12 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT DELIVERANCE
This post looks at a controversial aspect of Christian ministry- deliverance- the casting out of demons. Some Christians feel it is unnecessary to pray deliverance prayers, some quarrel about the mode of prayer employed while some see it as a conduit ministers use to extort money from hapless folks. In this post, I share 12 important points that shed light on the place of deliverance in the church, how it should be carried out and what we need to sustain it. Read and be blessed.
1. Deliverance is not a hoax. Demons exist and they are very oppressive. Sometimes they also afflict born-again Christians.
An important part of the ministry of Jesus was deliverance. He cast out demons of madness, deafness and dumbness, among others (Mark 5:1-15, 9, 25-27).
“And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.” – Mark 1:39
“When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick”- Matthew 8:16.
And He gave the same charge to His disciples, which include us.
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils…” – Mark 16:17.
Becoming born again technically means that we are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), but sometimes some nasty experiences from when we were unsaved persist until we undergo deliverance prayer to throw out the powers behind those troubles.
The devil imitates God’s standard of operating by covenant. If we come from an idolatrous background, saying the sinner’s prayer does not convince the evil powers our families were serving that we no longer belong to them. It requires specific renunciation of those powers and breaking of whatever binds us to them, like seasonal rituals, to stop their activities in our lives. As long as we participate directly or indirectly in the worship of those powers (e.g. by contributing money for annual sacrifices), we remain subject to their capricious torments and demands.
2. Jesus has already won the victory for us as the following Scriptures show:
“14. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15. And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” – Hebrews 2:14-15
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” – Matthew 28:18
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” – Revelation 1:18
So we should go into deliverance prayer with confidence. When one is confident of a positive outcome, pursuing an endeavour becomes a whole lot easier.
3. An anointed deliverance minister should handle the very difficult cases. While we can all pray for ourselves as believers, we should understand that there is a hierarchy in the spirit realm and specialisation in the work of the kingdom.
At one time when the prophet Daniel was praying and fasting, he received a supernatural visitation and this is what the angel said:
“12. Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 13. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; … 14. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days” – Daniel 10:12-14.
The principality over the kingdom of Persia held down the angel who was supposed to bring Daniel an answer to his prayer until the archangel Michael intervened. It is the same among believers. We do not all operate at the same level of grace, so we will do well to leave the knotty cases to those with higher unction.
Also, God has distributed gifts and offices in the church to ease the work of ministry.
“8. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9. To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10. To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” – 1 Corinthians 12:8-11
“28. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29. Are[p all apostles? are all prophets? ar[ all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30. Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” – 1 Corinthians 12:28-30
Do not jump into deliverance ministry, going about conducting individual, family and community deliverance except God specifically called you and you have been trained for this. Otherwise, you may become a casualty yourself. There have been cases where people carried the problems they attempted to deliver others from. So learn your calling, identify and use your gifts to serve God, but stay in your lane. Don’t complicate your life or die before your time by taking up what is beyond you.
Similarly, some believers expose themselves to danger by abusing the devil in the name of deliverance and suffer for it. The Bible does not support this.
“10… Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.” – 2 Peter 2:10-11
“Not even the chief angel Michael did this. In his quarrel with the Devil, when they argued about who would have the body of Moses, Michael did not dare condemn the Devil with insulting words, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” – Jude 1:9 (GNT)
4. It may be necessary to pay the expenses of the minister/team invited to pray for deliverance and give a financial reward if they are using this ministry as a means of livelihood (1 Corinthians 9:11 & 14). That being said, do not allow yourself to be exploited by anyone in the name of deliverance prayer. Be especially wary of those who insist that you should empty your bank account in payment as a condition for obtaining deliverance. Any reward given to a minister should be of one’s free will, not coerced or pressured, because in the New Testament, ministry is freely rendered as the Lord Jesus declared in Matthew 10:8:
“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”
5. Precede difficult cases with a period of prayer (and usually fasting). The Lord Jesus Himself recommended this.
“28. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29. And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” – Mark 9:28-29
An important part of that prayer should be repentance for the sins committed by the prayer team and those they are praying for, including sins from the ancestral line that may be responsible for the tragedies that necessitated prayer.
When praying for the unsaved, it’s important to lead them to Christ before delivering them. Such prayer releases God’s mercy over people’s lives and ensures that His words work when declared over them during deliverance.
6. Revelational gifts play a key role in ensuring successful deliverance prayer by unveiling the root of the problem that led to the prayer. Deep-seated problems that manifest in tragedies like untimely deaths and all manner of curses do not usually respond well to general prayers like, “Whatever is causing these deaths, cease in Jesus’ name.”
There was a case during the time of King David that was solved by revelation.
“Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.” – 2 Samuel 21:1
To avoid praying round in circles, we need clarity from the spirit realm on what is causing the problem and what is needed to end it.
7. Deliverance prayer usually involves renouncing of ties with demons working against those prayed for and some prophetic action, like walking around a property speaking in tongues and anointing it to repossess it for the owner and the Lord and burning of idols, etc. But performance of rituals, like blood sacrifice and giving of tokens such as one’s hair or clothes to “deliverance ministers” for whatever reasons are dangerous. These are not only unbiblical, they can covenant those prayed for with higher demonic powers than those afflicting them which may bring immediate relief but will introduce worse bondage and complications into their lives in future. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is enough to atone for anything that the devil may be hanging on to to affict us (Hebrews 10:5-14).
8. Manifestation of demons through the victims thrashing around during prayer is not a must in deliverance prayer. Someone may be prayed for and be delivered without noise and drama. When Jesus delivered the afflicted boy in the book of Mark, there was strong demonic manifestation but there was none when he loosed the woman bound by a spirit that bent her over.
“25. And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26. And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27. But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. – Mark 9:25-27 (ESV)
“11. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13. And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. – Luke 13:11-13 (ESV)
9. Deliverance is not a service to contract out without any responsibility of knowing the Lord and godly living on one’s part. There are some churches or “ministers” who charge fees to pray people out of knotty situations without first preaching the gospel to them and inviting them to surrender their lives to Jesus. Getting people to know God personally is our most important assignment called the Great Commission (Mark 16:15-18) and the signs and wonders, including deliverance, are done by God through us to show the unsaved that He is real and He cares for them.
“1. And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. 3. Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” – Acts 14:1,3
“6. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” -1 John 1:6-7.
That is when we will live a truly delivered life and will have hope of being received into God’s kingdom in the hereafter.
“14. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” – Revelation 22:14-15
10. Deliverance prayer is not an omnibus solution that ensures an end to every demonic harassment for the rest of one’s life. The devil and his workers are plotting nonstop to wrest us from the hands of God. They try to discredit God and His word by laying burdens on us and hassling us in hopes that our faith might faint. This is how Apostle Paul described the experience of himself and his associates.
“4. But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5. In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings” – 2 Corinthians 6:4-5.
“26. In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27. In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” – 2 Corinthians 11:26-27
We should not be discouraged by attacks as they are often a sign of the effectiveness of our ministry but we should remember the promise of the Bible that God has “delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us” – 2 Corinthians 1:10.
11. Immersing oneself in the word of God is essential for overcoming demonic oppression all through one’s life. This is related to point No. 9. Growing in grace includes having the faith and fighting spirit to overcome our challenges and the fortitude to endure what tough things the Lord allows in our lives. We cannot do any of these without constantly filling ourselves with God’s word. That word builds our shield of faith to deflect demonic arrows and it is our spiritual sword to fight the enemy.
“11. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 16. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” – Ephesians 6:11, 12, 16, 17.
12. Christians are to show much love to fellow believers and other people tortured by demons. If we are not careful, people’s spiritual problems will define them in our eyes and we will fail to fully discharge our duty of love to them as brothers and sisters in Christ or people in need of salvation. We owe everyone a duty of love. True, we should avoid close association with those who court and serve demons to avoid defilement which will open us up to attack. Yet, we should not live in fear of demons and make that fear close our hearts to loving and serving people as Christ has called us to.
This is especially important in the church. We should not ostracise brethren, who through the involvement of their families or themselves in the occult in the past, are facing numerous challenges in the present. They need our love and support to pull through and if we shut them out, God will not be pleased with us and that will make us vulnerable to the devil’s attack. Remember we are not representing God when we do not walk in love.
“11. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” – 1 John 4:11-12
“9. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.” – 1 John 2:9-10
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18
While deliverance may sometimes be called for, we should avoid the ultra spiritual error of seeing a demon in everyone and every situation. If we’re constantly seeing spirits that are affecting our proper day-to-day functioning, we probably need deliverance ourselves (we may be losing our minds).
And it bears repeating that we must walk in love. Although demons largely operate through people, we should remember as Ephesians 6:12 above reminded us, that our fight is not with people per se but the hierarchies of evil acting through them to thwart the purpose of God in our lives and in the world.
Help me, Lord, to be balanced in my beliefs and actions concerning demons, to neither deny their existence nor be engrossed with them. Help me to discern and defeat their wiles as often as I need to in Jesus’ name.
The scriptures in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible except where otherwise stated.
Good News Translation – Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission. (The Good News Translation – The Holy Bible Online)
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
Phew! Hope you were blessed by this piece. Do let me know if you got any takeaways from it.