**prayer to stop evil
QUESTION from sandra on May 14, 2003
Please tell me if the following prayer is allowed by a
Catholic lay person
… “In Jesus name, I command all spirits that are not of the Holy Spirit, to go immediately to the foot of the cross”.
A dear friend recommends that I say this prayer whenever I feel evil around me. Thank you for your beautiful web site and God Bless.
**ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM** on May 16, 2003
Dear Mrs. Sandra:
Thank you for your kind remarks. I praise God that His work through this website is reaching people.
The prayer you listed contains what is called an “imprecatory command”. In 1985 the Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issues legislation restricting “imprecatory” commands to solemn exorcisms only. Thus laity and clergy are not allowed to use imprecatory commands outside of a solemn exorcism approved by the Bishop and conducted by an appointed exorcist.
Many of the ancient prayers from the Saints contain imprecatory commands. There is nothing wrong with imprecatory commands per se, but the Church has decided to restrict its use because of potential dangers and abuse.
In other words, the Church is worried about people butting heads with Satan and his demons personally.
Instead, we can edit these prayers to turn the “imprecatory” commands into “deprecatory” petitions. In this matter we do not “personally” command the devils, but ask God to command the devils for us. I know personally that I would rather God butt heads with Satan and me.
Thus, this is how we can edit your prayer to be in alignment with the Church legislation:
"In Jesus name, I ask you Father to command all spirits that are not of the Holy Spirit, to go immediately to the foot of the cross".
I would also suggest changing the last phrase. I think it is rather arrogant of man to tell God where to send the demons. Thus this is how I would make the final edit of the prayer.
"In Jesus name, I ask you Father to command all spirits that are not of the Holy Spirit, to depart from me and this place and my household and to go wherever You will them to go."
The “to depart from me and this place and my household” can be changed to fit the situation such as, “to depart from this workplace” or “to depart from this school” or “to depart from this motel and this room that we are staying”. You may find many other prayers in the Spiritual Warfare Catalog linked below. God Bless,
Bro. Ignatius Mary