Can Satan hear our prayers?

It is possible that Satan and his demons can hear our prayers to God, but this should not be of major concern to the child of God. Assuming they can hear our prayers, it is debatable whether Satan and demons actively listen to them. Whatever the case, Satan and his demons have absolutely no power to prevent God from answering our prayers according to His will.

In his introduction to The Screwtape Letters, author C. S. Lewis warned of two equal but opposite errors believers often make about the Devil: one can harbor an unhealthy preoccupation with him, or one can deny his existence altogether. Both assumptions are wrong, both assumptions are dangerous, and Satan is pleased by either of these errors. We must understand Satan is a created being tethered on a long leash. The other end of his leash is in God's able grip. Ignorance of the Devil's ploys is no virtue (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:10–18; 1 Peter 5:8–9), but we may derive comfort knowing his destruction is coming (Revelation 20:10). Give the Devil his due, but let us not give him more than he is due. The Old Testament book of Job pulls back the curtain and allows us insights into Satan's methods:

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, "From where have you come?" Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it." And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face." And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:6–12)

Satan is a real being. Satan is a created being, not an equal with God. Satan, even though he has rebelled against God and is now His enemy, is still under God's ultimate authority. He can only do what God allows. God summoned, and Satan was required to answer. Satan's powers, impressive by human standards, are insignificant when compared to the inexhaustible strength and might of our Creator.

Although Job 1 does not specifically state that Satan can hear our prayers, it does suggest he is privy to our conversations with God. Satan was well familiar with the details of Job's life. We may assume Job had been under Satan's clandestine observation for some time and that Satan heard his prayers. What remains unknown is how deeply the Devil can probe into the thoughts and inner prayers of a mortal. Can he read our minds? No; he is not omnipresent. But, is Satan so attuned to human nature and such a keen observer of humanity that he readily knows what humans are thinking? Can he overhear the secret petitions and personal confessions we send up to Father God in some way in the spiritual realm? The Bible indicates God alone knows our personal thoughts (1 Kings 8:39). Satan is not all-knowing, but we have no secrets from God (Hebrews 4:12–13; Psalm 139:2; Jeremiah 17:10).

The angel Gabriel was familiar with the prayers of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist (Luke 1:13), but Gabriel was acting under God's instructions. It is unclear whether Gabriel heard the prayer or God told him about it. It is true that the prayers of God's people are compared to fragrant incense that goes up before God's throne (Exodus 30:1–10; Psalm 141:2; Revelation 5:8; 8:3). So perhaps all prayers are heard throughout God's dwelling place, including by the angels there. Whatever the case, information known to Gabriel or any of the heavenly hosts would not necessarily be available to a fallen angel.

In the end, it doesn't really matter if Satan and his demons can hear our prayers. We can talk to our Heavenly Father any time, and, if the Devil overhears, that's fine. Our Father is able to accomplish His will no matter what Satan does. The prophet Daniel was surrounded by physical and political enemies who were watching his every move, and what did he do? "He went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously" (Daniel 6:10). It did not matter that his enemies were watching and listening. He prayed.

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