Dealing with Demons in a Ministry Session

by | Jul 23, 2016

NOTE: What is contained in this article and videos are not intended to address all the questions that may arise from what is proposed. You will personally need to decide what you will do with the devil concerning spiritual warfare in other contexts outside of a TPM session. However, it has been our continual experience that confrontation with a demon during a ministry session is not something that ever has to happen. 

I (Ed Smith) am writing a book where I attempt to discuss every passage of Scripture that has anything to do with dealing with the devil. This book is currently over 1000 pages long and growing. What is offered in this article is a very brief overview of how I currently deal with demons in a ministry session. Even though I came from an extensive background in dealing with demonic manifestations and using various approaches to “deliverance,” I have not had to confront a demon in over a decade. As I have applied what I share in this article I have not needed to do so even when ministering to highly demonized people.

The following videos provide a general overview of some of the concepts that are shared within the article.

Demonic Manifestations

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Demonic Manifestations – Resist

click here to learn how to download a copy of this video

If you have a downloaded copy of this video, you can view it without needing to be connected to the internet. This can very beneficial if your internet connection is slow, if you are traveling to a location where accessing the internet may not be possible, or if you would like to reduce your cellular data usage while viewing these videos “on-the-go.”

TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THIS VIDEO, PLEASE FOLLOW THESE STEPS:

  1. Click the “Vimeo” logo found at the bottom-right of the video player (above).
    This will take you to the video’s Vimeo page.
    Vimeo Logo Dark BG
  2. Click the “Download” button found under the video on its Vimeo page.
    This will open a pop-up box.
    Download Button Vimeo 1
  3. Select the video quality you would like to download (remember, higher quality = larger file size).
    After selecting which version you would like to download, you may be asked where you would like to save it.
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Demon Problem or Demon Solution?

In the early years of TPM (then called Theophostic Prayer Ministry) we viewed demonic manifestations as a hindrance to the ministry session. If a demon showed up, it was viewed as a problem to be confronted and removed. We also viewed the demonized person as a victim needing rescue. Today we no longer believe this or practice engaging the demon at all. We now realize that demons do not accomplish what they do by force, but only through their deception and the willful compliance of the person involved. From the Garden of Eden up to the present, they still approach us with questions and suggestions and not by strength or might. So then, if they do not accomplish what they do by force, is there any need for us to deal with them likewise? I personally believe that there is a better way.

Over the years, we discovered that when spiritual warfare is brought into a TPM session that it distracted from what needed to happen and put focus on the demon and not the person’s belief and choice. Since the devil cannot keep a person from choosing to move forward, expose belief or hear from the Spirit, then there is no need to give it any attention during a the ministry session. To assume otherwise is to ascribe victim status to the one being prayed with. There are no victims in a ministry session. Our belief and choice determines all that occurs at all times.

The person in question may believe that he is “possessed” or being controlled by the demon against his will, however, this is not so. Demons only do what they do because they have been given permission. Because a person may believe otherwise, the ministry facilitator may need to stop the ministry session and put on his “orientation hat” and teach the person the truth about what demons can and cannot do.

This article will offer some help with this. Later you will be given some questions to ask that are designed to help the person gain a clearer biblical perspective of demons and their doings. These questions are NOT a part of the TPM Process, but only used to bring clarity and understanding. Once the person realizes the truth about what demons can and cannot do, then you can move back into the TPM Process and ask the ascribed questions therein.

Demons are notorious for providing solutions to our lie-based pain, so when they show up in a session this is usually what they are doing. Reading the articles dealing with “solutions” will benefit. I have not had to confront any demons in any of the ministry sessions that I have facilitated for well over a decade or more, and I am witnessing continual success. Demons are simply not a problem that I ever need to address.

Satan, along with all demons, was defeated 2000 years ago and all he has left is deception. Keeping in mind that deception is only as powerful as it is believed. We need to be “sober and alert”, but not because he might harm us, attack us or oppress us, but only that each of us are susceptible to his schemes. Demons cannot harm us, cause us to feel something, or act out upon us apart from our willful participation. He is very limited in what he may do since “…He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.” (1 Jo. 5:18) We need to be knowledgeable of how he operates and resist his “schemes”, but never fear anything that he could actually do, because he really cannot touch us. As the Apostle Paul declared, “no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:11) Not being ignorant and operating in the truth seems to be the best warfare we can do.

When we are deceived we can harm and bring necessary hardships upon ourselves as an outcome of our own choosing. Evil people can also be incited and inspired by the devil and choose to act out their evil will upon us. However, when this occurs we can rest in the promise that God is working all things for our good (Rom. 8:28). Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matt. 5:11)  Peter the Apostle said concerning “…those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” (1 Pet. 4:19)  Paul said, “…we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom. 5:3-5) So no matter what others may do with an intent to harm or destroy, “If God is for us who is against us…” (Rom. 8:31)

Besides this, all that is needed to send the devil on his way is “submit to God and to resist…” and he has to flee. (Jam. 4:7) The teaching of the Apostles in the post-resurrection scriptures do not instruct us in exorcisms or to any necessity to engage the devil face-to-face on any level. We are only instructed to be alert and sober and to resist his schemes. We are not called to ever engage him.

The truth is, demons cannot make us do something with which we do not willfully agree. They cannot violate our wills or force theirs upon us. However, there is always the possibility that our willful compliance is because of our ignorance of the truth about what a demon can or cannot do. If we genuinely believe that a demon can make us do something apart from our willing participation; hinder us from knowing the truth, looking to God, moving forward in a ministry session, or even sinning, etc., then our ignorance may result in our compliance to the demons bidding. If we believe that we are a victim of the devil and under its control, then we may succumb to its doing. Either way, the demon is still not violating our will in the process. Everything that it does is accomplished through deception and by our allowing it to occur.

This is never more evident than when a demon shows up in a ministry session. Typically, if a demon shows up in a ministry session it is when the person is struggling to do that which needs to be done. For example, if a person does not want to remember some particular memory, but knows that remembering it is necessary, a demonic spirit might manifest in this moment. When this occurs the demon is providing the person with a solution or “way of escape” from doing what he does not want to do. The demon’s presence provides a distraction and allows the person to play the victim role and not have to remember the memory he is avoiding. This same thing may occur when the person does not want to feel what he is feeling, or let go of something, etc.  As long as the person is having a demon “problem” then the person does not have to take ownership for the real reason he cannot do what needs to be done. He may say, “I want to move forward, but the demon is standing in my way” when in fact the truth is, “I really do not want to move forward and the demon is providing me a way of escape allowing me to be a victim needing rescued.”

Somewhere along the way many ministry facilitators concluded that if there are demons present, then the demon needs to be addressed. This is probably because of our understanding of how Jesus and the disciples dealt with demonization prior to the cross and we try to model our approach based upon this. However, all of us would agree that the cross had an impact on the devil and therefore, how we should deal with him.

Some of us spent much time and energy trying to drive demons out of our church services, our homes, our cities, etc. Some of us used crucifixes and olive oil as a weapon. I used to put olive oil on the door posts of my house, our furniture, our children and on each other thinking that the oil was like insect repellent. The thought of demons being in the same room as we were, sent us scurrying around in battle mode. The truth is, demons cannot do anything to any of us apart from our own willful participation. Having demons in the same room with us doesn’t have any impact on us apart from our being deceived. Deception is their only weapon. If we are not deceived, then we cannot be impacted. Sometimes we forget what the Scriptures have made clear that, “He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.” (1 Jo. 5:18)

The truth is, there are probably demons everywhere, in numbers that we cannot fathom. Nevertheless, what can they do apart from human cooperation? Nothing. Jesus spent forty days walking around in the wilderness with Satan at His side. You would have thought that Jesus would have driven the devil off right away. Instead, Jesus spends over a month in conversation with him. There is something to learn from this.

Back in the days when we confronted demons, we noticed that some demons appeared to be more resistant and contentious than others. Therefore we concluded that different demons have different measures of power. Now we understand that the demon’s resistance is directly related to the deception and degree that the person “needs” the demon to be there. It was not so much that one demon was stronger and more forceful than another, but rather that the person’s will was more invested in it being there. Here again, the problem was not the demon, but the person’s own belief and choice. Rather than being a problem with which to contend, the demon is the person’s solution that needs to be let go. The presence of a demon in a person’s life is a clear indication that the person is deceived and believing lies. In a sense the demon is a “lie-detector” pointing out the lies the person believes.

Being Unaware of the Solution

It is quite possible that the person has not considered (at least at the conscious level), that the demonic presence might be serving him in some way to solve a problem. The only other option is simply ignorance of what a demon can and cannot do. In such case the person is allowing the manifestation unknowingly. Here is where the facilitator may need to pause the ministry session and teach the person the biblical truths about Satan’s defeat and strategies.

First of all, a demon cannot make anyone do anything in which they are not willfully participating. A demon cannot violate our will, and it cannot force a manifestation to occur without our permission or ignorant compliance. However, it can provide us a solution to a perceived problem. Demons are expert problem solvers. Have you ever felt anxious or worried about something and suddenly felt an urge for something sweet to eat?

A common example of this dynamic that may be encountered in a ministry session is where a person does not want to move forward, feel what he is feeling, or remember a memory. Conveniently, a demon shows up “interfering” with the session. As long as we have a demon problem to wrestle with, the person does not have to remember, feel or move forward. Having a demon allocates the person to a victim status needing to be rescued. The well-meaning ministry facilitator may “take the bait” and engage the demon and the fight is on. If indeed the person was a victim needing to be rescued, then this would be the right protocol. However, if the demon cannot violate a person’s freewill and force itself on the person (which it cannot do), then how is engaging it in order? Since permission or compliance is always required in order for a demon to do what it does, the persons belief and choice is the problem that needs to be addressed.

Demonic Manifestation is a Solution

Typically the person with the assumed “demon problem”  will be slow to acknowledge that he is using demons to solve his or her problem. If you would ask the person outright, “Do you want this demon doing what it is doing?” they would say “NO! Of course not!” No one would want to have a demon manifesting in or through them, right? “No” is the correct answer, but it may not be the true answer.

Here is where the De-Solution Tool can benefit us. When you ask the De-Solution tool questions, a different picture often emerges. First, you can help the person to identify what he is doing –or not doing– that it is the demon appears to be “solving”.  You can do this by Identifying what was happening just before the demon showed up. For example, was the person trying to feel something, remember a memory, move forward, etc. Once this behavior is identified the facilitator is ready to formulate the first De-Solution Tool question. “Do you sense any hesitation or resistance at the thought of this requiring this demon to stop doing what it is doing so that you might … [their solution behavior]?” Everyone wants the demon to stop doing what it is doing, but not so much if this means that we would be required to move forward, remember something, or feel something. Here we see how the demon is a solution to a perceived problem. If we remove the solution we are left with the problem.

When the demon manifestation is presented to the person in this format (as a problem solver) it is common for the person to admit some measure of resistance to stop doing or start doing what they are doing or not doing. A person may say that he does not feel resistance in stopping the demon from doing what it is doing, but will usually acknowledge feeling resistant or hesitant to address what they are responsible for, that is, to do what the demon was helping him to avoid; remembering a memory, feeling something, moving forward, etc.

Again, no one wants to admit that they are using a demon to help them do anything. Nonetheless, demons are “problem solvers” with ready purblind solutions to all of our troubles. All of us accept their help from time to time to distract us from our lie-based pain since we all have our ways that we suppress and distract ourselves from our lie-based pain. It is just a question of whether or not we will admit that this is what we do and choose to do otherwise.

 

When a Person Believes that a Demon is Controlling Them

When a person believes that he is controlled by demons there are several things that may be at play. One, they may simply be ignorant of the truth. Where this is the case you have a theological problem. I have ministered with many people through the years who had difficulty grasping the truth that demons cannot control our behavior. However, as I spent time with them working through what the Bible says about this, they each came to accept it. I will supply you with a few questions to ask that can usually clear this up rather quickly.

Sometimes a person is simply ignorant of the truth and they believe that they have no other option but to be controlled. However, the very fact that you can have a conversation about it with them, and that they are able to listen, reveals that they have executive control of what is going on. If a demon could control them then the demon would always be in control. The fact that they are able to override the demon’s control at will proves that the demon has no control. You can also point out that the moments where the demon appears to have “control” correspond with the person’s emotional status. They feel badly because they are triggered and the demon provides a “solution” (victim status) that provides them a way of escape.

They may need the demon to be in control so that they can escape being responsible themselves. As long as they can remain a victim of the demon’s control, they did not have to take responsibility for what they were feeling and the lies that they believed. Where this is the case, you can use the De-Solution Tool questions to help with this issue. You might ask them to look carefully for any hesitation or resistance at the thought of them choosing to make the demon to stop doing what it is doing. For example you could ask, “If you were to consider choosing to not allow the demon to do what it is doing, do you sense any hesitation or resistance at the thought of stopping it?” If they acknowledge this, then proceed with the other two questions.

It is always possible that they hold a core belief that is related to the belief that the demon is “controlling” them. You would simply have them to focus on what they feel when they think about being controlled by the demon. When they identify and connect with this emotion you should ask the second EMOTION Box question, “What comes to your mind as you focus on what you are feeling? If a memory comes to mind, follow protocol for the MEMORY Box.

At no time should you address or confront the demon. To do so is to reinforce the person’s false belief that they are being controlled and need to be rescued.

 

Freewill Trumps Demon Activity

People can make a demonic manifestation stop by simply choosing for it to cease. A willful decision for a demon to stop doing what it is doing is all that is required because when we “resist the devil” he has to flee. (James 4:7) A demon is only present and doing what it is doing by way of permission or compliance of the person. Almost always it is serving a purpose by solving a problem for the person.

If a demonic spirit shows up during a session the facilitator may need to pause the session for a moment and share the truth about what demons can and cannot do. This can typically be done by asking a series of questions.

1) “Can a demon make you do something that you do not choose to do? For example, can a demon make you sin?”
People always give the same answer, “No.”  If they said that they believe the devil makes them sin you can point out the ridiculousness of this position by asking, “Do you believe that when you stand before God some day you will be able to say to Him, ‘God my sins were not my fault, the devil made me do it’?”  When the person acknowledges that the devil cannot force his will upon anyone, continue asking:

2) “So if the demon cannot make us sin, what can it make us do? Can it force you to let it do what it is doing here today? Can it… [keep you from feeling or remembering a memory. Can it create a wall to block you from moving forward, etc.]?” If they answer with “No” then ask the next question. If they answer with “Yes”, then go back to the first question. Either the demon is forcing its will onto the person or the person is in agreement with what it is doing.

3). “Since a demon cannot make us do anything, why do you think that it is doing what it is doing here today? What purpose is it serving?”
This will usually reveal how the demon is serving the person. This may in fact be the lie that you can take to the BELIEF Box and ask the question, “Not that it is true, but does it feel true that …?” And then proceed to the TRUTH Box and then on to the TRANSFORMATION Box.

This may also be the place where you move back to the TPM Process and ask the first SOLUTION Box question, “Do you feel any hesitancy or resistance at the thought of your stopping what this demon is doing and your choosing to [the behavior that was being hindered —feeling emotion, remembering, or etc.?”

The facilitator will need to explain to the person how the demon is providing a solution to a perceived problem. The person must choose to take ownership for this and “resist the devil.” When they do this it has to flee. The “De-Solution Tool” will help to identify the belief that supports the demon being present. Once the lie is identified and replaced with the Lord’s truth, the person should be able to move forward without any demon issue. If there is still some resistance present, then there are other beliefs that still need to be identified and replaced with the Lord’s perspective. Confronting and casting a demon out of the person may provide some temporary relief, but it does not address the reason that the demon was there in the first place; the lies remain.

Making the demon the problem and exorcism the solution might be compared to divorcing a contentious spouse, changing jobs, moving to a new location, etc. Removing something from our life can bring initial relief from being triggered by the lies we believe, but it has no impact on the belief itself. It is only a matter of time before someone or thing comes along and touches our lie-based beliefs that remain. We feel what we believe, not what is happening around us.

Our pain is not caused by demons, people or our situations. Changing our situation, divorcing relationships, or casting out demons can reduce our being triggered by our lie-based pain (in relation to demons, some people call this pain being oppressed), but unless we find freedom from the lies we believe we will be triggered (oppressed) again. It is just a matter of time. It makes more sense to take ownership for our “oppression” and stop blaming the demon and others for what we feel and look to the Lord for truth.

The video that follows will flesh out the principles in this article. Please know that Dr. Ed Smith has written a thousand plus pages book on why we do not need to battle a defeated foe. Watch for this to be released Online in the future.

 

Whose fingerprints are these anyway?

 

There is no question that Satan is evil, has only evil motive and desires to lead all people to self-destruct. Nevertheless, he cannot do anything by force. He is not violating any person’s free will. All people will stand accountable unto God on the final day and no one will be able to say, “The devil made me do it!”

With this being said, there is no question that Satan has great plans for evil, but he needs willing participants to bring it about. Every act of evil that is accomplished on this earth has human fingerprints on it. Sometimes we fail to realize that sin and evil came into this world because of human choice and not by demonic force. When Satan was in the Garden, the world had not yet fallen. His evil presence did not make anything evil in the world. It was not until Adam and Eve chose to cooperate with His deception that evil entered in. The Scriptures are clear that it was“… through one man [that] sin entered into the world, and death  through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned …” Romans 5:12

 

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