I couldn’t sleep the other night and was feeling despondent because of some choices I had made, and maybe I was a little down about some other things. Tossing and turning, my mood went from bad to worse. I guess I dozed off a bit, then woke again and experienced a very dark temptation. Not just a titillating thought or a vague desire, but something really and truly nasty.
I couldn’t shift it. Then along with the temptation came a sense that I was losing my sanity. I was going to go crazy. I held my head in my hands and curled up. Then I realized I was under attack. I immediately sat up and said out loud, “In the name of Jesus the Lord, I rebuke you. Be gone.”
At once the darkness lifted, I rolled over and went to sleep and woke up refreshed and lightened.
All of this was in the dark time of the night, and it is easy to write it off as a bad dream or some sort of half awake, half asleep trick the mind plays on you. I don’t think so. I think it was real, and what I found so encouraging is that the name of Jesus really is powerful. The dark shadows that surrounded me really did lift. The diabolical temptation and disturbance was banished.
I recommend this to you as a part of your prayer life. Of course to call it ‘exorcism’ is exaggerated. True exorcism involves those sad individuals who are infested with demons and who need to be delivered by the authority of an proper exorcist. Nevertheless, diabolical temptations and attacks happen at lower levels of spiritual involvement and through the grace of our baptism all of us have taken authority over evil. We can be delivered from evil by saying an instant prayer like I did, or at even less dramatic level we can put up the barriers against evil through a conscious recitation of the Lord’s Prayer itself with an emphasis on the phrase ‘Deliver us from evil.”
I once went to a day conference with the famous Protestant minister Dr. Kenneth McCall. He wrote the ground breaking book Healing the Family Tree. Some rather excitable women in the front row told him during a question time that they had a coven of witches living in their town and what should they do to get rid of them?
Dr. McCall just said calmly, “In most cases all that is required for evil to be banished is for two or three baptized Christians to gather together and recite the Lord’s Prayer with a focus on the phrase ‘deliver us from evil.’” It wasn’t quite the dramatic answer the ladies were looking for, but it has stuck with me all these years.
We can take authority over the things that trouble us. We just have to remember to do so.