In the world we live in today you can be sure that someday, somewhere, the time will come when a friend or loved one will be demonically harassed. That attack may be in the form of external oppression, or it may be an actual demonic possession. To help you understand the workings of Satan's kingdom, let me set forth ten steps to conducting an exorcism. Though your ministry to the one in spiritual need may not actually involve casting out a demon, knowing how to minister such freedom in the name of Jesus will give you valuable information for overcoming all of the devil's attacks.
1. Bind Lesser Demons to Their Leader
Dealing with demons in aggregate shortens the exorcism process. Demonic systems often have more than one demon assigned to a particular function, so they can be grouped together according to their kind. For example, spirits of lust might work in concert with spirits of pornography and perversion. Another coalition may involve a demon of murder with one of suicide. These could be coupled with a blocking spirit used to induce trance states. Groups of spirits may split into several parts, so groups should be bound together as a whole. Some combinations operate like a wrestling tag team, one taking on the exorcist while the other one rests. All groups of spirits have a hierarchical structure, and those of lower rank function in union with all those above them.
2. Work Through the System
One of the initial goals in an exorcism is to find the pecking order of demons. The arrangement of evil spirits in a demonic system is like that of a military command. Each unclean spirit has jurisdictional responsibility over some part of the emotional and spiritual life of the victim. This network is arranged in a hierarchy of ascending spiritual power. To dismantle this infrastructure, I have found it advisable in some cases to begin at the bottom and work up. That's why I sometimes ask God to reveal which demon is the weakest. Then I attack that particular demon since the other spirits above tend to draw strength from those below them.
Sometimes demons toward the bottom will reveal secrets about those above them, making the casting out of the ascendant spirits much easier. Spirits at the top are generally more intelligent and powerful demons and less likely to let critical information slip out. Remember, there are biblical ranks of demons that are designated in descending order as thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, and spirits.
3. Ask God for Angelic Assistance
There is a biblical precedent for the idea of angels providing help. Daniel, chapter 10, addresses the issue of angelic assistance. Verse 13 indicates that Gods messenger was hindered by a demon that delayed the angel from completing his mission for twenty-one days. It is apparent from this reference that demons struggle against angels. Even though angels are more powerful in their uncorrupted state, they still must fight to overcome the resistance of unclean spirits.
How are angels invoked? I am careful to avoid any attitude that would suggest that angels can be called upon whimsically. Asking God for angels shouldn't be treated casually, as if you were calling the family pet. I usually say something like: "I call on the Lord to dispatch mighty angels for assistance in dealing with the demons before me". Specific angels may be summoned to deal with certain kinds of spirits. You may ask an angel of truth to torment a lying demon. Be as specific as necessary, but always understand that such a petition is subject to God's will. The Lord is Commander-in Chief of heaven's armies, and it is His right to commission angels for earthly assistance. Don't depend upon angels instead of the Lord. Our primary dependence is upon the Lord Jesus, the use of prayer, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God.
4. Call Forth Undesignated Demons
Most exorcists encounter times when we aren't sure what to do next. For instance, our knowledge of the demonic network may be limited in the early stages when there is uncertainty about the ranking of the demons. What demons should be commanded to manifest under these circumstances?
The Holy Spirit has taught me a tactic that has been successful in breaking through this barrier. I sometimes employ this trick of the trade to initiate an exorcism if I have no idea what demons are present. I say, "I command to come forth whatever spirit the Lord Jesus has identified to face divine judgment for violating this soul."
5. Find the Function of the Demon
Knowing the demon's function may be the most important information to understanding how a particular evil spirit should be handled. This puts the exorcist in sync with the parameters for handling each spirit. If the demon is a mind control spirit, then the exorcist will know to be aware of mind games and intellectual trickery. If the spirit has a name indicating more visceral responses (murder or violence, for instance), the exorcist will be on guard against physical retaliation and also the possibility that the person or his ancestors have committed some violent act.
Knowing the function of the spirit will help the exorcist discover the demon's legal grounds. An example would be a demon of incest. If the victim has said nothing about such a moral dilemma, the chances are the incest demon is exploiting an event that the victim may have denied or suppressed.
6. Employ the Assistance of the Victim
Victims are as much a part of the exorcism and a co-combatant as I am. Their assertions of moral and spiritual authority are crucial to their freedom. It is futile to tell a demon what to do, unless the command is backed up by the victim's agreement and aggressive resistance to Satan. The exorcism will be unsuccessful without these elements of cooperation.
An exorcism is an exercise in encouragement, as much as it is an attempt at expulsion. It's a critical opportunity to teach victims about their redeemed authority in Christ and their scriptural position as believers. I often pause during deliverance and give a brief Bible study to build up the victim's faith and understanding. I encourage questions so that they may settle any issues about who they are in Christ.
Demons may battle for control of the person's mind and fog his or her thinking so he or she cannot resist. "Focus your thoughts on Christ. Concentrate on the resurrection of Christ. Quote from memory any Bible verses you know," I say to inspire the victim.
7. Break All Curses
I want to emphasize the importance of this rule as an integral part of dealing with relational curses. This form of spiritual bondage affects someone as the result of marital, sexual, or soul-bonding relationships. While ancestral and generational curses are implemented by blood relatives, spousal curses are also dangerous. Because the husband is head of the wife, his involvement in the occult could affect his marriage partner. A Christian woman married to an unbelieving man who dabbles in the occult should pray, "I submit to my husband according to the Scriptures, except in those cases where he claims a spiritually unlawful right. I break that occult bondage in the name of Jesus and refuse to submit to any forces of evil that would endanger my soul."
Couples involved in a sexual relationship outside of marriage have become one flesh and thus forge a union that can result in demonic subjection. For example, a man sexually cohabiting with a woman who is a witch could fall prey to the demons affecting her. If he comes to Christ, the sexual relationship must be ended and all soul bonds (which are control mechanisms) must be broken through prayer. On a lesser level, strong friendships or social business allegiances with someone involved in the occult could also affect an individual unaware.
8. Force the Demon to Tell the Truth or Face Judgment
Scripture clearly indicates that Satan is a liar who cannot hold to the truth (John 8:44; Revelation 21:8). Can the exorcist, then, ever trust what a demon says? We must use spiritual discernment to determine the accuracy of any information provided by a demon. And we should never become involved in any irrelevant conversation. Demons will try to engage the exorcist in all kinds of dialogue as a delaying tactic.
I often say to demons, "I command that you only speak what God allows you to say, no more, no less. I command that you say nothing more than that which is permitted by God to facilitate your expulsion." Having taken that precaution, how much do I believe of what a demon discloses? I weigh each statement carefully and test it against the Scriptures (1 John 4:1). I also verify the information by comparing it to the demon's other comments to see if it is consistent. I've discovered an additional procedure that has proven valuable. Instruct the demon this way: "I command that the answer you give be held accountable before almighty God and that you be judged if you lie to the Holy Spirit."
9. Have the Victim Confess the Sin of Demonic Entry
Once a demon's presence, name, and function have been identified, the next step is to remove his right to remain. This is usually grounded in a conscious, willful sin. Have the victim renounce this sin and seek forgiveness through the blood of Christ by a spoken prayer. Demonic resistance is common, and I often have the victim say one word at a time. Just a few sentences of confession may take minutes, even hours. With others, it may come quite freely. This is the demon's stronghold, and he fights tenaciously to stop the prayer. In drastic situations I may halt the prayer to encourage the victim with Scriptures about forgiveness and God's grace.
Sins of demonic entry aren't always acts of a specific place and time. There may be emotional harbors of evil, such as bitterness, jealousy, lust, or covetousness. You may not know the exact time the demon sufficiently exploited this area of life. No matter. Have the victim set the situation right with God. If the demon was misleading, it will soon become apparent. If the confession removes the right of entry, the demon's reaction will readily prove it. He will switch tactics; instead of claiming a legal right, he may start saying he won't leave regardless of what the exorcist does.
10. Make the Demon Pronounce His Own Doom
The exorcist may choose to speak the words of final expulsion, but the Holy Spirit has shown me a more effective way to weaken the demon's final attempt to stay. Have the demon pronounce his own doom. Recite the words and make the demon repeat them. This is the declaration of surrender I use: "I, (demon speaks his own name), acknowledge that Christ is Lord and has risen from the dead to defeat my master, the devil. I renounce all past, present, and future claims to (demon speaks name of his victim) and acknowledge that the one I possess has victory over me in the name of Jesus Christ. I bind to me all parts and portions of myself, and I attach to me any demons under my control. Having no further legal right to stay in this child of God, I lie not to the Holy Spirit, and I go now to the pit!"
A Final Word
At the end of each successful exorcism, I am always deeply moved to witness Christ's finished work at the Cross. The mystery of the ages, that God loved fallen man so much He sent His Son "while we were still sinners" (Romans. 5:8), seems even more priceless. In the natural realm, angels (faithful and unfaithful) are more powerful and more intelligent than human beings. Yet God has mercifully chosen man, not angels, to be the objects of His grace.
It is Christians who are made "alive together with Christ" (Ephesians 2:5) and allowed to "sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6). While conditionally we do not always deserve such a lofty status, by positional right we are granted what mere human worthiness could never merit.
Christians often give lip service to the words of 1 John 4:4: "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." Experiencing an exorcism amplifies this truth. Casting out a demon is only possible because of the Resurrection of Christ. It is the empty tomb that allows us to face incomprehensible evil with certainty of victory and the authority of Christ in us, the "hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).
Every believer who has been victimized by the devil needs to acknowledge that no matter what failures beset a believer, the born again Christian is seated at God's right hand. Knowing who you are in Christ and where you are positioned in His kingdom is a spiritual reality that is sure to doom every demon to defeat.
Written by Bob Larson
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