I had nightmares last night. Disturbing, violent, demonic ridden dreams.
So I prayed, not out loud mind you.
My wife was asleep beside me. But it still worked.
Isn’t that weird?
I was raised with this fundamental prayer belief. If you are going to do spiritual warfare, you have to pray out loud. Now, I know that spiritual warfare is a loaded phrase, so I’ll explain what I understand it to be. When I say spiritual warfare, I’m talking about intercessory prayer, the laying on of hands by believers, anointing people with oil and praying in tongues. I’ve seen it happen in churches I’ve attended. I’ve participated in spiritual warfare at church or youth events, even in my house.
When my wife and I first moved in, we felt that there was something wrong or off about the house. Not like leaky windows, a draft or poor plumbing, though we did find all those things out later, but there was a spiritual heaviness or darkness in the house. Something that was left there from the previous owners. We called our in-laws over and we started praying out loud throughout the house, and had to confront and command three evil spirits to leave, in Jesus name.
Similar prayers and accompanying actions would have been great when I was suddenly bombarded with nightmares, but that wasn’t something I could get at 4:30 in the morning. I was alone. My wife was beside me, but I didn’t want to bother her. Sleep is a necessity that is hard to come by when you are almost eight months pregnant. I wasn’t going to take that away from her, so I let her sleep.
So what could I do?
Loud Intercessory prayer wasn’t something I could do. Laying hands on myself sounded like a dumb idea. There was no anointing oil beside the bed so that idea was out too. My only remaining option was something that I was taught was totally ineffective in spiritual warfare. I prayed quietly in my spirit. Or quietly in my head. And it worked.
My nightmares stopped. There was no heaviness or darkness. When it was all said and done, I was kind of surprised that it had worked at all. It was then that I realized two interesting truths that have been neglected in church teaching circles.
1. Silent prayers are still powerful, when prayed in the name of Jesus.
I understand why we pray out loud, even why we use that as the primary way of dealing with spiritual warfare. That loud, declarative statement of faith mirrors the war cries in the days of old. They are a demonstration of our intent and our collective faith. They are laced with the Name Above All Names, the Name that has the power and authority to cast out demons, heal diseases and cover our sins. That Name is the name of Jesus.
But the Name of Jesus is still that powerful when prayed within the body, when spoken within the heart and soul. To think that the Name that will bring all creation to their knees in awe filled submission is not so powerful when not spoken out loud would be a mistake. There is no hindrance that can prevent Jesus from being the Almighty and Risen Savior of our lives. Not even the confines of our prayers change that. Whether they are out loud in a group, or they are quiet and alone, the prayer in the name of Jesus has the power to cast off the enemy.
“The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”” – Luke 10.17 NIV
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;” – Mark 16.17
“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,” – Philippians 2.10
2. Satan can hear your prayers, even if they aren’t said out loud.
Christians often disagree about the power that the enemy has. Can he create things or only distort what already is? Is he in some way omnipresent or is he limited in time and space? Can he hear our thoughts and silent prayers or is that all kept from him?
While I am no expert in “Satanology”, logic and reason seems to offer an answer. More interestingly, this answer is an encouraging one for Christians. Satan can hear your prayers, and in that fact, he has to submit to the power and authority of prayer in Jesus’ name.
Try to follow my train of thought.
Satan tempts us, sometimes with visuals, other times by speaking to our “flesh” as Paul calls it. Satan speaks to the sinful nature in us to coax it into violating God’s will. If Satan is speaking and trying to coax us towards sin, he must be waiting near by. He must be listening even, eager to hear and see if we will succumb to the temptation, or if we need further persuading. When we do fall into temptation, Satan seems to know it. He hears it, as it were. Because once we have given into our sin, there is no more voice of temptation. No more need to listen.
But if that is the case, the same would be true for prayers that are not spoken aloud. If we pray within the confines of the heart and soul, it stands to reason that Satan can hear. And the prayer in the mighty name of Jesus causes Satan to flee. It is an encouraging thing to know that Satan can hear our inside prayers because that means that he still has to come under the authority of Jesus. Even without spoken words, the enemy is still subject to our Almighty God.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4.7
I am not saying that a silent prayer should be our go-to response when we are faced with spiritual warfare. In the case of the spiritual darkness over our house, we had to speak aloud. Silent prayers did not do the trick. We had to be vocal, and quite vocal at that. I say all this only as an encouragement that our silent, inside prayers are still effective ones. Even in the most dire of situations like spiritual attacks or demonic nightmares, we are not defenseless.
A silent prayer in the name of Jesus is still an effective prayer. And any prayer prayer is heard by the enemy, and he must submit to the powerful name of Jesus. I hope that when you are faced with a situation where you need to do some spiritual battling you would be reminded of this. If the need to intercede comes, and you can not do so out loud, do not be discouraged. Be encouraged, you are not without defense or a way of fighting. Silent prayers are still effective prayers.
Now I want to hear your opinion. I told my wife about this and she wasn’t sure how she felt.
Does prayer work like this? Or have I misunderstood something?
Let me know what you think below.
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