No doubt, we can never underestimate the immense power of prayer. Having spent a considerable number of years inside the seminary and almost finishing my erstwhile priestly formation, I can only reminisce, with nostalgic yearning, the spiritually awesome and uplifting prayer moments or exercises we have had.
Prayer, from my Catholic perspective, doesn’t get its value on the quantity or words or repetition of formulas. Rather, as it is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God, its value lies principally on our inner attitude of faith and love of God.
Hence, regardless of what we are praying for, prayer – by itself – is a profound experience of transcendence, of connecting with the divine.
Even before our prayer is answered, it already offers us some positive benefits: it calms the spirit, clears the mind, and brings peace; it provides us transcendent articulation of joy, gratefulness, and relief.
Furthermore, again from my Catholic perspective, prayer can be classified into four forms or modalities, as signified by the acronym A. C. T. S. – that is, Adoration; Contrition or asking forgiveness; Thanksgiving; and Supplication (which includes “intercessory” prayer).
What about prayers of protection and deliverance? Well, they are classified as specific supplicatory prayers. Deliverance (being “deprecatory”, as differentiated from exorcism (which is “imprecatory” or command), is a broad term that can mean being freed from any problem, danger, harm, or evil affliction.
Now, from the basic Christian tradition, let me share some prominent, and eminent as well, prayers of protection and deliverance.
One, is Psalm 91 of the Old Testament.
The Jewish tradition and other apocryphal sources ascribe Psalm 91’s authorship to Moses (believed to be his prayer when he ascended Mt. Sinai to receive the ten commandments). The Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, however, attributes Psalm 91 to David.
But, regardless whoever its author, Psalm 91 is unmistakably a magnificent prayerful rendition of God’s mighty protection and deliverance.
Here’s the full text of Psalm 91 (from the Christian Community bible – Catholic Pastoral Edition):
“You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who rest in the shadow of the Almighty, say to the Lord, ‘My stronghold, my refuge, my God in whom I trust!’
He will rescue you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions and give you refuge under his wings.
You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrows that fly by day, nor the pestilence that stalks by night, and the plague that destroys at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but nothing shall befall you, his faithfulness is your shield. Open your eyes: you will see how the wicked are repaid.
If you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your stronghold, no harm will come upon you, no disaster will draw near your home.
For he will command his angels to guard you in all your ways. They will lift you up with their hands so that your foot will not hit a stone.
You will tread on wildcats and snakes and trample the lion and the dragon. ‘Because they cling to me, I will rescue them,’ says the lord. ‘I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer; in time of trouble I will be with them; I will deliver and honor them. I will satisfy them with long life and show them my salvation.”
Our second “very prominent” prayer of protection and deliverance is from the New Testament: the Lord’s Prayer or “Our Father”.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) #2774, the “Lord’s Prayer is truly the summary of the whole gospel...it is the most perfect of prayers.” Given by Jesus himself, “the first (or early Christian) communities prayed the Lord’s Prayer three times a day” (CCC #2767).
As a complete prayer, the Lord’s Prayer encompasses all the elements or modalities of prayer (i.e. A.C.T.S.), including of course “deliverance from evil”.
Here’s Matthew’s text, Mt. 6:9-13 (Luke’s version is shorter) of the Lord’s Prayer:
“Our Father in heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today the kind of bread we need. Forgive us our debts just as we forgive those who are in debt to us. Do not bring us to the test but deliver us from the evil one.”
Finally, on a personal note, I can’t avoid the proclivity of sharing the following prayer of protection and deliverance that I devised during the inception or “lockdown months” of COVID-19:
“Almighty God and Father, my true refuge and strength, into your loving hands I entrust, along with my family and loved ones, our physical and spiritual safety in our daily undertakings, at home, and in our paths and journeys. Grant us your divine guidance, protection and deliverance from all evils, dangers, sickness, and harm.
Mary, our Mother, we seek your maternal intercession for our families; surround us with your mantle of love to discourage the enemy.
St. Michael and our Guardian Angels, come and defend us and our families against the snares and wickedness of the devil.
In the mighty name of Jesus, I bind and command all the powers and forces of evil to depart right now from us, from our homes, and from our lands.
Gloria Patri et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et simper et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.”
God bless, guide, and protect us!