(Interviewing the Demonized Person)
Francis MacNutt

B. Childress
Dec 12 2008 08:00AM

Ordinarily it is best to hold a separate interview with the person who is a candidate for deliverance, although this  is not
always possible.  In a large healing service, for instance, deliverance may erupt spontaneously (although even here the
prayer of deliverance can often be postponed until a better time.)

The Interview

The most important element in the interview is the candidate's openness and honesty.  The interview need not be
structured, provided the person feels free to share what he or she knows and can remember.  What we seek to discover
is the reason the evil spirit has come into the person's being.  It is not always the person's fault, but there is always a
reason.  Only when we know the area of weakness are we able to pry the spirit loose and strengthen that area so that
the spirit cannot return.

Is there anything the person has done that has contributed to this situation?  Has there been sin on his part?  He may,
for example, remember playing the Ouija board.  If this demonic infestation has come about in any way through his own
fault, he needs to confess this sin and ask God's forgiveness - either at the time of the interview or at the beginning of
the actual deliverance session.  Ideally the confession should be out loud in the presence of a mature Christian, as in
James 5:15-16:

    "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they
    shall be forgiven him.  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The
    effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

In the Catholic tradition this ordinarily takes place with a priest in the sacrament of reconciliation.

Satan is a vicious legalist, and if any unconfessed sin is connected to the demonic infestation, the invading spirit will
probably not leave when you pray, or else it may leave for a short time but will come right back and invade the area of
the victim's weakness.

Is the victimized person infested because of another person's sin?  A woman may be afflicted by a spirit of fear or lust
caused by her having been raped as a child.  Naturally she does not need to repent of a sin she did not commit, even
though she often feels dirty and guilty.  What she does need to do is forgive the person who sinned against her.  This
can be very difficult if the emotional damage has been severe.

I (Francis MacNutt) have come to realize that forgiving an enemy who has hurt us deeply is, humanly speaking, almost
impossible.  What we need is grace - the gift of Jesus.  I must pray that the love and forgiving power that Jesus has for
this person will enter me so that I can be filled with the forgiveness He won on the cross when He cried out,
forgive them; for they know not what they do.
"  On my own I may not be able to forgive, but with God's help I can.  This
does not mean, of course, that we condone the sin committed against us; only that, as St. Augustine said, we fiercely
hate sin but love the sinner.

Because of the emotions attached to the wounding, deep forgiveness usually takes time, and we must not force people
to pretend.  If they say they do not want to forgive, I ask if they can will to forgive without necessarily feeling like doing
it.  Sometimes the best we can do is ask, "Are you willing to be willing to forgive?"

At the very least, though, we need to be able to relinquish any desire for vengeance- an eye for an eye or a tooth for a
tooth: "Never take vengeance into your own hands, my dear friends: stand back and let God punish if he will." (Romans

After the person has repented, confessed his sin and forgiven his enemies (if needed), there are two key questions to

    1.  "Do you have any idea when this problem first started?"

    2.  "Do you have any idea why it started?"

You will often find that just by getting the person to talk, you may learn not only when the problem started and why, but
perhaps even what spirits are present.  Roberta, for instance, is a good example.  She was able to identify the King of
Terrors, whose name was pinned to her dress when she was consecrated as a child by a satanic high priest many years

Some people are shy and have a hard time talking.  At other times the demons surface and actively block you from
talking to the person.  If this blocking occurs, command the spirits to stop interfering: "I command you, spirit of mockery,
in the name of Jesus Christ, to stop interfering, so I can talk to ______________!"

Interviews can be short when the person is ready for deliverance and when we know what we are dealing with.  They
can be even shorter when the demonized person is innocent of occult involvement.

Preparation can take time, on the other hand, if the demonized person blows hot and cold or has too shaky a
foundation to maintain his deliverance.  I have friends who require that some of their counselees prepare (as well as
show sincerity of purpose) by spending six months before deliverance by praying and reading Scripture regularly,
becoming part of a fellowship group and attending church regularly.  They have found that people who have led an
unstable life need to build a solid foundation.  And even if you do manage to cast the evil spirits out, they will simply
return.  (For those of you who are fearful, I want to emphasize that someone leading a solid Christian life need not fear
that the spirits will return.)

Identifying the Spirits

We must try to identity the spirits in a general way, because our approach to deliverance will be very different
depending on the kind of spirit we are dealing with.

There are four basic categories of spirits, so you will need to sort out whether you are confronting,

    Wounding spirits;

    Sinful spirits;

    Occult spirits;

    Ancestral spirits.

Wounding Spirits

These are spirits that have hooked into the wounds of the victim's past.  The sin that causes this demonic infestation is
not primarily the person's own sin, but another person's sins that have left deep wounds.

A good example of this kind of spirit is
rejections.  A little girl may have been rejected by her mother or father, making it
hard for the woman later in life, on a purely natural level, to believe that anyone could ever really love her; and she will
find it hard to trust anyone.  A spirit of rejection moving into that wound will intensify the human rejection and make it
even harder for the woman to trust.

She may need to repent for hating the perpetrator, but basically she is more sinned against than sinning, more a victim
than a perpetrator.

Sinful Spirits

Here your interview may reveal that the demonic infestation has been caused by the person's own sinful actions.  If the
sin has been intense and willful, or if it has been indulged in over a long time, then the evil spirits have, in a sense, been
invited in.

A man may have learned to handle his personal problems with violence, then enlisted in the Marines and found a
rationale for justifying his violence in war.  He may be discharged from the service with medals on his uniform but have
marital difficulties because of the habitual patterns of violence in which he has indulged.  Also, his ungovernable temper
may be intensified by various spirits that have entered him over the years.

Some of these spirits of sin (such as
murder) are fierce and difficult to dislodge.  Others (such as vanity) come out
whining and simpering.

Occult Spirits

Your interview may reveal that the person has engaged in occult activities.  It is important to learn this because the
occult spirits are the most tenacious and difficult to drive out.

Discovering if occult spirits are present is especially important because they will try to block any prayers for healing you
may attempt.

Ancestral Spirits

A number of other spirits do not fit into these three categories.  The most important among them are the ancestral or
familiar spirits that identify themselves as the restless spirits of the departed.  There is a variety of other spirits, like the
spirit of false religion and the spirit of legalism, that are not easily categorized.

A (Sample) Questionnaire

To help pinpoint some of the problems in the initial interview, you may want to make up a series of questions to ask.  Do
not feel bound to use a questionnaire every time you interview someone to decide if he needs deliverance; only if you
have time to pray over an extended period of sessions.  But an orderly questionnaire can help you not to miss anything

Here is my synopsis of a questionnaire that several members of our staff (Francis MacNutt's staff) have developed.  We
do not propose it as the ideal, just a model to encourage you to develop your own.

Deliverance Questionnaire

1)  Had your fortune told by tea leaves, palm-reading, a crystal ball, etc.?

2)  Read or followed horoscopes or had a chart made for yourself?

3)  Practiced yoga or Transcendental Meditation?

4)  Attended a séance or spiritualist meeting?

5)  Had a reincarnation reading about who you were in some previous existence?

6)  Played with a  Ouija board, tarot cards, or "Dungeons & Dragons"?

7)  Played games of an occult nature using ESP, telepathy, etc.?

8)  Consulted a medium, acted as a medium, or practiced channeling?

9)  Sought psychic healing or had psychic surgery?

10)  Practiced table-lifting, lifting bodies, automatic writing or soul travel?

11)  Used any kind of charm for protection?

12)  Practiced water-witching to find out where to dig a well?

13)  Read or possessed books on witchcraft, fortune-telling, ESP, psycho phenomena or possession?  Had anything in
your home that was given to you by someone in the occult?

14)  Been fascinated by demonic topics in movies?  Had a fascination with the occult?

15)  Accepted the writing of Edgar Cayce or any other New Age author?

16)  Practiced mind control over anyone, cast a magic spell or sought a psychic experience?  Contacted a psychic in
person or through a psychic hotline?

17)  Made a pact with Satan or been involved in Satan worship?

18)  Attended witchcraft or voodoo ceremonies?

19)  Known of any relatives or ancestors who have been involved in witchcraft, pagan religions, fortune-telling or who
have used magic spells?

20)  Visited a shrine or temple of a non-Judeo-Christian religion?

21)  Been involved in Freemasonry?  Had anyone in your family involved?

22)  Embraced the fallacy that we are self-sufficient and do not need God?

23)  Used LSD, marijuana, cocaine, or nay "mind-expanding" drugs?

24)  Had a problem with alcohol?  How about other family members?

25)  Exposed yourself to pornography in magazines, TV, or stage show, books, topless bars or X-rated movies?

26)  Had a problem with habitual masturbation?

27)  Been involved with sexually deviant practices?

28)  Been involved with a number of people sexually?

29)  Had an abortion or fathered a child who was aborted?

30)  Wished yourself dead?

31)  Wished somebody else dead?

32)  Attempted to take your own life?

33)  Attempted to take (or taken) someone else's life?

In utilizing such a questionnaire, we must realize that some activities (such as playing the Ouija board) are clearly
forbidden, while others may involve extenuating circumstances.  You may have a sufficient reason for studying the
works of Edgar Cayce (preparing a lecture on the subject, for example, or learning more in order to answer the serious
questions of a counselee who has been an Edgar Cayce follower) and not be harmed.

Furthermore, it is quite possible to attend a séance, play the Ouija board or engage in some other occult activity and
not be affected afterward.  After two people play the Ouija board, both need to repent, but one may be bothered
afterward by an occult spirit while another is not troubled at all.  One or both or neither may need deliverance.  
Nevertheless, these questions are good to ask, for they may help reveal the reason some people are troubled by evil
spirits, and they may bring to our attention areas of our past lives in which we need to repent.

Be aware, too, that these are some activities that are not clearly forbidden and about which there are reasonable
doubts.  Among these are hypnotism and yoga exercises.

There are dangers in being hypnotized, when your will is unprotected and you can be exposed to something invading
your soul.  But some people believe hypnosis can be justified with two precautions.  First, you have a sufficient reason
for doing it.  A person's memory may be blocked to anything earlier than age ten, for instance, and represent a barrier
through which hypnosis may break.  The second precaution is that the person conducting the session is reputable and
protects the client.  Putting people into trances as a parlor game is clearly dangerous, for spiritual as well as
psychological reasons.

Similarly with the practice of yoga exercises we find dispute.  Some Christians say it is beneficial to practice such
exercises without getting into yoga philosophy.  Others say you cannot do it because the exercises are intimately
connected with the philosophy underlying them.

The bottom line - always seek the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Steps to Take

Once you discover in the interview what needs healing and what needs deliverance, try to help the person,

repent and ask God's forgiveness for any sins he has committed;

forgive those who have injured him;

renounce any occult activities he may have practiced.

There is a difference, as I pointed out earlier, between repenting and renouncing.  
Repenting means that we
acknowledge a sin, confess it as sin, ask God's forgiveness and turn from it.  
Renouncing adds a deeper dimension.  In
addition to being sorry for what we have done in the past and resolving to change our life, we repudiate, cast off and
take back our previous commitment by making an explicit declaration of abandonment.  By renouncing our occult
activities, we are taking back what we have previously surrendered to the realm of evil.

After finding out (with or without a questionnaire) the areas to pray about in the deliverance session, you may also want
to make some suggestions to the person about how best he can pray in the coming days and what he should read in
the particular area where he needs the most help.


Deliverance from Evil Spirits, by Francis MacNutt, Copyright 1995, Chosen Books.