A Biblical View on How Spiritual Strongholds Develop

Most people struggle with things from their past because they do not allow the Spirit to renew them in the present. Their destinies are stolen or destroyed because they were unaware of how spiritual strongholds develop. Strongholds are built up through various methods, providing Satan with a base of operations. 

We are well aware of Satan's sinister tendencies. However, it extends beyond that. Satan's troops want to establish long-term strongholds where they may rule and hold people prisoner, adding to the everyday harassing, tempting, or hit-and-run attacks. Demonic powers look for individuals and situations where they can flourish with minimal resistance.

To understand how spiritual strongholds develop, we must understand what a spiritual stronghold is. We want to help you…

  • Understand spiritual strongholds
  • How they develop (by taking a closer look at Samson's life), 
  • What the Bible says about spiritual strongholds

We will also show you how you can overcome spiritual strongholds through prayer. Let's take a look.

What is a Spiritual Stronghold?

Spiritual strongholds are conflicts, stances, and ideas opposed to God's intentions. These mental patterns are based on what we know and believe and inevitably shape our actions. The Bible uses the term to describe harmful thought patterns, arrogant attitudes, or messages from the outside world that have left a lasting impression on Christians' minds and hearts. Over time, these beliefs can become strongholds in the spiritual realm that people need to destroy using the truth of God's Word.

How Do Spiritual Strongholds Develop | A Look at Samson's Life

Samson, a powerful individual, capitulated to a stronghold. Like many Christians, Samson was born to win, yet the Philistines took him as a prisoner. Samson's life offers a wealth of lessons. 

He was a strong man who would eventually turn into a man of sorrow. Samson's story is a picture for the downtrodden Christian: our sin is the biggest obstacle to receiving God's power. And despite having God's strength, we frequently fall short of our potential. 

Samson had (literal and figurative) “climbed into bed” with the world, and as a result, the world had a firm grip on him. His obsession with Delilah and his love for her served as his stronghold. He lost his spiritual vigor because he had turned away from dedication and obedience to the Lord due to her great influence over him. This stronghold, which appeared like an angel, was a demon. 

An Emotional Stronghold Developed

Samson was consequently imprisoned in a stronghold. In his situation, it started in prison. He ultimately became incarcerated by the stronghold the world had over him. Delilah's stronghold over him initially seemed to be a lovely hold, but now that he was being forced to labor while imprisoned, he had become a slave to the stronghold, and the pleasure had changed to pain.

A Physical Stronghold Developed

Second, the temple of Dagon in Gaza served as Samson's physical stronghold. This Dagon temple demonstrated that the enemy placed him in his stead. Samson, a fool who had foolishly entered the world's clutches, had lost all his power, was ridiculed, insulted, and made the center of entertainment. He was also a man of God who had now become imprisoned in the demonic fortress of Satan.

What the Bible Says About Spiritual Strongholds

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “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.” — 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

From this, we can see that:

  • Our battles are not of the earthly nature
  • Our weapons are not to be physical
  • “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” —Psalms 9:9
  • God intends to destroy spiritual strongholds in our lives

Romans 8:5-6 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” 

You must allow God's Spirit to cut down the stronghold if you want the abundant life and victory He promised.

In His teachings, Jesus says, “Brood of Vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” —Matthew 12:34-35

Spiritual strongholds get stronger the more you feed them. Repeatedly disobeying, establishing self-worship and self-idolatry, and disregarding God's counsel strengthens a stronghold.

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” —Ephesians 5:11

However, if you have an ingrained, immoral way of thinking, that is a bastion of darkness and a stronghold. You need a humble mindset if you wish to let the light of God reveal the darkness in you.

How to Battle Spiritual Strongholds in Prayer

Woman with a Bible praying to God to help her overcome spiritual strongholds.

Fighting back against Satan's onslaught on our lives requires prayer. Our prayers, in some way, affect the spiritual warfare the angels of God and the demons of Satan are engaged in as they contend for control of human affairs in the heavenly. Only through prayer can you overcome spiritual strongholds. But how do you do it?


Come together in prayer and intercession with a community of believers until you see results against strongholds. There is power in biblical community.  Prayer strengthens faith, and faith has the power to overthrow strongholds.


According to the Bible, fasting and prayer pose a threat to the adversary when combined. Prayer and fasting release God's strength in the spiritual realm. Fasting and prayer have the power to release God's power against sin and Satan and to dislodge demonic strongholds and attacks.

Proclaim His Name When You Pray

The Spirit and the Word of God are powerful. Satan held back when you surrender to God in prayer, speak the Word of God, and resist his advances. He can do nothing except withdraw. Take all of God's spiritual weapons with you daily so you can stay in battle-ready condition. You will be equipped with the shield of faith, the sword of the Spirit, and other armor pieces to repel any satanic attack and take on other people's strongholds.

Here's What You Need to Know About Spiritual Strongholds

There are “strongholds” in our lives that look so attractive and become addictive but end up being entrapments that we are blind to and enslave, rapidly turning us from joyful to miserable. They also make us spiritually less strong and prevent us from seeing God's love for us. However, we can overcome them through faith in His Word and prayer.

With the tools God has given us, our duty as Christ's soldiers is to dismantle spiritual fortresses and engage in spiritual combat on this planet. Even though we are engaged in a difficult war, we may be assured since we are on the winning side. In his letter, Peter tells us to be on the lookout to prevent the growth of spiritual strongholds and remember that God provides us with everything we need to live victoriously. (2 Peter 1:1-4).

Check out this sermon about the Anatomy of a Stronghold for more insights.