The Foe in the Foyer
A few hours before our Sunday evening service, I received an urgent call from a staff member: "We need you here! We've got a young woman here with her fiancé … and she's convulsing … it's spiritual stuff!"
I advised him to call 911 and said I'd be right over.
Ten minutes later, I walked into the foyer of our church's building. A small group of people stood near a young woman seated in a chair. Some of them were praying, a few with hands on her shoulders. I watched her body repeatedly stiffen and relax.
Maybe this is a seizure, I thought, but maybe not …
I sensed something unnatural in the room. The entire foyer felt filled with a dark and oppressive presence.
Since an ambulance crew hadn't shown up, I was pretty sure no one had called 911. Later I would learn that the young woman and her fiancé had gone to a local hospital and a few other churches earlier that day but were unable to get help.
I sighed and walked toward the young woman, stopping next to Bob Till—one of the older adults in the foyer and a missionary with Greater Europe Mission. Bob was in town visiting family. Leanor, his daughter-in-law and staff member at my church, was also in the foyer.
"Bob," I said, "this isn't just physical, is it?"
Bob simply shook his head—no.
I suddenly felt overwhelmed with compassion for this young woman—and anger over what a demonic spirit might be doing to her.
Scripture after Scripture about spiritual warfare flooded my head. I felt a surge of confidence. I looked at the woman and shouted, "In Jesus' name, stop shaking her!"
Her body froze dead still for a moment. Then her head turned slowly my way. I stared into empty, vacant eyes. It was like the lights were on but nobody was home.
The group gathered around her slowly backed away. I stepped closer. "In the name of Jesus Christ, leave her!"
"In the name of Jesus Christ," I said firmly and loudly, "I command you to leave this woman!"
After a moment of tense stillness, a guttural, unearthly voice came out of her mouth: "NO! She's mine!"
Oh man, oh man. I thought, I am not backing down. I took a step closer and commanded, "In Jesus' name, you have to come out of her!"
"No, I won't!"
I had no desire to get into an argument with a lying spirit, but I shouted, "Look, you know as well as I do that you have to come out in the name of Jesus, and I am going to stay here until you do!"
At this point, I was getting concerned. Obviously, my heart went out to this poor woman. I also thought, What if people start coming into church soon, and we're still here in the foyer, that's not going to be good …
Those who had backed away drew close again. They began praying intensely for her deliverance.
Leanor suddenly stepped past me and pressed her hands firmly on the woman's shoulders.
While I couldn't exactly hear what Leanor was saying, I knew she was praying. I did pick up one phrase—"little girl inside." As I listened more carefully, I could tell she was praying for the release of the helpless "little girl" held hostage by this demonic force.