The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:17-20, ESV)
Spiritual warfare is an aspect of Christianity that has always fascinated me. While this subject is not taught in every seminary or every church, it is a very real part of the world in which we inhabit. In the New Testament, Jesus and his disciples expelled demons from people as a part of their ministry. And I’m convinced this type of warfare did not end in the first century. I believe it continues on today and there are many people that need the church’s help.
Let me be very clear at the outset. This article is not a how-to when it comes to deliverance ministries. This isn’t the kind of thing you decide to just go and do. There are experienced teams which proceed only with much training and intentionality, and I would never recommend someone trying deliverance ministry without joining a team like this.
“In the New Testament, Jesus and his disciples expelled demons from people as a part of their ministry.”
In this article, can I share some quick learnings I’ve made while helping to participate in deliverance sessions? I recognize that there are a host of issues good people can have with an article like this. For one thing, there has been a general downplaying of the supernatural realm in our post-enlightenment culture. There have also been theological cases made that these types of ministry ceased in the First Century. There can also be the practical unease that comes from thinking about the spiritual forces of darkness in our world.
To these inhibitions, I just want to note that my intention is to be faithful to Scripture and helpful to people. And I hope these learnings I’m about to share are helpful to you.
1. The Falseness of Pop-Culture Portrayals
First, What I have learned participating in these deliverance/inner healing sessions is that the process is nothing like what gets portrayed in entertainment media. Hollywood and other media have made deliverance sessions to be outright horror shows, showcasing violence and sometimes even death. My experiences could not be further from that depiction.
2. The Priority of Inner Healing
Second, I’ve learned that the real key to a deliverance session is that an inner healing must be accomplished first. This is because, from what I’ve seen, the demons find and keep a foothold in someone’s life. Many times, this can come from trauma they have not healed from or a sin that they have not yet given up. So during the session, we address these areas that need healing and, with the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, help heal these wounds. Each of us carry wounds and these are the exact areas of our lives that demons tend to be attracted to.
3. The Importance of Evaluation
Third, I’ve learned that deliverance ministries must go hand-in-hand with careful psychological evaluations. There is a real need for evaluations which address potential mental health issues, so this definitely involves seeking out professional mental health services when appropriate. It is important to remember that the best approach to a full healing is both a spiritual approach and a psychological approach.
“The best approach to a full healing is both a spiritual approach and a psychological approach.”
4. The Deception of Demons
Fourth, I’ve learned at a deeper level that the forces of evil are deceivers. We know from Scripture that Satan is a liar and an accuser. And almost every time there is demonic oppression, we can decipher ways that the evil forces are lying to the person. It is important to remember that demons can be crafty—sometimes even taking the person’s name or perhaps a parent’s name. Thus, the person believes that they are actually coming up with these negative thoughts when it is really a demon lying to them.
5. The Power of Jesus
Fifth, I’ve learned more deeply the power of Jesus. These conversations can feel much like a prosecutor speaking to a suspect on the stand. Then, at the end of the session, the demons will be commanded to go to the feet of Jesus where he will deal swiftly with them. I have seen person after person have a visible difference in the way that they carry themselves following the session.
I want to stress again that this article isn’t a how-to; it’s just about insights I’ve learned along the way. And I cannot stress too strongly that the best way to approach these sessions is to have a well-trained team of people. In our case, we have one person in charge who will do most of the talking and leading of the session. There are also two prayer warriors and one scribe to write everything down.
“I’ve learned more deeply the power of Jesus.”
My own faith has grown exponentially since becoming involved with deliverance and inner healing. The team that I’m a part of is booked months in advance for these sessions, and the need is very real. It’s a ministry through which we can help bring about real, tangible healing to the people in our communities.