Healing Line

Healing Line

The Ministry of Deliverance

by Norma Dearing
Fall 1999

Deliverance is a very common and important aspect of the healing ministry. It is often difficult for people living in our society to recognize the real presence of satan and evil spirits, yet it is a continuous theme running throughout the Gospels and the New Testament: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Eph. 6: 12).

It is almost impossible to be involved in the healing ministry and not encounter situations where there is a need for deliverance. We have been given authority over evil through the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is vital that we as Christians and prayer ministers understand what this aspect is all about in order to minister effectively.

First, we must understand the difference between deliverance and exorcism. In the early history of the church, a lay person could pray for deliverance. This is what we do and teach about at CHM, since we primarily teach lay ministers involved in the healing ministry. Deliverance is a process of freeing a person from the influence of an evil spirit.

Exorcism is a bit different. The word "exorcism," means "casting out" in Greek. In the Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches, an exorcism is a more formal act performed by a priest who has been especially commissioned by his or her bishop. Exorcism is performed on a person who is possessed, and that must be proven. Possession means the person has been totally taken over by satan, that the person no longer has any will of his own. As you read in Francis' article on page one, in all his years of ministry, he has only encountered one person whom he believed to be possessed.

Now, there is a distinct difference between possession, oppression and infestation. Clients have come into my office, sat down on my couch and said, "I am possessed, please help me!" I begin by assuring them they are not possessed. If they were possessed, they certainly wouldn't be able to come to CHM or ask for help.

It usually turns out that they suffer from "oppression," a word derived from the Latin verb meaning "to press down upon."Oppression is an external heaviness they feel over or around them that causes them to feel tired, discouraged and sometimes lethargic, possibly even confused and unable to concentrate or focus appropriately.

I use cutting free or cleansing prayers to deal with oppression. If a person is in ministry or related area, he can pick up oppression from other people or certain places where there is heaviness — like prisons, psychiatric units, nursing homes, etc.

In some cases, however, people can be dealing with demonic "infestation," or what is also called "to have a demon." In such instances, there is a need for deliverance, or freeing a person from the influence of an evil spirit.

Derek Prince compares infestation, or demonization, to criminal influence in a city: while the center of the city, including city hall, is free and under governmental control, a few back alleys and side streets may be controlled by criminals. Similarly, some people, even Christians, may have an area or areas of their lives that are controlled by demonic influence. This is "infestation." In such cases we pray prayers for deliverance.

For example, a man came to CHM with the presenting problem of anger. He experienced uncontrollable rage at other drivers while driving his car. Several times he became involved in altercations with other drivers, and his wife was fearful he would become seriously injured or hurt someone else with this road rage. She didn't even want to ride with him anymore.

After conducting the initial interview and listening to his spiritual and emotional history, it became obvious that he indeed had two spirits that had plagued him for years: anger and rage. A comment made by the man one day certainly made it easier to discern the level of intensity: "Norma, I feel this anger bubble up in me to a level of rage where I know without a doubt I could physically kill someone."

How do spirits get into a person in the first place and create such intensity? Usually, by one or more of the following four categories:

  1. Occult involvement, which can bring spirits of the occult. This occurs when a person — in ignorance, innocence or purposefully — has some involvement with the occult. It is usually because the person has a spiritual hunger for God and gets on the wrong path. This can include something as innocent as following horoscopes or playing with a ouija board, all the way up to belonging to a coven or making a pact with satan. There are many levels between these two extremes, and I encourage you to refer to pages 160–164 of Deliverance From Evil Spirits, by Francis MacNutt, for a more extensive list.
  2. Spirits of sin, which usually come as a result of repeated sin, such as a spirit of lust after looking repeatedly at pornography or visiting topless bars. Another example is greed, such as after a prolonged period of embezzling funds or stealing in order to fulfill selfish desires. We have seen people with spirits of hate that have grown out of racial prejudices or judgment of others. We have seen spirits of control come into young women who have been anorexic over long periods of time.
  3. Spirits of trauma enter as a result of trauma or tragedy. Often they enter in childhood, sometimes even in utero, when the person is young, vulnerable and rejected. Most of the spirits we deal with at CHM are in this category; i.e., fear, rejection, abandonment and anger.
  4. Generational spirits, where something has been in a family for years and seems to pass down to each generation. We certainly see this in areas such as alcoholism, incest, infidelity and various addictions. Rather than rushing into casting out spirits, we use a number of healing methods that cause the spirits to leave on their own without an actual "formal" deliverance."

With occult spirits and spirits of sin, we encourage a renunciation or confession by the person of the occult activity or sin involved. Often the spirits will leave on their own during or after these prayers. Pray to refill the person's body, mind and spirit with the holy things of God, such as love, peace, joy, etc.

Inner Healing is the prayer method to use for spirits of trauma. Invite the Lord Jesus to walk back into the memories where the trauma, abuse or rejection occurred. At CHM, we always do inner healing before we do deliverance. If not, the spirits can return and hook back into the old wound or trauma memory.

Generational Healing is the prayer method used for dealing with generational spirits. A person suffering from generational issues is asked to look at his family history. We then encourage people to lay these things before the altar of God and be cleansed.

Prayer for deliverance is something we recommend after these other healing tools have been implemented. Many spirits will have left on their own by this time, but it makes additional deliverance or the further casting out of spirits much easier and quicker. Always remember to send the spirits directly to Jesus, and let Him deal with them.

When in doubt or uncomfortable, learn to bind the spirits from operating and don't get into a deliverance at this time. Take time to pray, seeking the Lord's direction and wisdom. Ask for help or advice from a more experienced prayer minister or pastor. Never let a "spirit" dictate when a deliverance is to take place. It is important to be leading the prayer session under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Deliverance should always be done at God's appointed and anointed time.

The prayer should be something like this: "In the Name of Jesus Christ, with the authority given to me as a Christian, I bind all enemies of Christ from operating in ____ 's life. I bind all interplay and interaction of spirits in the Name of Jesus Christ and by the power of His cross and blood. Come, Lord Jesus, and surround us with the power of Your Holy Spirit. Give us Your direction, Lord, on how to proceed. Amen."

Norma Dearing is the Director of Prayer Ministry at CHM. Fall 1999 Issue