Should a Christian say Back to Sender Prayers?
What is a back-to-sender prayer? Is this type of prayer Biblical or are back to sender prayers actually false and demonic prayers?
This type of prayer is particularly popular in African Pentecostalism and in various African countries where witchcraft and occultism is rife.
Back to sender prayer are supposed prayers or “prayer points” which are made in retaliation towards people who are considered to be one’s enemies.
One advocate on the internet defines back-to-sender prayers as “warfare prayers organized… to return wicked arrows back to the head, hands or legs of the senders”.
Another preacher of return to sender prayer defines this type of prayer by saying “when an evil man makes an evil utterance against you, you must return it back to them immediately”
So back to sender prayer is done when a person believes that he/she is being bewitched, cursed, wronged or spiritually attacked by someone perceived to be an enemy. This perceived enemy could be anyone from a relative, workmate, church member, neighbour and so forth.
If a person prays a return-to-sender prayer against his enemy, that person is simply saying “Let whatever evil you send or intend for me, return to you in the same form you intended for me”.
So whether the evil intention is perceived or assumed to be witchcraft, cursing, death, poor finances etc, the sender must receive the same outcome if a back-to-sender prayer is made.
However is this type of prayer godly or Biblical? Does the Bible teach Christians to pray back-to-sender prayers?
Below are 5 reasons why back-to-sender prayers are ungodly and potentially demonic:
1. Back-to-Sender encourages a spirit of revenge
God prohibits us from seeking revenge against our enemies. Instead we must leave vengeance to God alone.
Romans 12:19-20 says: 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Revenge is when we seek an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. However Jesus Christ has taught Christians a new way to respond to the wicked
In Matthew 5:38-39 Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
2. Back-to-Sender encourages people to repay evil with evil
The very definition, concept and motive regarding back to sender “prayer points” is that evil acts must be repaid with evil acts. Therefore if an enemy or a witch supposedly curses you or bewitches you, then a back to sender “prayer” must also curse or bewitch the enemy.
However the Bible forbids Christians from committing evil. Romans 12:17 says: Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
Romans 12:21 says: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
We cannot overcome evil with evil. We cannot overcome a curse with more cursing via back-to-sender “prayers”. So God commands Christians to overcome evil with good.
3. Back-to-Sender fosters hatred and bitterness instead of love
One of the ways we can overcome evil with good is by responding in love, or by praying for the very people who have wronged us.
In Matthew 5:43-45 Jesus says the following about how we should retaliate towards our enemies: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
In Romans 12:14 says: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
Furthermore when people have a back-to-sender mindset, such people have no boundaries or true distinctions in terms of who is really an enemy and who is not.
A back-to-sender mindset increases suspicion and the temptation to revenge even for the most smallest issues. A back-to-sender mindset can be easily offended and can become very bitter or even attack someone who is actually innocent.
4. Back-to-sender encourages demonic declarations
Back to sender prayers are word utterances that contradict the Scriptures of God. The fact that God prohibits repaying evil with evil or acts of revenge, is evidence that God does not answer prayers that are contrary to His word or divine will.
Back to sender prayers do not invoke the hand of God but instead they encourage the participation of demonic spirits.
Such utterances during back to sender prayers involve the speaker expressing that all evil which was supposedly meant for the recipient must be “reversed” and befall on others. Therefore the speaker is similarly desiring & declaring witchcraft, cursing and all manner of evil on the sender.
However we know that God cannot be tempted. So He does not, for example perform witchcraft and nor is God capable of performing any evil act on behalf of anyone (James 1:13).
Therefore such a type of prayer cannot be answered by God. Instead these prayers invite demonic spirits to act on behalf of the speaker.
Therefore back-to-sender prayers are themselves similar to acts of witchcraft.
5. Jesus taught us how to pray
In Luke 11:1-4 Jesus taught us how to pray by giving us what we know as “The Lord’s Prayer”. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us that when we pray we must pray for the will of God to be done. God only answers prayer that agrees with His will.
He also taught us that we must ask God to “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.”
So in prayer we must ask God for forgiveness of our sins, but also be willing to forgive others.
In Luke 23:34 whilst Jesus suffered crucifixion on the cross, He prayed “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
In Luke 9:51-56 Jesus rebuked James and John when they asked Christ if they should call down fire from heaven to burn the Samaritans.
Therefore the example of prayer that Jesus gave us did not include any kind of back-to-sender prayer because such “prayers” do not reveal the loving and forgiving nature of Christ.
Back to sender prayers are wrong and ungodly. Such prayers contradict the word of God. A back to sender prayer does not move the hand of God but it encourages demonic activity. They are “prayers” of revenge and unforgiveness which are contrary to the nature and character of Jesus Christ and what He taught us.