Can Demons Block Our Prayers?
I had a comment recently asking the question if demons could block our prayers. While many Christians jump up with a hasty NO, I think the sincerity of the question is worthy of investigation. Plus, do we really know this to be true or do we just want to believe it?
Was Daniel’s Prayer Blocked By Demons?
Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” – Daniel 10:12-14
This passage from Daniel is probably the source of many people’s questions regarding demons blocking prayers. Daniel was the chief advisor for three separate kings during Israel’s captivity. He faithfully prayed and ministered to these nations and is a great role model for us. In this story he was given a vision of terrible things coming to Persia, and they troubled Daniel. He prayed to seek understanding for the vision.
The first thing to notice was that God immediately heard the prayer. However, God’s answer was delayed by an evil presence. This passage therefore does not support or deny that demons can block our prayers. It does support that demons can delay God’s response which is alarming enough.
What Can Block Our Prayers?
The Bible does talk about some things that can block our prayers. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, God would not have listened [to my prayers]” (Psalm 66:18). Since this passage holds many people in bondage and fear, let’s first take a look at a couple things this doesn’t mean:
1. God Doesn’t Hear the Prayers of Non-Christians. Many people use this verse to say that the first prayer God hears is the salvation prayer. God is a loving Father longing to connect with each person He created. He responses to those who are sincerely seeking Him. Just look at the life of Jesus. How many people did He lead to salvation before He healed them? Jesus was representing His Father on earth.
2. God Doesn’t Hear the Prayers of People Stuck in Sin. Other people use this verse to say that if you are an alcoholic, pornographer, adulterer, liar, rebellious, or the like, God will not hear your prayers. Again, Jesus is our model. He spent time with the prostitutes and tax collectors. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, and Jesus answered his prayer even though he cheated people out of money (Luke 19:1-10).
Now that I have confused you with what Psalm 66:18 doesn’t mean, I should give some explanation on what it does mean. The best way to do this is to give another verse to add light to it. James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” It is this asking for the wrong reasons that represents cherished sin.
Wait, there is more that can hinder your prayers. 1 Peter 3:7 says that husbands should love their wife so that nothing would hinder their prayers. Therefore an unloved wife can hinder prayer. Which also means any man wanting to be used by God should regularly make sure his wife feels loved.
Spirit Wars is an insightful book on the topic of spiritual warfare that might be useful in your extended study on whether demons can block your prayers.
How Can Demons Use This to Block Our Prayers?
What does Psalm 66:18 and 1 Peter 3:7 have to do with demons hindering our prayers? While demons may not be able to directly hinder our prayers, they can motivate us to a place where our prayers will be hindered. Keep alert and don’t become unaware of the demons’ schemes (2 Corinthians 2:10-11).
Speaking of being outwitted, this verse in 2 Corinthians says Satan was trying to outwit them through unforgiveness. Jesus said that when we harbor unforgiveness, God grant demons the right to torment us (Matthew 18:32-35). Jesus gives the impression that our gifts to Him will not be received if we have broken relationship with others (Matthew 5:23-24). Relationships are very important to God. Loving our neighbors is the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:39). Demons will work hard to cause you relationship problems. Overcome their tactics with never-ending love and unrestricted forgiveness.
Can Demons Hear Our Prayers?
Demons hearing our prayers is sometimes brought up with the question if demons can block our prayers. The suggestion is it is better to pray in our hearts without words so that they cannot hear. That is true demons cannot hear your thoughts (although they are pretty good at guessing your thoughts since they put a lot of them in there). This is a fearful approach to prayer. There is power in the spoken word and verbal prayers have a lot of power in the kingdom. The demonic realm is shaken by the powerful prayers of faith.
In Conclusion… Can Demons Block Our Prayers?
In conclusion, it does not seem that demons can directly block our prayers. However, they will try to get us into a place where our prayers are ineffective. They will also try to discourage us by slowing God’s responses to our prayers. Don’t get discouraged. Keep seeking to do the two great commandments: love God and love others. Focus on this, do it well, and your prayers will line up.
How Can We Maintain Access in Our Prayers?
My best advise to keeping people encouraged in their prayers is to maintain proper perspective in our prayers. It is not about getting the answer as much as it is connecting with God. Take time to listen to whatever God wants to talk about even if it isn’t the topic you were praying about. You may be asking for healing of a loved one, direction in an important life decision, money for upcoming bills, etc. God knows your needs, but He wants you to know what He thinks of you. God thinks you are worthy of His undivided attention. You make Him happy. If God delights in you and you delight in Him, all blockages of wrong motives and unforgiveness will quickly come into alignment. Nothing will keep you from Him for He loves you too much.
- This blog post came in response to a question from a reader. If you have any questions you would like to address, please let me know through a comment or on the contact page.
Kevin Shorter is the founder of this prayer-coach site and have served for several years in ministry and churches teaching on a variety of Biblical topics. Go to the contact page to request him to speak at your conferences and seminars.