While it’s a mistake to underestimate the power of Satan, sometimes we give him too much credit. Many times we blame the devil for making us do things that we could have controlled. In other words, despite what we may hear, the devil can’t make us do anything. He can tempt us and trick us, but the power of prayer can defeat him and prevent us from sinning.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states:
The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries—of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature—to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.” (CCC 395)
In the gospel of today’s Mass (Mk 1:21-28), we see an example of the devil’s limitations when Jesus rebukes an evil spirit who had possessed a man. The people are astonished and reply, “He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” Using only words, Jesus was able to rid the man of the evil spirit.
When we pray The Lord’s Prayer, we ask that we “be delivered from evil”. If we trust in the teaching of The Church, we should be confident when we say this prayer. The power of God is greater than the power of the devil and with The Lord’s help we can conquer Satan and his evil lies.