Our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, by His death and resurrection, has conquered the Evil One (Satan) and all his minions. Jesus has given this same victory to His holy Bride, Mother Church, for the protection of all her children.

Jesus gave His apostles authority over evil spirits (Matthew 10:1). So the ministry of exorcism on earth belongs properly to the ordained clergy of the Church. Mother Church strongly warns all her lay children not to directly command or address demons. (See the declaration On the Current Norms Regarding Exorcisms released by the CDF 29/9/84)

This wise counsel is for our own protection, since demons are vindictive and, given the opportunity, may retaliate against the Christian issuing the command (if the Christian sins or whatever). This is why the authority to exorcize demons is given only to very devout priests with a deep prayer life who fast and mortify themselves. They must constantly be aware of the Evil One's hostility toward them and live a holy life to avoid his revenge.

This restriction does not leave the laity completely defenseless, of course. We can still ask God to defeat the Evil One (remember, Jesus gave us the Lord's Prayer, which ends with the words "Deliver us from evil"). We can also address saints such as the Blessed Virgin and Michael the Archangel, whom God has given special authority to oppose the powers of evil.

The following are some prayers we may say for the defeat of our spiritual adversaries:

Prayer to Defeat the Work of Satan

O Divine Eternal Father, in union with Your Divine Son and the Holy Spirit, and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg You to destroy the power of Your greatest enemy - the evil spirits.

Cast them into the deepest recesses of hell and chain them there forever! Take possession of Your Kingdom which You have created and which is rightfully Yours.

Heavenly Father, give us the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

I repeat this prayer out of pure love for You with every beat of my heart and with every breath I take. Amen.1

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To Our Lady, Queen of Angels

(A Bernardine Sister was shown in spirit the vast desolation caused by the devil throughout the world, and at the same time she heard the Blessed Virgin telling her that it was true, hell had been let loose upon the earth; and that the time had come to pray to her as Queen of the Angels and to ask of her the assistance of the heavenly legions to fight against these deadly foes of God and of men.

"But my good Mother," she replied, "you who are so kind, could you not send them without our asking?" "No," Our Lady answered, "because prayer is one of the conditions required by God Himself in obtaining favors." Then the Blessed Virgin communicated the following prayer, bidding the Sister to have it printed and distributed:)

August Queen of Heaven! Sovereign Mistress of the angels! You who from the beginning have received from God the power and mission to crush the head of Satan, we humbly beseech you to send your holy Legions, that, under your command and by your power, they may pursue the evil spirits, encounter them on every side, resist their bold attacks and drive them hence into the abyss of eternal woe. Amen.2

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Prayer to Holy Michael the Archangel
Holy Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.3

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1"Prayer to Defeat the Work of Satan", Pieta Prayer Book, (Hickory Corners, MI: MLOR Corporation, 1995) 32. MLOR Corporation 1995. ("Pictures or prayers may be reproduced for personal use, not for commercial purposes")

2The webmaster has a holy card with this prayer on it.

3A traditional Catholic prayer.


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