The devil attacks us secretly most of the time, but there are other times when an attack is obvious and it is usually extremely controlling. It quickly robs us of our peace and replaces it with uncontrollable anxiety. Once that takes hold, the devil starts to work on the mind by injecting bad thoughts you do not want, but cannot seem to stop. The more the thoughts invade the mind, the more unsettled you become. There is a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional effects that include: nervousness, foggy or disrupted thinking, sleep disturbances, agitation. It is harassment, plain and simple, and there is a pattern to it. This type of attack is very powerful, many times too powerful to handle on your own.
When the spirit of harassment strikes, at first there will be an uneasiness that builds inside. You can feel it and you just know that something is wrong. Then unholy thoughts come and viciously assault the mind. This causes a great deal of frustration and grief. The devil wants to convince you that you are participating in these thoughts, even though you do everything in your power to stop them. When I experience an attack like this I react by wincing, tensing up, and even covering my ears, all in an attempt to make the thoughts stop. These reactions are all indications that I am not accepting nor participating in these invasive thoughts. These thoughts even wake me up at night; and are there in the morning.
The most difficult part of the attacks is that they are most prevalent during prayer, in adoration, during the consecration, and especially when I am about to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. That leaves me feeling dejected and wanting to avoid prayer altogether. The devil and these demons want to disturb our spirit, to beat us up and tear us down. The devil did that to me for a long time. One day I said enough, and I did everything in my power to learn how to defeat my enemies.
There is so much that can be done to protect ourselves, but most importantly, we must never stop praying or frequenting the sacraments. I know from personal experience that if you do, you will get a reprieve from these assaults, but it is only temporary. They will return with a vengeance.
When a person feels attacked, they instinctively defend themselves. It is the same when we are being attacked by evil, except we do it through prayer, and those prayers should be prayed daily. There are many prayers, but the ones I have found most useful are from Father Gabriele Amorth. They can be found in his books, An Exorcist Tells His Story, and An Exorcist Tells More Stories. Father John Hampsch is another source for deliverance prayers that are very good. The website Catholic Warrior has a page of spiritual warfare prayers that are powerful in times of an attack. The Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Rosary must be added to daily prayer, and the Saint Michael Chaplet is another prayer that can be added for protection.
You don’t have to say a million prayers every day. Choose the ones you want and incorporate them into your daily routine. Maybe you can pray the Saint Michael Chaplet once a week and some other prayers daily, whatever works best for you. Just put it into your routine and I promise you will not regret it.
I use sacramentals every day because I know they are great protection from evil. I use holy water, blessed oil, blessed salt, and blessed candles. If you can have a priest bless them with an exorcism blessing, that would be the best option. You can also have your house blessed once a year with an exorcism blessing. I use holy water and salt in my home especially if I am under attack. I sprinkle the salt in the corners of all the rooms and under the beds. You can put the salt in the vents, in the window sills, and even sprinkle it around the outside of the house. I cook with the salt every day. I bless myself with the holy oil before I go to bed and if you have children, you should bless them too. I burn the candles often because they keep evil away and help keep things peaceful in the home.
These are things I have learned through religious readings and priests. Don’t be afraid to ask a priest to bless them, it is what they do. It may be a challenge to get the exorcism blessing, but have faith, pray, and you will find a priest that will do it.
Deliverance prayers and sacramentals are very effective in fighting the enemy. That being said, sometimes they are not enough on their own and you will need to contact a priest. There is no one on this earth more powerful than the priest because his power comes from above. He willingly stands in between us and this evil. It is a selfless act that literally changes lives.
I am very blessed to have a priest that helps me when I am experiencing these types of disturbances. The gratitude I have for him is immense and I pray for him all the time. He prays special prayers of deliverance of over me and gives me the anointing of the sick. When my priest recently prayed over me, I was very anxious. As he prayed, I was more attacked in my mind. Once He anointed me, however, my whole body relaxed and my breathing even calmed down. The immediate physical and emotional improvement is enormous, but it does take some time for the thoughts to completely leave.
After the anointing, it is important to continue praying the deliverance prayers every day. It is easy to stop once you feel fine again, but try not to do that. Going to confession weekly, and attending Mass daily if possible is also very important; because this is how the Lord strengthens us to fight the enemy. No matter how bad you are feeling try to overcome the temptation to avoid prayer and the sacraments; and instead, run to them. We are either going to fight the enemy or succumb to him, it is up to us.
These spiritual attacks only happen because God allows them. He does that so we can love him more so that we can come to know and understand that we are nothing without Him. It is specifically because of these trials that we come to depend on God. And it is that surrender that ultimately brings us to a closer relationship with Him. It is in the midst of the battle that we feel weak, but it is precisely because of the battle that we are made strong.
The spiritual life is up and down just like everything else; there will be times of peace and there will be times of war, but we must never give up. God knows what He is doing. He knows exactly how much suffering we must endure in this life so that we can be with Him in the next.