We looked down the path and saw him there. A young man lying on the ground, thrashing back and forth. His body out of control with some kind of seizure. Was it epilepsy? A demonic manifestation? What was going on? What should we do? Casting out evil spirits was something Jesus instructed His followers to do. Was that what was needed here?
In this case it was. Laying our hands on him gently, we commanded the demon to leave. As we prayed in Jesus’ name, he calmed. His eyes focused and he looked up at us. We shared with him and his relatives that Jesus Christ had set him free and invited Him to learn more.
Many times it’s not quite so obvious or easy.
As disciple-makers focused on unreached peoples, we must embrace deliverance ministry. It is a normal part of a disciple-makers life. In the gospels, we see that Jesus’ followers regularly practiced this ministry. In Luke chapter nine, when Jesus sent out the twelve, he gave them authority to drive out demons and heal the sick. These two things often go together.
“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Luke 9: 1-2 NIV
Let me share a quick story from Africa. Then, I’ll give you a few tips on deliverance ministry.
A DMM practitioner ran a seminar in Eastern Africa. They were training trainers and Discovery Bible Study (DBS) leaders. In the course of the training, they broke up into groups to practice DBS.
A new lady who had come to the church that day. She wanted to attend the training. It was known by all that she was a witch-doctor. Though not yet a believer, the leaders encouraged her to sit in on the Bible study.
She joined a group. During the member care time (see the three parts meeting blog for more on this), she shared her problem. In the night, evil spirits would come and beat her. She wanted freedom and help.
The leader of the discovery group shared about how the Lord could set her free. After the meeting, some of the trainers and the local pastor went to her home .
She showed them the items she used to do witchcraft. As they talked more with her about the freedom Christ could bring, she decided to commit her life to the Lord in full surrender. Together they burned her witchcraft tools. They prayed for God to cleanse her life, her home and release His peace and freedom.
As the items went on the fire, the demon manifested, angry that his things were being burned. The disciples prayed in Jesus’ name. She was completely delivered. Set free!
Not long after, she was baptized and given a Bible. Though she can not read, her Bible is a treasured and much-utilized possession. A young man who stays in her home reads it to her each day.
Recently, I was in her village. We ran a DMM training there. This lady was present, listening and learning.
She has shared her amazing testimony with many. After the prayer in her home, she is completely free from the torment that was so much a part of her life. The demons that used to beat and harm her have not returned!
She testifies to other witch-doctors and villagers of the power of Jesus to give life. “Jesus brings freedom from all evil powers,” she tells them. Through her, the church has been growing and more DBS groups are multiplying in that area.
Some Key Principles About Deliverance Ministry:
1. Don’t let theology prevent you from ministering to the needs of people.
When I graduated from Bible college I thought I knew that Christians could never be “possessed.” When one of our staff in Nepal (who I knew was a believer), began to manifest a demon, I was deeply confused. Did that mean she hadn’t been saved? My theology was a bit blown apart.
Later, I sought the Lord about this. Much searching of Scripture happened in the following days. I didn’t want to be afraid for myself or others.
The Lord gently taught me in this regard. “Minister to the person,” He said. “Don’t get hung up on theology. If a demon is there, whether it is possessing or oppressing doesn’t matter. Cast it out in my name and set them free.”
I came to understand that the terms “possessed” and “oppressed” didn’t always describe things clearly. I stopped worrying about which one it was. Instead, I started using the authority Christ had given me to set people free!
2. Let simple deliverance prayers be your “default.”
If you are working with people coming out of a Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist or Animist background, the chances of demonic attachments are high. The same can be said of secular humanists or New Agers.
This is why simple deliverance prayers have become our standard practice. Instead of thinking this is something unusual and strange, embrace it as a normal part of someone receiving salvation.
When someone prays to receive Christ, lead them in a repentance prayer. Ask them to renounce all practices that may have any demonic connections. Help them repent of worshipping idols, wearing amulets or other things they’ve done to get “good luck” or gain “protection.” These should be removed. When they do that, placing their complete faith in Jesus, pray for the blood of Christ to cleanse them from every demonic attachment or power.
3. Use the authority of Jesus’ name and do not be afraid.
Jesus gave us incredible authority when He told us to use His name. There is great power in His name. It’s interesting that sometimes demons recognize this more than Christians do! When you pray for people to be delivered, command the demon to leave in the name of Jesus Christ. It has to go.
You do not need to be afraid. Jesus clearly has given you the authority over every evil power.
4. Pray cleansing prayers after ministry of this type.
After doing any kind of deliverance ministry, it is a good habit to pray a cleansing prayer. When you are done, simply pray that the blood of Jesus would cleanse you. Pray against any demonic influence you may have unknowingly acquired. Ask Jesus to wash you and remove anything that may be there.
Making a habit of this type of prayer keeps you spiritually clean and safe as you engage in this important ministry.
5. If deliverance isn’t immediate, don’t give up.
Some demons only come out by prayer and fasting (Matt 17:21), with a bit of perseverance. This doesn’t in any way mean that Jesus isn’t powerful enough to deliver! It has more to do with our willingness to love the person enough to fast, pray and counsel further. Are we willing to go the extra mile with them until they are free?
It doesn’t mean you need to shout louder or pour more oil on their heads! You may need to get them into an environment of ongoing prayer and worship. Continue to gently minister until they are completely released. The deliverance process often is immediate, but sometimes takes more time. There may be things from their past that need to be renounced. If they are holding on to bitterness against someone, this can also delay the deliverance.
It’s Part of the Gospel
Jesus sent out his disciples to heal the sick, cast out demons and proclaim the Kingdom of God. Sharing the “gospel” means we do all of these things.
If you have questions about this area of disciple-making, share them in comments below or ask them in the DMMs Facebook Group.