What to do when you encounter the demonic
Most of us have experienced moments when we encounter something that could be demonic. It might not be obvious — it might just be a very strong sense of fear or a feeling that something is there. Knowing beforehand how we will respond in these situations can help us be prepared when the time comes.
When your kids call for you in the middle of the night, sometimes you wake up nicely, and sometimes you are like the walking dead. As six-year-old Renae called from her bedroom, I stumbled down the hallway using the walls to keep me upright. I was barely awake. My whole goal was to get her back to sleep so I could get back to sleep.
ME: “What’s wrong Renae?”
RENAE: “I don’t like him. He’s staring at me.”
ME: (Sigh) “Who’s staring at you?”
ME: (To say I’m wide awake now is an understatement.) “What? Who is…? Where is he?”
RENAE: “In the corner. I don’t like him looking at me.”
I turned my head slowly to look at the corner behind me, hoping and praying there would be nothing there when I looked. Slowly a thought made its way into my groggy head.
ME: “Renae, do you mean Lucifer the cat from the movie Cinderella?”
RENAE: “Yeah, I don’t like the cat…”
Overwhelmed with relief, I prayed for Renae, reassured her the cartoon cat was gone, and stumbled back to my bed. Then I laid awake for the next hour waiting for my heart rate to return to normal and the adrenaline to drain from my system. While that situation ended rather anticlimactically, I have been in other situations where a demonic presence was either suspected or obvious.
Many people question if belief in the demonic is just superstition, but the Bible doesn’t give this option. Satan is mentioned 54 times in Old Testament books and by every writer in the New Testament. In the 29 gospel passages that mention Satan, 25 of the times, Jesus is the speaker. If Jesus says he is real…
However, we must never forget, although Satan and demons are powerful, real, and our enemies, Jesus is greater. His death and resurrection have given him victory over evil. He lives in us, and nothing can overcome us or separate us from him.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
When we encounter the demonic, we need to place our trust in Jesus and let him stand as our shield. How do we do that? While whole books are written on spiritual warfare, one of the most simple and valuable things I have learned is a prayer to ask for God’s protection:
“Dear Father, you are the creator and sustainer. You are sovereign over everything and have all power and authority. Lord, I ask that you bind and remove anything here that is not of you. Please fill this place with your Holy Spirit, your light. Please place your barrier of protection around us and keep us safe from the evil one. Amen.”
You can say the prayer in your own words – this is only a short example of the prayer. What is important are the four parts:
- GOD IS SOVEREIGN.
- REMOVE EVIL.
- FILL WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
- BARRIER OF PROTECTION.
GOD IS SOVEREIGN.
We start here by declaring and recognizing God’s authority and power to act. This is His world, and we are His people. God is all-powerful and all-knowing. No one compares to Him. We are not coming against evil in our own power or name but in the name of Jesus, who has the victory. The enemy shudders at praise of our Heavenly Father.
Often it is hard to know what we are dealing with. It could be anything from actual demonic forces to something as benign as our nerves and imagination. “It doesn’t matter”, is still the right answer. Ask Jesus to remove anything that is not of Him. Satan is a bully we cannot handle on our own, but he is no match for the risen Christ!
FILL WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Once we have asked Jesus to clear away the evil, we do not want to leave that space vacant. We want to ask Jesus to fill the place with His Holy Spirit, His love, His light. Leave no room for darkness to return.
BARRIER OF PROTECTION.
In the Psalms, David often talks about a hedge of protection. I have seen hedges and personally don’t find the idea of my enemy being held back by greenery to be comforting. I am not trying to be flippant, I just want something more substantial! So, I have switched to calling it a barrier. If David lived today would he ask for a force field? A wall? Barbed wire? I don’t know what the right modern equivalent is, let God work out what kind of barrier it is.
I have found this prayer to be helpful time and time again, from simple things like comforting children when they have had a nightmare, to encounters with the openly demonic. You can change the wording; this is not magic, but it is a prayer to our Heavenly Father. You can add more praise or be more specific in your prayer — make it your own. You don’t have to say it loudly; you can even pray it silently. It is a prayer asking God to intervene and take care of your bully.
We will have those moments in life when we encounter evil, and having a plan on how to respond can give us the confidence to stand in the power of Jesus. Four simple steps: sovereign, remove, fill and barrier. After you have prayed, continue to praise God. He deserves it, and the enemy hates it. Jesus has the victory!