Recognizing and Overcoming Spiritual Obstacles to Disciple Making Movements (Part 3)

Mobilizing and multiplying prayer for Disciple Making Movements

Identifying Existing Strongholds

Once the nature of strongholds and their role in opposing movements is understood, one can then begin to identify the specific ones that reside within a given location or people group.

The area of focus could be as large as an entire city or as small as a neighborhood, park, or city block. “Spiritual mapping” is often the term given to describe the process of researching inroads Satan has established that hinder people from responding to the gospel. Effectiveness in removing these spiritual strongholds increases to the degree they are specifically identified. This is why detailed research and spiritual discernment are needed.

Because many of these strongholds are tied to the culture of a specific people group or individuals living within a particular location, they often remain hidden. Below are some key questions to assist you and your team in uncovering and identifying them. Researching history (past and present realities) and obtaining spiritual revelation can help in this quest. After strongholds have been identified with a degree of certainty, you can begin to engage in the task of removing them.

Past History

• Who were the people who founded the city or region, and what were their beliefs and philosophy?
• Is there any record of curses that have been made on the people group or territory?
• Why was it originally settled?
• What is the significance of the name of the city, street, or particular area? Does it have any meaning?
• How have various people groups been treated? Has there been any trauma caused by mistreatment, bloodshed, or wars?
• What religions have been practiced by the people who have inhabited the area?

Present Day

• What non-Christian religious groups live or operate in the area today?
• What are the present-day “gods” that people worship?
• Is there a group that is being oppressed?
• What patterns of sin or lies from the enemy are prevalent?
• What political, economic, and religious institutions have dominated the life of the city?
• What is the level of openness to the gospel?

Spiritual Revelation

Note: In many cases, it is helpful to elicit the help of mature individuals who have strong gifts in prophetic discernment and revelation.

• What do you and others have a heavy burden for or a strong sense of knowing?
• What words of wisdom or knowledge have been spoken about the target location?
• What has been revealed through spiritual discernment?
• What revelations have been confirmed by others seeking insight for your target area or people group?
• Are there any specific Scriptures that come to mind?

In researching the spiritual strongholds, it is important to look for patterns that are prevalent throughout history (past and present) and through the spiritual discernment process. Such patterns likely point to the spiritual forces at work. They also provide a roadmap for how to address them strategically.