Worship IS Warfare!

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The Time Has Come to Pull Down Some Strongholds.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NKJV
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.


Ephesians 3:8-13 NKJV
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;  to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,  according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.


These songs we sing are more than pleasant, memorable tunes with clever words that rhyme; they are weapons in the hands of mighty warriors. These prayers we pray are more than incantations mumbled under our breath; they are the modern versions of the clay pitchers and ram’s horn trumpets of Gideon’s army.  Their light and sound can cause stone walls to crumble.  These scriptures we quote in faith are not harmless antiquities passed on from loser to loser in some vain, forgotten hope; they are the words of the Almighty, alive and throbbing with spiritual power to do spiritual warfare against spiritual forces.  Do we understand or do we remember that worship is spiritual warfare?  Worship is not a weapon in this battle; it is the battle itself.  In prayerful worship and worshipful prayer, we engage the enemies of life itself who have bound together in a cult of death, determined to isolate and eliminate people from this earth sending them to hell forever estranged from the God who made them and loves them still.

The Weapons of Our Warfare
Paul’s militant words to the Corinthian church must inform our thinking today.  “The weapons of our warfare” are mighty through God to the destruction of the enemy’s battlements.  We must never forget that these weapons are not “carnal,” that is, they are not human, not of this earth, not results of the creation acts of God.  They are rooted deeper than creation and higher than humanity. They are sourced in the Throne Room of God, the Heavenly Zion that set Mt. Sinai ablaze and set the face of Moses a-shining.

  • Their fire is the Fire of Pentecost which first appeared as a cloud and then broke up to settle on each one of the disciples setting each of them on fire.
  • Swing one of these weapons and the swoosh it sets in motion is the same wind that divided the Red Sea and rolled the River Jordan up on the upstream side.
  • Unstoppable forces are frozen in their tracks by a blast from these weapons; ask the sun how it feels to be stalled in the sky till Joshua finishes his fight.
  • Death itself must loose its grip on a corpse when the Great Physician does silent surgery using these instruments. Ask Lazarus how that feels.

These things, and more like them, are the weapons of our warfare.  They are mighty—through God!—to the utter destruction of anything the enemy can build in opposition to us.  So, just what are these weapons?

Visiting the Arsenal
Many years ago in my first book, Worship that Pleases God, The Passion and Reason of True Worship, I concluded that book with a chapter on Spiritual Warfare.  Here is an updated version of the visit to the Arsenal from that book:

The truth is, hell has no defense against these weapons.  Here is the biblical promise:

James 4:7-10 NKJV
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

The Ammunition in our Weapons
The second scripture passage above concerns two things that we need to understand if our weapons will be able to do their assigned work. If worship is indeed spiritual warfare, we must

  1. Load our weapons with the right ammunition—we must be certain of the content of our worship, and
  2. We must aim our weapons at the true enemies.

The passage in Ephesians 3 is one seldom seen as instruction in worship but it is vital.

…to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord…

Here is what we learn from this paragraph:

  • God has always intended that worship should be warfare.
  • He has always used His covenantal people, in league with the holy angels from heaven, to be the warriors.
  • One of the primary witnesses to our worship is Satan and his forces. When the church worships, hell is listening.
  • The content of our worship is “the manifold wisdom of God!”

Our worship must be chock full of the truth about the Lord, not our feelings, not our ambitions, not our earthbound fantasies, but the real, eternal, supernatural, overcoming, proven, undisputable facts about God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  In the Bible every time a scene from the throne room of God is recorded, the hosts of heaven are busy telling all around who God is: “Holy, Holy, Holy! the whole earth if full of His glory!” “Who was and is and is to come.” “Worthy is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” The Weapons of our warfare should be loaded with this level of ammunition. Satan and his hosts have no shelter from this bombardment.

Understanding the Combat
To help us understand the warfare that is True Worship, I will quote extensively from Worship that Pleases God.[1]

[1] Stephen Phifer, Worship that Pleases God. Chapter Eleven Keeping the Joy—Worship as Confrontation with Spiritual Opposition

Ancient Warfare

To understand the biblical illustrations of Spiritual Warfare we must think of war as it was fought in the Bible era.  In ancient times, before it became the province of machines, warfare pitted soldier against soldier with few weapons that did not depend upon the arms and legs of the warrior or his animal.  Ancient armies waged three basic types of warfare.

  • First was the raid. A small force would move quickly into enemy territory, do as much damage as possible and retreat to safe ground.
  • Second was the assault. A large force would attack an enemy position head-on in an attempt to capture new ground and destroy the enemy force.
  • Third was the siege. An army would surround an enemy stronghold, cutting it off from supplies, communication, and reinforcements until it had to surrender.

All three of these types of warfare are mentioned in Scripture.  They correspond to the three types of warfare the Christian must wage against the spiritual wickedness:

  • personal worship,
  • public worship, and
  • daily craftsmanship.

The Personal Raid   Private prayer is like a personal raid on the enemy.  You and all the heavenly raiders you can summon strike off behind enemy lines in a sequence something like this:

  • First, you enter His gates with thanksgiving and dwell in His courts with your praise.
  • Next, you come into the holy place of prayer in the light of the Holy Spirit, placing all your personal petitions before Him.
  • Then you enter the Holy of Holies by the blood of the Lamb and worship the Lord there, communing spirit-deep with Him. There you hear the Spirit’s call to battle, His “muster” call, summoning you to battle over a specific issue. 
  • The effectual, fervent prayer of the one righteous man, Jesus Christ, begins to well up in your spirit and you allow the Spirit to pray for you the manifold wisdom of God. (James 5:16; Romans 8:26,27) 
  • Your own effectual, fervent prayer resists the enemy.

You have entered Satan’s territory (the heavenlies) and you are resisting him, disrupting his communications with perfected praise and petition.   Strongholds begin to crumble as hell’s forces are weakened. The Kingdom of God is advanced!

The Assault  Public worship is like a pitched battle, an assault by a huge army on a strongly defended enemy position.  When a body of believers gathers for worship in their city, they are actually assaulting the powers and principalities “over” that city. 

  • The Lord leads the Church into battle.
  • The holy-royal priesthood gathers, forming a mighty army.
  • We enter His gates with thanksgiving and dwell in His courts with praise.
  • We make offerings of our money to the Lord.
  • We celebrate the Lord’s presence with special music.
  • We dwell in the holy place of the Word and of prayer in the light of the Holy Spirit.
  • We honor the boldly proclaimed Word of God.
  • We enter the Holy of Holies by the blood of The Lamb, and in the name of Jesus and we worship within the realm of the splendor of His holiness. There we hear the Spirit’s muster call, summoning all the divisions of the army to prepare for an assault.  Corporately we intercede in the power of the Spirit.

The forces of darkness retreat before the forces of light.  The Kingdom of God is advanced!

The Siege  Daily, joyful craftsmanship is like a siege.  The army of God fans out to each soldier’s appointed position along the line of siege.  Some are teachers, others students; some are salesmen, others purchasers; some are managers, others the managed; each one a soldier on the line of siege.  Heretofore we may have thought that though we feel like a mighty army on Sunday, on Monday when we go out into the world we are really an outnumbered force.  Actually, we have got the devil surrounded!  As we joyfully live our lives of craftsmanship unto the King we lay siege to Babylon. 

  • We honor God’s gifts in our heart, our talents and skills as we submit these abilities to the work of the Kingdom of God as expressed in our place of service–God’s plan for our life.
    • We are Christ-like in our attitudes toward work and co-workers and we are led of the Spirit in our choices and decisions.
    • By the Spirit’s power, we are joyful in spirit, even in times of stress–the joy of the Lord is our strength.
    • We resist the constant influence of Babylon all around us, holding fast to our Jerusalem citizenship for we live as Godly people, not according to the rules of the world.
    • We minister to God by ministering to man and the dark kingdom’s hold on those around us is weakened by our joyful, relentless obedience. The Kingdom of God is advanced!

Yes, we are priests, but we are also prophets of the eternal Word who proclaim the manifold wisdom of God through our praise.  Yes, we are worshipers, but we are also warriors raiding the enemy’s territory with our private prayer, assaulting his strongholds with our public worship, and laying siege to his capital city with our daily craftsmanship.  Hell has no defense for a passionate, praying, praising, obeying, reasoning church!  Behold the powerful ministry of the believer whose life is centered on God Himself!


If your idea of a public worship service is more in line with an entertainment for the family or pleasant, refreshment of your soul, please seek the Lord for a greater vision.  Worship is warfare.  The church is a well-equipped army on the march every Sunday, wreaking havoc behind enemy lines every day from the Secret Place of prayer, and standing to our posts laying siege to the battlements of hell in our city as God’s holy people go about living their lives of integrity.  We are overcomers!  Jesus is the Victor.

The Time Has Come to Pull Down Some Strongholds!

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer
© 2022 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

Worship IS Warfare!

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