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How to Pray When Under Spiritual Attack

A spiritual attack is a hurdle designed to pull you away from Jesus – and the best weapon is prayer. Here’s how to pray when under a spiritual attack.

Growing Faith
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Have you ever felt like you are struggling to follow Jesus? Of course, we all do from time to time. But have you had a season where it just felt harder, almost like there was something trying to stop you from following Jesus?  

That might not have been just you. Although we get in our own way from time to time, you may find yourself in the middle of a spiritual attack – and one of the best lines of defense is prayer! Read on to learn about spiritual attacks, and how to pray when under a spiritual attack: 

What is a spiritual attack?  

Imagine you’re playing a football game, but the only gear you brought is a baseball glove. How woefully unprepared you would be! In the same way, when you’re figuring out how to pray when under a spiritual attack, you need to understand the type of battle you’re in.  

First, let’s define what a spiritual attack is. 

The Bible teaches us that there are spiritual forces who are positioned against God and his followers. Their goal is to stop his purposes in the world. Ephesians 6:12 tells us:  

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  

A spiritual attack is a hurdle created by one of these forces designed specifically to pull you away from fully following Jesus. But not everything is a spiritual attack. The Bible identifies three forces that could be the source of a spiritual attack:  

1. The Evil One (or the Devil) 

When God created the world, he gave the first humans everything they needed. Everything was exactly as God intended. The only thing he asked Adam and Eve was not to eat from a certain tree.  

Eve, however, encountered a serpent who enticed her with an idea: “You could become like God if you do this!” (Genesis 3:4). With that thought, Eve began to notice the tree differently: the tree was beautiful, the fruit looked delicious, and there was wisdom it would give her (Genesis 3:6).  

Eve eventually ate the fruit, and the perfect world God created for her and Adam began to fall apart. This act ultimately separated humans from God forever.  

That is how the devil begins to attack: he plants within us a deceptive thought. This thought disorders our desires, which leads us to sin. And those sins are normalized in the world around us.  

2. Our sin  

In Matthew 4:1-11, we see Jesus facing temptation. He’s been alone in the wilderness without food or water for 40 days. (Imagine how desperate you’d be feeling!) Three times the enemy tempts Jesus with a deceptive thought, similar to Eve.  

Satan really brought out the big guns when he tried to tempt Jesus. He tempted him with food, a kingdom, and protection. But Jesus didn’t give in! He resisted the temptation and in doing so, did not sin.  

We are vulnerable to the same kind of temptation. Just like Satan knew one of the things Jesus wanted most in the moment was food and water, Satan knows how to trick us.  

3. The world around us  

Another source of spiritual attack is the world around us – a world that has been broken since Even first gave in to temptation in the garden of Eden. 1 John 2:16-17 lays it out for us: 

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 

We are immersed in a world full of social and cultural practices that plant and enforce cravings in our hearts. These cravings, or disordered desires, can be for anything: physical pleasure, material gains, knowledge, and more.  

In all three of these examples, we see the enemy attacks by creating a deception, which tempts us to pursue a disordered desire, and makes the resources easily accessible through a world that has normalized the disorder.   

How to pray when under a spiritual attack 

After his encounter with enemy, which we just explored together, Jesus preached the most popular sermon ever preached: the Sermon on the Mount. In one portion (Matthew 6:9-13), Jesus gives us a framework for how to pray:  

“Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one.” 

For each source of spiritual attack – Satan, the world, and our temptation to sin – Jesus offers three counterattacks in his prayer: God, his Kingdom, and his will.  

When we pray like this, God reorders our desires. Instead of pursuing our cravings and temptations, we begin to trust God for what he alone can give us: daily provision and eternal life.  

The simplest prayer to pray during a spiritual attack is: “God, may your kingdom come and will be done in me. Give me all I need and help me to be satisfied in it.”   

Praying during a spiritual attack can also look like:  

  • Praying for inner strength (Ephesians 3:10-15). God will give you the inner strength to display the true wisdom to all the heavenly authorities! You have the strength to engage this battle because it comes from God, not from you.   
  • Praying to stay faithful and obedient to God (John 10:10; Philippians 2:12-13). It is no secret that living the life Jesus said was possible to live is described as “full” or “rich and satisfying.” God is working in you to reorder your desires back toward what pleases him. 
  • Pray for protection from the Enemy (Ephesians 6:10-18). Being strong in the Lord looks like standing firm against the strategies of the enemy. The enemy is going to use what you want, see, and know to entice you. Yet God gives us the spiritual armor of righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the scriptures.   
  • Praying for opportunities to help more people meet Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Starting to pray for more and more people to understand the Gospel. The only way for them to understand is if someone tells them!  
  • Praying for Jesus to come back soon (Revelation 21:3-5). Ultimately, the biggest weapon in the battle is when Jesus returns. That is why we pray for the kingdom to come soon. When Jesus does return, it means he has already defeated Satan and there will no longer be a curse on anything!   


Have you ever wondered if prayer really works when you’re dealing with a spiritual attack? It does – learn more about the power of prayer


LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you! 

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