by Don Rogers
This article is not an attempt to sensationalize or strike fear in anyone who believes God is calling them to bring healing and deliverance to the captives. I wish I had someone to provide helpful insights for me when I first began to minister to the oppressed in the mid-1960’s. I found myself alone on the mission field without a mentor to provide guidance and support. I had only God and His Word to be my teacher. It is my hope that through sharing my own experience, others will be instructed and encouraged.
When I was first called by the Lord into full-time deliverance ministry to the oppressed, I experienced a variety attacks to frustrate and discourage me from continuing what I was doing. Needless to say, when facing the enemy in the name of Jesus, I found myself under attack even as I sought the freedom of those to whom I was helping.
What helped me immensely was my certainty of God’s call and my hope in a faithful God who would supply my needs even when I did not always understand why things were happening. My faith in God since a child kept me from yielding to fear when the enemy attempted to intimidate me.
Through the experiences that I will share with you, I learned that God permits the enemy to test us even as we seek to be faithful to Him. These tests are like a refining fire, bringing to the surface the dross in our lives, humbling us and forcing us to acknowledge that it is useless to try to work in our own strength and understanding; we have to submit ourselves to God and totally rely on Him. This is a huge leap of faith, especially when you are not sure that you hear God all that well. It is the beginning of a great adventure with God, where you learn the many ways He can communicate and guide you.
My first fifteen years of ministry, I served as a pastor and a missionary. It was on the mission field where I had my first encounter with a demonized person. This experience led me to a crash course of study in the Word of God relating to our enemy, demonized people and the ongoing spiritual battle that we as followers of Christ face. I had the opportunity to minister to a number of people while on the mission field until I got sick and had to return home.
Even the return home was part of God’s providential plan. I eventually connected with a teaching ministry, where I taught about cults and the occult. Through my missionary service, I had encountered various cults and those practicing the occult. My research and experience, during that time, would prepare me for a future teaching ministry.
My time with the teaching ministry enabled me to have the privilege of teaching seminars in the U.S. and in Europe. It was on a teaching tour in Europe in 1980 that God began to show me the direction He was guiding me. In each place I taught, there was a moving of the Spirit resulting in people seeking me out to pray for their deliverance. When I returned to the United States there were a number of pastors faced with demonic cases which they wanted me to handle. This was totally unexpected! God was opening a large window of opportunity to serve Him in a way I had not anticipated. I was happy in the teaching ministry. Now my world was being shaken. Case after case began to pour in. It was evident, after a few months, that I could not continue in the teaching ministry and still handle all the cases that were coming in weekly. So, I took a step of faith and left that ministry. I established a new ministry, Spiritual Warfare Ministries, Inc. I had no financial backing, but, I believed that the Lord would provide for and equip this clear call upon my life. I had no idea how He would do it. I only knew that He was always faithful.
Imagine coming home from a teaching tour in Europe to find I had a full itinerary of demonized people waiting for me who needed ministry. Although I had not been ministering to demonized people in the US, people knew my background through my seminars. You might think that I was an obvious choice by pastors looking for some help; but, what about the timing? How could all of these cases become manifest simultaneously? And this was just the beginning! Other cases began to pour in week after week to my dismay! Incredibly, I would continue to have cases almost every week for the next twenty-five years!
In the beginning, I was overwhelmed! It seemed like I was ministering day and night. These cases were difficult and there was so much to learn. The lives of some of these people were being endangered. The enemy began to make his move against me and my family. At night, the beds of my three children began to move under them! When I was praying on the telephone with people, who were under attack, my house would start rumbling from its foundations, even though the weather was calm outside. This happened a few times and each time the Lord led me to command it to stop and it stopped. The same was true with my kid’s beds.
But there was more to come. I was ministering itinerantly in the beginning. I traveled to wherever there was a need; whether it was in a home or at a church. Appointments were set up and when the day arrived, suddenly, I didn’t feel well and would have to cancel. After three or four cancellations in a row, I discerned the enemy was attacking me. This made me angry! I was determined to resist the enemy. I remember getting on my knees for about an hour. I felt terrible, but I was not going to stop praying until the sick feeling left me. And God was faithful! I kept my appointment and we witnessed a great victory. A few days later, I was scheduled for another case and I was sick again. I got on my knees and prayed and it lifted in about a half hour. The next appointment, I the sickness was back! So,on my knees, I prayed and it lifted in 10-15 minutes. That was the last time the enemy overwhelmed me with sickness. He would switch his tactics as he usually does when you discover his activity. The following tactics I have personally witnessed in ministry over the years. Anyone who is experienced in this type of ministry has probably witnessed many of these kinds of attacks.
Attacks On Those Ministering
- Slight mental confusion – a sudden inability to remember a scripture verse or passage. It can be very frustrating and distracting when you are fumbling around for the scripture you want to use for that moment. Rather than be distracted, move on to something else for the time being, praying for a quick release of the confusion. When you can’t think of what to do next, ask a question concerning the person.
- Emotion stirrings – A novice may experience fear, which is not always rational; sometimes related to what the enemy might do. This is an attempt to undermine faith in God’s protection and provision. It is extremely important for people leading ministries to have a solid knowledge of God’s being and attributes as well as understanding thoroughly who they are in Christ.
- The enemy speaking through the subject. Often the enemy tries to remain hidden; but there are times when he is blatantly obvious, because he wants to intimidate and confuse. The enemy’s aggressiveness is to cover his fear of being dislodged and his power broken. The subject will often be aware of what is happening, but sometimes there is no awareness or recollection at all. It depends on the measure of control being exercised by the demon.
- Cursing and anger – are directed against Jesus or those ministering
- Threats – are made to harm those ministering or their families
- Mocking comments & laughter – are meant to intimate those ministering and convey they have little or no power against the demons. Of course, it is a bluff.
- Attempts to engage in a discussion, to stall or distract – demons can be very clever at distracting. Remember, they can often take control of some people and impersonate them, leading the inexperienced to believe they are just talking to the subject. I have learned through experience not to get drawn into a conversation or argument with demons. Nor should you seek information from them. They speak lies and half-truths, which are even more deceptive. Rely on the Spirit to give you the discernment and guidance you need. I can’t emphasize this enough! Even though you feel inadequate in doing this, take the risk and give the Lord a chance to open up to you an essential way to minister effectively and glorify Him in the process.
- Demons try to provoke the person ministering to respond in the flesh. They love to bait God’s servants, trying to get draw them into a battle relying on their own strength and understanding. They may insult you, sneer at your faith and authority and trivialize Jesus Christ. You do not have to prove anything to them. It doesn’t matter what they think or say.Never try to outwit them or intimidate them. That is the flesh. We have to stand in our identityin Christ and accomplish our work relying on the Spirit. All that really counts is what God thinks of you and the ministry you are doing. The enemy will influence people to criticize you, slander you and persecute you. You will be defenseless. All you can do is trust in God’s faithfulness to protect you and vindicate you. He will be faithful as you trust Him to through the fire with you.
- Headaches, slight physical discomfort – interestingly, the pain location may often be an indicator where the demonic stronghold is located in the subject. For instance, I have suddenly developed a migraine headache, which quickly disappeared when strongholds in the head were broken. Other times, I would experience a sudden pain in the heart which would linger until I commanded the demons to release the person’s heart. The same has happened in other areas of the body.
- Demons may cause the person ministering to feel very sleepy and sluggish. A quick prayer can usually remedy this.
- Sometimes there will be a sudden temperature change to coldness which can be felt by everyone in the room. Often this will remain until some strongholds are broken. On occasion, a command of authority may return the temperature to normal.
- Physical attacks by the demon directed at the person ministering – If the demons have sufficient control over the subject, they may use their influence over mind and body to physically attack and try to cause harm. If you are not experienced in how to exercise your authority in Christ to stop the attack, there may have to be some physical restraint exercised to keep anyone from being injured.
- Attacks on pets in a home – Spirits occasionally even go into pets, stirring them up and sometimes causing them to get extremely agitated and even attack. I have witnessed pet birds, cats and dogs being influenced by demons. Dogs are usually the most threatening. Again, exercising spiritual authority to make them release the pet is usually sufficient.
- Attacks directed at a team member – Often, an inexperienced member of the prayer team supporting the one ministering deliverance will become the focus of the enemy’s attack during the deliverance session. The enemy’s object is to break the unity of the ministry team through intimidation and fear. The team member may experience any of the attacks listed above.
- Manipulation of energy sources – When I used to travel to peoples’ homes for ministry, I encountered some very unusual phenomena. On numerous occasions lights would begin flickering, go off and on and sometimes go completely off. Sometimes I witnessed balls of light floating in rooms, strange smells and temperature changes.
One time, I had a pastor assisting me in ministering to a witch whom the pastor had come across through neighborhood visitation. As I talked with her, I felt what seemed to be a laser-like beam of energy, go through my right bicep, through my chest, puncture my heart and out my left side. I could not breathe, let alone speak. The pastor began praying for me and after what seemed to be an eternity, I was released enough so that I could command it to cease. The memory of that incident is still vivid in my mind.
I have done seminars on Spiritual Warfare in numerous churches, where sound recording equipment would not function properly until I laid hands on the equipment, prayed and then commanded the equipment be released.
In any case, the point I am trying to make is that demons can really be a nuisance and very distracting. But we must never let them get the upper hand by yielding to fear and panic. Our God is still in control, He is present as we minister and He cannot fail. Only we can fail to trust Him.
Note: It is extremely important that confronting the demons be conducted by a leader of the group rather than the whole group. Those supporting the leader should be praying and seeking discernment and guidance from the Holy Spirit which can be passed on to the leader.
Otherwise, when everyone is commanding demons, the ministry will not be nearly as effective. The demons will use the confusion as a means to resist.
Attacks On Those Receiving Ministry
- Mental confusion – I have seen people suddenly become so confused that they could not understand what is being said or give a coherent answer to the simplest of questions. Use your spiritual authority to release the demonic hold and break the attack.
- Strong emotional stirrings – anger, fear etc. – Often the subject will get a flash back to some experience of abuse or injustice and then react to it. It may even affect the person’s relationship to those who are ministering and present another obstacle to be overcome. Some words of counsel are often sufficient to help them. If it persists, exercise your authority in Christ to make it stop.
- Perceptual distortions – This is a very clever ruse of the enemy. Some demons can influence what a person sees or hears to some degree. They cause the person to misinterpret sensory input. For instance, a smile of the minister may become a mocking gesture. A slight frown may be interpreted as angry judgment. There have been numerous times when I have been led to speak very softly to the subject, to the surprise of those assisting me. Later, when the victory had been secured and the subject set free, we would get the response, “I’m glad that awful ordeal is over.”When asked what made it an awful ordeal, the subject would say, “Because you screamed at me throughout the session.” The first time it happened was quite a surprise. But I have witnessed it numerous times since. Somehow the hearing of the subject was amplified to cause my soft voice to sound like screaming. But God gave us insight through this as to how wily the enemy can be.
- A bombardment of threats and lies – this is a powerful weapon for the enemy. As soon as an appointment is made the enemy will bombard the subject with self-condemnation, doubts that he or she can ever find victory, and that the enemy is too powerful and too entrenched. This bombardment will continue into the deliverance session. The Lord will show me what is happening and I will explain it to the person. Demons will try to convince the subject that this deliverance session is not going to work.
- Memory loss – For ministry to be successful, it is of utmost importance to be able to identify sin areas of the present, and the past; both personally and in the family. Demons try to keep people from remembering key sin areas that have given them a great deal of claim over the person’s life. For instance, there may have been involvement in occult practices. The person may have objects related to past occult practices in their possession that they have completely forgotten about. Another person may have taken an oath to a deity in the past that has been completely forgotten and never confessed. Demons will use objects, literature, oaths, and pacts etc. as legal claims to remain with a person and maintain a stronghold in the life. Sometimes it has been sufficient to command that any memory block be removed. But sometimes it is more complicated than that. Here is where it is very important to be sensitive to God’s leading, through discernment, godly advice, the Spirit’s leading or a powerful insight from Him. You may not think you can hear God in these ways, but don’t underestimate His ability to speak to you on numerous levels. At first, it may seem difficult and risky to step out in faith on what you believed God has shown you. But, when you discover that stronghold, it will increase your faith in God’s ability to show you what you need to know.
- Headaches, severe discomfort – which prevents some from coming for ministry. Others get attacked during ministry and suggest they cannot continue. Usually, I will lay hands on the person and command the demon to release the person and be bound until I deal with him in the name of Christ. At the great surprise of the person, the pain immediately begins to dissipate until it is completely gone. Sometimes another demon will try the same thing and I will deal with him in the same way.
- Sharp pains – These will often occur when you pinpoint an area where the enemy has control and command them out. Suddenly, they will inflict pain for their own survival. The subject usually wants to stop ministry, because the pain in unbearable. A persistent command of authority can quickly alleviate the pain, to the amazement of the subject.
- Sudden sickness – often this happens most often on the day of the person’s appointment and causing a cancellation.
- Infirmity, sickness – Not all infirmity or sickness is demonic, but there are many instances where demons are the source of the problem. Scripture bears this out. (Mt. 12:22; Mt. 17: 14-23; Lk. 13:10-16) I have dealt with numerous cases where infirmity or sickness began shortly after an individual committed their life to Christ. I had a case where a Jewish woman became a Christian and suddenly developed epilepsy. It was so severe that she was unable to go to church. She had constant falls and was covered with bruises. Eventually, a friend introduced her to me and that day I had the privilege of casting out of her the demons causing epilepsy. Their energy, which affected her brain, actually singed her scalp when the demons left through the top of her head. I want to stipulate that not all epilepsy is demonic. It is evident that demons can mimic the symptoms of natural sickness and disease.
- Unconscious, comatose – These occurrences can be disconcerting to those ministering because they feel so helpless. It can cause those ministering to fear when a person’s life is in apparent danger. It is another ploy of the enemy to stop the ministry. It is not always possible to command the subject back to consciousness. So, there often has to be concerted prayer by those ministering.This is a time of dependency on the Lord to supply what is needed. When there is peace and assurance that you can proceed with the command, it can be exercised and the person is returned to consciousness.
- Demons may cause a person to vomit – to mislead you that they are leaving or have left. It is not wise to depend on physical manifestations regarding the success of your ministry. The enemy is very capable of supplying the manifestations you are expecting in order to mislead you and hinder a thorough deliverance. Discernment in your spirit is much more effective.
Summary: I have listed some common tactics often used by the enemy to resist deliverance. It is not a comprehensive listing, but a representative one. Each person ministering will discover other tactics in the enemy’s arsenal. As you yield to the Spirit’s influence in your ministry, you will find your discernment increasing and be able to recognize the enemy’s work quickly. May the Lord bless you to be a quick learner.