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My experience confronting demons

This awful situation that my friend John has been confronting (see this blog) brought to mind my own story of how I woke up to the fact that there is a spiritual realm that I’d largely ignored. My hope in sharing it is that it will bolster your resolve to move beyond a faith that may be of l…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

This awful situation that my friend John has been confronting (see this blog) brought to mind my own story of how I woke up to the fact that there is a spiritual realm that I’d largely ignored. My hope in sharing it is that it will bolster your resolve to move beyond a faith that may be of little consequence to the enemy. We need more warriors – I’ve committed my life to rousing and preparing them. The world’s need is too urgent and our couches are too soft.

So here we go – I was raised in an evangelical free church that didn’t talk about the devil in anything more than an abstract way. He and his pals were this wasps’ nest down the street that we understood we were to stay away from.

When I entered my 20’s, I began to bump up against the notion of a personal evil as I read the book The People of the Lie. So one day I made an appointment with the Episcopal rector and asked him what he thought about it. His answer left me scratching my head.

The Methodist Church I attended for a while at business school was no help at all. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that, as an elder in the Presbyterian Church, I finally began to come face to face with the reality of a personal evil.

We were a pretty innocuous bunch. We would have epic struggles over bringing a praise band into church. For all that, we did have one redeeming feature, we believed the Bible is God’s word to man.

One day a housewife who attended church came to the elder board and said, “I have been sick almost all my life. Will you pray for me to be healed?” This was a moment of cognitive dissonance for us. We were stuck. On the one hand, we had never done anything like this before. On the other hand, James 5:14-15 says, “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him.” It concludes by saying “you’ll be made well.” That said, this woman’s symptoms were a little spooky.

She had been sick all her life for no apparent reason. Recently, her family was being tormented by unseen forces in bizarre ways. The husband at one point found himself pinned to the floor, unable to move. The pre-adolescent son kept having sexual thoughts. The daughter saw floating lights moving around her room.

So, while we ostensibly came to pray about the woman’s sickness, we had a feeling this might get “complicated.” We suspected we might be in over our heads, but pressed on anyway.

The prayer session went on for a little over three hours. We could sense an evil presence, but it seemed to hiding (we later found out that, in spiritual warfare circles, this phase is known as “pretense”). I don’t know why we persevered, as clueless a bunch of elders as ever there were. But we kept pressing forward in prayer until suddenly and shockingly, the woman spoke in a deep male voice: “I’ll kill her! I’ll kill her! She’s mine! She’s mine!” It spat at us.

“Whoa.” I thought.” This woman I know, but who the heck are you?” It was not an act. Something horrible and evil was challenging us for control of this woman. We were living a scene from the Exorcist. People, until you’ve been where I was, this stuff is hypothetical. That exchange put an end to whatever theology I’d clung to about Christians not having demons. Seeing is believing.

I wanted to run out the back door and all the way home. Here we were in a normal-enough living room, but what followed was anything but normal. We regrouped afterwards and came to the conclusion that, whatever good we’d done, there was still more to do and we still didn’t have a clue. I went and got my charismatic Catholic neighbor to help. Thus reinforced, the next afternoon we came and spent the better part of eight hours praying demons out of the woman and the house. At the end, she and her family were clean. All the harassment they’d suffered was over (though she reported to me later that at one point she could feel a demonic claw on her eyeball one morning). And 16 years later, they are still doing great, and are leaders in their community.

Karen and I immediately began reading everything about spiritual warfare we could find. And a parade of people who needed deliverance began showing up at our pastor’s doorstep. We saw some wild, wild stuff. One day an unseen force opened the cupboard doors and the dishes came spilling out at her. This was an invasion of our home! We began to press in even more to our authority in Christ. We began to see how lilly-livered we’d really been all those years and thought, “Oh well, better late than never!”

This blog is already way too long, but many Christians out there are basically agnostic about the reality of a personal evil that wants to destroy them. I’ve seen too much to bury my head in the sand again and hope that somehow you’ll wake up. Please do yourself a favor and start reading up on the subject. Please, decide to start wielding the authority you’ve been given to roust the enemy out of his comfort zones – you are not merely the object of God’s affection, you are a battle axe in his hand.

To get started I recommend the following books:

Happy reading!

Comments (10)

  • Hey Seth,

    I appreciate you sharing. What books, if any, would you recommend pertaining to this subject? Thanks and may your day be blessed!

  • Valentina (WR July ’08)

    Thank you. I had been reading your blog sporadically after I was accepted to the race. I recently subscribed… and God has been using your words to awaken me. I knew these months before the Race would be a time of preperation, but I had no idea it would take the form it has! I know that you posted about being that you may still be overwhelmed and discouraged. But the truth you are spreading is so desperately needed! The more I discover about AIM, the more I realize its a group of people who really are bringing God’s kingdom to this world. So, yeah… just wanted to say thanks.

  • Must read up on this. How do you tell the difference between lazy, crazy, and demon possession? Just thinking out loud.

    You had some great lines there, Seth, from “the world’s need is too urgent and our couches are too soft,” to “you are not merely the object of God’s affection, you are a battle axe in his hand.” Good ones to remember and will be written in my journal today.

    On to the Gerasenes!

  • Neil Anderson’s book “The Bondage Breaker” as well as a book on the subject by a local author (can’t remember the name but it rang true). I really should delve more into it. There is some real messy stuff in my own family history that took a long time to battle.

  • i recently had my first encounter with a real evil spirit, the experience was hard to put words to. when you begin to see/experience the spiritual realm it becomes shocking clear how ill-prepare most american christians are.

    i can’t recommend enough the books by Neil Anderson. also, the very best thing any christian can do is begin the literally hide God’s word in their heart. You might not always have your bible handy in order to speak the Truth that makes even the demons shudder.

  • tara* (WR July 08)

    I witnessed a demon-possessed woman in Zanzibar on my first trip to Africa. It was a site I never thought I would see, but incredible to see the authority of Christ as they prayed over this woman and she transformed in front of us. I am going to begin reading the books you mentioned.

  • Seth, thanks for forwarding me this blog post. I’ve experienced similar stuff and it is real. We must press in! We have the victory!!!

  • I have a similar experience too.

    When it comes to depression, peer pressure, dealing with difficult people, anger, loneliness, etc. it is so hard to keep a pure mind and do the right thing.

    I can understand why someone like Justin Bieber acts the way he does. He was from a good, innocent, wannabe kid to now a adult male who is rude, arrogant, and careless. I may be no different from him.

    But, the Lord Jesus Christ is the answer for all our problems.

  • List of occurrences in our life
    front door bell rang when no one around
    dogs yelping
    shrieking sounds
    sound of ball dropping continously
    toys working on their own
    lights flashing like christmas lights
    growling sounds around the bed
    noises around the house when there is no one
    sounds like someone is walking in other room
    phones loose power and restart on their own
    General malaise, unwellness, fatigue
    Chills and goosebumps
    No recollection of dreams/occasional nightmares
    People reacting to you in a strange way; your good intentions become misunderstood
    Fear and Panic
    Anger and Irritation increase
    You see smoke or black dots everywhere, and in your energy body
    Infections, viruses, recurring illnesses
    Constant headache or recurring Migraines in short periods of time
    Nervous System interruptions/ twitching of body parts that does not cease
    Digestive complications and pain, recurring food poisoning, what feels like stomach bacterias, and chronic constipation
    Skin itches, burns or stings, or different parts of your body have these needle like pains
    More interrupted Sleep/Insomnia
    Dreams of Dead bodies, Dirty places like toilets, or Demons
    Dreams of snakes, scorpions, or spiders
    Waking suddenly, in fear
    Constant arguments and discord with your loved ones and friends
    Slashes/cuts/claw marks on your body when you wake from sleeping
    you see dark shadows around you and you can see energy like lightning come out of nowhere to attack you.
    You see dark shadows in your room/around you when you try to sleep

  • my experience was the other night it ripped my cap mask off and molested me it was quite an expereince i fell it owns me

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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