“…and forgive my sins. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Within seconds the wicked whispers start.

“Too short.”

“Too shallow.”

“Too distracted…again.”

“Missed out her, and him, and them…”

“Yawn. Nothing new to say?”

“You call that a prayer?”

“Not enough faith…not enough passion…not enough anything.”

“You don’t actually believe that made a difference, do you?”

“You’ll probably not even think about prayer for the rest of the day”

And on, and on, and on it goes.

Relentless, cruel, malicious Satanic whispers that begin the second I end my morning prayer with, “Amen.”

Anyone else get that? It’s so discouraging, isn’t it. I mean, why pray if all you get at the end of it is an even heavier feeling of guilt and failure? Prayer should be a delight not a dread.

I’d really welcome your own input on this, but here’s how I try to fight back, silence the whispers, and turn prayer into a soul-refreshing delight again.

  1. God has forgiven me all my sins – even my sinful prayers.
  2. Jesus is perfecting my prayers and presenting them absolutely flawless to my Heavenly Father.
  3. My salvation does not depend on my prayers but on Jesus’ prayers.
  4. My Heavenly Father listens even to the raven’s ugly grating squawks (Ps. 147:9) and gives it food; how much more will he hear and answer the ugly grating squawks of one of His children?
  5. God delights in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy (Ps 147:9).
  6. God knows I’m a limited creature who cannot possibly pray for everyone everyday.
  7. Surely the Devil would simply leave me alone if my prayers were really so pathetic and useless.
  8. Just because my children don’t (can’t) tell me everything about their lives doesn’t make me love them less, nor does it reflect a lack of love on their part.
  9. But maybe best of all, “You, Satan, are going to be crushed under my feet shortly” (Rom. 16:2o).

Anyone got any more armor or weapons to fight this battle with? Any effective rebuttals or even prebuttals?

  • Favian

    Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Rom 8:26,27)

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      Great verse, Favian!

    • pheladi sethusa

      It really helps me cos sumtimes I knw I should pray bt I jst dnt hav words to say but de is yearning to pray

    • Damien Carson

      Definitely a sharp edge of the sword for me. God has told me that I don’t know what to pray, so He’s never surprised to hear me confess that! During my prayers, I very often use the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer to pray for people or things that I can;t find words or thoughts for, in the knowledge and comfort of Matt 6:8 & Rom 8:26.

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  • Angela

    I love knowing that Jesus perfects my prayers (and my worship) and presents them to the Father whole and perfect. So grateful to be able to rest on His obedience, faithfulness, and completeness!

  • http://crackedpot40.blogspot.com Barbara

    Yes. I go back to my Father with it and ask Him to rescue me.

    Charles Spurgeon spoke much of those “whisperings” – I know he addressed them in All of Grace, I believe in chapter 11. That was a great comfort to me because as a new Christian I was suddenly getting all sorts of blasphemous things popping up into my head seemingly from out of nowhere, things that never occurred to me even as an unregenerate person. Satan is no gentleman. I have been invaded in the midst of prayer more than once, which is why I put absolutely no stock whatsoever in the “still small voice” concept and stick to the Word and the knowledge, fruit, conviction, and comfort that the Lord is gracious to provide.

    Some years ago I was in the midst of a very powerful battle between spirit and flesh and went to the Lord with it, confessing that I wanted my will more than I wanted His and begging Him to help me to want His will over mine; and in the midst of that I got that sudden, “Praying against your flesh? You have no right to come to God in prayer like that, praying for something that you know you do not want!” And then as I was reeling from that, just thinking, ‘Wait a minute’, God Himself intervened and gave me a mental picture of Jesus in Gethsemane, asking that a certain cup be removed from him if possible but nevertheless not my will but Thine be done. That was powerful. I wrote of it here, if you’re interested. Nehemiah said, “Our God fights for us.” Indeed He does. In the midst of just such battles He reminds me that He lives and reigns and He saves….and so I go to Him.

  • Anne

    Could someone please explain the second point in more detail and give the supporting verses? I read something once, perhaps from one of the Puritans, about our prayers being like tattered, stained pages that we lift upward, that Christ then takes and presents perfect to the Father. If anyone knows who said that, or something like that, I’d love to know the exact quote. Thank you for this very encouraging list!

    • Damien Carson

      One beautiful picture is in Revelation 5:1-8 and 8:1-4. Jesus adding his prayers to ours, and they rise up to the throne of God like the smoke of sweet smelling incense.

  • Christina

    Great blog!!! I hear those whispers all the time as well and sometimes they are not whispers and so loud it makes my head ring. Something that has been helping me a lot to uplift my spirit in these times is verbally speaking In the Name of Jesus BE GONE SATAN!!! and yes I say it out loud and if I am in public I get weird looks but I am ok with that because for me speaking that out loud helps me affirm my strength in the Lord and get back to my faith for him :)

  • David Roelofs

    I was reminded of Luke 22: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, BUT I HAVE PRAYED FOR YOU that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” And he said, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” He said, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you three times deny that you know me.”

    We can be assured that Jesus constantly upholds our faith, even when we fail Him. When I am praying to Him, He is praying for me. What a comfort!

  • http://twitter.com/idonsimpson Don

    Jesus said “It is finished”. I shouldn’t need frequent reminders of that but the truth is that I still do. Thank you Dr Murray.

  • http://www.logoscommunity.com Thomas Weaver

    excellent blog! I enjoy 2 Cor 10 and the righteous violence of the Christian’s call. Taking something prisoner (thoughts) is in obedience to Jesus. Christians who don’t treat it as such are guilty of sin by omission.
    Righteous violence.

  • http://justanotherclaypot.blogspot.com Betsy Markman

    I find comfort from Ex 28:38, describing the office of High Priest:

    “…Aaron shall bear any guilt from the holy things that the people of Israel consecrate as their holy gifts. It shall regularly be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.”

    Jesus is our High Priest. As such, He expects and is prepared to bear the iniquity of the BEST we have to offer, not just the worst. He bears the iniquity/guilt OF OUR HOLY THINGS!

    So often we think that Jesus only came to save us from this sin or that sin, and we forget that He came to save us from our systemic sinfulness which taints everything we do. He is able to save to the uttermost (Heb 7:25), and to present us blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy
    (Jude 24)! And not only is He able, but He will do it! (1 Thess 5:23-24). And in fact, He HAS done it (Eph 2:4-6), so we don’t have to wait for Heaven to be presented faultless before Him, though our great Mediator. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).

    Before I believed these truths (and every time I forget them, which is often), I lack the hope to even try to walk with Him. But when I remember and believe them, hope and love for my Savior renew me.

  • Armand

    I’m sorry Satan, last time I checked, my pathetic and impoverished prayer life is cherished by my loving Father who chose me, embellished by the groanings of the Holy Spirit who fills me, and accepted on the merits of Jesus Christ, my big brother who shed His blood for sinners just like me! You’re problem isn’t with me then, it’s with them, and they will address your concerns shortly – be patient!

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  • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

    Thanks so much for great input. Very helpful to me personally, and I’m sure to other readers too.

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  • Sunnie

    I learned a long time ago that the prayers I make are not to or for people, including my own petitions, but to God. Speaking to Him is joy since I know he wants to hear me, wants me to come before him with praise, confession, petition and conversation. When I pray, I am speaking to Him, whether out loud in front of others or in private.

    People’s comments do not affect me because I am only speaking to Him and wanted to include the others in my community. They are free to listen or not listen, to pray with me or not. They are free to reject or accept my words. They are also free to accept or reject the words He speaks to them. The affects of choosing to respond negatively belongs to them, not to the person who is sincerely seeking to communicate with the Savior and His Father.

    The story Jesus told of the Publican and the Sinner emphasizes and informs us that we have a choice in how we pray and that God is present in quiet humility.

    • Brian Smith

      Thanks Dr. Murray for posting this because it answers one of the most powerful Satanic whispers that I have experienced….”You are the only Christian that experiences this!”

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  • Anne-Marie Zack

    In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:2

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