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How to Pray When Under Spiritual Attack—9 Key Reminders

Learn how to pray when under spiritual attack with these nine crucial reminders to gain victory over the enemy.

How do you know when you are under spiritual attack? Are you just struggling, or are you actually encountering spiritual warfare?

This was a question I often had to ask myself while serving in ministry overseas in a difficult country where spiritual forces were strong in opposition to God and the Bible.

Struggles due to the culture and lifestyle were common, but spiritual warfare was also a common occurrence. Even knowing this, spiritual attacks snuck up on me and my husband quite often!

I remember a time when we and our coworkers were all experiencing major discouragement due to various unexpected issues. One family was having difficulties with paperwork and visas, another couple was having sudden health issues, and my husband and I were experiencing strange technical problems with computers and machinery that were really affecting our work in a bad way.

When we got together as a group for our weekly prayer meeting, we compared notes about what was going on and realized that the unusual and intense nature of the difficulties we were all facing at the same time meant that we were under spiritual attack.

We knew we needed to stop wasting time worrying about our struggles and immediately joined together in prayer for the Lord Jesus to intervene and rescue us, and while our problems did not immediately resolve, we were all greatly encouraged and regained the ability to look forward in hope as we trusted in the Lord for strength to do ministry in a difficult place.

What is spiritual warfare exactly? Ephesians 6:12 says that

“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.”

Ephesians 6:12

According to an article by Drew Larson on what is and is not spiritual warfare, “Spiritual warfare is the leveraging of everything that God promises against everything that opposes God’s purposes.”

As a believer, you are engaged in spiritual warfare because there is a spiritual war going on as Satan and the forces of evil want to turn you away from God. The Bible relates story after story of how the world is a war zone and humans are in the middle of an ongoing battle between God and His enemy, Satan.

But God already has the victory through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and you share in that victory and have authority in Christ because of it.

While spiritual attacks may not necessarily be extreme, they are always designed to discourage you and pull you away from relying on God. Satan is committed to preventing you from knowing God better and trusting Him fully.

Thankfully, God has provided you with everything you need to fight effectively against spiritual attack and to take part in spiritual battles. Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons you can wield against a spiritual attack, so it is important to know how to pray effectively during spiritual attacks.

If you are seeking help and encouragement on how to deal with spiritual warfare in your life, read on to learn how to pray when under spiritual attack with these nine crucial reminders to gain victory against evil spirits.

Recognizing Spiritual Attacks

When it comes to recognizing spiritual attacks, some very good advice comes from GotQuestions.org in answer to the question, “What can I do when I am under spiritual attack?

“The first thing to do when we believe we may be under a spiritual attack is to determine, as best we can, whether what we are experiencing is truly a spiritual attack from demonic forces or simply the effects of living in a sin-cursed world. Some people blame every sin, every conflict, and every problem on demons they believe need to be cast out. The apostle Paul instructs Christians to wage war against the sin in themselves (Romans 6) and to wage war against the evil one (Ephesians 6:10-18). But whether we are truly under spiritual attack from demonic forces or just battling the evil in ourselves and that which inhabits the world, the battle plan is the same.”

GotQuestions.org – “What can I do when I am under spiritual attack?

Understanding spiritual warfare is important because it allows you to grow in your faith as you learn to trust God for strength, as well as helping you maintain a strong relationship with God.

Engaging in spiritual warfare can bring about spiritual growth as you learn to rely on God, practice authoritative prayer, and continually put on the armor that God has provided to fight against evil properly.

Because spiritual warfare is a continuous process rather than a one-time event, learning to consistently and fearlessly engage in the battle and in spiritual warfare prayers will empower you to overcome temptation, resist sin, and live a life that is pleasing to the Heavenly Father.

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Reminder 1: Surrender to God’s Authority

Remember that God is sovereign over Satan and the realm of spirits who are allied with him. This can be of great comfort to you if you trust that God is in control. You do not have to panic when you are faced with spiritual attacks, because God is never caught off guard by Satan and his attempts to discourage you.

God works through such experiences for His greater purposes (Romans 8:28–30). God is sovereign, and the battle is His, so you can trust that you will be victorious as His child.

James 4:7 says,

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

James 4:7 says,

By submitting to the Lord in prayer all the things you are worried about and the issues you are struggling with, you allow yourself access to God’s power and direction in your life, and you release your concerns and put them in God’s hands.

Satan will flee from you because you are standing strong in God’s presence and you are not susceptible to Satan’s lies.

Reminder 2: Confession and Repentance

When you confess your sins and seek forgiveness, you are freed from the grip of the enemy because you are acknowledging your sin and seeking God’s cleansing.

Confession can bring about healing in a heart wounded by sin, and this also forms a barrier against Satan’s lies and attacks.

When you pray, seek forgiveness and ask the Holy Spirit for the ability to release the weight of guilt and shame that comes with wrongdoing. God will be faithful to forgive you and cleanse you. His love and grace will renew your heart and give you the peace that comes from knowing you are fully forgiven.

Reminder 3: Claiming God’s Promises

God has promised that His Word will never return void (Isaiah 55:11), so it is a powerful tool to use against evil and the spiritual forces that might come against you.

Jesus himself used Scripture to counter Satan’s temptations in the wilderness, and you can have victory over Satan in the same way by utilizing God’s own words as you pray for deliverance and help.

There are many Biblical promises that you can claim in battle against spiritual forces. The main point of Satan’s attacks on you is to cause you to stop trusting God and to forget His promises.

Standing on those promises as you face trials and temptations will give you the strength to trust the Lord, as you will be reminded that He is always with you.

Reminder 4: The Power of Persistent Prayer

Satan wants you to believe that your prayers are powerless, useless, and ineffective because he wants you to give up. So even when your prayers are taking a long time to be answered, it is very important to continue to persevere in prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:17–18 says to

“pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17–18

This means you should be in a constant state of prayer, seeking God often, and speaking to him with dedicated prayer strategies. Persistent prayer involves praying and not giving up.

Persistent prayer is standing on God’s promise that He hears you and will answer no matter how long it takes.

Examples of people in the Bible who were persistent in prayer include:

  • Abraham, who persisted in prayer for Sodom to be spared (Gen. 18:23–33),.
  • Moses, who persevered in praying for Israel (Ex. 32:31–32; Deut. 9:25–29).
  • Hannah, who continually was pleading with God for a son (1 Sam. 1:10–11), and
  • Elijah, who prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and then again that it would rain once more when the time was right (James 5:17).

Of course, the greatest example of persistence in prayer was Jesus, who continually took himself away to a quiet place to spend time with God in prayer.

Reminder 5: Seeking Wisdom and Discernment

Paul prays a great prayer for spiritual discernment in Ephesians 1:15-23.  His prayer is,

“that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”

Ephesians 1:15-23

You have access to that same power through Christ, who is over all rule and authority, so the spiritual forces that are arrayed against you have no hope of succeeding. Such insight will help you discern when you are under attack and help you align yourself with God’s will for your protection.

Reminder 6: The Armor of God

One of the key passages of Scripture for battling spiritual forces is in Ephesians, where Paul describes the type of battle you are up against and how the armor of God you are instructed to put on and wear into battle will help you win the fight and stand firm against evil.

“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
  • The first item of armor mentioned is the Belt of Truth. A soldier putting on armor always puts on the belt first because the other pieces are attached to it. In the same way, God’s Word is the foundation you stand upon, which guides your prayers and keeps you strong in resisting temptation in the face of the enemy’s attempts to deceive you.
  • The second piece of armor is the Breastplate of Righteousness. The breastplate covers all the vital organs of the body. In the same way, if you live righteously by honoring God and doing your best to obey Him, your heart will be protected from Satan’s attacks.
  • The third piece of armor is protection for your feet—shoes that fit you with readiness for the gospel of peace. The gospel of peace gives you firm footing because you know you are made right with God, and Satan cannot budge you from this truth. Because of this peace, you are ready to stand firm in the Lord and also share your peace with everyone around you.
  • The fourth item of armor is the Shield of Faith. The shield is not something you wear, but something you carry to use as protection against attacks. The flaming arrows Satan aims at us are lies, temptations,and discouragement, but they cannot pass through the shield of your faith in God as you trust His promises and rely on His truth.
  • The fifth piece of armor is the Helmet of Salvation. The helmet protects the head of the soldier, and in the same way, it is a very important piece for keeping your mind safe from Satan’s lies and schemes and his attempts to make you doubt God’s love for you. You can remain confident in your salvation.
  • The sixth piece of armor is the Sword of the Spirit. All the other items of armor are for defense against the enemy’s attacks, but the sword is also used as an offensive weapon. The Sword of the Spirit is God’s word that protects you even as it damages Satan and his lies. With God’s Word, you are able to counter Satan’s attacks by relying on scriptural truths.

While it is not listed as a piece of armor specifically, the most important aspect of being armed for battle is mentioned in Ephesians 6:18:

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Ephesians 6:18

Prayer is vital for the battle. You may be wearing all the appropriate gear necessary for the fight, but it won’t help you much unless you are continually praying for God’s strength to help you in the battle. You cannot fight in your own strength, you need the power that comes from unceasing prayer.

Reminder 7: The Role of Praise and Worship

Praise and worship are very strong weapons against the forces of darkness. Many battles described in the Old Testament stories tell of praise and singing to the Lord as a way of defeating the enemy. God used the praise and worship of His people to defeat those who were fighting against them.

When you worship, you are focusing on God and not yourself, giving you a heavenly perspective instead of an earthly one. When you worship God, you are inviting Him to be present with you and in you, and that’s the last thing Satan wants, so he is forced to flee.

Reminder 8: The Importance of Fellowship and Community Prayer

Fellowship in prayer is a significant part of engaging in spiritual warfare because it brings believers together to support one another through community prayer and intercessory prayer for one another.

Praying together makes each individual stronger as faith is renewed and the spiritual community encourages one another.

Reminder 9: Standing in Faith and Authority

You have been given authority by Jesus Christ himself. You are a child of God who has been given authority to carry out God’s purpose in the world, which includes opposing Satan and the powers of darkness.

Because you have such powerful authority, you can declare and affirm your power and your standing with God in your prayers. You can do all things through Christ! His grace is sufficient!  Such declarations and affirmations are powerful weapons against Satan’s attempts to discourage you.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may be under spiritual attack if you are feeling discouraged and defeated, tired or sick, anxious and stressed.  You may also feel confusion about what you believe or doubt God’s goodness to you.

Suffering is a result of the Fall, a consequence of human sin against God (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21), so sometimes it will simply be caused by living in a sin-affected world.  Some suffering is caused by spiritual attack, but not every problem should be attributed to it.

GotQuestions.org says the following about warfare prayers: “Warfare prayer “focuses on using prayer as a weapon to do battle with the spiritual forces of evil, especially in regard to one’s daily life, habits, and struggles. Almost always, warfare prayer is just what it sounds like: prayers prayed for the purpose of waging war against an unseen, spiritual enemy who is bent on making us unhappy by thwarting our dreams and desires…

Warfare prayer commonly encourages a “take control” attitude, where prayer warriors are told to be bold, decisive, and faithful in prayer. There is nothing wrong with praying boldly and faithfully, as long as we remember who is in charge. It’s not us. Common “warfare prayers” include many “I” statements such as “I declare,” “I decree,” “I bind,” “I overrule,” “I smash,” “I rebuke,” etc. The pray-er is the acting agent, and there is a danger of praying “My will be done” rather than “Thy will be done.”

Always remember that the battle is real and ongoing. The enemy is trying to destroy your faith, your relationships, and your ability to serve God with joy.

But God has given you the protection you need as you put on His spiritual armor and devote yourself to prayer, granting you the power to remain vigilant and victorious. In this way, you will be able to stand firm and resist all spiritual attacks. 

As you dwell in God’s presence, you will find the strength and encouragement to remain steadfast in prayer, and you will be able to recall all the crucial reminders that will help you pray effectively in your fight against evil.

Remember the following promises to you that God has shared in His Word as you engage in spiritual warfare:

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

2 Corinthians 10:4

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

1 John 4:4

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37
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