the enemy with a wide-open door through which he can wreak havoc in your relationship. Every marriage goes through periods where there are painful issues that need to be worked out that may pause your sex life, temporarily. Work through those issues as quickly as you can, don’t put unrealistic expectations on your spouse, and jump back into bed together as quickly as possible.

Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
1 Corinthians 7:5

If You’re Too Busy to Pray or Rest, Stop!

One of the enemy’s strategies is to wear Christian down so they’re constantly running on fumes with no margin in their lives. If this is you, stop. You’ll eventually get hit with a crisis that will put you at risk for a big fiery crash. All the stress, trauma, death, and evil that are in the air these days is enough to weigh anyone down. Listen to what your body and emotions are telling you. If your soul is screaming that you need a break, listen to it and carve out the time to catch your breath and rest.

He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
Daniel 7:25

Unrepentant Sin Gives the Enemy a Foothold in Your Life

If you’re intentionally, consistently, going hard after sin, you’re giving the enemy an open door to attack you and build a stronghold. Keep short accounts with sin and don’t play with it. Confess your sins to others and pray with them.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working

James 5:16

Bitterness is Dangerous

Expressing anger in measured tones without attacking, abusing, raging, or berating the other person is Biblical. Hold onto anger, and the enemy will attack with a flame-thrower of resentment, bitterness, and judging until your heart hardens. Then anything can happen, including destroying the relationships of loved ones and even walking away from the Lord. Don’t hold onto anger. Express your feelings, forgive, then move on. Forgiveness and reconciliation are two different issues, by the way. While God requires that we forgive, reconciliation is optional. Both sides must put in the work to restore a relationship.

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
Ephesians 4:26-27

Stay Away from Occult Media and Materials

Thirty years ago, my wife and I watched a horror movie at a theater in Southern California. Minutes after the movie started, I sensed a thick presence of evil in the theater, and we walked out. Anything involving the occult or witchcraft, including horror movies, should have no place in the life of a believer. Some of those movies, such as the Harry Potter films, have real-life Satanic rituals. You don’t want those images or words in your mind. Allowing occult media in your home gives the enemy a point of entry. I’ve known Christians that had an Ouija board, which is about communicating with the spirit world. Don’t play with the occult.

And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.
Acts 19:19

Pornography Provides the Demonic Realm with a Point of Entry into Your Life

If you’ve accessed pornographic images in the past, delete them from your devices. Porn is a Satanic product that destroys all who are involved with it, including the actors and actresses who create it. It’s not uncommon to hear a story of a child who looked at their parent’s phone and stumbled onto their father’s porn stash.

Hypervigilance Will Wear You Out

Hypervigilance, living in constant fear of spiritual attack, will grind you to a pulp and make life miserable for you and your loved ones. Hypervigilance is fear run amok; instead of trusting God to protect us, we take our protection into our own hands and rely on self. “God, since you wouldn’t protect me, I’ll protect myself my way.” It’s a disaster waiting to happen. Satan doesn’t have to work hard to play people who are in hypervigilance mode; he’ll toss one or two fear words into their mind and watch as they spiral into their nightmare of obsessive-compulsive insanity. If you’re caught in this cycle, the way through is to choose to trust and release everything in your life into God’s hands on a moment by moment basis. Your emotions may be screaming in terror (and the enemy might be yelling at you too), but don’t give in. Ram your stake in the ground that you’re going to rest and trust God, no matter what, and take your hands off the controls of your life.

Remember the Whole Counsel of God

Some believers get fixated on the verses with warnings in Scripture and allow the enemy to use those verses to torment them with the idea that they’ve lost their salvation or are on their way to hell. This is far more common than you think. Satan would never torment an unbeliever this way. Why would an unbeliever be afraid of losing something he didn’t have or care about? If you’re being tormented this way it’s a positive sign you’re a Christian. Remember the blood of the cross, who you are in Christ, and what you’ve been given. Look at the whole counsel of God and avoid proof texting. Stand firm on who you are as God’s beloved son or daughter.

Praying Scripture is a Powerful Weapon

Psalm 91 is the great warfare chapter. Psalm 35 is good too, among others. Reading Psalm 91 out loud is a powerful way to wage spiritual warfare.

Ask God How to Fight When the Attacks Come

Every battle is different; there is no cookie-cutter approach that works every time. Christmas morning of 2009, I was being assaulted with evil thoughts. My wife and four kids were around me. Bringing them into my situation didn’t feel right; I didn’t want them thinking I was crazy. I silently asked the Lord what to do, and the word praise came to my mind. In my heart, I began praising God; within minutes, I had peace. Bring God into your battles, and ask for His counsel.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
James 1:5

Some Battles are Over Quickly; Others Go Longer

I’ve had plenty of attacks where I all I had to do was to shut the enemy down once and the battle was over. I’ve also had to press my way through knock-down, drag-out, dogfights where the intensity of the attacks and the sense of evil in the room were ratcheted up and lasted into the early hours of the morning. Some battles may go off and on for days, even weeks. No matter how long the fight, stand firm, never give in to fear, and keep praying and resisting.

3:00AM is the Witching Hour

Satanists and witches sometimes start their incantations at 3:00AM. Most people are in a deep sleep at 3 in the morning when it can be harder to rouse yourself from a deep sleep. I’ve had my share of 3:00AM assaults. As before, don’t give in to fear, and dig in. Praying before you go to sleep at night and cancelling the assignments of the enemy against you is a good strategy.

The Enemy May Attack with Sudden Jolts of Anxiety or Panic

I’ve had moments where my anxiety level shot through the roof, yet I had nothing I was nervous about. Then when I asked God what it was, He revealed it was warfare. Rebuke the enemy, don’t allow his attack to rock you, and keep moving.

Rebellion is Cooperating with Satan

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
1 Samuel 15:23

Rebellion is telling God “No! I’m going to go after this sin in spite of what You told me.” This should run shivers down our spine. After Samuel confronted Saul for his willful disobedience, the Lord allowed Saul to be tormented by a demonic presence. Eventually, Saul lost the kingdom. Rebellion can have severe consequences and give the enemy an easy access point. If you’re in that place, run to the cross, confess your sin, and do whatever it takes to cut sin off.

Pride Will Destroy Your Life

Pride and arrogance took Satan down; he’s been using it to destroy lives ever since. Pride opens the door for the enemy to inflate a man or woman with pride and rage until they hit a brick wall at full speed, face first (those who are hooked on pride are often easily triggered with anger when they don’t get their way). It doesn’t take much to trigger them. “Did you see how they treated you, after all you’ve done for them?! How could you ever forgive them? How dare they speak to you like that! Don’t they know who you are?” Satan has it easy planting arrogant thoughts in someone who has allowed pride to take root in their soul. The eventual outcome will be destroyed lives.

Recently I heard a pastor say, “I’m one of the leading evangelists in this state!” I wanted to throw up when I heard that. You don’t see Paul, John the Baptist, or others in Scripture who God used powerfully boasting after being used by Him. Ministry is a gift, not a right, and should never be our main identity. Pride is one reason the American church is imploding. Today church leaders are constantly being exposed, including those with large congregations.

Brokenness, ongoing accountability with others, confession of sin, and humility are the antidote to pride.

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6

Satan is Alive and Well in the Church

Greg Reid was formerly involved with the occult and now trains people in spiritual warfare. During an interview on our radio show, Greg shared how satanists have an easy time infiltrating the church. I also believe there is a stronghold in the leadership of many American churches that is designed to prevent them from talking openly about the sexual sin that is destroying thousands of lives, or equip their people to be spiritual warriors. I devoted an entire chapter on The Great Coverup in my book The Way of the Rogue Christian; Living a Life that Counts for Eternity. If you watch the news you’ll see that many churches are working overtime to cover up the sexual sin and abuse within their doors.

Our pastors encounter a lot of warfare and desperately need our prayers.

Ask for Prayer

You are part of a tribe of other believers, right? There are no isolated Christians in God’s economy. Ask your tribe to pray for you if you’re being overwhelmed. Meet weekly with other believers for the purpose of support, accountability, and prayer. Fire off a quick text to a brother or sister in Christ and ask for prayer when times get rough. We have prayer meetings going on through the week, if you want to get plugged in. Contact us for more information.

The Enemy Can Use Other Christians to Attack You

Sometimes the hardest hits to endure are those that come from the mouths of professing Christians. Some twist Scripture and use it like a knife to make themselves look good. Pride stinks the most when it leaks out of a believer’s mouth. We’re all broken. Be aware of what may be happening in the spiritual realm. Don’t be quick to take offense. Pray for the other person and ask God for wisdom. Remember that we don’t battle against flesh and blood but against the demonic realm.

Discern Between Conviction and Condemnation

When the Holy Spirit convicts, He does it gently, yet deeply, and touches only the point of sin, for the purpose of healing and restoration. Our enemy attacks with condemnation to destroy us with fear, hopelessness, or discouragement. Learn to discern between God’s voice and the attacks of the enemy. As you get to know God’s character and how He works, it will become easier to filter out the lies.

Our Youth are Getting Slaughtered

My kids tell me they see ads for occult products constantly. Surveys show that more than 70% of teenaged boys are viewing porn. Sexting among youth has blown up. Suicide is the number 2 killer of adolescents. 75% of youth leave the church by their early twenties. The next generation is being attacked with brutal efficiency. We must equip our youth to be spiritual warriors and fighters and teach them to pray.

Test the Spirits

Those who believe they have the gift of tongues should test the spirits to determine which spirit is praying through them. Not all spiritual gifts are legitimate or given by God; some are false or counterfeit gifts given by the enemy. Be careful with who you allow to lay hands on you or pray over you if they’re speaking in tongues. Ask them if they’ve tested the spirits and see what they say. I know people who’ve had a bad experience when someone with a counterfeit gift of tongues prayed over them.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.
1 John 4:1-3

Praise is a Weapon

As the Lord leads, praise Him when you encounter trials or attacks. Doing so takes your attention off yourself, glorifies God by aligning yourself to His purposes, and brings Him into the battle. Making worship your way of life will make it easy to praise Him when the battles come.

But we will bless the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 115:18


Jesus’ struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane may have been one of the most titanic spiritual battles of all time. He prayed with such intensity that he sweated drops of blood. Then, knowing the spiritual battles his disciples would soon face, Jesus gave them one weapon:

And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Matthew 26:40-41

Jesus didn’t tell them to memorize Scripture, do a Bible study on prayer, listen to a sermon, or recite the Lord’s prayer. He told them to pray. They didn’t, and scattered in fear when Jesus was arrested… Peter denied Christ three times.

Every believer must become a prayer warrior. Every church must keep prayer meetings going throughout the week; if only two show up, that’s enough. Pastors, put your people on their knees during your weekend services. The more we pray, the weaker our flesh becomes and the stronger we are in Him. Strive for an hour of prayer every day. Go away alone for at least one day of prayer every 2-3 months, as Jesus modeled for us. Attend prayer meetings as the early church did; pray often with you spouse and your family. Today’s church is weak because many don’t pray.

The way you learn to pray, is to pray! Throw yourself into prayer with abandon. Don’t try to figure it out and don’t preach a sermon. Speak from your heart with passion, and His fire will come.  Intercede for others often.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to read the Bible but how hard it can be to pray? That’s when the wandering thoughts and distractions come in. You may need to silence the enemy to pray. No matter what it takes, determine to be a man or woman of prayer.

Fasting Multiplies and Magnifies the Power of Prayer

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
Matthew 6:16

Jesus said “when,” not “if” you fast. Fasting is meant to be a part of every believer’s life. The early church fasted and prayed before big decisions. The King of Ninevah called for fasting and prayer and the Assyrians received mercy. In Matthew 17:21 Jesus talked about a certain type of demon that would only leave after fasting and prayer. At some point God may call you to fast and pray. Follow His leading.

Warfare and Suffering Have a Purpose

God allowed Satan to attack Job mercilessly. Job lost his business, employees and 10 kids all in one day, then later had his health attacked. Job was left with nothing but a wife who told him to curse God and die, and three friends who beat Job up with their theological clubs.

Over the centuries, God has used the book of Job to encourage many who are suffering or being attacked by the enemy. The Lord allows the enemy to attack us, and He limits how far they can go. This should provide comfort and hope while showing us that there are no guarantees in this life. We need to be prepared for the battles ahead and determined to push our way through until we overcome.

One of the biggest mistakes the church is making is not equipping its people to be spiritual warriors. Many are suffering and seeing their lives destroyed because of it. One sermon every five years on the armor of God doesn’t begin to come close to equipping God’s people for the intense spiritual war we’re engaged in.

If you’re in a spiritual firefight, ask the Lord for His eyes, heart, and mind for everything you’re going through. Getting His perspective will make a big difference.

The benefits of spiritual warfare include burning off fear, pride, and other sin, forcing us to stand up and rely on God, and strengthening our spiritual muscles. Anything that moves us toward becoming a prayer warriors and spiritual fighter is a blessing! If you want your life to count for eternity, you must be willing to pay the price, which will include spiritual firefights. Otherwise, you can be like many who show up to church, enjoy the energetic music and pleasing message, and lead comfortable lives that are of no threat to the gates of hell. Satan is quite content to leave comfortable Christians alone on the sidelines.

Hopefully, that’s not you.


Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.
1 Peter 4:1-2

Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
James 1:2-3