|SPIRITUAL WARFARE: How Do Demons Come In?
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Aug 29 2008 8:00 A
For some time in the 1950's, I (Derek Prince) worked with a Christian medical specialist in London who had unusual
insight into various areas of spiritual experience. He made one comment that has always stayed with me. "Remember,"
he said, "the devil chooses the weakest moment and the weakest place." How do demons come in?
To attempt a comprehensive explanation of all the possible ways is far beyond the scope of this (Prince's) book. I will
simply describe seven examples of moments or places of weakness through which demons habitually gain access to
1) A family background in the occult or false religions
2) Other negative prenatal influences
3) Pressures in early childhood
4) Emotional shock or sustained emotional pressure
5) Sinful acts or habits
6) Laying on of hands
7) Idle words
Let us look at each of these areas of vulnerability.
1. A Family Background in the Occult or False Religions
In Exodus 20:3-5, the Lord warns of the evil consequences when people become involved in idolatry or false religion:
any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou
shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity
of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;"
God warns against all forms of idolatry or other involvement with false "gods." The evil consequences of these
particular sins can extend to four generations. Counting backward for four generations gives us four levels of ancestors:
Any or all of these thirty persons could be a channel through whom we may have been exposed to satanic influence. I
doubt if any of us can guarantee that none of our thirty immediate ancestors was ever involved in any form of the occult
or false religion.
This occult influence can begin while we are still in the womb. After all, what is weaker or more helpless than an unborn
baby? It is entirely dependent on its parents for protection. Righteous, God-fearing parents provide that protection, but
parents with an occult background expose their babies to the same spiritual influences that are at work in their own lives.
I (Derek Prince) have discovered that such babies are often demonized before they emerge from the womb. This is
particularly true of people with backgrounds in Eastern religions such as Hinduism or Buddhism, or other false religions
such as Freemasonry or Mormonism.
2. Other Negative Prenatal Influences
Other negative forces may also affect an unborn child and expose it to demonic influence. A mother may resent or
even hate the baby in her womb. Perhaps the mother is not married, or the father is unfaithful and irresponsible, or the
mother may simply not want a child.
One thing a baby longs for, both before and after it is born, is love. When it does not feel love, it will probably begin to
feel unwanted. This will in turn expose it to a deeper wound: rejection. Many babies are born with a spirit of rejection
already in them.
At one time in the U.S. I (Derek Prince) encountered an unusually large number of people in a certain age group who
suffered from rejection. When I checked their birth dates, I discovered that these fell between 1929 and 1934 - a time
all older Americans remember as the Great Depression. I realized that mothers who were already having a hard time
making ends meet resented the prospect of yet another mouth to feed. They may or may not have verbalized their
resentment, but the sensitive little personalities in the womb felt it and came forth already carrying a spirit of rejection.
This is just one of various demons that may affect an unborn child.
My (Derek Prince's) own wife, Ruth, is a typical case. She was born in 1930, the eighth child in her family. Her parents
were farmers who were struggling financially because of the Depression and the drought which caused that region of
the U.S. to be labeled "the Dust bowl." At age forty Ruth was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit and in water. She
was already in the Lord's service when we married in 1978, yet she had an ongoing battle with rejection until the demon
was identified and driven out. Even today she must be on her guard lest it assault her in a moment of weakness.
3. Pressures in Early Childhood
In James 3:16 we are warned, "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work."
Broken, strife-torn homes, in which parents are in bitter conflict with each other and/or have little time for their children,
provide an atmosphere that invites the presence and activity of demons. Most young children lack the necessary
emotional and spiritual defenses to withstand such demonic pressure. My personal observation (as I have said) is that
most demonic problems begin in childhood.
In families in which the father has been an alcoholic, or cruel and dominating, or violent and abusive, girls often develop
an intense hatred of men, which opens the door for the demon of hate. This is particularly true if the father has abused
his daughters sexually. I have often speculated that this was the root cause of Esther's problems. It would account for
the powerful hold that the demon of hate had over her.
Other demons that commonly exploit such children are rejection, anger, fear, rebellion, misery, loneliness, depression,
and sometimes suicide. In the West there has been an alarming increase in the number of teenage suicides. In the
United States, from 1952 to 1992, the incidence of suicide among adolescents and young adults nearly tripled. In 1992
more teenagers and young adults died from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, strokes,
pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined. In almost all these cases, according to my (Derek Prince's)
diagnosis, the demon of rejection opened the way for the demon of suicide.
4. Emotional Shock or Sustained Emotional Pressure
In I Peter 3:6 the apostle explains that Christian women may qualify as daughters of Sarah "Even as Sara obeyed
Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement
(terror)." The Greek word translated "terror" has a wide range of meanings. One lexicon describes it as "any vehement
emotion; passionate excitement." Another renders it either actively as "intimidation" or passively as "terror." Women
often, but not always, have weaker emotional defenses than men. They are especially subject to fear.
Today the vast coverage of the media means that millions around the world are exposed to sudden, shocking incidents.
A brutal murder or a bus blown up or a building exploding may leave an indelible impression not only on the victims who
survive, but on all the men, women, and children who view the horror again and again on television.
Men as well as women are subject to many other forms of emotional pressure. Both men and women are subject, for
example, to the passionate excitement of sexual desire. Sudden, unpremeditated yielding to such desire can often
open the door to a spirit of lust. Indulging in sexual fantasies or watching pornography can have the same effect.
It sometimes happens, too, that a child or young person subjected to sexual assault may in that way unwittingly open up
to a demon of lust. The demon has no respect for "innocence," but simply uses this moment of weakness to force its
way in. From that moment on, the child or young person is subjected to pressures of lust that are not the expression of
anything in his or her character.
But it is not always a sudden surge of emotion that opens the way to a demon. It may be some persistent, unrelenting
pressure. A man who through no fault of his own has to spend many weary months without employment may begin to
brood over his inability to provide for his family. Discouragement may affect him in various ways. Some tactless remark
by his wife or trivial disobedience by his children may provoke a sudden outburst and open the way for a demon of
anger to slip in. Or the continuing pressure of enforced inactivity may open him up almost imperceptibly to a dark spirit
of depression or hopelessness.
Similarly a woman whose husband continually belittles and criticizes her may finally yield to a spirit of hopelessness. Or
a mother seeking to protect her child from dangers that are often more imaginary than real may project a spirit of
anxiety on the youngster, until the spirit forces its way in and takes up residence in the child.
Obviously there are many kinds of emotional shock or pressure to which people may be subjected. But these few
examples may alert you to this form of demonic attack and help you build up your defenses against it.
5. Sinful Acts or Habits
Sometimes a single decisive act may open the way to a demon. The decision of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus was such
an act. When he went out from the Last Supper with this intention, Luke records "Then entered Satan into Judas
surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve." (Luke 22:3). Judas himself opened the door that he could not
Actions much less heinous than that of Judas may open the way for a demon. We need to remember that Satan is a
legal expert. When some sinful act has opened the way for a demon, it will not leave until the sinful act has been
confessed and canceled by God's forgiveness.
Any act of deliberate wrongdoing may open the way for a demon. Many such acts are possible - telling a premeditated
lie, for instance, or shoplifting, or cheating on exams.
Again, it may not be a single act that opens the door. It may well be the deliberate, persistent practice of a sinful act
that eventually becomes a habit. Secret sins like repeated masturbation or fornication or pornography almost inevitably
open the way for demons.
But other, more "respectable" habits can have a similar effect. Frequent overeating opens the way for a demon of
gluttony/ Persistent daydreaming opens the door to a spirit of fantasy. Habitual exaggeration in conversation opens
the way for a lying spirit.
6. Laying On of Hands
Laying hands on a person in prayer is not just a picturesque religious ritual. It can be a powerful spiritual experience, a
temporary interaction between two spirits through which supernatural power is released. Normally the power flows from
the one laying on hands to the one on whom hands are laid, but at times it can flow the other way.
The power may do either good or evil. It may emanate from the Holy Spirit or from a demon, depending on the one from
whom it flows. For this reason Paul established certain safeguards. "Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be
partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure." (I Timothy 5:22). In other words, be careful with whom you allow your
spirit to interact!
The laying on of hands should be done reverently and prayerfully. Any person participating should make sure he or
she is not thereby, in Paul's words, sharing in another person's sins.
It is a mistake to turn a group of people loose and encourage them to lay hands indiscriminately on one another. The
following brief testimony from Ruth (Derek Prince's wife) illustrates the danger:
In 1971, I was attending a charismatic meeting, and the speaker asked people to stand if they wanted prayer for
healing. I had a bad cold, so I stood. He then instructed people seated nearby to lay their hands on us and pray for
our healing. Four or five prayed for me.
When I awoke the next morning, my cold was better-but my fingers were all curled up and stiff and hurting. Immediately I
thought, Someone with arthritis laid hands on me last night! I renounced the spirit of arthritis, and within five minutes all
the symptoms were gone.
I was a very young believer, less than one year old, and I have been so grateful to God for teaching me then to be
careful who lays hands on me.
7. Idle Words
This is an area in which many of us are caught off guard, yet one about which Jesus gave us some of His most solemn
"But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Matthew 12:36-37
What are "idle words"? They are words we utter thoughtlessly, words that do not express our real thoughts or
intentions. When we are called in questions concerning such words, we often excuse ourselves by saying, "I didn't
really mean it," or, "I was only joking," as though this releases us from responsibility. Yet it is precisely these idle words
that Jesus warns us against.
The fact that many Christians are habitually guilty of speaking idle words does not make it less serious. In fact, anyone
who considers this warning of Jesus to be unimportant needs to repent.
Idle words can open the door to demons. In a fit of exasperation a person may say, "I'm sick and tired" of whatever it
may be. He does not mean it literally, but he may be opening the door to a demon of sickness or tiredness. Words
concerning death are particularly dangerous. Many times people say, "I nearly died laughing," or, "You'll die when you
hear this one!" Death is a dark, evil, power, and we are foolish to treat it lightly.
In a temporary fit of grief or discouragement, a person will often say, "I wish I were dead," or, "I'd be better off dead."
Words like that are a direct invitation to the spirit of death. I (Derek Prince) have ministered to hundreds of people who
opened themselves up to the spirit of death by such words carelessly spoken.
Making Jesus Lord
These seven examples illustrate some of the ways we and our children may be exposed to demonic influence. We need
to remember, too, that demons are extremely persistent. A demon may be driven out but still seek to force its way in
again. Jesus warned of this:
Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty,
swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and
they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto
this wicked generation." Matthew 12:43-45
The unclean spirit returns to "his house" - that is, the person it formerly occupied - and it finds it "empty, swept, and put
in order." Then it takes "seven other spirits more wicked than himself," reenters the house with them and occupies it
What was there about "the house" that opened the way for the demon to reenter? The house was "swept" - that was
not problem. It was "put in order" - that was no problem, either. But it was "empty" - that was the problem! The man
had left his house vacant. He had never taken Jesus in to be his Lord.
When a person commits himself to Jesus as his Lord, he can look to Jesus for supernatural power to keep demons out.
But without Jesus as Lord, he does not have the strength to protect his "house." When the demon assaults him, it may
quickly break down his ineffective resistance. Then, when the demon reenters, it brings with it seven other demons,
each more wicked than itself, and the person is worse off than he was before.
In the spiritual realm, Satan's demons roam around looking for a sign that says Vacancy, just like the neon signs you
see outside motels. When they see it, they say to themselves, Ah! Here's a person who hasn't made Jesus Lord of his
life. Perhaps we'll be able to force our way in. There is only one safeguard: making sure Jesus truly is Lord of every
area of your life.
They Shall Expel Demons, by Derek Prince, Copyright 1998, Chosen Books.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES