About a year and a half ago a friend prayed to cast out a spirit of fear out of me, and that I would instead be filled with the Holy Spirit. I never mentioned it to anyone as I didn’t really understand what had happened, but I assumed I was free of it, and all was good. For a while it definitely helped, and I grew closer to God. I guess in the end though either it wasn’t gone, or I let it back in, because the other week I had cast out of me spirits of fear, rejection, shame, lust, cynicism and scepticism.
Two months ago, if you’d told me I was going to have any real life experience with the demonic I would have been highly doubtful. It’s not that I didn’t believe in it, it’s just that it’s the kind of thing that happens to other people, in countries a long way from Bradford. I’d not given it much credit, or even much thought. I’d probably’ve assumed that anyone who said they’d had any involvement with deliverance ministry/exorcism in the UK was a bit of a weirdo, or at least that they were connected to one of the slightly crazier fringes of Christianity. All involved in what happened to me, though, were people who I’ve known for a number of years, for whom I have the deepest respect and whom I trust implicitly. They’re not weirdos.
I was at a Christian weekend away, it was Saturday lunch time and there was a break in the programme during the afternoon. I was planning to go for a walk—see some of the surrounding area. God had other plans. One of the leaders from Transform had been giving a seminar in the morning, but I knew she was doing something that I’d already heard both at Transform and at a previous event, so I went to the alternative talk on the Holy Spirit instead. As it turned out, I’d heard that seminar at Transform a few weeks before as well, but somehow at the end I felt that while I knew everything that’d been said I somehow still didn’t
I grabbed one of the speakers just as she was leaving and asked if she had time to talk. I kind of got the impression that she didn’t really, and we stopped next to the exit of the place we were staying. I was saying that I felt like the guy in Mark 9:24 who says to Jesus
I believe; help my unbelief. We’d had all this teaching on the power of the Holy Spirit and the authority we have in Christ, and I believed that God will do amazing things, but somehow I still didn’t believe that I will see God do amazing things through me. We talked for a while, and in the end I was saying that I just wanted evidence of something small, in a non-threatening setting, before I tried anything big in front of lots of people. She pointed out that actually that wouldn’t be faith, but I guess I kept on along those lines, ’cause eventually she called me on it, and told me to pray for her and see if God had anything to say. After a few failed moments trying to think up an excuse I gave it a go.
I actually physically couldn’t do it. It was quite the strangest thing I’ve ever encountered. I started just by thanking God for her, but as I tried to go further I started shaking, and then I started coughing. Now, apparently this is a good sign of the demonic. She sent a passer by to find the vicar who was giving the main teaching for the weekend, but he never showed up, so I guess they didn’t find him. Another friend was coming past at the time, so she grabbed her and together they ushered me off into a side room with a little more privacy. They continued to order the spirit of fear out of me in Jesus’ name, and I continued coughing, and started choking and coughing up stuff. One of them produced a bin from somewhere and said something along the lines of
it’s normal to throw up now if you need to. So I spent the best part of the next hour and a half with my head in a bin. I wasn’t actually sick, but I coughed up a lot of stuff, and my nose ran lots, and I generally didn’t look very pleasant. Apparently some of them came out with an unearthly bad smell, but I didn’t really notice—I had my head in a bin. Apparently I bent into shapes that aren’t natural for a human being, but I couldn’t see, as I had my head in a bin (I did have a sense that I was at least in shapes that weren’t natural for me).
After the fear spirit came out one of them prayed against anything else that was in me, and stated that nothing had any power over me because I am owned by Christ. I kept coughing, so they prayed that God would reveal anything else that was inside. I guess the rest all came from Him, because then one of them named rejection, He gave me the word shame, they named lust and cynicism and I named scepticism. One by one they came out, and after each was an intense feeling of liberation. After most I sat up breathed a sigh of relief and said how much better I felt—then more came, and my head went back in the bin.
I’m told the word which in the Bible is translated
possessed is actually much better translated
oppressed. It’s not that spirits (usually) force you to do things you don’t want to do, so much as they stop you from fulfilling what God wants for you. Since that day I’ve felt like I’ve been on one massive spiritual high. I keep expecting it to end, the way it normally does after some kind of big event, but that hasn’t happened. Every time I think it’s nearly over God does something else awesome and I get excited all over again. I’ve felt so much more free, particularly I’ve felt free to pray for things, and as a result the last few weeks have seen a phenomenal amount of answered prayer.
Apparently this more than likely means that there is something or things in my life which allowed all of these demons to get in. For some of them, that’s quite obvious. For others it’s not so. I’ve got quite a lot to work through, and I’ve not got very far, but I can say without doubt now that I believe in the absolute authority of God.
The thing for me to be careful of now, I guess, is not to see the demonic in everything, or to assume that every human problem is as a result of the demonic. Clearly in some cases it will be, but equally clearly in other places it won’t, and just because it was for me doesn’t mean that it will be for everyone.
The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said,He’s dead.But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.