It’s true. You have an adversary who wants to attack your desires, your thoughts, even how you see and treat your body. So you and I need to be on guard against Satan’s schemes.
According to 1 Peter 5:8, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (NASB). But God’s Word also gives us a strategy against those attacks by telling us to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…” (Ephesians 6:11-18). I find it interesting that every piece of “armor” described in that passage refers to the character of Christ. In other words, put on Christ-likeness – abide in Christ – and you will fend off the attacks of the enemy.
We abide in Christ through surrender and constant communion with Him. As you suit up with the armor of God, here are five prayers to pray against Satan’s attacks on your heart, mind, emotions, mouth, and body.
1. A Prayer to Guard Your Heart
Lord God, Captain of my heart, Satan knows if I follow Your Greatest Commandment – to love You with all my heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37) – he is powerless over me. Guard my heart, Lord Jesus, so that it beats for You alone. Don’t let me grow complacent toward You or be lured to love anyone or anything more than You. Remove the idols from my heart so that You alone command my allegiance and utmost affections Help me to love and forgive others as You have forgiven me so the enemy can get no foothold through hate or bitterness on my part. Cultivate in my heart Your love that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (>1 Corinthians 13:7, NASB). Finally, Lord, set my heart on things above, not on earthly things. Help me to remember that You died for me and my life is now hidden which Christ in God (>Colossians 3:1-2). Increase my longing for heaven so this world holds no power over me.
2. A Prayer to Defend Your Mind
Almighty God, cover my mind with the helmet of Your salvation, reminding me constantly that I am Your child and the enemy can’t mess with me. Fix my thoughts, Lord Jesus, on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Help me to think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise so Your peace will guard my mind (Philippians 4:8-9). Don’t let me copy the behavior and customs of this world, but transform me into a new person by changing the way I think. Then I will learn to recognize Your will for me which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2, NLT). Saturate my mind with Your truth so I am convinced that the answers are found in Your Word, not out in the world.
SEE ALSO: 5 Areas of Your Life Satan Wants to Enter
3. A Prayer to Calm Your Emotions
Lord, keep the enemy at bay by calming my emotions with the peace of Your presence. Help me to follow Your command and not worry about anything, but pray about everything, with a thankful heart offering up prayers and requests to you so that You can give me that peace that no one can completely understand – a peace that will control the way I think and feel (Phil. 4:6-7, CEV). Remind me, daily, that You are the Only One who can meet my emotional needs so I don’t look to any person for my identity, validation, or for my love tank to be filled. Thank You that You are the God of peace, the God of order, the God who heals my wounds and helps me sort through and make sense of life. You are not the God of chaos or confusion. Fill me with Your Spirit so I may express to others only love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
4. A Prayer to Cover Your Mouth
Lord, Jesus, guard my mouth so that my words will be few. Help me to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19). Don’t let me speak reckless words that can pierce like swords. Instead, give me a tongue that brings healing (Proverbs 12:18). Don’t let me give in to gossip or speak careless critical words that will wound others. Keep the enemy far from me so that no unwholesome talk comes out of my mouth but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Don’t let me grieve the Holy Spirit through my words (Ephesians 4:29-30).
5. A Prayer to Protect Your Body
Lord, I give my body to You. Let it be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind You will find acceptable (Romans 12:1, NLT). I know from Your Word that Satan can not sift me like wheat or even lay a hand on me without Your permission. So place Your hedge around me so that my body – Your temple – can be preserved, pure, holy, and healthy for You (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Block Satan’s attempts to make me doubt that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and don’t let me listen to his taunts to harm my body through neglect, contempt, addiction or abuse. I am Yours, Lord Jesus, and I want to glorify You in my body so keep me from Satan’s attempts and the temptations in this world and in my flesh to make me impure, to dress immodestly, to make my body a showcase or advertisement for evil or self glorification.
As you pray that God will develop the fruits of His Holy Spirit in every area of your life, you will be invincible through prayer to the one who seeks to tear you down and make you less like Christ.
SEE ALSO: Can the Devil Read Minds?
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and best-selling author who helps women and couples find strength for the soul. She is the author of 15 books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, When Couples Walk Together, (co-authored with her husband, Hugh), and her newest, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. For more on her books, ministry, or free resources to strengthen your soul or marriage, see her website: StrengthForTheSoul.com.
Publication date: September 7, 2016
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.
SEE ALSO: How Satan Entices People to Sin
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for StrengthPrayer for ProtectionMorning PrayersGood Night PrayersThe Prayer of JabezShort PrayersThe Lord’s PrayerThe Prayer of St FrancisSerenity PrayerA Birthday PrayerSinner’s PrayerPrayer for ForgivenessPrayer for GuidanceIntercessory PrayerIrish Prayers and BlessingsAdvent PrayersChristmas PrayersThanksgiving PrayerHoly Week Prayers for Each DayEaster PrayersMother’s Day PrayerPrayers for My HusbandPrayers for My SonPrayers for My DaughterPrayer Quotes
Now available is our new Daily Prayer devotional! An easy way to find start your day with prayer, read today’s prayer and sign up to receive by email.
The devil attacks us secretly most of the time, but there are other times when an attack is obvious and it is usually extremely controlling. It quickly robs us of our peace and replaces it with an uncontrollable anxiety. Once that takes hold, the devil starts to work on the mind by injecting bad thoughts you do not want, but cannot seem to stop. The more the thoughts invade, the more unsettled you become. There are a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional affects that include: nervousness, foggy or disrupted thinking, sleep disturbances, agitation. It is harassment, plain and simple, and there is a pattern to it. This type of attack is very powerful, many times to powerful to handle on your own.
The Spirit of Harassment
When the spirit of harassment strikes, at first there will be an uneasiness that builds inside. You can feel it and you just know that something is wrong. Then unholy thoughts come and viciously assault the mind. This causes a great deal of frustration and grief. The devil wants to convince you that you are participating in these thoughts, even though you do everything in your power to stop them.
When I experience an attack like this I react by wincing, tensing up, and even covering my ears, all in an attempt to make the thoughts stop. These reactions are all indications that I am not accepting nor participating in these invasive thoughts. These thoughts even wake me up at night; and are there in the morning.
The most difficult, though, is that these attacks are most prevalent during prayer, in adoration, during the consecration, and especially when I am about to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. That leaves me feeling dejected and wanting to avoid prayer all together. The devil and these demons want to disturb our spirit, to beat us up and tear us down. The devil did that to me for a long time.
One day I said enough, and I did everything in my power to learn how to defeat my enemies.
How to Fight an Attack
There is so much we can do to protect ourselves, but most importantly, we must never stop praying or frequenting the sacraments. I know from personal experience that if you do, you will get a reprieve from these assaults, but it is only a temporary. They will return with a vengeance.
When a person feels attacked, they instinctively defend themselves. It is the same when we are being attacked by evil, except we do it through prayer, and those prayers should be prayed daily. There are many prayers, but the ones I have found most useful are from Father Gabriele Amorth. They can be found in his books, An Exorcist Tells His Story, and An Exorcist Tells More Stories. Father John Hampsch is another source for deliverance prayers that are very good. The website Catholic Warrior has a page of spiritual warfare prayers that are very powerful in times of attack. The Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Rosary must be added to daily prayer, and the Saint Michael Chaplet is another prayer that can be added for protection.
You don’t have to say a million prayers every day. Choose the ones you want and incorporate them into your daily routine. Maybe you can pray the Saint Michael Chaplet once a week and some other prayers daily, whatever works best for you. Just put it into your routine and I promise you will not regret it.
Sacramentals Aid in Defending Against Attacks
I use sacramentals every day because I know they are a great protection from evil. I use holy water, blessed oil, blessed salt, and blessed candles. If you can find a priest that will bless them with an exorcism blessing, that would be the best option. You can also have your house blessed once a year with an exorcism blessing. I use holy water and salt in my home especially if I am under attack. I sprinkle the salt in the corners of all the rooms and under the beds. You can put the salt in the vents, in the window sills, and even sprinkle it around the outside of the house. I cook with the salt every day. I bless myself with the holy oil before I go to bed and if you have children, you should bless them too. I burn the candles a lot because they keep evil away and help keep things peaceful in the home.
These are things I have learned through religious readings and through priests. Don’t be afraid to ask a priest to bless these things; it is what they do. It may be a challenge to get the exorcism blessing, but have faith, pray, and you will find a priest that will do it.
The Power of the Priest
Deliverance prayers and sacramentals are very effective in fighting the enemy. That being said, sometimes they are not enough on their own and you will need to contact a priest. There is no one on this earth more powerful than the priest because his power comes from above. He willingly stands in between us and this evil. It is a selfless act that literally changes lives.
I am very blessed to have a priest that helps me when I am experiencing these types of disturbances. The gratitude I have for him is immense and I pray for him all the time. He prays special prayers of deliverance of over me, and gives me the anointing of the sick. When my priest recently prayed over me, I was very anxious. As he prayed, I was more attacked in my mind. Once he anointed me, however, my whole body relaxed and my breathing even calmed down. The immediate physical and emotional improvement is enormous, but it does take some time for the thoughts to completely leave.
After the anointing, it is important to continue praying the deliverance prayers every day. It is easy to stop once you feel fine again, but try not to do that. Going to confession weekly; and attending Mass daily if possible is also very important; because this is how the Lord strengthens us to fight the enemy. No matter how bad you are feeling try to overcome the temptation to avoid prayer and the sacraments; and instead, run to them. We are either going to fight the enemy or succumb to him; it is up to us.
Dependence and Surrender
These spiritual attacks only happen because God allows them. He does that so we can love him more, so that we can come to know and understand that we are nothing without Him. It is specifically because of these trials that we come to depend on God. And it is that surrender that ultimately brings us to a closer relationship with Him. It is in the midst of the battle that we feel weak, but it is precisely because of the battle that we are made strong.
The spiritual life is up and down just like everything else; there will be times of peace and there will be times of war, but we must never give up. God knows what He is doing. He knows exactly how much suffering we must endure in this life, so that we can be with Him in the next.
Photography: See our Photographers page.
About the Author: Wendy McMahan
Wendy is a lifelong Catholic and a daily communicant with a great love and appreciation for the faith. She has been married for 32 years, and has two adult children. She is grateful to be able to share her love for God with others through her writings.
For the past week I had been struggling with my thoughts. There were things going through my mind that I knew could not have possibly come from God. Yet I was powerless to stop them. It got so bad that I had to distance myself inexplicably from individuals to avoid possible confrontations.
The first day it felt as if I had lost total control of my mind.
By day two, I literally had to shake my head to deal with some of these thoughts.
It was so bad, I could not even pray properly. I would start and then my thoughts would drift off and I’d realise that I was repeating myself. I was totally unfocused during my daily Bible reading. I had never experienced more mental torture or anguish that I had in the past week. I thought that I was going insane.
By day three, I literally could not focus. I was going through the motions.
I could not pray without my mind wandering.
I could not read the Bible without my mind wandering.
I realised that I needed help. I confided in someone by sharing what was happening to me.
She immediately said “you’re under spiritual attack”. I was confused and terrified! She then reminded me that this coincided with the start of a period of evangelism in my life.
She said “the devil is attacking you because he wants to throw off what God has called you to do. He doesn’t want the gospel of salvation to go out and what better way than to mess with your head.”
I was floored. She was right. It was time to fight back! And oh what a fight it was! I had to surround myself with nothing but Christ – related material – music, radio, songs, devotionals – anything that would keep my mind on God.
I was constantly praying – short prayers – prayers of worship, adoration, thanksgiving.
I read passages in short spans and wrote down the text or any verse that jumped out at me. And I read it when I had the chance.
I asked others to keep me in their prayers. I couldn’t do it on my own.
In short, I had to claw my way through to get to God and to keep my focus on God. It wasn’t easy. I slipped up a many times but praise God I made it through.
I hope this testimony helps someone who may be struggling. Keep your mind on God! Isaiah 26:3 says
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
Remember a mind focused on God leaves no place for the devil.
I didn’t know where the thought came from. Like an unwelcomed visitor, it showed up unannounced. It just pushed its way in – and sat down. Holy had to leave. It doesn’t do well with things vile, deplorable and downright not from God. Worship left the air too. All eyes were on the house warming gift of worry in the middle of everything; it was tied up with the bow of anxiety. It’s a horrible gift.
In me, what felt like a temple, now felt tainted.
Certainly, I let in a monster that wasn’t supposed to be around, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. When you let this kind of thought in, they don’t leave – they are rude like that.
So rude, that sometimes they keep you up all night as you try to wrangle them like untamed and bucking broncos. They rise and let you know how tall they are. They contort around you spelling out the word D.O.O.M.
I hate them, usually.
Knowing this, I come to these very important question…
How do I block the random attacks of the enemy that arrive like arrows in the night?
And, are there certain conditions that make me more vulnerable?
I think there are. Paul lets us know that we should be wise to their schemes (2 Cor. 2:11).
If we want to stand firm, we have to keep up our defenses up and our knees down to the ground.
You see, to be aware is to stand active in prayer.
So that your heart does not pursue an enemy affair.
Prayer is our best defense. God is our best offense.
Beyond this, if we know when the devil is prone to attack us, we can raise up our requests and calls for protection during these times. In essence, we can F.I.G.H.T back!
5 Times the Devil Loves To Attack Christ Followers…When they are:
If you are hungry for life and not filling up on God, you are prime meat.
If you are hungry for food and are feeling a little off kilter, you are a tasty choice.
If you are head in iPhone, not soaking in the love of God, you are often – toast.
If you are off-footed and nearly falling, even more the devil knows his punch will knock you out.
If you are in a bad mood, he knows you will open the door to his negativity.
If you are open to lies, he will feed them to you.
If you are willing to listen to pride, he will lure you to it.
If you are up for misunderstanding God, he will distort him to you.
If you are discouraged, he will lure you to quick-fixes.
If you are beaten in relationships, he will feed you bad words about the another person.
If you aren’t seeking God, the devil will seek you and make you wonder if God is really good.
If your mind is confused, he will confuse it some more.
If your will is weary, he will wear it down to its breaking point.
If people get testy, he will test your limits.
We can’t blame everything on the devil. Nope. That would miss this thing called flesh (Gal. 5:16) that works in its own self-serving way. But, when the devil is at play, the fertile ground described above is primed soil ready for insecticide-ridden hands.
Yet, when left protected and guarded, God grows something new – it is called perseverance and determination.
Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.