What can be done in behalf of others who are in obvious need of deliverance, but who are not open to receive it? This is a frequently asked question. The first point of consideration is the person's spiritual condition. II as he or she been born again? Is he or she backslidden? We must remember that salvation is the most basic form of deliverance; it is the deliverance of a man's spirit. The Greek word for "salvation" is soteria, which denotes deliverance. Thus, the salvation of man's spirit is the first stage of deliverance, and it is the basis for all future deliverances. Before salvation comes into a person's life, that person is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). In what sense is he dead? We know he is not physically dead because he is still breathing and moving. We know his soul (personality) is not dead because he is still thinking, feeling and making decisions. Rather, it is his spirit that is dead. He has no comprehension of it, nor interest in, the Holy Spirit. It takes the quickening power of the Holy Spirit to resurrect a man's spirit, and he needs to be "born again"to a new life (John 3:3). This comes about by the grace of God through faith (Eph. 2:8). That faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17). So the priority, first and foremost, is to lead a person to a relationship with Jesus Christ. If this is not possible, and the person is unwilling to accept Christ as Savior, then those who bear the burden of the Lord for that person's spiritual welfare should give themselves to intercessory prayer and stand in the gap. The lost soul is blinded by satanic power. We should thus pray that the spiritual blindness be removed. "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the God of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." 2 Cor. 4:3-4 As the gospel is presented to such a person, pray that the same God who commanded light to shine out of darkness will shine into his or her heart, and that Jesus the Savior will be revealed to him. Paul affirms that this is how he became saved. It is how anyone becomes saved - by the sovereign grace of God. "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Cor. 4:6 Intercessory Prayer Intercessory Prayer is a powerful tool in the hand of the believer. It can be a necessary tool for both saved and unsaved person alike. Anyone who is closed to the Lord's provision of salvation (or deliverance) is held by spiritual blindness. And whatever excuse is offered for rejecting salvation (or deliverance) represents some form of deception. Intercessory Prayer can be used to break through these demonic barriers. Too often Satan the deceiver, is having his way in a person's life precisely because no on has interceded for them, and that person is held in needless bondage. Jesus taught us to intercede for one another that we might be delivered from the snares of the Devil. He taught us to pray: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Literally, this means "deliver us from the evil one." Thus all believers are in need of deliverance from the attacks of the enemy, to varying degrees. Notice the pronoun "us" in the Lord's prayer. This suggests we should include others in our cry for deliverance. Spiritual Warfare In Paul's mighty exhortation on the Christian's spiritual armor he emphasizes the importance of intercessory warfare prayer in behalf of other believers. Intercessory prayer is both a defensive and an offensive weapon against the wiles or strategies of the Devil. "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." Eph. 6:18 Sometimes the Holy Spirit leads us to enter into direct spiritual warfare in behalf of those who are not directly open to ministry. The person's will may be so overridden by demonic forces that he is unable to respond to available help. No amount of reasoning or persuasion will cause that person to be open to ministry. His will is dominated by the enemy. Remember, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high (heavenly) places." Eph.6:12 The powers that control the bound person are headquartered in the heavenlies where "the prince of the power of the air" is enthroned. Jesus has given His church the power to bind Satan (see Chapter 15).We must carry the battle right up to the gates of hell and overthrow the strategy that Satan has launched against Him. " ...Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: And whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matt. 16:18-19 The parents of a twenty-four year old daughter requested us to intercede for her. She had accepted Christ years previously and had attended a Bible college, but at that time had backslidden. She was living with a man whom she was not married and was also involved in spiritism. She refused all offers of help from her parents. Together with the parents, Ida Mae and I bound the controlling demons and commanded the spirits in her to release her that she might receive direct ministry. The girl was many miles away from us, but we were operating in the spirit realm where distance is no barrier. A few days later the girl did a "complete turnabout." She called her parents for help, left her place of sin and agreed to stay in our home to receive deliverance and counsel. Within a few weeks she was restored and became actively involved in helping us to set other captives free. All of this was the result of spiritual warfare in the heavenlies. We asked the young woman what she experienced at the exact time that we and her parents were taking authority over the demons that controlled her. She related to us that at that moment her mind became clear! Prior to that, she could not see any way out of her problems. When the oppression lifted she instantly recognized that her parents loved her and would gladly come to help her. She then made the decision to cooperate with the spiritual counsel and ministry being offered to her. One word of caution! We must realize that we cannot control another person's will. Trying to control another person's will is opposite to the goal of deliverance and spiritual warfare, and is tantamount to witchcraft. (This is different from a parent setting limitations on a child or teen's schedule to curb behavior or to protect them - see Chapter 14). Instead, spiritual warfare has as its goal the releasing of a person's will in order that he can respond directly to the Lord and receive the help God has for him. There is a freedom that often comes into someone's life through intercessory prayer. In a case where a person is in bondage to sin and to Satan by an ongoing decision of his own will, then he has chosen that path. Binding the Devil in this situation may not cause him to turn. However, binding the work of the enemy in that life provides an atmosphere for change, and the best chance for that person to choose Christ and His Kingdom. Another note of Warning! There have been some foolish and dangerous things practiced in the name of intercessory prayer warfare, We have known of situations where the intercessor agreed to taking into himself the demons indwelling another person. This is done in the belief that the demons in the unwilling subject for deliverance will leave that person, enter the intercessor and then be be “more easily” expelled from the intercessor. Satan is ready to play this game! Nowhere in God's word is it even hinted that we should receive demons into ourselves at any time for any reason. Consenting to be demonized opens one up to an influx of evil spirits with no guarantee from Satan that the demons will in turn depart from someone else. The arch deceiver has won again! We spent the better part of a day delivering a person from hundreds of spirits which had entered and remained in her through her foolish involvement in "accepting someone else's demons." She had even accepted demons by "sitting in" the place of persons who were available for direct ministry. Again, I emphasize that there is no scriptural basis for such ministry. The Weapon Of Love In helping one who refuses direct ministry, do not forget the weapon of love. Buried deep within that person lies the need to be loved. You can be sure that he or she has somehow been hurt and rejected. The ministry of love distinguishes between the person's true self and the indwelling demons, even if those demons manifest hatred, rebellion, suspicion and more. Such discerning love enables those close to the person to love unconditionally and not get blown away by the storms that are generated by his or her unstable personality. Even when that person does not recognize or respond to offered love, we can be assured that it is a spiritual wrestling technique that puts intolerable pressure on the powers of darkness. Evil spirits are equated with breath and air. The Greek word for spirit (pneuma) in fact means breath or air. Just as carbon monoxide is deadly to our breath so is love to an evil spirit. He cannot exist and work when surrounded by love. Our agape love forges a weapon that breaks down the demonic, anti-love powers in the lives of others. This is why Jesus taught us to love our enemies. It heaps coals of fire upon their heads. That is, it purifies their minds. The very people most needful of deliverance are often the most difficult to love. They may turn on us and offended us when we offer compassion and love. But we are commanded to love even those who seem least worthy of love. (See Matt. 5:43-48) In fact, this is exactly the way God delivered us. He loved us even though we were altogether unlovely (See Rom. 5:8). His love broke down our barriers, and His love has the power to break down every spiritual wall. Love is a powerful weapon in the hands of a skilled spiritual warrior. Praying The Scripture We must be led of the Holy Spirit in our intercessory prayer warfare. The Holy Spirit will lead the prayer warrior to specific Scriptures. Use these scriptures quickened to you to guide you in prayer. You will be using "the Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God." For example, in praying for a husband who is not following the Lord, a wife could be led to pray this Paul- type prayer. She could personalize the prayer thusly: "I do not cease to pray for my husband, Bill, and to desire that Bill might be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That Bill might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to Christ's glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness." Col. 1:9-11 Let The Spirit Lead We have set forth some spiritual principles to follow in intercessory prayer warfare, but each situation is, in its own sense, unique. The Holy Spirit knows all the facts and circumstances. He will tailor-make the right course of action for you to follow; The battle for others is a spiritual battle. It cannot be won in the flesh. Its strategy cannot be plotted by human ingenuity. Let the Spirit lead.
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