“Satan, we bind you in the name of Jesus!”
What should we think of this prayer? Does God teach us in his Word to “bind Satan”? That is the question I want to take up in this post, based primarily on Matthew 16:19.
“Binding satan” has become a very common practice in certain circles of the evangelical church. Some Christian leaders are presenting this as the fundamental need in evangelizing the remaining unreached peoples of the world. Satan and his demons must be “bound,” they say, through prayer, so that people can be “loosed” from their captivity and come to Christ.
One thing is certain, more dependance upon God expressed in prayer is a very good thing, and I am convinced that without prayer my own work among an unreached people is going nowhere. But just as with anything else in our Christian faith, our prayer practices need to be grounded in what God himself has taught us about prayer.
I cannot say everything in this post that needs to be said about spiritual warfare nor treat all of the Bible passages relevant to this particular practice, but I want to show that Matthew 16:19 does not support the practice of “binding Satan.” To the contrary, I think that this brief study will show that such praying distracts us from what we should be doing, which is to declare the gospel, calling people to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ in faith, all the time clinging to God in prayer and asking him to do what only he can do, which is change sinners into saints. Continue reading