Have you ever heard someone pray, "Satan, I bind you?" Or perhaps you may have uttered such a thing yourself? I've heard many people use phrases like this in their prayers, and while I don't want to belittle a person's heartfelt cry to God against evil, I can't help but dig into this phrase a little and ask the question, "Is this a biblical way to pray?" Can we really bind Satan or demons or is this a flaw in our theology?
To put it plainly, there is no passage of scripture which tells us that we can bind Satan or a demon from doing harm. Demons can be cast out of a person, but is this the same as binding? What does it mean to bind Satan?
When the various words in the Bible that are translated into bind, bound, or chained (252 instances) are used there is only one instance when it is used about the devil. It is found in Revelation 20:2, which says that an angel, "Seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years." This is a specific reference to a period following the Great Tribulation as the millennial reign of Christ begins. Satan is bound for a thousand years so that he may do no harm during the millennial reign of Christ. But his binding is only temporary. In fact, this language suggests that since Satan is bound at the end of the age, that he has not been previously bound.
What is interesting, however, is how the Bible uses the language of binding about who does the binding. Take a brief look at these examples: