Over the past week or so I have had two people ask me if I believe in demons and curses. It caught me by surprise. Do you believe in them or not?
I believe in them because Jesus did and also through my pastoral contact with people troubled by them. My first obvious encounter with a demon came in 1975 when a fine Christian lady came to me for prayer as she felt something was holding her back in her Christian life. As I prayed generally for her there came from her a deep-seated mocking laugh. I was somewhat stunned and a little fearful and felt completely out of my depth. No matter how I prayed even in the name of Jesus this evil thing wouldn’t depart from her. Finally, I sensed this manifestation was a demon of mockery. I commanded it to go and instantly she was set free and she went on to live in freedom with Jesus. Praise the Lord!
There are many people who find encouragement through the release of strongholds in their life.
As Paul battled against the principalities and powers of darkness so we too will do the same in ministry. Let me explain further.
Matthew, Mark and Luke have at least 23 references to Jesus and demons.
‘He travelled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons. Mark 1:39
‘Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness’ Matthew 10:1.
Victory however is accomplished through the finished work of the cross. ‘In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.’ Col 2:15.
- Most of our problems arise not from personal demonic activity but simply because we live in a fallen world. 1 John 2:15,16.
- I do not think about the presence of demons often, but we need to be alert as they are real. I have found Christians and non-Christians alike may be troubled by them whether they be rich or poor, highly educated or otherwise and regardless of ethnicity.
- As we live out our life growing in God, demons will oppose us in many ways. For instance; marriage misunderstandings, family tensions, financial pressures, disunity, false accusations and health challenges. Satan is the accuser of Believers Rev 12:10, Rom 8:1. He brings a generalised feeling of condemnation whereas the conviction of the Holy Spirit brings a clear awareness of sin.
- ‘For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places’ Ephesians 6:12. It is dangerous to ignore such this Biblical statement.
- Some cultures are more aware of spiritual realities than others.
- When ministering to others in this area, get a small prayer team around you for support, encouragement and breakthroughs.
- One time in Africa I spoke from Scripture on ‘generational curses’ and afterwards one of the pastors said he didn’t think we from the West believed in that sort of thing. They are very aware of this area.
- Recognise the amazing work of the cross where Jesus dethroned principalities of darkness!
- Land and material objects may carry a curse. I have seen this in both situations and it will cause many problems if not broken.
- After a deliverance situation if that person is on medication do not encourage them to stop taking it unless a registered doctor approves.
- There is no magic formula for deliverance, but sensitivity to the Holy Spirit means He will lead us.
- The person wanting release must have a strong desire to go God’s way. In some cases, they should pray and fast.
- Always pray for deliverance with another Believer present for support and protection. Particularly if a man is praying for a female make sure you have a support person for them. Praying in this way will build up your faith and it could be a teaching situation for others. Be confidential.
- After waiting in God’s presence pray with authority in the name of Jesus. That does not necessarily mean you have to shout!
- Jesus rebuked a demon by name, but not always. Remember Satan is the Father of lies, a deceiver and may even lie over this matter.
- In praying for a release, I would also get that person to become involved in a prayer of renunciation. You may need to suggest what they should pray.
- Be aware of demons wanting to come back and have another go at leading that person into bondage. Jesus referred to that in Luke 11:24.
- The person experiencing deliverance needs to maintain it by faith. This would include all the Christian disciplines pertaining to discipleship.
- Continue to uphold the delivered person in prayer and support them in any way necessary, but make sure God gets all the glory!
‘The Believer’s Guide To Spiritual Warfare’ by Thomas B. White
‘Defeating Dark Angels’, by C. H. Kraft
‘The Screwtape letters’, by C. S. Lewis