What It Takes to Withstand Evil
Before each specific assignment Navy SEALs are given, they thoroughly assess their equipment. Each item they have with them is chosen for a specific reason—to protect themselves, fight the enemy, win the battle, survive, and return safely. Every aspect of their equipment is of the best quality and must be in perfect working order or condition. Because all of this has to be carried with them on their body, they assemble their camouflage uniform with precision and great thought. They know they can’t go into battle safely or effectively if they are missing something important or carrying extra baggage. Everything they take with them is designed to facilitate and anticipate their every need. By the time they are on a mission they are more than ready.
As prayer warriors we must do the same. God doesn’t want us carrying anything that is unnecessary because it will weigh us down and hinder what He has called us to do. And we must not go to battle without the things we need in order to win. Our battle is spiritual, and what we accomplish in the spirit realm is as important as what the highly trained, prepared, and equipped soldier does in the physical. We must know our weapons and be highly skilled in using them. But first we must put on the armor God has given us in order to stand strong against the enemy.
The apostle Paul said, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil ” (Ephesians 6:10-11). He didn’t say, “If you are smart you might take up the whole armor.” Or, “If you feel like it and have the time, take up the armor.” Or, “Try to take up the armor at least once or twice a year.” God’s Word says, “Take up the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:13). This is not suggested; it is commanded.
The Bible would not have told us to take up the whole armor of God in order to withstand evil if evil could have been withstood without doing that.
To “stand against” literally means to stand in front of and in opposition to the forces and plans of evil. It means to be the one standing after the battle. It also means to stand in preparation for the next battle. Standing against the wiles of the devil certainly doesn’t mean do nothing. If we are to do nothing until He comes, why do we need to wrestle against the enemy? “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Why does Jesus give us spiritual weapons to withstand evil forces if He doesn’t want us to use them?
The reason we must put on the whole armor of God is to withstand evil. We don’t war against people, but against a spiritual hierarchy of invisible power.
The forces of evil are invisible powers with a structure and specific levels of authority. We are not only to use our armor to protect and defend ourselves from them—as important as that is—but also to go on the offensive against them as well. When we do that, we close doors to the enemy and open doors to the will of God to be done on earth. We advance God’s kingdom.
5 Prayers to Pray against Satanic Attack
- Cindi McMenaminCrosswalk.com
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 evil and 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 evil and 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.
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.
Stand and Fight!
We, as Christians, are in a continual battle against our adversary, the devil, a spirit being whose sole intent is to cause havoc for each of us. His goal is to get us off track of God’s plan for our lives. He waits until we’re at a vulnerable place before bringing forth his attack. This is why we have to be on our guard every single day.
1 Peter 5:8-9 commands us,
“Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack. But you must resist the devil and stay strong in your faith …” (CEV)
There are times when we may feel like our backs are against the wall with no way out. The thought of having to fight the giants of life in order to move forward can be intimidating. This is when the enemy comes alongside us to speak words of fear and doubt.
Satan is always trying to discourage us from believing we will ever walk in triumph. He is a liar and the king of all lies. We can either stand and fight or run and hide, the choice is ours to make. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances look like and what the devil says. The most important thing is what God’s Word says about our particular situation.
“So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgment of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word.” (Hebrews 10:23 AMPC)
In her book, The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word, Joyce Meyer says,
“2 Corinthians 10:4-5 teaches us that our weapons are not carnal, but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds in our mind. Casting down imaginations, thoughts, reasonings, and theories that don’t agree with God’s Word requires us to use our offensive weapon-the Word of God coming out of our mouth. When we speak, it becomes a two-edged sword that defeats the enemy with one edge and opens the blessings of heaven with the other. There are many other weapons that are defensive, but the Word is offensive-it chases the enemy, driving him back.”
We should never be the ones who back down from Satan in defeat. No! We must be bold in our faith and continue to push back the powers of darkness by using God’s Word as our weapon. Satan fears those who truly grasp hold of God’s Word and begin using it to their advantage. He knows the power the Word carries, and that he is no match against it.
“Jesus said to him, Away from me, Satan! For it is written…” (Matthew 4:10 NIV)
God sent forth His Son, Jesus, to die for us so we could have victory over the evil one. Our victory was bought with the price of Jesus’ blood. We, therefore, are protected by the blood of Christ and because of this protection, Satan cannot have dominion over us.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV)
Jesus’ reminder to pray regularly against temptation reminds us just how prevalent and dangerous the appeal of sin can be in the Christian life. Once again the issue of kingdom and kingship is front and center.
Sin and temptation are harsh masters.
As the story of Cain reminds us, sin doesn’t just want to play a minor role in our life; it wants to “rule” over us (Genesis 4:7). Asking to be delivered from sin and temptation is a cry that emerges only from the heart of a citizen of God’s kingdom. We desire to submit to the rule and reign of God, not the dominion of sin. This petition is one of kingdom warfare, asking that God conquer the powers of sin, Satan, and the demons so that we might live for His heavenly Kingdom.
This petition also reminds us of several other very important points. First, Christians must recognize that temptations are a real and daily threat to communion with God and life with Christ. The most dangerous thing a Christian can ever do is believe that he is somehow immune to temptation. In fact, failing to account for the dangers of temptation betrays a severe misunderstanding of the gospel. In the gospel we come to recognize both the depravity of our hearts and the freedom of God’s grace in Christ.
If we, at any point, think that we are somehow freed up from fighting temptation, then we have both overestimated our own spiritual state and grossly underestimated our need for God’s grace. Second, this petition reminds us that we are not able to resist temptation by our own power. Most people know by experience that our willpower is not quite as strong as we would like to think. Anyone who has ever struggled to keep up with a diet plan knows just how weak-willed we can be. Even as we work to achieve our goals through sheer willpower, we find ourselves incapable of willing more willpower! The Gospel, however, and this petition in the Lord’s Prayer turn our attention away from our own strength to the strength of another. Jesus does not teach us to pray, “Lord, give me more willpower in the fight against sin.” He teaches us to ask for shepherding and deliverance —
“Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil.”
These words express a heart of dependence, not self-sufficiency.
In fact, consider the phrase “deliver us.” These are words of desperation and powerlessness, not self-sufficiency. Jesus does not teach us to pray that God might “help a bit” or “give strength.” We do not meet God halfway and trust Him to do the rest. Rather, God does it all! He is the deliverer; we are the delivered. He is the savior; we are the saved.
The Bible does not teach that God helps those who help themselves; instead, God helps those who are at the end of themselves.
The Gospel teaches that only by God’s grace can we truly overcome the temptations of the world, the wickedness of our own hearts, and the power of the Devil.
Third, Christians must pray for endurance in the fight against temptation. Remember, Jesus is giving us a model prayer, which means these are the types of petitions that should characterize our prayer life every day. Christians should pray this petition, as well as for the grace to overcome temptation all the way to the grave.