God says that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much, and in these last days with the task set before us (Matthew 28:19) we need to be holy men and women of God, who are effective persistent prayer warriors. There are various types of prayer, but in this article the focus is warfare prayer against the kingdom of darkness.

In warfare prayer, most often we are familiar with deliverance ministry where one is set free from demonic possession or oppression. This is sometimes termed as Ground-Level Spiritual Warfare. However there is another type of warfare prayer called Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare1 where we deal with territorial principalities controlling nations (or people groups). Strategic level warfare prayer is the key to taking our cities for God and planting churches.

Strategic level warfare prayer is seen in Daniel 10, where we see Daniel standing in the gap for his nation and praying for an understanding of God's plan for his people. The time is during the Medo-Persian empire, and his prayers are hindered by a principality called the prince of the Persian kingdom (verse 13). This is not a person but a territorial spirit that is controlling and empowering the Persian kingdom. However, God displaces the spirit (verse 20) and another principality called the prince of Greece comes in its place. A change has occurred in the spiritual realm, and in the natural we see the Greek empire come into existence. So a change in the spiritual realm produces a change in the natural.

Another good example is in Ezekiel 28:1-19, where the focus is the nation of Tyre. There are two personalities, one is the natural ruler called the ruler of Tyre (verses 1-10), and the other is the principality who is called the king of Tyre (verses 11-19). When we read verse 13 we recognize that this principality is none other than Satan himself, who is controlling and empowering the people of Tyre for his own purposes. The natural ruler has also become so powerful that his heart is lifted up, and he declares that he is a god, and sitting in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas (Ezekiel 28:2), however, our God spells his destruction. Satan's purpose in strengthening Tyre is seen in Ezekiel 26:2 where Tyre rejoices over the ruin of Jerusalem whereby Tyre will prosper. Jerusalem is a type of the Church and Tyre is a type of the kingdom of darkness, and when one prospers the other decays and vice versa. Also, Jerusalem is called the gate to the nations, indicating that through Jerusalem (or the Church) the blessings of God will flow to the nations (or people groups) of the World.

Thus strategic level spiritual warfare deals with principalities and conditions that allow them to control nations. These are strongholds that hinder the work of the Church, and before the Kingdom of God can prosper, certain principles have to be applied and the principalities displaced. The land needs to be healed and God's presence and favor restored, and only the Church can accomplish this. This is the mission of the Church.

In modern times, church leaders around the World1-4 have recognized that Satan, even though disarmed by Christ on the Cross, has strongholds over cities and nations, controlling them for his purposes against the Church. In order to evangelize the unreached, we need to discern and bind the principalities that are controlling them (Mark 3:27) and break their stronghold over them. Satan's goal is to deceive the nations (Revelation 20:8) and the enemy has a clear strategy for every nation (or people group). In Revelation 17:15 we see the harlot who controls peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues. When the evil city of Babylon is thrown down, one of the great cries of rejoicing is that no longer by her sorceries would all the nations (or people groups) be deceived (Revelation 18:23). Satan lusts for power over nations and we are told more than once that the principality called the 'harlot', (see Revelation 17:2;18:3) commits fornication with political rulers who have authority over nations.

Strategic level intercessors like Gwen Shaw1 have recognized that ruling spirits have no authority to move into an area without permission. Certain conditions give them authority to set up base of their kingdom from whence they rule over people in that area. These conditions are frequently called strongholds, and some are: idolatry, pagan temples, murder, abortion, witchcraft, drugs, occult, fighting and hatred (especially amongst God's people). These strongholds have to be dealt with before territories can be taken for Christ.

The strongholds are basically sins against God and mankind that opens the door to the enemy. The sin of idolatry put the nation of Judah in bondage in Babylon and in Daniel 9 we see a righteous man interceding and confessing the sins of his people. The sins of the people brings bondage and these have to be confessed and cleansed before deliverance and blessings can come.

In the city of Chennai (Madras) with so many churches and organizations, certain people groups like the upper caste Hindus and Moslems are virtually untouched with the Gospel. When we look at the map of the city of Chennai, we can see certain strongholds in our city. If we take Strongholds in the city of Chennai, South India

  1. The Theosophical Society in Adyar who are Freemasons which include women, are open to all gods including Baal and Astoreth,
  2. The Kapaleswara Temple in Mylapore to the Hindu god Siva, and
  3. The Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane to the Hindu god Vishnu,

we find that they lie on a straight line. Further examination reveals that this line points to Fort St. George which is the seat of the Government of the State. In the occult these lines are called lei lines or lines of power, where a common spirit can be used to control others. Previously a Chief Minister, had exalted herself herself literally to a goddess with all falling prostrate and worshipping her. This is a clear parallel to what was seen in Ezekiel 28. These strongholds, which are controlling our city, are manipulating our leaders and those in authority, and these need to be broken by strategic level warfare prayer. Near Fort St. George is the High Court, and also the business district is nearby. Our court system is highly corrupt and the enemy has a clear control of the businesses (Revelation 18:3). The key is to pray for all in authority breaking any satanic influence over them (1 Timothy 2:1,2).

Mylapore and Triplicane are two of the oldest towns of Chennai and the Apostle Thomas ministered in these towns. According to tradition, the apostle was martyred by the king of Mylapore. The apostle must have established strong churches grounded on God's Word in these areas, but over a period of time they have backslidden and profaned God's Word. The glory and presence of God departed because of the sins of our forefathers, and the door was wide open to the enemy to come in and establish strongholds which are controlling our city. Also there is ample evidence to show that Saivism and Vaishnavism are founded on early Christianity established in India from the 1st c AD.

The Task before us is enormous but Christ has given us all the authority and power (Luke 10:19). We can do it, but

  1. First, we the pastors and Christian leaders of the city must unite and be of one heart and mind in God's purpose for us.
  2. Secondly, we always keep in focus that the task is a Christian issue, and not of any one group, it is the effort of the whole body of Christ.
  3. Thirdly, we must prepare ourselves spiritually through repentance, humility and holiness. The enemy cannot attack us, but can deceive us through sin (Numbers 25).
  4. Fourthly, we need to research the historical background of our city in order to reveal the spiritual forces shaping and controlling our city.
  5. Finally, we need to engage in strategic level prayer, seeking God's revelation of
    1. Satan's strongholds,
    2. controlling principalities,
    3. corporate sins past and present that need to be dealt with, and
    4. God's plan of action for our city.

When Daniel prayed (chapter 9), God revealed His master plan for all the ages, the prophecy of 70 weeks (Daniel 9:24-27). Daniel first offered himself as a holy living sacrifice to God, refusing to contaminate himself with the pollution in the land. He researched the books (Daniel 9:2) determining the cause of the captivity of the people of God. He then stood in the gap for his nation in prayer confessing the sins of the nation and seeking God for his people. God then revealed to Daniel, His master plan for the deliverance and restoration.

In closing, our prime objective4 in intercession and spiritual warfare is not the removal of the enemy, but the return of the glory of God. It is restoration of God's needed favor. These strongholds in our city are not the testimony of a powerful demon, but rather the absence of the glory and presence of God. Demons rush in when the glory and presence of God departs.

In 1750, it has been reckoned that there were about a million Christians in India5. However by the end of the century due to massive corruption and gross immorality in the Catholic church leadership, the number of believers were greatly reduced. The priests lived like princes, openly kept harems, and did little to honor the name of Christ5. The Protestant mission in India was slowly getting organized, but it had it's own problems and there was much strife and confusion within. The Church lacked zeal, courage, and no vision for the future. It was around this time that most of these strongholds firmly established themselves in the city.

Our enemy Satan (also called the lord of the flies), swarms where injustice and unconfessed sin prevails. The only people who hold the answer is the Church (2 Chronicles 7:14) and we have the keys and authority (Matthew 16:19, Luke 10:19) to bring back the glory and presence of the Lord. We cannot lay back in apathy (Esther 4:13,14) since God's warning signs (2 Chronicles 7:13, Amos 4:6-10) are there around us. God has promised that the rule of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted for the righteous (Psalm 125:3), therefore, let us rise up and stand in the gap for our city and nation like Daniel, and Christ will give it to us as our inheritance (Psalm 2:8).


1 Warfare Prayer, Peter Wagner.

2 Breaking Strongholds in your City, Peter Wagner

3 Taking our Cities for God, John Dawson

4 Healing America's Wounds, John Dawson

5 The Christian Church in India and Pakistan, Stephen Neill, CLS.

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