“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;……” – Luke 18:1-8
Many people may ask why, in some instances, it takes a long time to realize complete deliverance (i.e., a demon or demons expelled out of a person). Often, deliverance from demonization is such a protracted struggle that many fainthearted believers become discouraged. I have been praying for deliverance for a certain individual for months, and he is still receiving deliverance. Many demons have been expelled from him, and he is in much better condition than he was when he first contacted me, but more prayer is needed. It can be very tiresome for both me and the person I am praying for. I think of battling against the enemy not as a street fight where sometimes it only takes a few blows for a person to be knocked out, but instead as a wrestling match. When a person wrestles, it can take quite some time until the opponent is subdued. Indeed, Paul uses the word “wrestle” in Ephesians 6:12 in regard to our battle with satan’s kingdom.
Why does God allow the continued presence of demons in one’s life despite all the prayers and fasts? Perhaps God will use the enemy to afflict a believer to discipline him/her:
“5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:5-12; also read Psalm 94:12-16, Psalms 119:67, 1 Corinthians 5:5, 1 Corinthians 11:32, and Revelation 3:19).
Other suggestions as to why God may allow continued demonization of a believer:
1. Perhaps God wants the believer to learn about the seriousness of sin and the extreme wickedness of demons, and about the goodness and power of Jesus. Also, God may want the Christian to develop a strong hatred for evil and demons.
2. God may give an opportunity to learn how to recognize and deal with demons in the lives of others who are suffering similarly (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). I went through a lot of demonic attacks, and it gave me a lot of insight into how satan’s kingdom operates. I use that insight to help others.
3. The demonically attacked Christian may learn how to walk in more so of dependence on God in the midst of hard circumstances (Psalm 119:92).
4. God may allow for the testing of a Christian’s faith with the attacks, just as Job’s faith was tested (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-6).
5. Such circumstances may make one more desperate for God, thereby seeking Him more diligently (Hebrews 11:16).
6. God may allow suffering via demonic attacks to produce perseverance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 4:12-13).
One woman who was a veteran in this type of ministry said:
I know the Lord could cast them all out at once. But I do not believe that is His will. These people grow in the Lord, as they take His victory day by day. They recognize the heinousness of sin, face the powers of the enemy, realize that they themselves cannot fight the battle. Through this they really learn to cry in faith to the Lord in their dire need. They learn the necessity of constantly abiding in Christ and living on His every word. By the time deliverance is completed, they are walking steadily in victory, fully desiring to serve the Lord faithfully.
(Merrill Unger, What Demons Can Do To Saints, pgs. 164-165)
The following is a testimony that may give some encouragement who are going through a long process of deliverance [bold mine]:
Although the testimony which I want to share is not as dramatic as some, I am writing to you because of the specific nature of it. The details leading up to my regeneration are too time-consuming to relate, but after many years of hearing the Gospel, living under a false sense of security in believing that I had received Christ, I was driven by a shocking and unexpected chain of events to think that I had committed the unpardonable sin.
I acquired the name of Mrs. FM. She explained the true gospel to me, and the Lord showed me that I had never seen myself worthy of hell, that I had sinned primarily against God, that I had a sorrow for sin which was not true repentance, that old things never had passed away, that I was dead in trespasses and sins, and that the Lord Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross was my only hope, by faith, of salvation.
The Lord mercifully saved me, and from that point showed me that I needed deliverance from demons. During the past two and one half years this process has continued. In the initial stages I expected total deliverance at each session. After several months, however, I began to realize that I was not strong enough in the Lord, schooled in His Word, nor grounded and settled in the faith to be able to stand “strong in the Lord and in the power of his might” against such powerful opposition of demonic forces. I read Exodus 23:28-30: “And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hittite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.” This passage often has spoken to and comforted my heart.
Had I been delivered without knowing how to recognize and refuse the lies to which I had been enslaved for years, I believe I soon would have been re-invaded. Also, I would not have learned from any early deliverance the extent of my bondage and how far down the Lord had to reach to bring me up from the horrible pit, the miry clay, nor would I have been as aware as I now am of the rebellion of my own natural heart and the venom of all satanic forces against God.
These are a few of the reasons why I believe a prolonged deliverance process has been necessary for and beneficial to me-not that I’m grateful for demons for I despise them and long to be like Christ-but I marvel at the sovereign purposes of God in His dealings with me, and I praise Him with all my heart for His mercy, love, and grace toward me.
(Merrill F. Unger, What Demons Can Do To Saints, pgs. 165-166)
Full deliverance may take weeks, months, or sometimes years, or it may require only minutes to a few hours. A strong factor for final freedom from the invading spirit(s) is when the person has completely and fully submitted to God and resisted the devil (James 4:7). But it is all ultimately God’s choice to fully deliver a person.
Never give up in prayer for full deliverance. Jesus commanded that one should persist in prayer until God answers (Luke 11:5-10; Luke 18:1-8).
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can receive Him into your heart, and He can deliver you from darkness and sin and have your name written in His Book of Life.
If you are sincere, you can say this simple prayer to the Father (it doesn’t have to be word- for-word):
“God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You up until now. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. Please forgive me of all of my sins just as I forgive others. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross, I believe in my heart Jesus is Lord and was raised from the dead and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord. Take up residence in my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Savior. From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow You all the days of my life. Those days are in Your hands. I ask this in the Lord and GOD Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.”