Defending Your Family against Spiritual Attack
by Charles F. Stanley
God works powerfully through strong Christian families. But the enemy of our souls does not want to see parents and their children loving, supporting, respecting, and enjoying each other. Satan works to destroy healthy families and trap people in habitual sin. He especially targets children and young people. That’s why Christian parents needs to learn how to wage spiritual warfare on behalf of their children.
Spiritual Warfare in the Home
The enemy is constantly working to bring anxiety, frustration, compulsions, and fear into the home. When home life is miserable, kids grow up wounded and often rebellious. A family that is constantly feuding cannot minister to anyone else or actively serve the body of Christ. So if the devil can succeed in destroying a family, he can usually count on weakening the church as well.
Spiritual problems can manifest in your children as rebellion, depression, addictions, and a host of other sins. Our tendency is to address the outward symptoms of the problem, rather than the root. But these battles will not be won by common sense, worldly solutions, or harsh restrictions. Instead, we need to resist the devil’s plans with spiritual tools. Second Corinthians 10:3-4 says, “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”
Waging spiritual warfare includes living godly lives, discerning what is going on within our families, and praying in the power of the blood of Jesus and with the authority of the Word of God.
How you live as a parent is extremely important to the spiritual success of your kids. When parents are living righteously before the Lord, there is a hedge of protection that surrounds that family. In the spiritual realm, you offer shelter as a parent when you seek after God, are just and fair in your dealings, and lead your family in worshipping God and learning about Him. But when mom or dad is living in willful disobedience to the Lord, the children will suffer. No one can live a worldly life and expect to raise godly kids.
Maybe Satan has trapped one of your children either as a result of your sin or because of outside influences. He might have that child bound in a stronghold, which is an area of a person’s life that is spiritually weak.Because Satan can easily get a victory by attacking there, he will hit that person again and again in the vulnerable spot. He might tempt one person to feel unworthy, another to escape with alcohol, and a third to burst out in anger too easily.
The good news is that as a parent, you are in a position to see the Lord move on behalf of your child and free him or her from strongholds. First John 4:4 says, “You are of God … and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world.” This means the Holy Spirit, Who is in us, is greater than Satan and can lead us to spiritual victory.
How do you limit the activity of the enemy in your child’s life?
First, clean up your own life. Spend some time alone with God and confess all known sin. Come to a point of complete surrender again. If you try to fight a spiritual battle while living in outright rebellion against God—even in a private area of your life—you will fail.
Second, identify the root problem. The symptom may be your child’s rebellion against authority, drug abuse, or some other addiction. But the root of the problem might be your child’s bitterness caused by parental neglect or another issue from the past.
Third, find scriptural authority for confronting the problem. When Satan attacked Jesus, our Lord countered the enemy’s lies with Scripture. We need to do the same. For example, in dealing with a bitter child, we could use Hebrews 12:15, which says, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.”
Fourth, pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This means you ask the same thing He would in your place and do it by His powerful authority. Praying in the name of Jesus puts the emphasis on His supernatural power and the authority He has delegated to His followers (John 14:13-14).
Fifth, pray to your Heavenly Father rather than talking to Satan. Keep in mind that you have no power on your own to bind Satan, but are simply declaring what has already happened in the spirit realm through the cross.
Sixth, it’s not enough to restrict Satan from using the stronghold—ask God to release your child from it. Putting this all together, your prayer might be:
Heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by His precious blood, I ask You to bind Satan away from the life of my son/daughter and to remove his/her bitterness. Father, You said we are to see to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, and that no root of bitterness should be allowed to spring up and cause trouble and defile many people. On the authority of Your Word, Lord Jesus Christ, and by Your blood, I want to pronounce Satan defeated—no longer able to hold my son/daughter captive to the sin of bitterness. Father, please release my son/daughter from the stronghold of bitterness. Liberate him/her from the unhealthy patterns that have him/her bound and free him/her to serve and obey You. Thank You, Father for saving and healing him/her. Amen.
Last, if you pray for a while and nothing changes, get some godly friends involved. Confess to them you need help. Admit that you have failed somewhere as a father or mother. Ask them to pray that God would reveal any area of sin in your life that you have previously been blinded to. Confess any sins this process uncovers and take any actions you need to. Then pray again in agreement with those friends that God would cause Satan to release your child from the stronghold and restore him or her to oneness with the family. Even gathering with one or two other friends greatly increases the ultimate success of your prayers (Matt.18:19-20).
You might not see results right away. What I’ve noticed is that the longer people have been bound in sin, the longer it usually takes to free them. But don’t give up. Keep walking in complete surrender to God and continue interceding for your child. The heart of the Father is turned toward your son or daughter, and He desires to bring freedom and restoration.
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