The scriptures clearly advised us not to be ignorant of satan’s devices lest he will have undue advantage over us. If we don’t know his strategies, we have lost the war. He has a book of methods and he deploys it to all believers and it is the same thing but if you don’t know these wiles (systematic methods with which he ensnares Christians by the book), the battle is all over. In the journey to answered prayers, one must come to the full realization that satan wants to preoccupy the minds of believers with things that contradicts our faith confessions.
This is his method; he operates in busy, noisy and crowd. In these three places, he suggests things to our subconscious, he plants new ideas that if not debunked and uprooted at the source with the word of God, soon travel deep to our subconscious seat to become a stronghold.
Prayers and mental preoccupation do not go hand in hand because until your mental seat aligns with your profession, you will not have what you have asked. In 2 Cor 10:4
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
The bible is talking about warfare weapons and it is citing strongholds and in an attempt to explain that it mentions imaginations, it suffice to say that one of the ways satan steals the answers to our prayers is preoccupying our imaginations by planting strongholds in our hearts.
Stronghold is a place where a particular cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld. However, this place is mental. Strongholds are incorrect thinking patterns. They are patterns in our minds that are programmed to think contrary to the truth(the Word of God).
Strongholds are settled thought inside a person that makes that person think that what they know to be the will of God is impossible in their own life. Thoughts that seek to fight every piece of rhema in that comes into your heart. Thoughts that want to keep in your heart at a logos stage so that it will never become rhema. Thoughts that do not want you to come to the experiential side of God, here you know God heals but you also know He won’t not He can’t, He won’t heal you. These thoughts that has found root in the heart of many believers and needs to be uprooted.
The NIV explains 2 Cor 10:5 better in this regard; “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” The “arguments” are the philosophies, reasonings, and schemes of the world. Over the years, satan has erected strongly fortified garrisons to resist the Truth and keep the answers to our prayers from us.
These fortress are built in the hearts of men so that it is our own mind that resists the truth of God and his promises. There is the fortress of human reasoning, enforced with subtle arguments and logic suggested by trusted people. There is the fortress of other people’s tale and bad experience, which is why we must watch our associations and the source of our teachings.
It is our to duty to subdue every false theory and every human philosophy that had once proudly asserted its independence from God. Strongholds are build upon deception and lies that we have accepted into our minds. So how do you counter a lie? How do you counter deception? With the truth. Where do we find the truth? In the Word of God. As we can see in Ephesians, this weapon is known as the sword of the Spirit: Ephesians 6:17, “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
In 2 Corinthians, we are told that our spiritual weaponry is designed to tear down strongholds: To cast down strongholds, we must fill our mind with the right things, the word of God is what should be in the hidden corners of heart thus Philippians 4:8 & 9;
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
This is the way to renew our mind as Romans 12:2 have instructed. As our minds are renewed with the Word of God, negative thoughts will continually jump out and we would be sensitive to know them whenever they approach as they won’t stop coming at us. Spending time meditating on the Word of God as it is only thing that can wash our mind and correct our false thinking patterns (strongholds).