One of my first actual experiences of casting out a demon(s) occurred when I was 18 years old and pastoring my first church in Seymour, Connecticut. Leo and Sue were founding members of our church . They had opened and operated a Christian book store in Seymour. A woman named Judy, also a member of our church worked for them in the store. One day, while I was visiting Judy at the store, a woman came in who appeared very much mentally ill. She made her way to the back of the store, picked up a book, and then laid across the floor as she read. She was humming and talking to herself.
She tossed and turned on the floor as if she were a sleeping person who was extremely uncomfortable and unable to find a comfortable position. At one point she came up to the cash register area and began to talk with Judy and me. Her speech was rapid and almost impossible to understand. She stank! Her clothing was disheveled and her hair looked as though it hadn’t been washed in months. The same could be said of her clothes, body, and even her teeth. When she heard that I was a pastor, she suddenly began to speak of the fact that she was a pianist. “Maybe I can come sometime and play piano in your church.” She said. I answered, “That would be wonderful, we’d love to have you.”
We learned through all her chattering that she was in fact married, not at all homeless, and had two children. Her husband came by and picked her up after a while. I handed her a church card before she left and reiterated that we’d love to have her with us in church some Sunday. She said, “Ill be there,” and with a grin went out to her husband at the car. As soon as she got in the car, I turned to Judy who had a very perplexed look on her face. She said, “Pastor, I know this is terrible to say, but why did you invite that lady to church?” I answered, “Because she is demon possessed and God wants her free!” Judy almost dropped her jaw. She said, “Are you serious?” “And you invited her to church?” I replied, “Judy, we may be the only church in the whole state that knows how to deal with these kinds of things. God wants that woman free. He doesn’t want her bound up by those spirits. Let’s see if she shows up!” With that, I left the store and went home, praying all the way for that poor demoniac woman.
I don’t remember the exact time frame. It has been 25 years. But it wasn’t too long afterwards. One Saturday evening, I had undressed and crawled into bed. I was ready for Sunday’s services and was looking forward to a good nights rest. I was staying in a small three room suite in Naugatuck. Naugatuck is about fifteen minutes north of Seymour. Suddenly, the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me and said, “Get up. Go upstairs to the sanctuary and pray. I want you to fast your sleep.” I didn’t quite understand what He meant by the term “fast your sleep?” He said, “When you fast, you do without food, by choice, as a means of denying what your body needs in an effort to aspire to a higher spiritual place. So, I want you to do without sleep, which your body needs, by choice, instead aspiring to prepare yourself spiritually for a battle that you are soon to face.” So, I got up from my bed, and began to pray. After a couple of hours, I felt the Lord spoke to me to get in my car and drive around the Naugatuck Valley, where all my church members lived. He instructed me to go from house to house and pray for each of my church members as I sat in front of their homes. So, again, being an old-time Pentecostal preacher who believes strongly in being led of the Lord, I did as I was instructed.
I drove thirty minutes or so, all the way to the southern end of the Valley, and parked in front of Sue and Leo’s house. I sat there and prayed for them for ten or fifteen minutes. I then started the car and drove to June’s house, where I sat and prayed for ten minutes or so. I prayed in front of Brad and Sue’s, Sam’s, and others. When it came time for me to park in front of Tom and Judy’s house, I looked up at their front porch. There, to my surprise, I quite literally saw a mammoth beast of an animal of sorts, standing in front of their door, trying to hold it closed. It was as if this spirit were trying to prevent this couple from being in church later that morning.
I began to pray and I rebuked that demon, in Jesus’ name, commanding it to leave so that Tom and Judy (the woman who worked at the book store) could be in church that morning. After a short time, the spirit disappeared, and I knew all was well. When Tom and Judy showed up for church that morning, Judy shared that she had awakened that morning with a horrible headache that would not even allow her to lift her head from the pillow. “I have never had a headache like that before,” she said. But then, at just about 5:30am, the headache suddenly went away and she told her husband “Don’t bother calling the pastor to say we won’t be in church today. I feel fine.” That was the exact time that I had been outside their home commanding that oppressive spirit to leave them be!
I headed for my grandparent’s house. As I drove up the highway, traveling through Seymour and into Beacon Falls where my grandparent’s lived, I saw the brightest flash of white light that I have ever seen in my life! It was not a natural light. It was not lightening. In fact, it was so bright, that for the moment that it shone, I could not even see anything but the light. I knew immediately that something was happening somewhere that I really needed to be praying about. So immediately I began to pray and intercede. I didn’t know who I was praying for, but I prayed like a “house on fire” as the old saying goes. Tears were streaming down my face some 20 minutes later as I drove up to my grandparent’s house. My grandfather was standing in the driveway. I couldn’t begin to figure out why. It was about 6am on a Sunday morning. No mail. They didn’t get the paper. As I got out of my car, my grandfather came over to me and asked, “Did you see the ambulance as you drove in?” I answered, “No, grandpa, I didn’t see an ambulance. What happened?”
He began to explain to me how he had gotten up and fixed himself a cup of coffee as he did every morning. My great-grandmother, who lived with her daughter and son-in-law, my grandmother and grandfather, had also gotten out of bed and walked into the kitchen. Grandpa explained that my grandmother passed smooth out and fell to the kitchen floor about twenty minutes before I showed up! The ambulance had just driven off to carry her to the hospital. I must have just missed them as I was driving in. My great-grandmother had passed out and fallen to the floor at the exact same moment that I saw this incredible, supernatural flash of blinding white light! I had been praying for someone all right, and unknowingly, it was my own great grandmother whom I adored beyond the ability of words to describe. Without a single ounce of fear, I told my grandfather that all would be well. I explained to him what had happened and told him that the Lord would not have had me praying if He wasn’t prepared to do something supernatural for great-grandma. Long story short - she had had a heart attack. But God spared her life and she lived to a ripe old age of 89, which was some fifteen years after this incident.
You might think that all of this made for a very exciting and eventful night. Surely there was no more to happen that day! But there was. When I got to the church that morning, I was tired, but exhilarated by a full night of prayer and supplication. I couldn’t have been any more shocked when the woman that Judy and I had spoken to in the book store walked through the doors of our church! She was still very disheveled and dirty. She was muttering to herself and humming. Her hair was still unkempt and ratty. But here she was!
As the service began, she sat in her seat and closed here yes. Occasionally she would mutter something to herself and then, she pulled a hanky from her pocket and placed it over her face. At one point, as I was speaking of what the Lord had done relative to my great grandmother earlier that morning, this woman suddenly bellowed out, “Would you turn that G-- D----d thing down!” She then stood up and marched to the back of the sanctuary and then made her way to the restroom.
I immediately made my apologies to our members and visitors. I then asked everyone to understand what I was about to do. We had many children in my first church. I knew that I was about to minister deliverance to this woman, so I asked all our folks, about 40-50 in all, to please quietly make their way out of the church and go home. I asked them to be in prayer for me as I was going to be casting the demons out of this woman. I invited any members who wished to stay and support me in prayer to do so. Leo and June chose to stay. I shook hands and apologized to each person as they made their way out of the building. You DO NOT WANT children, spiritually weak or susceptible people, or unbelievers to be in the same room as you attempt to bring deliverance to a demoniac! Things can happen which can scare the life out of people. So this is why I had asked everyone to leave.
As soon as everyone was gone, this woman came out of the bathroom. Leo and June had made their way to the front of the sanctuary and were in prayer at the alters. This woman walked over to me and asked, “Where did everybody go?” I answered, “Well, we kind of cut our service short today so that I can help you.” She said, “Well, my husband is going to come back at about 12 noon to pick me up, so he won’t be here for a while.” I then asked her to have a seat. I began to explain to her as gently as I could that it was obvious to me that Satan was tormenting her internally and that God wanted to set her free. She started to weep, very noisily. I then said, :From this moment on, I will not be speaking to this woman (honestly, I used her name, but I can’t remember it at this moment), but rather I will be addressing the demon spirits that occupy her body and mind.
Immediately she began to place her hanky over her face as though she were trying to hide from me. The first thing I did was ask the Lord to prevent her husband from showing up at the church until AFTER this woman was fully delivered. I then began to address the demons. Suddenly, this lady stood up and made her way to the center aisle of our sanctuary. She literally fell to her knees and then fell backwards, pushing her body up with her legs and arms so that she was walking like a crab, similar to what we used to do in school as kids. She walked on all fours, facing upward, to the back of the sanctuary and forward again. I commanded the demons to stop their play and sit down. I said, “This woman will not get up from this chair until this woman is free of every one of you!” “In Jesus’ name!”
When I address a demon I do so with great righteous anger! I felt so overwhelmed by a love and compassion for this poor woman. And how dare these evil beings invade her life and take control! I began to call out each spirit by name, as the Spirit of God would make it known to me. Spirits are identified by their purpose. Therefore, I was commanding the “spirit of fear” to come out of her, “in the name of Jesus Christ!” I began to speak forth a litany of names as God made them known to my spirit. One after another, after another. She wept, coughed, sneezed, and even vomited. Occasionally they would try to speak and I would order them to keep silent.
Demons will distract in an effort to make you “lose your concentration” so to speak. They will pull all kinds of tricks, if you let them, in hopes that you will stop prematurely, leaving at least some of them still in place without having been dislodged. So it is imperative that you NOT allow them to distract you with all kinds of very sexual and vulgar statements, scary and intimidating voices and screams, as well as accusations against your Christian experience. The truth of the matter is this, demons are not affected by your morality or perfection. If they were, no one would stand perfect or holy enough to evict them from their human hosts.
THEY MUST OBEY AND LEAVE as long as you operate in the authority of Jesus’ name, with a genuine, absolute, resolute faith! Their accusations, often untrue, but can also be true, are meaningless. Your perfection or holiness is not a requirement for them to have to obey your commands, only your faith is! For nearly two and one half hours Leo and June remained in the altars praying for my strength in this battle. When I finally felt assured in my spirit that this woman was indeed fully free, I took her by the hand and asked, “How do you feel?” She answered, “I have no idea what just happened here, but I feel like I just lost a thousand pounds.” “Thank you so much!”
After a few minutes of praying with her and coming down from our state of absolute battle readiness, she said, “Oh my goodness, my husband was supposed to be here ninety minutes ago!” We rushed to the door and looked out into the parking lot. He wasn’t there. Then, as we stood in the doorway, we saw a sedan pulling into the church’s’ driveway. It was her husband. He drove up to the church and was repeatedly apologetic. “I couldn’t find this place,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I hunted and searched since 11:45 and I just couldn’t seem to find this place!” (We knew the Lord had kept him away so that his wife could be set free from her bondage.)
The next Sunday, this lady showed up at church again. This time, she was of a sound mind. Her hair was washed. Her clothing matched and was clean and pressed. She wasn’t mumbling, humming, or cussing. She walked straight up to me and said, “I don’t even know what you did last Sunday, but I went home and for the first time in ten years I cleaned my house, washed my dishes, cooked for my family, ironed our clothes..” She said her husband and children were on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It had been so long since they had seen this woman able to function normally! She thanked us over and over again!
Folks, demon possession is a very real phenomenon. It occurs far more often than one might think. I once attended a private, Baptist High School. A visiting Baptist missionary incurred the wrath of our school principal by saying that her years in China had caused her to realize that demon possession was very real and still occurs. That Baptist pastor who also served as our principal was livid! She said that nothing made demonic possession more vivid than being in a country where everyone around you appears very similarly. So when a demoniac came along, they would stand out, to her, like a soar thumb. She and her missionary husband quickly learned to employ the name of Jesus Christ in an effort to see these poor souls liberated. How dare she claim such a thing. But Pastor Perry did not interrupt the elderly missionary widow’s presentation. He just made a huge fuss about it in our morning chapel the following day, making sure that we all understood that she was an old woman who had misinterpreted people with mental illness.
Over the years I have witnessed a number of demon possessed people. I have seen demons manifest themselves in any number of ways. I have heard voices (plural) coming from ONE mouth! Some sounded like animals trying to speak. Some were so high pitched that they nearly split your ear drums in half. I have seen the power of God and the authority of Jesus’ name prevail again and again! Those who think that Christianity is some big game, have never stood where I have stood. I have stood face to face with evil and I have seen the massive destruction that an unclean/demonic spirit can bring into someone’s life. I will share some more experiences in future blogs. But the intent of this blog is to primarily illustrate the authority of God’s people over demonic powers.
Jesus said that some demonic situations can only be brought to complete deliverance through prayer and fasting! God knew this woman would be coming to church that Sunday morning. THIS is why He had asked me to get up from my bed and spend the night in prayer, “fasting my sleep.” I was physically exhausted that morning when this demoniac showed up in our church, but I was spiritually charged to the hilt! I had spent the entire night communing with the Lord. My batteries were spiritually charged and I was ready for the battle that presented itself. God is real. His Spirit is real. We, as His people, cannot afford for even one second to disobey His leading, as only He knows what we will tomorrow face.