I was recently talking to a young leader and they posed interesting questions about the ministry of deliverance. It seems that many Spirit-filled Christians are conflicted about this topic. How do we bring the goodness and glory of Jesus to those who are afflicted by darkness?
I understand that this is an extremely controversial topic. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on my observations. Yet, I have had a number of experiences with this over the last few years and I thought I would share my insights.
Interact with me as I share seven things that you need to know to exorcise demons.
1. Speak to the person, not the demon.
When operating in deliverance, keep in mind you’re ministering to the man or woman not the demon. Remain calm and loving. Always give the person priority. Ask them if they can hear you. If they don’t respond, another spirit is likely dominant. You must take authority over it in the name of Jesus. The demon may try to manifest; causing the person to growl, whine, argue, threaten or contort. Do not speak to the spirit unless it is a command to submit in the name of Jesus. Maintain authority and communicate clearly.
2. Determine whether the person actually wants to be delivered.
If the demonized person doesn’t genuinely want help, it will be an uphill battle for deliverance. Whatever “ground” you take will be later reoccupied (Matt. 12:43-45). Ask them if they truly want freedom. If you find that the person wants to continue in bondage, then your best option is to wait. Provide love and encouragement and end the session until they reconsider your offer.
3. Lead them in prayers of revocation and repentance.
If there is an openness to the work of Jesus, you should boldly lead them into a prayer of revocation. Get them to verbally revoke all ungodly agreements and forgive everyone in their life. We want to close all “open doors.” Have the person renounce, in the name of Jesus, all sins and spiritual allegiances. This is the time when they must renounce any inner vows, pacts or curses. This renunciation must be audible and spoken firmly; revocation is not a prayer to God but a command spoken to an enemy.
4. Pray prayers of command.
Now it is time to command all spirits to leave. Deliverance is not a traditional prayer; it is a prayer of command. It’s not directed to heaven, but toward the evil spirit, ordering it to “get out!” This command is backed up by God’s authority, in the name of Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul, for instance, cast out the soothsaying spirit from a slave girl in Thyatira. This demon kept pestering him while he was ministering to others.
“She did this for many days. But becoming greatly troubled, Paul turned to the spirit and said, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And it came out at that moment” (Acts 16:18).
When it comes time to move into commanding prayer, you may say something like, “I break your power and cancel your assignment against this man. I command you to leave this man in Jesus’ name.”
5. Fill in the emptiness.
When demons are expelled, the next step is to get the emptiness “filled up.” After the demons leave, there remains a spiritual vacuum in the once afflicted person. So we finish our prayer by asking God to fill in any empty space with the goodness, Spirit and life of Jesus. If they don’t have the Holy Spirit “occupy,” the demons will often try to move back in. We want to end every deliverance on a positive, God-centered note by praying for an infilling of every strength and virtue that characterized the life of Jesus.
6. Offer thanksgiving and praise.
At this point, it is time to lead the delivered one in expressions of thanksgiving and praise. This should truly be a joyful time. We want to show how grateful we are for the wonderful things that Jesus does. Thanksgiving and praise seal the work that has been done and positions everyone to receive more of the kingdom.
7. Develop new rhythms and behaviors.
Even though a person has been delivered, they may still need some help with their relationships and responsibilities. Encourage them to continue seeking prayer and counseling (if needed). The person also might need to take steps to build up strengths that will counteract their weaknesses. For years their thoughts and feelings have been shaped by destructive patterns. They need to change those habitual behaviors. Encourage them to regularly go to church, pray and read their Bibles. Get them into Christian community so that they discover new rhythms of life.
All of us as Christians need to be ready to bring the goodness and life of Jesus to a broken world. From time to time, we all need to be reminded of the Lord’s wondrous decree: “Whoever follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).