Many times have I heard that we as Believers need to pray out loud to be effective, that somehow silent prayer is an ineffective means of communicating our prayers to God. As well I have been told that Believers must – out loud – bind Satan, this often-in conjunction with putting on the armor of God. Is any of this true or biblical?
Many are the well-meaning Christians who say things that although well intended are simply not true, or at the very least are debatable. Even some Believers that are well schooled in the Word teach things that are inaccurate – this is not to say that I am always right either. Always check what is taught/said by the only true authority on the subject: God and His Word.
Silent prayer verses spoken
There is a time and a place for both silent and spoken prayer. I like praying out loud because it helps to keep my mind on task, I am much more focused and prayer is more enjoyable. Whereas praying silently my mind tends to unfortunately wander much more easily. There are times however when silent prayer is not only necessary but is the correct way to pray. While sharing the Gospel with someone praying silently is a good thing to do. Some enjoy praying while listening to worship music in church. Maybe you are praying while being interviewed for a job, or while speaking to someone asking for God’s wisdom for what to say to that person.
Is there any biblical evidence for silent prayer? Yes there is.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing
If we are praying without ceasing, obviously we are not going to be praying out loud at all times.
Psalm 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off
Psalm 94:11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity
The above two verses clearly show that the Lord knows our thoughts, therefore when we pray silently He hears us.
In 1 Samuel 1 Hannah prayed silently to the Lord for a son – and the LORD remembered her. Eli had thought Hannah drunk as her lips moved but no sound was heard, she was praying in her heart and the Lord honored her prayer.
In Psalm 19:14 David asked: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD
I fully believe in the power of silent prayer. In Matthew 9:4 and Matthew 12:25 Jesus knew the thoughts of the people He was with. God knows all things 1 John 3:20. Jesus knew all about the woman at the well before she even opened her mouth John 4:18 and about the death of Lazarus despite not being there when it happened John 11:11-15. Since God knows all things, He also hears silent prayers.
Although silent prayer is valid and at times necessary, I do believe prayer spoken out loud is better most of the time. As was mentioned earlier – speaking prayers out loud helps to maintain focus, prevents the mind from wandering, and overall often leads to a more enjoyable prayer experience. Most of the instances of prayer in the Bible are people praying out loud.
In John 17 Jesus prayed aloud for His disciples and all others who came after them.
In Acts 8 Peter and John prayed for those present that they would receive the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 2 the early church met daily and prayed together.
There are many other examples of praying out loud in the Bible. The only time praying out loud is condemned is when it is done for show or to impress others such as in Matthew 6:5.
Praying out loud can be edifying to another person such as when we pray for someone else while with that person. Or a pastor praying during service, people meeting and praying together, praying with and for someone over the phone etc.
The only prayer that has no value at all is the one that is never prayed!
Praying to bind Satan
Many are those who will pray to bind Satan, I see no value in this to be honest and much danger.
Satan has already been bound by the only One who could do so, Jesus Christ. Yes Satan is the god of this world but only because God allows it. Satan was effectively bound by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The Bible never tells us anywhere to bind Satan or his demons!
The idea of binding Satan is not even logical, if he could be bound, then why would people need to continually pray for it? Satan is a very powerful being and if we were to meet him face to face, there is little we could do to stop him. Before you cry, foul! – read on. The only reason we have any ability at all to deny Satan is through Christ, of ourselves we have not that power. Otherwise if we had the power of ourselves to bind the lord of lies – we would not need the armor of God for our protection. Remember too, Satan will for a time rule the world completely before the return of Christ – that ought to tell us something.
Matthew 18:18 Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven
John 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained
These verses are often misapplied and used completely out of context. Matthew 18 has nothing to do with binding Satan or his demons. Rather the Apostles were given the authority to make decisions in the church – judgments on matters related to the church complying with the will of God, such as – was circumcision necessary to obtain eternal life. Yet while the Apostles made decisions and several helped in the writing of the Bible, they never operated outside the influence of the Holy Spirit. Therefore the decisions they made had already been ordained by God and made known to them through Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Regarding John 20, Jesus was not giving and did not give the Apostles the power to forgive or not forgive sin; that power resides in the hand of Jesus alone. The Apostles were given to declare what God had already done and decreed through the authority conferred on them by Christ. As Jesus Himself said He could do nothing other than what the Father has done, so to the Apostles acted only in the manner prescribed for them by Christ.
We can also see the disciples casting out demons but they never bound them.
Many deliverance-type ministries are nothing more than a sham; I can only say to be very, very careful of them. I will not say that any unbeliever has not been freed of a demon, miracles do happen – but it is not something that is an every day occurrence either.
What does the Word of God tell us in relation to Satan and his ilk?
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour
Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place to the devil
We are to resist the devil, to put on the armor of God to protect ourselves and fight against him using the power of the Word of God. We are to be watchful and not ignorant of Satan’s schemes.
One of if not the most important verses in the Bible concerning Satan is Ephesians 4:27. We ourselves give Satan the power in our lives through our own sins. This is why Paul says to not give the devil “place” in our lives. Every time we sin, it is an open door for Satan to walk through and hassle us. Satan can only do what God allows him to do, but if we keep ourselves in check avoiding sin as much as we can, then Satan has that many less opportunities to get to us.
Praying the armor of God
It has been said by many a person that praying the armor of God MUST be done out loud or it is of no affect as Satan needs to hear it or some such nonsense. Now don’t get me wrong, I think praying this prayer out loud is a great idea – but MUST it be done out loud to have the desired affect – no. There is absolutely no biblical basis for this assertion.
This presupposition is not even logical let alone biblical! Lets take this apart piece by piece – who are you praying to for protection, God or Satan, obviously God. Therefore what difference does it make if Satan hears your voice speaking this prayer asking God to protect you from him? Essentially what these folks are implying is that for the prayer of putting on the armor of God to have and be effective, Satan needs to hear it as if hearing that prayer he will leave you alone. This is completely preposterous! Satan cannot as can God be everywhere at the same time, so even if you are to pray the armor of Christ out loud, chances are Satan will not hear it anyway. Taking this view also means that you are giving Satan a power he does not possess – in that a prayer to our God must be heard by the lord of evil in order to effective! Can you see how ludicrous this is?
Can anyone truly believe that Satan has anything at all to do with the effectiveness of any prayer? Oh wait, he does – Satan has a tremendous affect on prayer, when he can get you to NOT pray at all!
The only way Satan can affect you is if the Lord allows it, Satan has nothing to say about it. Satan cannot hear your thoughts and cannot be in all places at the same time so it matters little if he hears a prayer of yours or not. The power of prayer resides in your connection to the throne of grace, not anything else, ever. Let us not forget that Satan has access to us because of our own sins…
The following links are “as is” for your reference and not to be construed as an endorsement by this ministry.
Does the Bible teach that Christians can bind Satan and demons?
On “Binding Satan”
Can Christians Really Bind Satan or his Demons?
Featured image courtesy of Creation Swap/Rob Gros
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