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How to Detect the Presence of Demons

Being able to detect the presence of demons is a key part of setting people free from their influence. And since demons like to remain in the darkness, influencing a person without being recognized, it is not always obvious when they are at work. How can we discern when these invisible enemies are at work?

I wrote recently about three ways that demons seek to influence people: torment, oppression, and bondage. Sometimes it is possible to discern the presence of an evil spirit by looking at these “symptoms” in a person’s life, as well as getting some background information about them. But I want to cover two supernatural ways in which we can detect the presence of demons.

1. The gift of discerning of spirits

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is called “discerning of spirits” (see 1 Corinthians 12:10). Discerning of spirits is the supernatural ability to perceive what is happening in the spiritual realm and judge between the Holy Spirit and demonic spirits.

This gift may function in recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit, like when John the Baptist “saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him” (John 1:32). It also may operate in making us aware of the presence of angels (see 2 Kings 6:14-17).

And discerning of spirits certainly operates is in exposing the presence of evil spirits. Some believers report “seeing” the presence of a demon as a creature, serpent, black spot, dark cloud, or other image. Others may feel or sense something indicating demonic presence. Sometimes it may come as an impression from the Holy Spirit about demonic presence or the specific name of a demon.

While on staff at a church, one Sunday morning I was praying for a woman whom I had never met. I prayed as I felt led by the Holy Spirit, and an intercessor who was standing behind her discerned a spirit of fear was present. When I addressed this spirit, the woman began to manifest a demon and was set free from its power.

 2. A demonic manifestation

This is when an evil spirit comes to the surface and begins to make itself known in some way. It typically happens in what is referred to as a “power encounter”; where the kingdom of God collides with the kingdom of darkness, forcing demons to manifest so that they can be driven out. I have seen this happen during times when the Holy Spirit was moving powerfully through preaching, worship, or prayer.

In Mark 1:21-26, we see an example of this:

Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.

Jesus was teaching in the Synagogue, when all of the sudden a demon manifested in a man sitting in the congregation. It seems that the authority of Jesus’ teaching forced the evil spirit to come to the surface so it could be driven out. I have seen similar things happen at times when praying for people or teaching on the subject of deliverance.

I have found that the more experience you have with deliverance, the easier it becomes to discern the presence of evil spirits. I believe this is true of the supernatural discernment mentioned above, but also when it comes to observing natural signs and gaining information from the person you are ministering to.

As we grow in the Word, walk with the Holy Spirit, and gain experience in deliverance, our discernment will increase. And as our discernment sharpens, we will be more effective in setting people free from the influence of evil spirits.

About Jake

Jake
Jake Kail is a teacher, author, and speaker who is passionate for the kingdom of God. He was called into ministry during his college years, after a life-changing encounter with God. The focus of his ministry is on teaching and equipping believers, strengthening local churches, and seeing awakening and restoration come to the church. He also ministers often in the area of deliverance from evil spirits, seeing people set free from bondage, torment, and oppression. Jake is the author of three books: Restoring the Ministry of Jesus, Can a Christian Have a Demon?, and Abiding in the Vine. He speaks at churches, retreats, conferences, and other venues. Jake lives with his wife and family in Lancaster, PA where he serves on the pastoral team at Threshold Church. Check out Jake’s website and blog here: http://www.jakekail.com.

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7 comments

  1. Avatar

    Jake,

    Great article. I’ve experienced demons on both levels. Before I became a Christian, I was having encounters with demons but I didn’t fully understand it. God was gradually exposing them in and around me. After that, they began manifesting more in the physical world around me. Funny thing is it was actually demons that God used to draw me to Him. I became highly aware of the spiritual realm, and it wasn’t until there was a major encounter in a church where both kingdoms hit head on, that I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. When I look back, it was a war. Actually I know it still is. We’ve even had battles over this website, especially when it began. I am so glad you are writing articles for this site and making people aware of the reality of spiritual warfare and the opportunity for deliverance through Jesus Christ. Thanks so much for sharing. God bless.

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    I would like to see things but, too the best of my knowledge that hasn’t happened. However, I do feel an oppressive tightness in my throat when I give in to an unloving attitude. This usually happens when I am tired.Years ago, I have also felt, what I called “the dark burn” when I used to struggle with lust. Even before I was a Spirit-filled believer, I recognized this sensation inside me. It was both painful and desirable. When I gave in, shame and condemnation always followed. Now, I recognize pretty quickly, when I feel tightness in my throat and my biggest struggles with impatience or some other unloving attitude are right around the corner. Often, I for pray the blood of Jesus, in tongues, quote scripture and renounce the “unloving spirit” or even sing of the “wonderful grace of Jesus, which is greater than all my sins!”

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    Dear Jake. I desperately need advice regarding a phenomenon that I have been experiencing for 26 years, since the day in September 1991 when I became born again. I suddenly became sensitive to demonic presence. I feel or sense their presence on various parts of my body, at various times and in various places, even in Church. I also feel the presence of the Holy Spirit while praying, listening to a sermon, or during a prophetic utterance etc.
    I also sense the Spirits displeasure and warning when I am about to say something hurtful. I have also experienced sudden heart beats when doing wrong or when I am sinning. All these are felt physically, and are not imagined etc. These are very real day to day experiences. Unfortunately, I am misunderstood by the majority of believers, as this experience is most uncommon among them.
    In addition to this, there is a pattern of unemployment, loss and failure that is severely impacting my life in a negative way. My wife, newborn son and I, are virtually homeless. We are unemployed, have no home or car of our own and our finances are fast running out.
    The question is, are these all somehow related? Is this a spiritual gift, or is this a matter of demonic torment and warfare to destroy our lives and to keep us poor and in poverty?
    I would appreciate any advice or comments from yourself or your friends and staff etc.

    Many thanks

    Edwin Stevenson (Durban, South Africa)

  4. Avatar

    I truly need help. I currently broke up with my ex..and then found out he sold his soul to the devil for riches and to be famous. At first I thought I was over thinking but as a couple days passes. I seen confirm emails and ever since last week I been feeling a aura. I’m having night terrors waking up screaming and a covern is helping me with white magic and also have Christians praying for me. I light a candle before bed and pray everyday. I just so tired and drained and scared to go to bed at night .

    • Avatar

      The Very First Thing you want to do is stop your involvement with White magic…. AND THE COVEN!
      WHITE or BLACK MAGIC IS SATANIC!
      GET CLOSER TO YOUR CHRISTIAN FRIENDS let them know about the others that were helping you also.
      Please understand that Demons are
      Fallen Angels… Still classified as Angels…AND UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST!!!A BELIEVER IN JESUS HAS POWER BY THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST. LET YOUR CHRISTIAN FRIENDS SHOW YOU IN GODS WORD THAT WE HAVE AUTHORITY OVER DEMONS…AND WE DO NOT HAVE TO FEAR THEM!
      IN FACT THEY FEAR JESUS…AND IF JESUS IS IN YOU…THEY FEAR YOU!
      GET YOUR FRIENDS FROM CHURCH TO DO A DELIVERANCE, ANNOINT YOUR HOME,COVER ALL THIS IN THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.
      WATCH OUT FOR THE EX. CHECK OUT DURING DELIVERANCE IF HE HAS CALLED ANYTHING EVIL OUT ON YOU…..ACCEPT JESUS………
      THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL…HE IS THE RISEN KING OF ALL POWER AND GLORY !
      GOD BLESS YOU.

  5. Avatar

    Dear Jake, I need some advice regarding a problem that he’s been annoying me for years. I believe that there is something in my house and specifically in my room where it seems that everything happens, I am the only one experiencing anything regarding spirits and I would like some advice on what to do. I have many stories regarding this spirit or many but for the past month or so off and on I have had this petting sensation the left side of my head whenever I go to sleep. One night I came home and I was having a light migraine so I went to my bed to lay down and when I did the petting started, almost like petting a dog but someone was petting my head and I could hear it “are you awake?” It asked and I didn’t know what to do so I kind of nudged my head which now I realize was a terrible idea. So then the petting kept on going and then in a low mans voice (just like the fist time it spoke) it said “you are mine now” or something like that and then I was frozen in fear, honestly before that point I didn’t know if the spirit was evil or not but after that I was so sure it was, then the petting kept going the it finally left with a “goodnight,Morgan” and that scared me too but then it was gone. I still don’t know what it was or if it was a bad spirit a demon or what it was but what I do know is it couldn’t have been an angel since I was frozen in fear half the time but I sensed a presence ever since I was little, it never hurt me and I usually feel quite relaxed in my room and since whenever I lay down still it keeps happening I get really relaxed so can you help me? What is this spirit? What does it want? Is it safe in my room anymore? Should I be scared??

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