A "Satanic prayer" hotline that was set up in Washington state as somewhat of a joke is being inundated with lots of calls.
Local intercessors, however, insist it's better to stay focused on what God is doing, not what the devil is doing.
In an episode of NPR's "This American Life" radio program, host Ira Glass recounted the activity of The Satanic Missionary Society, where, like Christian prayer hotlines, callers can phone in and leave voicemail messages requesting prayer.
The satanic prayer hotline, hosted on a blog, was launched by a man in Olympia, Washington, named Chris Allert, who doesn't believe in God or Satan. Annoyed by Christians who wouldn't stop evangelizing, he began the prayer line out of curiosity to see who would call. He soon found out people were taking prayers to Satan really seriously and wasn't sure what to do with that, Glass explained.
Those who call this hotline have the option to have their messages posted on the internet so others can pray to Satan on their behalf. With almost no publicity, voicemail messages soon started arriving, most of which ended with "Hail Satan."
"Hello, satanists everywhere. I'm calling to put a hex on the 1230 Club in Olympia, Washington," one message read, "[b]ecause they start blasting the music really early every night."
"Please make the 1230 Club go out of business, but make sure everybody that works there goes deaf, like, from playing their music so loud first. Hail Satan," the prayer request continued.
Another caller asking for satanic prayer requested help to acquire his first-ever job. Yet another called in to complain that he had been robbed and wanted whoever stole his belongings to suffer for it.
A teenage girl called in with a "sticky situation;' she believed she might be pregnant.
"And I need you guys to pray against the pregnancy. And if there is a baby inside of me, for Satan to kill it. Because I can't have a baby right now. So I'm turning to Satan, and he is the only answer I have right now. So I'm just overwhelmed. So call me when you get the chance. So thank you so much. Hail Satan, right? OK, thank you. Goodbye," she said in her message.
Other callers reportedly call in as a joke, or when they are intoxicated.
Patrick Walton, lead pastor at the International House of Prayer NW, headquartered in Federal Way, Washington, is not moved by the satanic prayer hotline, and says the best thing to do is to stay tuned into God, not getting bogged down in fighting the devil.
"Our simple answer would be, we pray prayers from the Bible, what we call (and many others) apostolic prayers, or prayers that the apostles prayed. We also pray prayers from the Old Testament as well," he said in an email to The Christian Post on Thursday, when asked how they intercede in light of the overt presence of demonic activity in the region.
"We see these prayers are Godward in nature, mainly, if not all positive, and not asking for devils to be overthrown, but that God would change people, by way of changing the atmosphere," he added,
Walton stressed that his comments not be taken as an official statement on behalf of the ministry but is generally "in a nutshell" how they see their prayers and intercession working in their environment.
"We don't get into rebuking the devil, squirting oil everywhere, and shouting really loudly. We try and pray from the Bible, maintain a culture of devotion to Jesus and the whole of the Bible, and we ask, as Jude did, that the Lord would rebuke Satan," Walton added.
"We don't get involved in speaking directly to Satan. We keep our conversation going toward God, and we see this as a biblical pattern."