Francis MacNutt

B. Childress
Dec 5 2008 08:00AM

Here again we are talking about an ideal, for it is ideal to pray for deliverance with a team you know and trust.  

My (Francis MacNutt) own experience has seldom matched this ideal.  Often when I am on the road, I do not really know
the people who have invited me to speak, and it is hard to form a team on the spot.  Happily, now that I am married, I
usually pray at healing services with my wife, Judith, who has a true gift of discerning spirits.  That is a natural start for a
team right there.  Yet even then the time and place are usually not ideal - when, for example, we are trying to pray for
three hundred people at a healing service two thousand miles from home.

Nevertheless, we need to talk about the ideal of forming a team because praying for deliverance with a team is the best
way to pray.  There are four main reasons:

Preventing the Possibility of Scandal

If a man is ministering alone to a woman, or vice-versa, there is always the possibility of sexual temptation.  Certainly if
you have another person or an entire team ministering with you, you will not be tempted as you might be if you were
working alone.  One reason Billy Graham has maintained his reputation for integrity is that he has always made sure he
is never alone in a room with a woman other than his wife.  Spirits of lust in particular can easily work through a
demonized person to increase any dangers that may already be present.

A priest on our team was ministering to a woman in Japan.  She knew no English and he was working through an
interpreter, praying to free her from a spirit of lust.  Suddenly the woman asked in perfect English, "How would you like
to sleep with me?"

On another occasion I was praying to free a woman in Chile from a number of spirits.  She was on the floor on her back
when she began to wiggle her hips and assume a number of seductive poses.  This was a major distraction, naturally.  
A female member of our team was angered by the provocative display and immediately took over the prayer to cast out
the spirit of lust that had surfaced.

Giving One Another Rest

A mundane but very real reason to work with a team is that deliverance is tiring (not to say exhausting).  Some
deliverances go fairly quickly, but you never know before hand how long it is going to last.  If you have been leading
prayer for deliverance for several hours, it helps if you can turn the prayer over to someone else who has spiritual
authority, retire to the next room and rest for a while - or take a walk.  If you do not rest, your concentration may grow
weak and you will not be nearly as effective.

Restraining the Demonized Person

Usually there is no violence in deliverance prayer, especially if we take the precaution of commanding the spirits to be
quiet and not to resist.  But some of the more powerful occult spirits may prove difficult to control.  One nearly
possessed woman to whom our staff was ministering took a chair and smashed a window.  Several times I have been
threatened by personal injury, although I was actually injured only once, and that was before we started praying.  I was
being introduced to the person (who had made a pact with Satan and was suffering extreme demonization) when she
leaped up out of her chair, scratched my face and and tore the cross from around my neck.

If there is any danger of this happening, you may want several strong assistants to restrain the demonized person
(much as happens in a mental hospital).  But this degree of violent demonization is rare.

Utilizing a Variety of Gifts

The main reason for a having a team is simply that most of us do not manifest all the spiritual gifts to the same degree.  
As Paul says, different Christians manifest a variety of spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12).  In
short, we need each other.  I need people on the deliverance team whom God is more likely to use in those areas in
which I am weak; while I, too, have certain strengths to offer in a successful deliverance.

Here are some of the areas in which it is helpful to have tested gifts:

Spiritual Authority

Previously, we said that the person who can best pray for deliverance is a person endowed with maturity and spiritual
authority.  Some authority is given directly by God (I have seen some unordained laypersons pray with great effect),
while for others the authority seems to come with their ordained office.  Experience in casting out spirits is certainly a
help here, but I have seen people pray successfully with little experience but real spiritual authority.  (There is a first
exorcism for all of us, and we would never start if experience were an absolutely necessary requirement!).

How good it is when two or more members of the team have this spiritual authority, so that they can trade places and
rest from time to time.  While all Christians have the basic authority needed to cast out evil spirits, some people exercise
more of it than others.  In dealing with the stronger spirits in the hierarchy of spirits, this can prove a key factor.

The Gift of Discernment

While you can work by ordinary discernment - figuring out which spirits are present by talking to the demonized person
or by commanding the spirits to name themselves - the ideal way (if you do not have the gift yourself) is to have
someone on the team discern,

    1) whether a spirit is present;

    2)  the identity of the spirit.

The Gift of the Word of Knowledge

The word of knowledge that Paul speaks about in I Corinthians 12 has been defined in different ways by Scripture
scholars; but Pentecostals have come to use the term for a gift enabling someone in the healing ministry to identify the
root experience that has caused the sickness or demonization, even when the person has forgotten or cannot identify it.

This gift is especially helpful when the root cause of the demonic activity - such as Satanic Ritual Abuse - is so painful
that the victim has had to block it out in order to survive without a disintegration of his/her personality.  (Frequently a
person with discernment also manifests the word of knowledge, with both gifts coexisting in the same person).


How much easier it goes when one or more persons are present who are content just to praise God in the background
or quietly pray for the success of the deliverance.  We (Francis MacNutt and his ministry team) also have several
friends who are able to come up with an appropriate Scripture text for the part of the deliverance we are working on,
and who come forward and share it.

Certain Scriptures seem to have a great power to bother and even drive out spirits whose nature runs directly counter
to that text.  One passage that particularly seems to torment the spirits is in Paul's letter to the Philippians:

    "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God,
    thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and
    took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being
    found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even
    the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a
    name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of
    things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every
    tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."   
    Philippians 2:5-11

Forming a Team

The ideal deliverance team is probably made up of five or six people.  Yet hardly ever do we find this perfectly gifted
team in real life.

One last thing.  In forming a team you need to find people you can work with.  You may know some people who are
clearly gifted, but somehow you are uncomfortable working with them.  Perhaps they say too much.  Perhaps they have
a bit of competition in their makeup and want to take charge at the wrong time.  None of us is perfectly matched, yet
some defects are such distractions that the combination on the team divides our attention, rather than helping us focus
on the wounded person we are praying for.

We should look for people who work easily together - who love and trust one another.  We do not want to have to keep
glancing out of the corner of our eye to see what some member of the team will come up with next.  The great and
genuine love of the members of a team for one another is in itself a tremendous force for healing.


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