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I have a question about what kind of prayer strategy to use when you suspect that someone is using prayer in the wrong way against you.
I have a dear friend (a lady) who has a boyfriend that we suspect prays wrongly against her. He really wants to get married, but she wants to focus on ministry and have more of a friendship than a romance. She in involved in prison ministry and rehab center ministry, where she ministers primarily to men. The boyfriend gets upset every time he hears that she is going to minister. We think he is jealous. Strange things happen when he knows she is about to minister. For example, tonight got upset because he found out that she was going to minister in the male wing of the rehab center. About an hour before the service was to begin, my friend suddenly got very sick.
We suspect that he deals in familiar spirits because sometimes he knows things that he should not be able to know, and because bazaar things happen a lot. Here is an example: One night he somehow got an connection to her cell phone without her knowledge or permission, enabling him to listen in (through her phone) on her face-to-face conversations with other people. We asked him how he managed that. He laughed and said "I know how to pray."
He does know God's word very well, and he knows that God will honor prayer that is prayed in accordance with His Word. We are concerned that he might be misusing God's word and prayer against my friend.
How does a person pray against something like this?- Perplexed
It seems to me that there are two separate issues going on here. One is the area of manipulative prayer (or "witchcraft prayer") and how to defend against it. The other area is exercising wisdom in dating relationships. By the way, those two topics are not as unrelated as they may sound.
Let me start with the topic of "witchcraft prayer." That is one of those topics that you could write a whole book about, so my answer will only skim the surface. That phrase "witchcraft prayer" doesn't appear in the Bible; but it is a popular vernacular to describe a concept that is Biblical. It refers to a type of wrong prayer that is empowered by demonic spirits. This type of prayer attempts to manipulate or coheres others to do what the person praying wants them to do. The Bible uses words like "sorcery" and "witchcraft" to describe this practice, and it strictly forbids it (see Deuteronomy 18:10, Deuteronomy 18:14, 2 Kings 21:6 and 2 Chronicles 33:6).
Some believers have a mistaken image of God and think that if they pray a certain way (specific words, particular forms, etc) that God is somehow obligated to answer their prayer no matter what they ask for. When they pray this way, they basically equate prayer to witchcraft or sorcery. Then they end up doing something in God's name that He absolutely forbids, and they may not even realize that they are in the wrong. You shared an example of this in your letter to me--your friend's boyfriend prayed that God would prevent her from going to minister at the Rehab Center at any cost, even if it makes her sick. He was trying to use prayer to override her own decisions and force her to comply to his will. Witchcraft prayer is when a believer tries to "use God" (or prayer) to manipulate another person into doing what they want them to do.
Let me be perfectly clear. God does not answer that type of prayer. He looks at the heart and motivation of person praying much more than He looks at the words of the prayer. King David taught his son Solomon about God and prayer in 1 Chronicles 28:9. He said, "...know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts." God is not going to answer wrongful manipulative prayer against another, even if the person praying quotes verses, fasts, or performs certain acts that they think are spiritual. But there is another spirit-being who does like to empower those type of prayers: the devil.
"Cursing prayer" is another popular variation on witchcraft prayer. It is a variation on a curse, using the form of prayer to deliver it, and demons love to empower those curses. An example of a cursing prayer is, "Lord, so-and-so really hurt me when they did such-and-such to Me. So I am asking You to raise up on my behalf and make them suffer as much as they made me suffer...." It can takes on forms like "Let them got sick," or "Lord, cause them to loose their job or have a financial setback," etc.
Some people pray the prophetic judgments and curses in the Bible against someone they are upset with. They quote the Bible passage, substituting in the person's name as they pray it. Immature believers wrongly assume that since they are praying Scripture, it is a good thing and God will be happen to answer their prayer. Their mistake comes because they don't know God very well and they ignore what He has said in the Bible. For instance, Matthew 6:14-15 says, "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." They conviently forget about Romans 12:14, which says, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."
They assume that God is looking more at the form of the prayer than at the heart-attitude of the one praying it. God looks at the heart and He will not answer that type of wrongful prayer.
However, many times the devil is willing to jump in and answer it with His curses and harm.
So how do you defend against that type of prayer?
Treat it as spiritual warfare, witchcraft and curse-breaking. First you ask the Lord to cover the sins and wrong attitudes of the one being cursed with the Blood of Jesus. Ask God to speak to their heart about anything He wants to adjust in them that may have opened them up to the curse.
Next, use the authority that Jesus gave you over the devil to cancel his assignments of harm against that person. If I feel a curse is operating, I explicitly break the curse. (Anytime I break a curse, I send back a blessing to the one who issued the curse because the Bible tells us to bless those who curse us.) If I believe a demon has been assigned against that person, I cancel it's assignment. I also like to cut off any enemy attachments to the person, any assignments of harm against them, etc. Since this is authority prayer, I don't ask God to do these things for me. I raise up in the authority that Jesus has given me and I exercise that authority according to my best understanding of His will.
You may also want to pray petition prayers on behalf of the one who was attacked through wrongful prayers. You might want to ask God to bless them, to cover them under the shadow of His wings (Ps. 91:4), to draw them close, to protect them from sickness and harm, to restore anything that was taken from them, etc. Be open to the Holy Spirit's leading and pray the things He shows you to pray.
In addition to that, it is a good idea to ask the Lord to touch the heart of the one who is praying wrongly. We want God to help that person come into a better understanding of how to pray. We also want God to protect the one praying wrongly from the deception of the emery and from his reprisals. (The devil will often attack the one he was using when that one is no longer useful to him.)
One last thought on how to pray. Since the one praying wrongly may pray over and over again, you may need to counter those prayers over and over again. You may have to break curses and cancel assignments against your friend until the boyfriend stops doing manipulative prayers against her.
Now, lets move on to the other topic: wisdom in dating relationships. Two things jumped out at me when I read your email. First, it looks like your friend might be leading her boyfriend on, which is wrong. She knows that he wants to marry her and she is not interested in him in that way, yet she continues to call him her boyfriend. It is not right to be "just friends" with someone who wants to marry you and let that person think they are a boyfriend. That it sends mixed signals, toys with his emotions, and it will cause him to be hurt over and over again. She needs to decide where she stands with this man. Either he is her boyfriend and there is mutual romantic interest, or they are just friends and he must not be allowed to consider himself a boyfriend.
Second, and perhaps more important, why does someone in ministry want to be close friends with a person who they believe is dealing with familiar spirits or operating in "witchcraft" prayer? (According to 2 Corinthians 6:14, light and darkness do not mix.) It does not sound like good judgment for your friend to hang out with someone who she thinks is using familiar spirits, praying witchcraft prayers, etc.--especially if he is using it against her. You might want to encourage her to sit down and discuss this relationship with the Lord.
These two things (wrongful prayers and bad judgment in relationship) may not be as unrelated as they might sound. Proverbs 26:2 tells us, "Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest" (NIV). Numbers chapters 22-24 relate the story of a king hiring a sorcerer to curse God's people. It shows God actively protecting His people from the curse and causing a blessing to be released on them instead.
I draw a principle from this. If someone curses a believer and that curse "comes to rest" on them (e.g., has a negative effect on them), then they might be doing something to make the curse "deserved." If that is the case, they need to change the behavior and repent of it before we can break the curse.
When someone comes to me for curse-breaking ministry (which happens more frequently than you might expect), the first thing I do is to ask the Lord if the curse has a reason to land on that person. I ask Him to show us if there is something the person needs to repent of or some behavior that they need to change. If there is a reason, then we have to deal with that reason before we deal with the curse itself.
In your friend's case, she might be giving the curse a reason to land on her by letting this man think of himself as her boyfriend when she is not romantically interested. That has got to hurt his heart or cause him emotional pain. Some demons consider that enough justification (or "legal right") to empower his wrongful prayers against her. The more God uses your friend to advance His kingdom, the more the enemy will look for excuses to attack her, and the more willing he will be to empower wrongful prayers against her.