You are sitting in a circle with a group of friends praying for God’s guidance and wisdom for a person or situation and then it happens… one person in the group resolutely prays that the Lord would “bind the Enemy.” Questions begin to creep into your mind: Does this mean that the Enemy has now been made powerless from influencing this situation? How long will the effects of this “binding” last? 12 hours? 24 hours? A week? Longer? Why not pray for the Enemy to be expelled from our lives completely? As a matter of fact, why not “bind” the Devil from the earth entirely? You find yourself leaving the time of prayer with this nagging thought: Does this “binding” really work?
Superstition or Scripture?
Could it be that the reason why we don’t know when a “binding” prayer expires is due to the fact that the Bible does not tell us to bind the Devil in the first place? While it is true that every disciple of Jesus desires to limit the influence of the Enemy of God, the reality is that we have not been instructed to bind the Devil. The notion that we are to “live by faith” is often used to suppress those who question the legitimacy of praying in this way. While we are certainly called to have faith in the promises of God despite what we might feel, we are not allowed to simply imagine a promise we have never been given and then rebuke people for not having faith in something that is more like a wish than Biblical faith. Could Christians be unwittingly playing into the hands of the Enemy by imagining a power that they don’t have? When someone prays to “bind” the Devil, he or she enters into a superstitious realm in which the individual casts aside the authority of the Bible for a “feel-good” declaration that they are neither promised nor can be confident will be provided. In this situation, the individual(s) could believe the Devil has been removed from the situation while in reality, he has craftily seduced those involved into laying down their defenses by thinking he has been bound and yet is fully engaged. In the end, the real effect of a “binding” prayer has served to disarm these believers and has served to cloak the workings of the Enemy. In the end, the desire to limit the Enemy through this prayer has actually been used to further the efforts of the Enemy to work under the camouflage of a promise never given by God.
A Better Way
At some point, Paul became aware that the believers in the church at Ephesus were wondering about their role in fighting the Enemy of their souls. The notion of a war between God and Satan seemed to have been clearly understood but the exact role they played in that conflict needed to be clarified. In addressing the role of how believers are to stand strong against spiritual forces in this world, Paul writes Ephesians 6:10-18 and provides a clear tactic in dealing with Satan. Paul begins to address this subject through identifying the reality of the archenemy of the people of God:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12
Paul does not minimize the reality of the constant struggle with the forces of the Kingdom of Darkness. As a matter of fact, Paul indicates that our spiritual conflict surpasses any conflict we might have with humans. Our primary war is a spiritual war. Therefore, given we are humans, we must stand in “his might” – a strength that uniquely draws energy from a spiritual source of power given, as humans, we do not dwell in the spiritual realm. Put another way, just as we fight a physical (or material) war with literal weapons, so we must use spiritual weapons to fight in a spiritual war. In other words, we effectively “bind” when we “stand” in His strength. To Paul’s way of thinking, the idea of standing in the power of the Lord will deliver the outcome of binding the Devil that those who merely pray for the enemy to be bound desire to achieve. Do you see the difference? Paul identified spiritual weapons that we are to use to fight a spiritual war that (as they are implemented) have the effect of “binding” the actions of the Enemy as opposed to merely praying a prayer for the Enemy to be bound. Do you see how merely thinking that we can pray a prayer not only does not have Scriptural authority but actually diminishes our real tactic for conducting spiritual warfare? If the Enemy can keep us ignorant through thinking we can “bind” him via a prayer vs. putting on the full armor of God, then his scheme is working and we are left defenseless.
In part 2 we will begin to examine each part of our spiritual armor so that we can stand in the way our Lord has designed and not as some have imagined.