Deliver Us from Evil

I couldn’t sleep the other night and was feeling despondent because of some choices I had made, and maybe I was a little down about some other things. Tossing and turning, my mood went from bad to worse. I guess I dozed off a bit, then woke again and experienced a very dark temptation. Not just a titillating thought or a vague desire, but something really and truly nasty.

I couldn’t shift it. Then along with the temptation came a sense that I was losing my sanity. I was going to go crazy. I held my head in my hands and curled up. Then I realized I was under attack. I immediately sat up and said out loud, “In the name of Jesus the Lord, I rebuke you. Be gone.”

At once the darkness lifted, I rolled over and went to sleep and woke up refreshed and lightened.

All of this was in the dark time of the night, and it is easy to write it off as a bad dream or some sort of half awake, half asleep trick the mind plays on you. I don’t think so. I think it was real, and what I found so encouraging is that the name of Jesus really is powerful. The dark shadows that surrounded me really did lift. The diabolical temptation and disturbance was banished.

I recommend this to you as a part of your prayer life. Of course to call it ‘exorcism’ is exaggerated. True exorcism involves those sad individuals who are infested with demons and who need to be delivered by the authority of an proper exorcist. Nevertheless, diabolical temptations and attacks happen at lower levels of spiritual involvement and through the grace of our baptism all of us have taken authority over evil. We can be delivered from evil by saying an instant prayer like I did, or at even less dramatic level we can put up the barriers against evil through a conscious recitation of the Lord’s Prayer itself with an emphasis on the phrase ‘Deliver us from evil.”

I once went to a day conference with the famous Protestant minister Dr. Kenneth McCall. He wrote the ground breaking book Healing the Family Tree. Some rather excitable women in the front row told him during a question time that they had a coven of witches living in their town and what should they do to get rid of them?

Dr. McCall just said calmly, “In most cases all that is required for evil to be banished is for two or three baptized Christians to gather together and recite the Lord’s Prayer with a focus on the phrase ‘deliver us from evil.’” It wasn’t quite the dramatic answer the ladies were looking for, but it has stuck with me all these years.

We can take authority over the things that trouble us. We just have to remember to do so.

  • nannykim

    Thanks for sharing this!

  • Beth (JanMarie)

    This is so true! The Lord's Prayer is WAY more powerful, than most people can even imagine.And I always end every prayer, even just a hurried "Thank You!", with "In Jesus Name, Amen"

  • Fr Jay Scott Newman

    Something nearly identical has happened to me twice in my life, the last time about six months ago. Your description of the assault and prescription of the cure are spot on.Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!

  • Anthony S. Layne

    I'll have to keep this in mind. There have been a couple of nights where I've woken up saying the Hail Mary because in my dreams I felt the presence of profound evil.

  • Joseph K.

    Father, I think you are correct. The Lord's Prayer is a profoundly powerful, and spiritual prayer. Its use is probably the single best and effective way at combating this sort of 'thing.'That being said, I want to link to a comment from Pope Benedict about making sure that laity dont go to much beyond those familiar prayers with which we are accustomed to when "combating" such situations. take "matters into their own hands" when things seem to go beyond what you mentioned in this post. That is the WORST thing untrained laity can do. Again, to reiterate, the Lord's Prayer and the St. Michael prayer are where we should rest our trust.

  • Gail Finke

    Thank you for writing this. That happened to me once, too. I did exactly what you did. I had been to a lecture about exorcism (at a seminary, not for fun) and the priest who gave it said that the end of the Lord's Prayer is an exorcism prayer, and that people could always say, "In the name of Jesus, go away!" or something like that if they suspected demonic oppression (an attack from without). I have noticed — and I know this sounds crazy — that sometimes when I am very upset and the feeling seems to be coming AT me rather than from me, that I try to say the end of the Lord's Prayer and I can't remember it! I can't remember "deliver us from evil," how crazy is that. Not normal, that's for sure. I just make myself calm down and say the whole thing and it comes out fine. I am not claiming actual demonic oppression (who WOULD?) but it does help. I'm only saying this in case it helps someone else.

  • truthfinder2

    Thank you, Father, and thanks to all the commenters so far for the reminders; the Lord's Prayer, the St. Michael Prayer, and the Hail Mary. This is the triple-threat weapon against any attack from the enemy of our souls. — Rosemary

  • Wendell

    Thank you Father.

  • Roger Michael

    Thank you Father!I am no a priest, just an ordinary catholic and probably not even a good one.But I made twice the exact same experience. These attacks during the night where terrifying, I could not make a move with my body, as I was trying to wakeup my wife next to me. So in that fear I began to recite the lords prayer and the attack was suddenly gone and moving was again possible.I later told my wife about what happened and how the prayer helped.Some time later I had a similar "dream" as the first two, it was very vivid and my wife must have woken up next to me. She must have remembered what I told her and she immediately made the sign of the cross on my forehead and the spell was broken in an instant.The quality of these events and the fact that after years I still remember the details, I also guess it was a diabolical attack rather than dreams that normally fade rather quickly.The lesson I learned is that lords prayer, the Ave Maria and the Sancte Michael Archangele are very strong prayers in such cases, also the sign of the cross.

  • Brother Mark Menegatti OSA

    ThanksI believe this.I don't know how to describe, validate, or verify this, but I have had a few strange dreams, nightmares, or encounters with tangible evil in these dreams, to which I successfully dispelled merely by rebuking them in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unlike most dreams, this feels like a more vivid and willful action on my part. Anyways, I again, I don't know how I can put this in context, or say it is real apart from my imagination or whatever.This article merely reminded me of that.

  • Angela Joyce

    I, too, have awakened to feelings of evil surrounding me. I have prayed the Our Father as well as the Hail Mary and found myself becoming calm and peace-filled. I often wake at the 3:00 hour, as well. At those times… I know that God has awakened me to pray for someone else in need… so I do.

  • Chris

    Thank you so much for sharing this! As I was going through my 33 day consecration to Jesus through Mary, the darkness started building in my home. I thought I was losing my mind. It always happened between 2:30 and 3:oo am. I would just lie still and pray. Then one morning, my husband said around 2:30 am during the previous night, he awoke and sensed a very strong evil in our bedroom. Right after that, I had several crucifixes with the St. Benedict medal on them properly bless, had lots of holy water on hand, and things quieted down. After my consecration, NOTHING. Nothing at all has happened since my consecration. Thank you, Jesus and Blessed Mother for your amazing protection.

  • Sara

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Father, what is your opinion on binding prayers in which you bind wicked spirits and cast them into hell in the name of Jesus Christ? I find that it’s best to keep your gaze focused on Jesus only rather than even acknowledge the demons at all, but I’d love your thoughts on this.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Binding prayers may help, but people should not mistake them for an exorcism.

  • Sara

    It’s also helpful to remember that no temptation is allowed to meet us before first passing through the hands of God the Father. It is not as though rogue spirits run about the world ruining souls unbeknownst to God. He is Lord of them, too and never allows them to attack us if we are not able to withstand the temptation and grow from them in some way.

  • Cate

    Thanks for sharing your stories and how you dealt with the odd events. I’ve had some strange things happen as well. When I was preparing to be received into the Church, I was learning how to pray the Rosary. It seemed so hard for me and I struggled with it each time in terms of getting distracted or actually falling asleep, my thoughts were so unusual. Easter Vigil came and I FINALLY received the Body and Blood of Christ! I had hungered so deeply to enter into this moment of worship that it filled my dreams and haunted my waking thoughts. The week leading up to Easter Vigil was awful. I felt so fearful for no reason and felt like I was really being pressed down in my spirit. I was so afraid I wouldn’t make it to the Vigil, like something awful was going to happen to keep me from it. But I did make it, thanks be to God. Not long afterward, I was praying the Rosary, fully awake, and struggling to say the prayers, with lots of impish faces swirling about in my imagination, strange thoughts that I knew were not my own. I pressed on saying the Hail Mary with greater intention, when suddenly I “heard” with my spiritual ears, “She wreaks of the Host!” Then all the nonsense went away and I was in Peace. Like a storm had passed. Well, that was really the weirdest thing I’d ever experienced. I still feel some sort of resistance when I pray the Rosary, but that tells me the adversary hates us to pray this beautiful prayer.

  • Korou

    “All of this was in the dark time of the night, and it is easy to write it off as a bad dream or some sort of half awake, half asleep trick the mind plays on you.”

    Which is exactly what you should have done.

  • Korou

    Some rather excitable women in the front row told him during a question time that they had a coven of witches living in their town and what should they do to get rid of them?

    Dr. McCall just said calmly, “In most cases all that is required for evil to be banished is for two or three baptized Christians to gather together and recite the Lord’s Prayer with a focus on the phrase ‘deliver us from evil.’”

    Here’s the thing that puzzles me. If you ask a Christian if it is possible to test for God’s existence, generally they will say no. In fact, I remember that a while ago on this very blog, the idea was ridiculed. I think it’s fair to say that the answers are usually that God cannot be called upon to do parlour tricks; that designing a scientific test would be impossible; that it is impertinent of us to suggest it.

    And then you have comments like this. Bold ones. Clear ones. Yes, with a disclaimer (“Usually all that is required…”) but still making a very definite claim that prayer has observable effects.

    But I am sure that if Dr. McCall was asked about testing the notion that prayer alone can dispell covens of witches (if such things as witches capable of doing actual magic really exist) he would scoff at the idea. And so, I think, would all the people in this thread who are saying most unusual things along the lines of “Prayer works to do this,” or “you can rely on prayer to do that,” or “if you want such and such to happen, the right thing to say is…”

    Such definite and unambiguous claims to make about something that has never successfully been tested. you may laugh at me as a close-minded book-bound literal thinker for suggesting it, but until you can provide a reliable test for something, claims of its effectiveness ring hollow.