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How do you free a person tormented by evil spirits? Scripture indicates the prayers of believers, operating in the authority of Jesus Christ, can bring freedom. Practically, however, I've never had it happen the same way twice.
If we don't get caught by surprise, we usually handle the actual ministry encounter in teams-at least two people with previous experience in such encounters, but we also include other maturing believers to train them.
We usually begin by getting as much background as we can from the person we're going to pray for. How long have they felt captive? Do they know when they started sensing something foreign within them? How does the enemy's power show itself?
We then ask them to affirm their own spiritual commitment and to renounce any sinful patterns, particularly in areas of the occult or besetting temptations. We ask them to recommit themselves to Jesus and his power.
Then we begin to worship the Lord together. This does two things, it establishes God's presence in the room and increases our sensitivity to him so that he can direct us. From then on we just try to obey him as we pray, commanding the enemy to leave or rebuking his hold point by point.
We are cautious about marathon prayer sessions unless God is giving specific direction. We've gone all night before and have not found sheer duration to be of much benefit. Usually if we don't find freedom in the first couple of hours, we'll break for some days of prayer and consultation with others. We prayed for one person's deliverance over the course of four months. We actually prayed only about once a week. In between times, we fasted and prayed for wisdom. Finally we broke through.
And always when the hold of the enemy is broken, we pray for God to fill the empty place with his Spirit. We make clear to them that to stay free they are going to have to follow the Lord Jesus.
We then put them with a support group that will help them walk with God. Lately we've been more careful to back up deliverance with counseling if the initial bondage came as a result of severe weakness or sin.
Copyright © 1991 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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