Sickness and emotional pain are rooted in spiritual problems.
A person coming for deliverance is convicted of sin and truly wants to be delivered out of his bondage. Our first goal is to help him understand that he doesn't need to go through a prayer line to receive deliverance.
Jesus is true to His Word, and anyone who seeks Him in a right spirit with the right "tools" will experience His freeing power. One tool we teach is actually a series of action steps for getting free: repent, renounce and break.
Repent. "Repent" literally means being "re-penitent" or "again humble." One who is penitent expresses humble or regretful pain or sorrow for sins or offenses. To repent means to come back to that place of humility and sorrow over sin.
We are coming back to the one who grants forgiveness. We are not trying something new or different--we are reaffirming our need for the Savior, deliverer and redeemer, Jesus.
If there is no repentance, then we continue to walk in darkness, deceived by the enemy. And if we continue to be deceived, we remain in bondage.
Renounce. To "renounce" means to "give up, refuse, or resign by formal declaration." Whereas repenting is directed toward God, renouncing is directed toward the enemy.
We are countermanding any words that contradict God's Word. We are making a formal declaration that we will no longer align ourselves with things that oppose God. We are canceling any and all agreements with the enemy.
God has given us authority in Jesus' name to cancel any spiritually binding contract we may have made with the devil through our words. Many believers repent of their sins before God, only to find themselves in a losing tug-of-war with the enemy, repeating their failures.
We must shut the door on the devil, refusing by formal declaration to walk in the ways of the past. Renouncing is the means by which we cut off any legal right for Satan to bind or torment us. This is the way we resist him.
If our words have been contrary to God's, then we have aligned ourselves with the works of darkness. To be free from them, we must counter those words with God's Word, thus renouncing the hidden works of shame. "But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Cor. 4:2).
Break. After we repent, we have the right to cancel or renounce any legal hold the enemy had over us. The yoke of bondage can be broken off our lives. God loves to see us come to the place where yokes are broken--and it thoroughly frustrates the enemy!
It is quite common to use anointing oil when praying for someone's deliverance. There is nothing supernatural about the oil. It is, however, representative of someone who is very supernatural. That one is Jesus, the Messiah, the anointed one (see Is. 61:1).
The oil serves as a point of reference to build faith. We are declaring that repentance has taken place, the enemy has been renounced, and now, with the authority of Jesus' name and because of the power of His death and resurrection, the yoke of bondage is broken. "The yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil" (Is. 10:27).
At this point of breaking, a struggle begins and ends. It is the primary place of confrontation with the enemy, and now the light of Jesus is shining where darkness once ruled. The enemy has been found out and cast out.
It is a great time of freedom and joy. I have seen multiplied thousands of people set free by this simple application of God's Word.
Our Authority in Christ
However, it is crucially important for believers going into battle to be aware of their authority in Christ. Deliverance is not a benign activity. We are dealing with disobedient spirits. These demons will use any opportunity to bluff, intimidate, lie or oppose.
I have very little faith in my own ability. But I know Jesus, and I am convinced that when He said He was giving us authority, He was telling the truth. "'And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues'" (Mark 16:17).
Jesus commended the centurion who believed that if Jesus gave the word, his servant would be healed. This centurion understood authority and knew the power of the one giving the healing command.
We must also understand and believe in this authority. It is not a haughty authority but a humble, honest response to who Jesus is and what He has done.
In the natural realm, the reason we stop our car when the lights on a police car are flashing behind us is not because of who's inside but because of what he represents.
The officer in that car may be on the job for the first day. He might be slight of build. He might not be feeling well. Yet, if he flashes his lights, we stop.
Why? He represents the law. He is coming in the name of the law. If we resist, we are resisting to our own calamity. The entire judicial system will back up the police officer.
In the spiritual realm, our authority is derived not from our own strength but from the one who granted it to us. Our authority is no less because we're new at it or because we're young or frail or not very wise. Spiritual authority depends not upon us but upon Him.
Deliverance prayer is so different from what people are used to. Normally when praying for someone else, we close our eyes, bow our heads and speak words of encouragement and blessing.
When praying deliverance, our eyes are wide open, looking at the one to whom we're ministering, watching for any signs of struggle, sorrow, anger or other emotion. Our words are not directed to God; we are launching a frontal attack against the enemy.
We are coming against whatever demon has deceived and manipulated the one in front of us. This is a brand-new experience for many.
During our training sessions for those being prepared to minister deliverance, we explain the authoritative tone of warfare prayer with this word-picture: Imagine a child you love standing in front of you. Now picture a ravenous dog, snarling and baring its teeth, approaching to harm this child.
How would you respond? Would you gently say: "Go away, little dog. Please don't bother us"? Would you simply wave your hand at it and go on walking?
No, certainly not. Most of us would look for a rock or a stick and, with a loud voice, would threaten the dog with violence. We'd pick up the child and defend him with our own life, if necessary.
In the very same way demons have ravaged God's people. Like mad dogs, they have sought to steal, kill and destroy.
A righteous anger is appropriate when coming against such evil forces. Boldness to confront and put to flight is quite in order.
I'm not speaking about volume but rather a focused and assertive intensity--looking the enemy in the face and making it clear that you know your authority in Christ and will accept no compromise. The demon must leave!
You have the authority to roust the enemy from your own life as well as the lives of others.
Chris Hayward is president of Cleansing Stream Ministries. He and his team train churches to practice biblically sound deliverance ministry. He lives in California with his wife, Karen. For more information log on at www.cleansingstream.org.
Adapted from God's Cleansing Stream by Chris Hayward, copyright 2003. Published by Wagner Publications, 877-924-6374. Used by permission.