A lot of people have emailed us asking us how to “pray against” certain things they are facing in their lives. We understand this, because we have been there ourselves not too long ago, but we hope that by the time you have read this far in this book, you will understand why “praying against” is not a term we use any longer. All too often, “praying against” is used as witchcraft to try to force God to do something to the will of the individual, or it is used as a type of so-called “spiritual warfare” to fight against other people, either as an offensive attack, or as a defensive attack.
But often the average person is caught up in these types of prayers because they are frustrated and concerned that they aren’t praying in the way that will ensure their prayer will work. They are looking for a formula prayer, and if it doesn’t work, they think they must have said it wrong, or that the words aren’t powerful enough. And if they don’t get the results they want or expect, they search for specific prayers that other people claim help specific needs.
There are some inherent problems with these types of formula-based prayers.
1. Formula-based prayers have the tendency to be very similar to “spell-casting.”
Formula-based prayers are often read like a script (because who can remember all the complicated wording?), and are usually chanted over and over again, day after day. This is reminiscent of an incantation or spell. But it also speaks to the weakness of the prayer, in that there is the need to constantly say the same things over and over again until it “works,” or so it doesn’t “lose its effectiveness.”
Sometimes these prayers employ what we call “the schmooze” tactic, and the individual starts “thanking God” for something that they desire or need, using Scripture that has usually been taken out of context, with little to no consideration for the will of God at all.
Some good questions to ask yourself would be: do you have faith in a particular “powerful” prayer, or do you have faith in your Heavenly Father? Does God only hear complicated prayers with specific wording? Or does He listen to the prayer that is prayed according to His will, with faith and trust in Him? Is He waiting for you to butter Him up or stroke His ego before He’ll answer your prayer?
Sometimes these kinds of prayers use the same tactics against the enemy that is being used against us, usually under the guise of “spiritual warfare.” This is absolutely unbiblical. We don’t fight evil with evil; we don’t fight witchcraft with more witchcraft. That is the way of the ungodly, and that is the way of the occult. Satan has so many Christians busy doing “spiritual warfare,” that they have lost focus on a relationship with their heavenly Father.
Furthermore, many prayers like this presume to order God Almighty about, declaring our will over His. Usually Scripture is twisted out of context to do so. The absolute importance of coming to our Heavenly Father with humbleness and submission cannot be overstated.
Related to this thought, some formula-based prayers order and command angels, or tell God to order and command His angels in a particular way, neither of which is Biblical in any way, shape or form. Jesus Christ said we have authority over demons so they have no power to harm us. We have no power over angels, nor the right to order them about. Neither do we have the authority and power to order God about.
2. Formula-based prayers can be fear driven, rather than faith driven.
Often people’s desperation sends them on a search for the “right prayer” to help them pray against demons, the “right prayer” to pray against invasive technology, the “right prayer” to pray for other people, and even the “right prayer” to pray against people. These types of prayers cause people to put more faith in the words they speak, how they speak them, and how many times they speak them, rather than putting their faith in the Word of God. And once the “white magic” of their formula-based prayer wears off, it’s time to “pray” again, usually in a “more powerful, better way.” This then drives people into deeper witchcraft, as they seek answers for the problems they are having.
3. Formula-based prayers can also be ego-driven, whereby the individual believes themselves to be a “warrior for Jesus,” so they whip out their “sword” and start beating up people or what they think are demons, blithely ordering angels around, and arrogantly claiming this or that over themselves or others without ever once considering the will of the Father. This is not Biblical. This is ridiculous.
So keep it simple, and rather than praying against something or someone, pray to your Heavenly Father! Simply pray as Jesus did: submit to the Father and ask for His will to be done. If you have a specific need, you certainly don’t need to make your request known with such a long or complicated prayer. Present your desires in the same way Jesus Christ presented His desire to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane: “If it is possible, let this cup pass; nevertheless, not my will but Yours be done.” Then step out in faith and do what you know He has called you to do, trusting that He will provide your every need, and asking for His will be done above all else.
→ Important to Note: Many times — perhaps all the time — God’s will is above our understanding, and sometimes His answer to our prayer is “No.” He alone is sovereign, and He alone knows the end from the beginning. He knows how to work all things for the good, and regardless of what we think we need, God alone knows what we need. This is why we pray for His will to be done, not ours.
A Verse to Consider
Philippians 4:6 — “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (BSB)
With these things in mind, we offer a reminder of the example Jesus gave on how we should pray.
Matthew 6:5-15 (BSB)
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not babble on like pagans, for they think that by their many words they will be heard. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
“So then, this is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours.”
There are some wonderful, important truths to contemplate from this passage.
Verse 5 reminds us to not be like the hypocrites who stand in public to pray their prayers, desiring to be seen and heard by other people.
Verse 6 reminds us of what our attitude should be: one of humble reflection and of focus on our Heavenly Father alone, not anyone else. (And in case it isn’t clear, “inner room” is not a Biblical code-word for “astral traveling to another realm to meet up with a ‘Jesus,’” nor is it a code-word for “going inside one’s system to interact with a ‘Jesus.’” Those things are not Scriptural and are not of God.)
Verse 7 warns us to not pray like the pagans pray, with babbling prayers that are spoken as incantations. A great example of this type of witchcraft-based “vain repetitions and babbling” prayer contrasted with faith-based prayers to God can be read in 1 Kings 18.
Verse 8 reminds us that our Heavenly Father knows our every need before we even know what we need. This is a great reminder that even when we pray for what we think we need, God alone knows what we truly need. So ask Him for what He knows you need, rather than what you think you need.
Verse 9 tells us to direct our prayers to our Heavenly Father, and to focus on His majesty. Recognizing and having reverence for the holiness and perfection of God is the beginning of a relationship with God and the start of your healing. And when you focus on the Solution (your Father) rather than your problem, a wonderful thing starts to happen: you will begin to have peace that passes all understanding, in spite of circumstances around you.
Verse 10 reminds us to desire the Kingdom of God to be expanded in our heart, and to seek after His will over and above our own.
Verse 11 reminds us to continually (daily) rely on Him to supply our every need. He alone is the Source of our provision and help.
Verse 12 reminds us to search our heart and mind to consider if we have wronged God or our fellow man. It reminds us to not only live in a perpetual state of forgiveness, but also in a perpetual state of repentance for those we have wronged or for being out of line with the will of our Heavenly Father and His standards. It is a beautiful reminder that repentance and forgiveness go hand-in-hand, and there can’t be one without the other. Living a lifestyle of repentance and forgiveness is a daily activity, and requires the help of our Heavenly Father.
Verse 13 tells us that we rely on our Heavenly Father to lead us away from sin and temptation, and to protect and defend us from the attacks of the enemy.
Verses 14 and 15 reiterate the importance of living in a perpetual state of forgiveness, so that our heart may be humbled before our Father.
The bottom line is, follow the example of Jesus Christ and do as He commanded: focus on your relationship with your Heavenly Father. Submit to Him, make your requests known, pray for His will be to be done, and then trust that He will answer not according to your will, but according to His will.
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