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"And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (Col 2: 15 NIV)
Imagine two nations at war. One nation is victorious; the other has to surrender. But the defeated nation is holding many soldiers captive in their POW camps. Those prisoners may not even know the war is over. It is only when the victorious army exercises its battle-won authority that it can liberate the camps and set the POWs free.
The Church is called to liberate captives. In the age-long war between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness, the decisive victory was won by our Lord Jesus at Calvary. Through His death and resurrection, He disarmed the principalities and powers, breaking their hold over the nations.
Although Satan is a defeated foe, he still holds captives. But he is operating without valid authority and is in effect conducting an illegal warfare against the peoples of the earth. He has vast numbers of people under his control by using deception and lies to keep them in bondage to false belief systems and godless philosophies.
As a victorious army liberates its POWs, so our Lord has given His Church the authority to "proclaim freedom for the captives." (Isa 61:1) We need to use that authority in prayer and in preaching if we are to see people free in Christ and experiencing the wonderful love of God.
To set captives free we first must take care of business in the spiritual realm. We need to use "God's mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and destroy false arguments that keep people from knowing God." (2 Cor 10:4,5 NLT) With the battleground being the minds of the people, our prayers will help clear away the enemy's lies, allowing them to recognize Truth when they get to hear it.
People need to be free to choose what they will believe. Once they have heard the gospel, they may choose to reject it and stay with their gods and false belief systems. But they will at least have an understanding of what is at stake-the eternal destiny of their souls.
Global Prayer Coordinator