We are told to pray for our enemies. Does that mean we should also pray for Satan? Troy Lacey, AiG–U.S., explains.
I am a Christian but do not have a strong background in the Bible.
My 5 year old understands we are to pray for enemies. He asked “If we pray for Satan, would he change and go back to following God?”
I know Satan was an angel who turned against God and was banished to the Earth. Why was there no hope of him turning back to God, and why would other angels/spirits follow him when his destiny is known?
Thank you for any clarity
Thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis and for raising some interesting questions.
Nowhere in Scripture are we asked or commanded to pray for the salvation of Satan or his angels.
Jesus indeed told His followers to pray for those who spitefully use them (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28), but the context of these passages make it clear that Jesus was speaking about how to treat our fellow man. Nowhere in Scripture are we asked or commanded to pray for the salvation of Satan or his angels. In 1 Peter 5:8–9, we are told to beware of Satan and resist him steadfastly in the faith. In James 4:7, we are told to resist the devil. We are also told in Ephesians 4:27 not to give place to the devil, and Ephesians 6:12 states that we wrestle against satanic and demonic forces.
Also, 2 Peter 2:4 states that “God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell (Greek: tartarus) and delivered them into chains of darkness.” Jude 6 states, “The angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” Revelation 20:10 declares that Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and tormented forever. Knowing that God has already guaranteed the condemnation of Satan and these fallen angels, how can we then pray for their salvation? We would essentially be praying for God to go back on His Word, which we know He cannot do (Titus 1:2).
Furthermore, by being born of a woman, Jesus became a descendant of Adam. He was one of us, so He had the ability to die in our place on the Cross. He did not become an angel and die for them (Hebrews 2:16–17). Although the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ have far-reaching effects beyond mankind (Romans 8:21), only descendants of Adam can be saved from sin.
Regarding the original fall of Satan, it makes the most sense that he fell shortly before the Fall of mankind. Scripture does not specify when the angels rebelled against God and followed Satan, but it seems likely that they fell along with or right after Satan, and therefore they did not immediately know about Satan’s ultimate punishment, as prophesied by God in Genesis 3:15. However, we are not explicitly told this in Scripture, so we cannot be dogmatic on this point.
We are also not specifically told why the other angels followed Satan in rebellion or what their reasoning was for doing so. As such, we can only speculate. Perhaps they didn’t think Satan would be severely punished for his rebellion, or maybe they foolishly thought they could prevail against God. If the angels who followed Satan did not fall until after Adam’s sin, then perhaps they thought God would be willing to forgive them too. Again, these ideas aren’t clearly spelled out in Scripture, so these are just proposals that may be wrong. The earliest known prophecy of Satan’s ultimate doom was in Genesis 3:15 (spoken to the serpent, but directed at Satan). The angels who rebelled against God would probably not have been aware of this prophecy before the Fall, if indeed they rebelled at the same time as Satan.
Please see Satan and the Origin of Evil for more information; I think it will help you explain things in more detail to your son.
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