by Matt Slick
Sometimes people ask me to talk about demonic forces and how to deal with them. It can be a difficult topic to get through, but I always try to point them to Scripture. After all, we don't want to make mistakes when dealing with evil. We need to be very careful, and we must stick as closely to the word of God as possible.
When dealing with demonic forces, you should always pray to God and ask God to deal with them in the name of Jesus. Unless a demonic force has manifested in front of you, don't address it directly, don't pray to it. Again, let me state that you should pray to God and him alone. Ask God to do the spiritual battle.
Prayer is is a kind of conversation that we have with God where we ask God to hear our requests (1 Timothy 2:1-3) and where we give thanks (Philippians 4:6). Prayer is never to be given to anyone other than God because prayer is ultimately a form of worship. God alone is able to hear our thoughts and simultaneously comprehend the prayer requests of millions of Christians all over the world. Prayer is not to be offered to the saints, to Mary, to dead relatives, or anyone else.
Nevertheless, many well meaning Christians make a huge mistake when dealing with demonic forces. During their prayers to God, they sometimes switch, and pray to the demonic forces when they try and rebuke them. On the surface this might sound a good idea, but I find nothing in Scripture that says a Christian is to, essentially, pray to a demons and rebuke them. Instead, the biblical pattern is to pray to God and ask God to do the spiritual battle. The only time in scripture where direct speech is addressed to evil forces is when they are immediately present in face-to-face situations.
Let's take a look at scriptures that deal with demonic encounters.
- Zechariah 3:2, "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 The LORD said to Satan, 'The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?'"
- Matthew 4:3-4, "And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”
- Mark 1:23-26, "Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 saying, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” 26 Throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and came out of him.
- 2 Peter 2:10-11, " . . . Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, 11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord."
- Jude 9, "But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”"
As you can see from the Scriptures, when there are direct encounters, then the demonic forces are spoken to. Jesus spoke to Satan and rebuked him with Scripture (Matthew 4:3-4). It was not prayer. He also speaks to the demonic forces in Mark 1:23-26. But there is no place where prayer is offered to demonic forces. On the contrary, we are to pray to God alone, and we are to ask the Lord God to work on our behalf in battling them.
Demonic forces are powerful, and we should never underestimate them. Our ability to rebuke them rests in Christ. If you encounter one directly I recommend seeking Christ first, praying to Him and not to anyone else. If, on the other hand, there is an actual demonic manifestation where it is right there in front of you, then as is the case in Scripture, the forces can be addressed directly and rebuked in the name of Jesus.