One Sentence Synopsis
Beth Moore teaches a false gospel of pragmatism and self-improvement based upon the false idea that we hold the key to unleashing the power of God in our lives to solve our personal problems.
1 out of 5
If you would like to pray using God’s Word, the Holy Bible, then crack open any good translation, read a bit and then pray to God about it.
As described by Beth Moore, this book is:
A result of my unquenchable desire to share one of the most effective approaches to the liberated life in Christ that God has ever taught me: praying Scripture to overcome strongholds (Moore, p. 2).
A stronghold is anything that exalts itself in our minds, “pretending” to be bigger or more powerful than our God. It steals much of our focus and causes us to feel overpowered…it is something that consumes so much of our emotional and mental energy that abundant life is strangled—our callings remain largely unfilled and our believing lives are virtually ineffective (Moore, p. 3).
This book then describes a formulaic approach of praying to overcome fourteen strongholds in a person’s life:
This approach has worked powerfully every time I’ve applied it. It takes belief, diligence, and time, but the effects are dramatically liberating and eternal… This is not my formula. With all my heart, I believe it is one of God’s (Moore, pp. 8-9).
The book contains fourteen chapters that each address a separate “stronghold” and contain a collection of prayers designed to address them. The fourteen strongholds are:
- The Insecurity of Feeling Unloved
- Feelings of Rejection
- Food-Related Strongholds
- Ongoing Feelings of Guilt
- Despair Resulting from Loss
- Sexual Strongholds
- The Enemy
As noted above, the approach required to overcome these strongholds in our life includes praying Scripture, belief, diligence, and time. Further details of the formula are scattered throughout the book, but include thinking Christ’s thoughts, walking in righteousness with God, fully cooperating with God, repenting hard, and working hard:
We take our thoughts captive, making them obedient to Christ, every time we choose to think Christ’s thought about any situation or stronghold instead of Satan’s or our own. What are Christ’s thoughts? The Word of God revealed to us (Moore, p. 7).
God has all the power we need to free us and keep us free, but in the matter of demolishing strongholds, He also demands our prayerful cooperation (Moore, p. 10).
Throughout this book, I will echo my absolute conviction that the most effective way to live in victory over the devil is to walk in righteousness with God (Moore, p. 16).
If God is getting our full cooperation… (Moore, p. 17).
God wields incomparably great power for those who choose to believe. Read it again! Incomparably great power! More than enough to break the yoke of bondage. Our belief unclogs the pipe and invites the power to flow (Moore, p. 37).
There is life after failure. Abundant, effective, Spirit-filled life…for those who are willing to repent hard and work hard! (Moore, p. 307).
Moore is teaching a false gospel of pragmatism and self-improvement. This teaching is similar to the more widely-known prosperity gospel of physical health and wealth taught by the likes of Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer (which Moore rightly rejects in this book). The above quotes demonstrate the false idea that we hold the key to unleashing the power of God in our lives. Moore’s gospel of pragmatism and self-improvement views Christianity as a way to get a better life and overcome your mental, emotional and spiritual problems. If only you pray with the proper attitude, enough sincerity, and the right words, God will “definitely” help you in these areas:
It is most definitely God’s will for you to be free from all areas of bondage. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Moore, pp. 9-10).
The above is an example of Moore’s clear inability to interpret simple Scripture and her blatant eisegesis. Eisegesis is the interpretation of the Biblical passage by reading into it one’s own ideas. This is opposed to exegesis in which the interpretation of a passage is rightly determined through analysis of the surrounding context, the rest of Scripture, and the original language.
The Galatians 5:1 text (when taken in its proper context!) is warning believers to not be burdened by the Old Testament Jewish laws and rituals because they have been saved by faith alone. Paul specifically first addresses the Jewish ritual of circumcision, but then opens it up to be under the “whole Law.” Here is a slightly larger context for the Galatians 5:1 passage:
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace (NASB, Galatians 5:1-4).
Clearly, Moore has lifted Galatians 5:1 completely from its context and applied it to her idea of being “free” from various mental, emotional, and spiritual “strongholds.” And this corruption of Galatians 5:1 is one of the foundations upon which the entire book rests. She goes on to state that it is always God’s will for us to be free of these strongholds:
God may not always will for us to be physically healed in these earthly bodies or tangibly prosperous, but He always wills for us to be free from strongholds (Moore, pp. 10).
Upon what basis can she imply that you will definitely be freed from mental health issues such as depression (which can also have a physical basis)? And, since sin is our biggest and most fundamental problem, why is there not a chapter on how to overcome that problem?
As with most teachers of this gospel of pragmatism and self-improvement, Moore uses her own experiences, rather than clear Biblical passages, as the evidence that her formula is correct:
This approach has worked powerfully every time I’ve applied it (Moore, p. 8).
If I am an example of anything at all, I am an example of life after failure. Abundant life. And I am living proof that God can liberate anyone (Moore, p. 9).
In this book, I am sharing with you exactly how I began to think God’s thoughts over controlling strongholds in my life. I’ve also applied the same approach to several other strongholds that I have not personally experienced (Moore, pp. 2-3).
The absurdity of her claim in that last excerpt from the book should be evident. How and why would you apply the approach to a “stronghold” (i.e. problem) that you have not personally experienced. For example, why would you pray about release from “food-related strongholds” if you did not have any issues with food? How would you know it worked?
In addition to her inability to rightly handle God’s Holy Word, the Bible, Moore often reveals her dependence on non-Biblical personal revelation. Some examples from this work include the following statements:
Before God tells me a secret, He knows up front I’m going to tell it! By and large, that’s our “deal” (p. 2).
I sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart, “Beth I want you to believe Me.” I was appalled. “Lord,” I answered, “Of course I believe in You. I’ve believed in You all my life.” I felt He responded very clearly. Adamantly. “I didn’t ask you to believe in Me. I asked you to believe Me.”…I sensed Him saying, “My child, you believe Me for so little. Don’t be so safe in the things you pray. Who are you trying to keep from looking foolish? Me or you? (pp. 34-35).
It has been demonstrated that Moore cannot be trusted to interpret and use the written word of God properly—even when she could draw from Bible study guides, writings of the church fathers, and other sources. Therefore, you should also not trust her to properly hear, interpret and apply “secrets” from God that she “sensed” in her heart.
This review has only touched on a portion of the abuses of Scripture contained within the book. The bulk of the book is composed of prayers that Moore has created from various Scripture passages. Since Moore has demonstrated a clear inability to understand Scripture, you should not trust that the prayers she has concocted have properly interpreted the Scripture. Despite there being over a million copies of this book in print, Praying God’s Word is a book that should be avoided. Moore has demonstrated her inability to properly use and teach the Bible, and, therefore, all of her works should be avoided. Go directly to God’s Holy Word instead.
Moore, Beth, Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds. B&H Books. Reprint edition, September 1, 2009. Paperback, 352 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0805464337.
New American Standard Bible, Lockman Foundation, 1995.