When it comes to setting people free from the influence of evil spirits, there are no formulas or rituals that we should be locked into. Each situation is unique and requires the leading and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
In Matthew 12:28 Jesus said, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
It is by the authority of the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit that we can cast out evil spirits.
That being said, there are some guidelines that can be very helpful when leading someone through deliverance. I have found that there are essentially three keys to effective deliverance ministry. They do not always happen in the order that I outline below, but are important parts of any deliverance process.
1. Discern the presence of evil spirits
Demons prefer to dwell in darkness and work behind the scenes. Since it is not always obvious to the natural eye when a person needs deliverance, discernment is needed. The presence of evil spirits can be exposed through a gift of the Holy Spirit called discerning of spirits. Other times, demonic manifestations expose their presence. Still other times, a process of gathering information from the one seeking ministry can give us clues to demonic influence.
2. Discover and close doors
Not only is it important to know if evil spirits are at work, it is important to know how they got there in the first place. The term open doors refers to the access points through which demons gained a place in a person’s life. Sin, occult activity, and unforgiveness are common open doors. (Check out this list of the most common open doors). Once doors are discovered, they need to be closed through prayers of repentance, forgiveness, and renunciation. I often use this prayer when leading someone through this process.
3. Drive out the evil spirits
Deliverance is not normally accomplished through prayers of petition to God, but by exercising authority over demons and commanding them to go. The apostle Paul said this when he was casting out a demon: “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her” (Acts 16:18). Notice that he spoke directly to the demon and that he did it in the name of Jesus. It is not our authority, but His that sets captives free.
Let me say again that there is no formula for deliverance. We need to rely on the Holy Spirit and be led by Him each time we minister. But these keys can provide a framework from which to begin stepping out to set captives free in Jesus’ name!
Have you ever ministered deliverance to someone in need? Have you found other keys for setting captives free?