Since Adam and Eve tasted the enticing fruit in the Garden of Eden, the father of lies has been harassing us. Satan’s efforts to distort the truth and his attempts at convincing us to question God’s word have not ceased and neither should our efforts in combating him.
It has been said that the devil will use 99% of the truth to float one lie. This is true because he cannot create, which leaves him with only the ability to twist what has already been created. He is a master at this and we need to be on guard against it. In Ephesians 6:11 it says,
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
The following are six lies the devil tell us and ways we can combat them:
Lie #1: You don’t have time to pray.
The devil hates prayer. In the Manual For Spiritual Warfare (MSW), author Paul Thigpen says,
“We can see how much the Devil fears those who pray since there’s not a moment of the day when he tempts us more than when we’re at prayer. He does everything he possibly can to prevent us from praying. When the Devil wants to make someone lose his soul, he starts out by inspiring in him a profound distaste for prayer.
However good a Christian he may be, if the Devil succeeds in making him either say his prayers badly or neglect them altogether, he’s certain to have that person for himself.”
In our busy lives, we can easily fall into the trap of believing we don’t have time to pray. Yet, the Bible does not give us an excuse, but a command regarding prayer. “Pray unceasingly” (Eph. 6:18). Jesus implores his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Rise and pray, that you should not enter into temptation” (Luke 22:46).
The rosary is a prayer the devil can’t stand. Say the rosary!
Shorter prayers can be powerful as well. By learning certain “ejaculatory prayers”, we can offer a quick response when we feel tempted during the day. An ejaculatory prayer is a secret and sudden lifting up of the soul’s desires to God, for any emergency that may occur.
One may engage in this prayer by a simple thought darted up to heaven. The devil would like us not to use this method of prayer. He knows the power that these types of prayers have because they reveal the faith of the one praying.
The following are a few ejaculatory prayers to remember:
‘Jesus, Mary, Joseph, be my Salvation.’
‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ (Known as The Jesus Prayer)
‘My God & my all!’
‘Jesus, Mary, I love You. Save souls.’
‘God, come to my assistance; Lord, make haste to help me.’
‘May the Holy Cross be my light.’ (Jubilee Medal of St. Benedict)
See also Can We Really Pray Without Ceasing?
Lie #2: You aren’t good enough.
This common lie is an easy one to fall for, regardless of our vocation. As a mother of nine, I can feel overwhelmed and sometimes doubt my competency. This is exacerbated further when I see other mothers accomplishing so much with ease. I can quickly become frustrated with myself and become envious or worse, despairing. When we feel unworthy, we can falsely imagine that God does not love us; that He is not here for us. That is exactly what the devil wants us to believe.
Today, with the easy access to social media and the constant barrage of images and snapshots into people’s lives, we can become even more susceptible to the belief that we are not good enough. We see images on social media and we think…. look how happy they are or look how successful they are. I’m not as successful…. I’m not as good as they are. If I can feel that way as a 50-year-old mother, how do my children who are teenagers feel?
Sharon Johnston, a friend of mine who has led a Bible study for young women and young mothers for almost 10 years, suggests occasional “fasts” from social media. She tells the women she counsels that time away from social media with the purpose of spending that time with God in prayer is helpful to combat the noise that fills our heads.
Johnston is wise. Time away from the noise and from the bombardment of pressures to live or act a certain way is a good way to bring our attention back to the One who gave us life and Who sustains us.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
To counter the lie that we are unworthy, Thigpen suggests we get to know the saints. Especially those who shared our vocation or those who shared our struggles. For instance, as a mother who worries or grows anxious about my children’s faith, I can look to Saint Monica who cried out to God for years in agony over her lost son.
If someone struggles with lust or the things of the flesh, they can turn to Saint Augustine who struggled as a young man with those sins. The following prayer is a good way to turn away from thoughts of unworthiness and ask God for help through his saints:
Look upon our weakness, almighty God, and since the burden of our own deeds weighs heavily upon us, may the glorious intercession of St. ………..protect us, through Christ Our Lord.